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What Are the Courses in an Administrative Assistant Degree Program?

Administrative assistant degree programs usually cover clerical and computer skills, as well as business subjects like management and accounting. Read on for more information about what core classes may be part of these degree programs.

Overview of Administrative Assistant Degree Programs

While general education credits in math, science, the humanities and social sciences will be part of earning any administrative assistant degree, the bulk of the coursework prepares students for the workplace. Upon program completion, graduates should be able to communicate and interact effectively, organize and prioritize tasks and apply current technologies to solve problems.

Important Facts About Administrative Assistant Education

ConcentrationsLegal, executive, medical, general
Online availabilityFull coursework online
Degree levelsCertificate program; associate degree
Continuing educationRequired every five years to maintain optional certification

Core Courses of Administrative Assistant Degree Programs

Class titles will differ from program to program, though the core courses generally integrate the same concepts. Such courses typically cover the general subjects described below:

Communications

Administrative assistants must possess good written, oral and electronic communication skills. General education electives in composition and speech may partially address these skills. Job-specific core courses in this area may include these subjects:

  • Business correspondence
  • Business speech and presentation
  • Telephone communication
  • Keyboarding
  • Letter-writing
  • Interview skills

Organization

Administrative assistants need to be able to organize time, information and the work space itself. Courses in this area may include office procedures, meeting and event planning, database organization, accounting and bookkeeping practices.

Technologies

The ability to input, store and retrieve information is a part of an administrative assistant's skill set. While degree programs may approach these technologies differently, most will include classes in these standard Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Professionalism and Career Development

Many administrative assistant degree programs will include an internship of some kind. Some may even provide classes in portfolio and resume production. There may also be classes that cover the following:

  • Human relations
  • Customer service
  • Multicultural issues
  • Interpersonal communications
  • Professional ethics

Administrative Assistant Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that administrative assistants and secretaries earned an annual median salary of $38,880 in 2018. Most made between $23,060 and $56,010 at that time, the site reports, with the highest wages coming from the postal service at an average of $58,610 per year. The BLS has predicted that employment of secretaries and administrative assistants will decline by 5% from 2016-2026.