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Best Online Administrative Assistant Programs

Explore the top schools with online administrative assistant programs. Learn what programs are available, including degrees and certificates, what classes are included, and what jobs are available to administrative assistant graduates.

Top Schools with Online Administrative Assistant Programs

When determining the top schools for online administrative assistant programs, you should look at factors such as admissions requirements, cost and program length. The top schools with online administrative assistant programs are listed below.

1. Arkansas Tech University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Russellville, AK $7,668 95%

Arkansas Tech University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The school offers two online certificate programs for administrative assistant students; both have a tuition rate of $232 (in-state) or $464 (out-of-state).

  • Office Support Specialist - This program consists of 15 credit hours and includes courses in communication, office procedures, computers and office-support software.
  • Business Technology - This 36-credit program includes classes in computers and software, communication, office procedures and financial topics.

2. Central Louisiana Technical Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Alexandria, LA $4,099 70%

Central Louisiana Technical Community College offers a small-school atmosphere and has around 300 students enrolled in online courses. The school offers two types of online options for administrative assistant students:

  • Training Programs - These programs lead to certificates or certification and include:
    • Records Management Certificate program - 6-month program ($1,595 total)
    • Certified Administrative Professional program - 6-month program ($1,695 total)
    • Certified Administrative Professional (with Microsoft Office) - 12-month program ($3,695 total)
  • Career Skills Courses - These offerings are courses, rather than full programs, and allow students to develop their skills in specific areas. They range from $89 to $295 each and are available in 8 areas, including administrative assistant fundamental skills, event planning and computer skills.

3. Clovis Community College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Clovis, NM $1,376 84%

Clovis Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has more than 1,500 online students. The school offers an online Certificate of Completion in Business Administration that takes 2 to 3 semesters to complete and consists of 31 credit hours. The program includes courses in marketing, tax preparation, finance and accounting, business fundamentals and economics. Programs cost between $1,536 (in-state) or $2,904 (out-of-state).

4. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Shell Lake, WI $4,704 80%

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1 and provides a close-knit academic community with around 500 entirely online students. Students have a tuition rate of $160 to $229 per credit hour and can choose one of several online administrative assistant programs; these programs range between 10 and 33 credit hours.

  • Accounting Assistant
  • Administrative Professional
  • Billing and Posting Clerk
  • Business Administration Specialist
  • Health Office Professional
  • Healthcare Receptionist
  • Medical Administrative Professional
  • Medical Billing Specialist
  • Medical Coding Specialist
  • Microsoft Office
  • Office Support Specialist
  • Office Technology Assistant
  • Tax Preparer Assistant

5. Bismarck State College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Bismarck, ND $4,160 83%

Bismarck State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has average class sizes of just 14. The school offers fully online administrative assistant programs that have tuition rates of $138 to $300 per credit hour, depending on class level and student residency. Here are a few of them:

  • General administrative assistant certificate (30 credits)
  • General administrative assistant - Associate in Applied Science (61 to 63 credits)
  • Medical administrative assistant - Associate in Applied Science (64 to 66 credits)
  • Legal administrative assistant - Associate in Applied Science (61 to 63 credits)

