Office Assistant Courses and Degree Programs: Education Facts

Learn about training and classes available for office assistants. Find out the skills these programs teach as well as the daily tasks performed by office workers. Schools offering Office Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Office assistants are able to work in various fields, assisting as seen fit. Oftentimes, background knowledge of the specific field (medical, legal, etc.) may be necessary, but many skills are acquired on the job. However, if office assistance is your goal, there are also training programs that may award a certificate or diploma.

Responsibilities Answering phones/taking messages, scheduling appointments, arranging staff meetings, handling mail and faxes, drafting reports, editing company correspondence, maintaining databases and filing systems, and performing basic bookkeeping
Training Options Short-term on-the-job training is common; associate's degree or certificate programs are available for specialized positions, such as medical and legal office assistants
Courses Business communications, keyboarding, desktop publishing, bookkeeping, payroll systems, and project management; specific field-related courses

What Will I Do as an Office Assistant?

Job duties in this profession often vary by employer. As an office assistant, you can work in government agencies, private businesses, non-profit organizations, legal firms, or medical offices. Typical responsibilities include answering phone calls, organizing files, ordering inventory, and scheduling appointments. Assistants who work in medical offices may also bill patients and prepare insurance claims. Additional duties for legal secretaries include conducting research and reviewing legal briefs.

What Skills Will I Need?

Employers typically look for office assistants with strong oral and written communication skills, as well as a good understanding of computer software applications. While many office assistants acquire these skills on the job, employers may prefer applicants who have completed a postsecondary program. This is especially true if you aspire to work in a legal or medical office, where prior training in specialized terminology is often necessary.

What Kinds of Programs Are Available?

Technical schools and community colleges typically offer 2-year associate's degree programs for aspiring office or administrative assistants. Certificate and diploma programs are also available that may take between six months and one year to complete. If you're interested in more specialized training, you can pursue a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree as a medical or legal secretary. Some schools allow you to apply credits earned from these programs toward a bachelor's degree.

What Courses Will I Take?

Office assistant programs usually offer training in general office skills, in addition to specific programs of study relevant to your area of focus. Some of these courses are available online, and a few schools offer night and weekend classes to accommodate students with full- or part-time work commitments. Consider the following topics which you might cover in your program:

  • Computer technology skills
  • Business communications
  • Keyboarding
  • Desktop publishing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll systems
  • Project management
  • Medical transcription
  • Health records management
  • Civil law
  • Legal research techniques
  • Legal documentation

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Full Sail University

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  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

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  • Utica College

    Utica College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Utica College:

    • Master

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  • South College

    South College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at South College:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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  • The University of Scranton

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    Popular programs at The University of Scranton:

    • Master

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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