Administrative assistant are essential members of an office. They oversee the day to day operations of a business, which can range from doing basic clerical work such as typing letters and reviewing email to completing complex management tasks like preparing statistical reports and creating presentations. Although in the past it was possible to gain an entry-level secretarial position with no prior education, modern employers prefer to hire candidates with some form of training.
Luckily for busy individuals, education doesn’t have to mean completing an expensive 4-year program. It’s possible to earn a certificate in administrative assisting in as little as a week, although other programs can last for a semester or two. Many programs can also be completed online, on your own time. Deciding what program is appropriate for you depends on your personal schedule and what level of training you wish to receive.
Certificate Program Courses
Certificate programs are geared towards entry-level administrative assistants and assistants who wish to augment their professional experience. They are designed to be flexible, but also to provide the most in-depth education in a shorter time frame. Certificate programs are attractive options for those who do not want to enroll in an associates degree course, or simply do not have the time to complete a 1-2 year program.
Unlike an associates degree, certificate programs do not include courses in general education such as English and mathematics. They are focused exclusively on vocational subjects related to the field of administrative assisting. Typical coursework includes training in keyboarding, word processing, dictation and transcription, oral communication, and Internet navigation. Other subjects are basic bookkeeping and accounting, electronic record keeping, data storage and retrieval, publishing, and presentations.
Certain programs may focus on the more technological aspects of administrative assisting, such as computer skills. The widespread use of communication technology in the office has somewhat changed the accepted duties of an administrative assistant. Strong computer skills are now considered mandatory for entry-level administrative assistants. Certificate programs may include classes that cover software commonly used in offices, such as Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
Medical and Legal Assisting Certificates
Medical and legal administrative assistants must complete a slightly different education in order to perform their jobs efficiently. There are certificate programs available to individuals who work in these fields. These programs include some of the general administrative coursework, but will usually zero-in on the specialized skills required by the medical and legal industries. Medical administrative assistants will take courses in medical terminology, law, insurance coding and billing, filing, and record keeping. Legal assistants will take similar courses focused on the legal field.
After The Certificate
A certificate in administrative assisting is a great way to quickly gain the skills and qualities needed to get an entry-level job. However, to move up into positions of higher responsibility, further education may be required. An associates degree in administrative assistant is a common credential for upper-level administrators. 4-year degrees are usually unnecessary, except for executive administrative assistants. A combination of on-the-job training and training is the best way to forge a lucrative career in administrative assisting.