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson, MS $3,180 92%
7 Flint Hills Technical College Emporia, KS $6,200 87%
8 Central Community College Grand Island, NE $3,150 87%
9 Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross, GA $2,759 84%
10 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN $5,654 93%
11 Riverland Community College Austin, MN $5,732 84%
12 Golden West College Huntington Beach, CA $1,180 62%
13 Anoka Technical College Anoka, MN $5,734 75%
14 Iowa Lakes Community College Estherville, IA $6,588 86%
15 Southeast Community College Area Lincoln, NE $5,592 88%
16 Palo Alto College San Antonio, TX $3,030 86%
17 Olney Central College Olney, IL $4,098 99%
18 Georgia Piedmont Technical College Clarkston, GA $3,188 90%
19 Mt San Jacinto Community College District San Jacinto, CA $1,406 78%
20 Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest, CA $1,290 73%
21 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, GA $3,140 89%
22 Bridgerland Technical College Logan, UT $3,005 34%
23 Colby Community College Colby, KS $3,698 91%
24 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN $5,846 90%
25 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA $3,062 91%
26 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Valdosta, GA $3,152 92%
27 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN $5,560 86%
28 Southern Regional Technical College Thomasville, GA $3,002 95%
29 Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay, WI $4,577 70%
30 Augusta Technical College Augusta, GA $3,232 86%
31 Gadsden State Community College Gadsden, AL $3,888 83%
32 Albany Technical College Albany, GA $2,996 93%
33 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN $4,500 74%
34 Pima Community College Tucson, AZ $2,190 70%
35 Santa Rosa Junior College Santa Rosa, CA $1,324 77%
36 Western Dakota Technical Institute Rapid City, SD $8,254 91%
37 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, MN $5,686 78%
38 Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, GA $3,084 93%
39 Seward County Community College Liberal, KS $3,420 89%
40 Lanier Technical College Gainesville, GA $3,666 80%
41 Mesabi Range College Virginia, MN $5,467 89%
42 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS $3,120 92%
43 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, TX $1,724 57%
44 Lane Community College Eugene, OR $4,956 76%
45 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY $3,930 92%
46 Central Texas College Killeen, TX $2,700 66%
47 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS $3,540 96%
48 Collin County Community College District McKinney, TX $1,624 41%
49 Westmoreland County Community College Youngwood, PA $5,454 81%
50 Lawson State Community College Birmingham, AL $4,800 96%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2019-2020 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Administrative Assistant Programs

Online administrative assistant programs can typically be completed completely online without any on-campus requirements. Students will utilize different websites and software during their programs and may be able to work on assignments at any time of day, depending on their course. Online courses typically have a primary website, or course shell, that contains reading assignments, online lectures, assignments checklists and grade books.

Types of Programs and Length

Online administrative assistant programs can lead to certificates, diplomas or associate's degrees. In addition to these degree outcomes, programs also offer different areas of focus. The sections below summarize some of the types of online administrative assistant programs available.

  • Administrative Assistant Certificates and Diplomas: These programs lead to certificates and diplomas, showing that students have completed a set of courses applicable to the certificate/diploma title. These programs can take anywhere from one to three semesters, depending on the number of courses included and how many classes students take each semester.
  • Administrative Assistant Associate's Degrees: These programs typically take two years to complete, although students can shorten or extend their program time by changing their course load. Associate's degree programs include much of the same coursework as certificate programs but provide students with a broader set of courses and typically include general education classes.

Common Courses

Although courses vary by school and program, many online administrative assistant programs include some of the courses listed below. Longer programs (like associate's degree programs) and programs with specific focus areas often include additional courses, such as those in leadership and advanced computer software procedures.

  • Intro to Accounting - This class explores fundamental accounting topics and procedures. Students learn about the accounting cycle, journals and ledgers. Classes examine different types of accounts, such as cash and receivables, and types of liabilities and assets.
  • Spreadsheets - Students have the opportunity to learn about spreadsheet software and functions. Within the course, students will typically create spreadsheets from prompts in order to develop hands-on experience. Students should develop practical skills in Microsoft Excel.
  • Word Processing - In this course, students learn how to use word processing software, such as Microsoft Word. This course aims to teach students how to create, edit, share and save documents as well as how to integrate tables and graphics into their documents.
  • Office Procedures - Classes like these take a look at the activities and personal interactions in offices. Students have a chance to learn ethics, professionalism, and respect, especially in regards to how they pertain to working in a team.
  • Computer Fundamentals - Students typically learn basic computer and technology information, including the hardware and software often used in an office setting. Topics can include file management, virtual communication, database navigation and online searching for information verification.
  • Communication - This course helps students to develop professional communication habits. Topics include verbal and nonverbal language types, written communication, vocabulary and considerations of clarity and courteousness.

Focus Areas

Depending on career interests, students may be interested in administrative assistant programs that focus on specific industries or settings. While general administrative assistant programs can prepare students to work in nearly any office setting, some employers may lean towards candidates who have an understanding of the activities and technology used within that industry's setting. Although not all schools offer focused administrative assistant programs online, several schools throughout the U.S. offer some of the focus areas listed below.

