Administrative assistants are office professionals who oversee and coordinate the running of a business. Once known as secretaries, modern administrative assistants are responsible for a combination of clerical, technological, and management duties. Although it is possible to gain employment as an administrative assistant without any prior training, more and more businesses prefer to hire candidates with formal education. One reason for this change is the use of communication technology in the office. In order to perform their jobs efficiently, administrative assistants must have excellent computer skills along with organizational and clerical abilities.
One way to get a head-start on a successful career as an administrative assisting is to enroll in an associates degree program. An associates degree typically takes 1-2 years to complete and provides students with a well-rounded approach to all aspects of administrative assisting. Earning a degree demonstrates commitment to the field and a high standard of training that is attractive to potential employers. Administrative assistants with associates degree are often the first to advance in the office to higher positions, such as executive administrative assistant or office manager.
Associates Degree Programs
Associates degrees are a great choice for individuals who wish to gain an in-depth training in modern administrative skills and communication technology.
There are many community colleges and vocational schools that offer associates degrees in administrative assisting. Many of these same schools offer their programs online, which makes it easy for individuals with full-time jobs or other time commitments to complete their education on their own schedule. Good administrative assisting programs will train students in a variety of subjects and help them develop their leadership skills. Associates degree programs also include some liberal arts credits, which may be transferable to a 4-year institution if you wish to pursue further education.
In order to be eligible for enrollment in an associates degree program, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools also recommend basic word processing training as well.
Coursework for associates degree programs vary based on length of time needed to complete the credential. Potential students should review course schedules before enrolling in any program in order to determine what skills and subjects are being taught. Typical programs will include the following core subjects:
- Office Management
- Database Management
- Customer Service
- Oral Communication
- Desktop Publishing
- Word Processing
- Communication Technology
- Business Communication
- Website development and maintenance
Medical and Legal Administrative Assisting Associates Degrees
It is possible to earn an associates degree in either medical or legal administrative assisting. These specialized degrees are required to gain employment in a health care or legal institution.
Medical administrative assistants must complete a slightly different education than their counterparts. Associates degrees are offered in the specialized medical assisting field and include many of the same courses as a general administrative assisting degrees. However, field-specific courses include medical ethics, terminology, law, transcription, insurance coding and billing, filing procedures, and medical computer applications.
Legal assistants must also complete a more concentrated education. Common courses are legal transcription, employment law for administrative assistants, terminology, court procedures, legal documentation, and paralegal responsibilities.
Top Administrative Assistant Schools