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Overview of Associate Degree Programs for Administrative Office Specialist

Majors Overview April 23, 2013

An administrative assisting associate degree program will prepare students to enter the administrative workforce with general clerical and secretarial skills. At the associate degree level, there are various programs that exist in office specialists and administrative assisting, though the particular degree titles will vary slightly.

Associate Degree Programs in Administrative Assisting

Students who have completed the associate degree program will earn either an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in administrative assisting. The degree program will teach students how to manage office functions independently. Also, it will provide students with skills in information management, communications, basic office administration, and organization. Often, office assistants are responsible for managing a massive amount of electronic information that requires the understanding of different software programs and the ability to use extensive compute skills. Training in the use of desktop publishing, presentations, database management, and spreadsheets are all software programs used by individuals who work in this field.

Through the degree program, students will learn about the importance of ethical behavior, responsibility, and good work habits in the workplace, all of which will help further advancement within an organization. Typically, there aren’t any educational prerequisites to enter this degree program besides holding a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma.

Program Coursework

Typically, an administrative assisting associate degree program includes classes that use different computer applications for business purposes as well as courses that help students learn basic office-related skills. Program course topics may include:

•Business communications
•Customer relations
•Microsoft applications (PowerPoint, Access, Excel, etc.)
•Word processing
•Accounting
•Keyboarding

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

In May 2010, administrative assistants and secretaries, excluding medical, legal and executive secretaries, earned an average annual salary of $40,830 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov)). By contrast, executive secretaries and administrative assistants took home $43,520. Job growth of eleven percent was predicted for all secretaries and administrative assistants during the period from 2008 to 2018, with the greatest growth expected to be experienced in the legal and healthcare industries, though these professionals are required to complete a specialized degree.

Continuing Education

Students who have graduated from the associate degree program will be able to advance on to a bachelor degree program in related field, including business administration. Certifications for a particular area of office skills are also available. For instance, individuals who want to demonstrate proficiency in office-related skills may earn the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credentials offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

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