What Is Taught in an Administrative Assistant Degree Program?

Contemporary office work requires a combination of old-fashioned secretarial competence and up-to-date technological savvy. The training of administrative support personnel needs to address both of these demands. Read on to learn about the skills taught in an administrative assistant degree program. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Administrative Assistant Degrees

Degree programs in administrative assistance usually confer 2-year Associate of Applied Science degrees upon completion. These programs are available at community colleges and vocational-technical schools. They often require credits in English, mathematics and other general education elective subjects. Sometimes such credits can be transferred from high school, or proficiency can be established by testing. Much of the coursework in administrative assistant degree programs prepares students directly for employment.

Important Facts About This Degree Program

Common Courses Information technology, accounting, communications, typing
Certificate Levels Certificate of Achievement in Office Technology, Office Professional
Specializations Legal office work, medical office work, human resources, customer service
Certification The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification.

Basic Skills of Administrative Assistants

Despite the dramatic advances in information technology, traditional secretarial and clerical skills are not obsolete. Modern administrative assistants need effective oral and written communication skills, as well as basic mathematical literacy. Administrative assistant programs incorporate coursework that develops those skills, along with other office-essential proficiency:

  • Keyboarding
  • Calculating machines
  • Dictation and transcription
  • Document editing
  • Filing and records management
  • Accounting fundamentals
  • Bookkeeping and payroll management
  • Office systems and procedures

Technological Skills

Computer literacy is a strong focus of any administrative assistant degree program. These programs help build a familiarity with standard office hardware and software. Studies dealing with software cover programs that have the following applications:

  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Messaging
  • Desktop publishing
  • Presentations

Specific Applications

Many degree programs prepare students for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification, which documents competency with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Some programs may also include coursework in the following software from various other manufacturers:

  • QuickBooks Pro
  • Filemaker Pro
  • Adobe Acrobat Suite
  • HTML

Other Skills Valuable to Administrative Assistants

In addition to these general clerical and hard technological skills, administrative assistant programs usually provide some training in the human dimensions of professional office work. Internships provide on-the-job practice and help to cement skills that pertain to personal interaction within a workplace:

  • Human relations
  • Customer service
  • Personnel management
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Professional ethics
  • Career development
  • Multicultural workplace issues

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:

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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.

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