  • Accounting assistant - additional coursework in accounting and payroll
  • Healthcare office assistant - additional coursework in medical software and activities
  • Billing - additional coursework in accounting and payroll
  • Office software - coursework is more focused on software such as Microsoft Office
  • Business administration - additional coursework in subjects like marketing and leadership
  • Tax assistant - additional coursework in tax procedures and laws

Certification for Administrative Assistant Graduates

Although certification isn't mandatory for most administrative assistant positions, obtaining certification can increase employment opportunities. Certification enables job seekers to prove their comprehension in specific areas to potential employers. Certification can be acquired through various sources and in several different fields. Some of the certifications available to graduates of online administrative assistant programs are discussed below. Please note: this is not a comprehensive list of available certifications.

  • Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) - Accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), this certification shows knowledge on topics such as records management, business writing and business communication.
  • Certified Bookkeeper (CB) - Offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, this certification increases the employment prospects for graduates pursuing roles in bookkeeping.
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) - This certification shows medical offices that individuals have proven knowledge in areas such as maintaining patient information, using medical software and scheduling appointments.
  • Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) - RHIT certification shows that candidates can effectively manage patient records and use medical computer applications. Certification requires completion of an RHIT-approved program.
  • Certified Customer Service Professional (CCSP) - This certification demonstrates that a candidate has an advanced understanding of customer service skills.
  • Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE) - PACE certification includes a content assessment on topics such as leadership, communications, computer programs and project management.

Administrative Assistant Career Options

Graduates of online administrative assistant programs can pursue a variety of different roles, depending on their interests and focus area (if applicable). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office and administrative support careers had a median annual salary of $37,580 in 2019. As mentioned above, most administrative assistant roles do not require certification, but employers may prefer candidates who have some credential in addition to a certificate or degree. Some of the occupations available to administrative assistant graduates are listed below.

  • Secretaries and Administrative Assistants - Their tasks can include answering phones, arranging meetings, creating and editing documents, managing files and scheduling appointments. They can work in high-level administration, legal services and in medical and other settings.
  • Receptionists - Receptionist duties usually include scheduling appointments, greeting customers, updating digital files, copying and filing paper documents and communicating with other office staff. Receptionists' duties vary by employer, and they are employed in nearly all industries.
  • Police, Fire and Ambulance Dispatchers - Dispatchers take phone calls in emergency offices. Their duties can include maintaining calm, using basic and advanced computer applications, monitoring response teams and coordinating emergency response efforts.
  • Material Recording Clerks - Material recording clerks observe product activities to maintain the supplies of businesses. Their duties can include updating and maintaining records, reviewing inventory, utilizing various software and locating and moving products.
  • Information Clerks - Information clerks are responsible for tasks such as preparing reports, collecting data from staff and customers, maintaining electronic records and answering customer questions. These professionals include file clerks, court clerks, desk clerks and order clerks.
  • General Office Clerks - The duties of these professionals vary by position, but can include things like sorting mail, answering and transferring phone calls, filing electronic and paper documents, preparing office bills and providing various information to customers and staff.
  • Financial Clerks - Financial clerks' duties can include calculating bills, assisting customers, completing financial transactions and maintaining financial records. Financial clerks include billing clerks, timekeeping clerks, insurance claims clerks, new accounts clerks, payroll clerks and more.
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks - These individuals maintain, update and create financial records for various organizations. Their duties can include posting transactions, checking for accuracy, updating records, receiving cash and other payments and using accounting software.
  • Bill and Account Collectors - Bill and account collectors work to collect payment for bills that are past due. Their duties can include locating customers with delinquent bills, contacting debtors, explaining terms relevant to overdue bills, and offering advice and compromise to customers.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019)
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $39,850
Receptionists $30,050
Police, Fire and Ambulance Dispatchers $41,910
Material Recording Clerks $30,010
Information Clerks $35,390
General Office Clerks $34,040
Financial Clerks $40,540
Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks $41,230
Bill and Account Collectors $37,000

All career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics