Best Online Administrative Assistant Associate Degrees

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The skills learned in administrative assistant associate programs are applicable to nearly any type of business. Regardless of industry, location, or size, every office requires workers who can produce business documents and maintain records. This degree prepares you to succeed in a variety of roles and provides a practical way to gain entry-level employment in many different fields.

Future employment prospects vary by industry and specialization. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% decrease in the number of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerk jobs. In contrast, analysts predict strong growth in the medical field, with a projected increase of 15% in the number of medical records and health information technician positions. You should carefully consider what specializations and/or elective training options are available when selecting a program.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Brigham Young University-Idaho 78.10 73% Rexburg, ID

Brigham Young University-Idaho, located in the city of Rexburg, offers degrees in a variety of academic subjects. Affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU-Idaho has roots in the area dating back to 1888. The university’s associate of applied science in administrative assistant program teaches students the skills needed to succeed in the administrative assistant field. This program can be completed entirely online. Candidates pursuing this administrative assistant associate degree online must complete 60 credits of study and typically finish the program in two years. Courses cover standard topics in the field, including word processing, business administration, and accounting; however, BYU-Idaho’s program also emphasizes online media creation. The university participates in PathwayConnect, which is an educational project of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tuition discounts and admissions preference are available for students affiliated with the Church.

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2 Minnesota West Community and Technical College 75.60 59% Granite Falls, MN

Minnesota West Community and Technical College, which operates several campuses throughout the state, prepares students for future success in a variety of careers. For over 75 years, Minnesota West has been one of the most flexible colleges in the region. It has won numerous awards for academic excellence and affordability. Applicants must provide high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Minnesota West also encourages transfer students to apply and enjoys a reciprocal relationship with Southwest Minnesota State University.

Minnesota West’s associate in applied science in administrative assistant degree requires students to complete 60 credits. This program is typically finished within two years and students can attend classes in person at select campuses or online. This administrative assistant associate degree teaches distance learners about computer literacy, spreadsheet and database administration, and accounting processes.

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3 East Mississippi Community College 64.40 59% Scooba, MS

East Mississippi Community College, headquartered in the town of Scooba, has historically served six counties in the eastern portion of the state. Today, the school also offers degrees that can be completed entirely online. EMCC guarantees low tuition rates for students who graduated from local high schools and for workers who recently lost their jobs. Applicants must provide high school/college transcripts or a GED certificate. They must also submit their ACT scores.

EMCC’s associate in administrative office technology program requires students to finish 60 credits of coursework. Distance learners typically earn their degree in two years. Classes focus on word processing, business communication, and accounting. The program also features courses that cover training in the use of social media for business purposes. Students may pursue this administrative assistant associate degree online or in person. However, students should note that distance learning is offered synchronously, meaning online students must log-in and attend classes at specific times.

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4 Lone Star College System 61.90 30% The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System offers over 50 college degrees through its many Houston-area locations. Some courses are also available online. Lone Star students have access to small classes, flexible schedules, and low tuition rates. New applicants must provide high school transcripts or a GED certificate, and transfer students must submit transcripts from previous colleges. Applicants must also take the Texas Success Initiative assessment unless they meet exception qualifications.

Lone Star’s associate in applied science in administrative services takes two years and 60 credits to complete. The program prepares graduates for a variety of roles in business administration. The required course of study covers computer science, business principles, and information management. This administrative assistant program also offers a relatively large number of elective options, letting students tailor their educational experiences to suit specific career goals.

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5 Northwest Technical College 61.67 41% Bemidji, MN

Northwest Technical College, based in Bemidji, Minnesota, offers flexible educational options at affordable rates. The school has a range of certificate and associate degree programs. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate and their Accuplacer assessment scores; based on their scores, some student may be required to enroll in college readiness courses in reading, writing, and math.

NTC’s associate in applied science in administrative assistance degree takes two years to complete and requires students to finish 60 credits of study. Core courses include business management, keyboarding and computers, and bookkeeping. Students also take classes that emphasize supervision and leadership skills. Graduates are prepared to work as secretaries, receptionists, office assistant, and office managers. Credits earned in this associate degree program can also be transferred easily to NTC’s bachelor’s in business administration program.

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6 Rochester Community and Technical College 60.48 48% Rochester, MN

Rochester Community and Technical College, based in Rochester, Minnesota, is an open-door institution that admits all applicants with high school diplomas or GED certificates. However, some programs do have stricter admissions requirements.

RCTC offers two different administrative assistant associate degree options: an AAS and an AS. Both are 60-credit, two-year programs that prepare students for administrative roles in business settings. Students learn keyboarding, written and verbal communication, and customer service skills. The AS degree includes 30 credits of general education, giving graduates a broader academic background but a more introductory training in business computer applications. In contrast, the AAS degree only requires 15 credits of general education and gives students a more thorough training of business software. Both programs can be completed on-campus or online.

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7 Barton County Community College 57.38 57% Great Bend, KS

Established in 1965, Barton County Community College provides affordable, student-centered degrees through its campus in Great Bend, Kansas. The college also offers students the chance to study online. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate as well as ACT or Accuplacer test scores. Barton is a transfer-friendly school and maintains credit transfer agreements with many higher-learning institutions in the state of Kansas.

Student’s can pursue Barton’s administrative assistant associate degree online, in person, or through a customized hybrid program. Barton’s associate of applied science in business administrative technology program takes two years to finish and requires the completion of 64 credit hours of study. Graduates receive a rounded education in business administration that emphasizes the computer and software skills used in business settings. The degree also allows students to choose major electives, including business law, payroll, and human resource management.

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8 Palo Alto College 57.02 28% San Antonio, TX

Palo Alto College offers career preparation courses on campus at its San Antonio, Texas location as well as online. The college provides an affordable way for students to begin their higher-education journey and maintains transfer agreements with many local universities for graduates seeking to transfer to a four-year program. Applicants are required to submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate. They must also take the Texas Success Initiative placement test.

Palo Alto’s associate in applied science in administrative assistant degree gives students hands-on instruction in business administration practices. This degree takes two years and 60 credit hours of study to complete. Courses teach advanced keyboarding, database and spreadsheet use, accounting, and management skills. Students can take classes online, but many classes require distance learners to participate in synchronous videoconferencing at specific times. Additionally, applicants to this program must demonstrate rudimentary keyboarding skills.

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9 South Central College 54.29 41% North Mankato, MN

South Central College offers programs at its two Minnesota-based campuses and online. The college has more than 50 concentrations of study and provides students with small class sizes and experienced instructors. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate, ACT scores, and Accuplacer test results. Transfer students are encouraged to apply, and SCC accepts credits from many educational institutions in Minnesota. Associate degree credits earned at SCC can also be applied towards degrees at most four-year programs in the region.

The college’s associate in applied science in administrative office specialist program teaches students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in business administration roles. Students must earn 60 credits and the degree typically takes two years to complete. Classes emphasize core skills in business computer applications such as keyboarding, word processing, and desktop publishing. Students can also choose their own concentration, preparing them for work in financial settings, medical offices, legal firms, or technology companies.

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10 Community College of Allegheny County 54.29 33% Pittsburgh, PA

The Community College of Allegheny County has delivered accessible educational opportunities since 1966. The college now boasts more than 150 different degree programs, which can be pursued at its four Pennsylvania campuses and online. New applicants must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate; however, the college does not require students to provide college entrance examination scores. Many students who begin their education at CCAC go on to pursue a four-year degree elsewhere, and the college’s coursework is designed to be easily transferred to other institutions.

CCAC’s associate of applied science in administrative assistant program prepares graduates for administrative roles in a variety of industries. The degree requires the completion of 62 to 64 credit hours of study and candidates typically finish in two years. Students in this program learn about spreadsheets and databases, desktop publishing, and basic information technology support skills. Students also choose elective courses focusing on administrative support in corporate, financial, legal, medical, and/or online commerce fields.

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11 Southeast Technical Institute 53.69 51% Sioux Falls, SD

Southeast Technical Institute, located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, offers one of the best values in career preparatory education in the United States. With over 50 programs to choose from, students gain skills to prepare them for a variety of industries. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate and ACT or Accuplacer test scores. The college also has generous credit acceptance policies; more than 40% of Southeast Tech students transfer in credits from other institutions.

Southeast Tech’s associate in applied science in administrative assistant degree takes two years to finish and requires students to complete 68 credits of study. Program graduates learn word processing, software, human resources, and business communications skills. Courses can be completed in person or online. All students in this program must be able to supply their own laptop.

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12 Piedmont Technical College 53.57 27% Greenwood, SC

Piedmont Technical College has prepared students for meaningful employment opportunities since 1966. The college has multiple campuses around western South Carolina and also offers courses online. Many students begin college careers at Piedmont and then go on to four-year institutions; thus, credits earned at Piedmont are designed to be easily transferable to university programs. New students applying to Piedmont should submit their high school transcripts or a GED certificate.

Administrative assistant majors at Piedmont choose from three specific degree tracks: accounting, legal, and medical concentrations. Each takes two years to complete and requires students to take 63 credits. All programs teach core skills, such as business communication, computer software and hardware support, and human resources practices. Students in the accounting concentration learn about advanced accounting practices, while the legal concentration emphasizes business law, transcription, and government structure. Alternatively, the medical concentration includes instruction in medical terminology, transcription, and medical systems and procedures.

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13 Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical 53.33 40% Winona, MN

Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical prepares students to succeed in a range of professional environments. The college offers 30 programs in eight major fields at its campuses in Winona and Red Wing, MN. Classes can also be completed online. Applicants must provide high school transcripts or a GED certificate and Accuplacer test scores. Additionally, MSC is a transfer-friendly school and works with incoming and outgoing transfer students to help them earn degrees in as little time as possible.

MSC’s associate in applied science in administrative assistant program requires 60 credits of study and takes two years to complete. It teaches graduates keyboarding, word processing, desktop and online publishing, database and spreadsheet application, and customer service skills. MSC’s administrative assistant degree also requires students to complete an internship in the field.

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14 Bluegrass Community and Technical College 51.67 33% Lexington, KY

Established in 1939, Bluegrass Community and Technical College is one of the largest technical colleges in Kentucky. The school offers flexible general education and vocational training courses at its six Lexington-area campuses and online. The college has morning, afternoon, and night classes to accommodate working and nontraditional students. With affordable tuition rates, many distance learners begin their college careers at BCTC and then transfer to pursue a four-year degrees elsewhere. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate and scores from a college readiness test (e.g., the ACT, SAT, or Compass).

BCTC’s associate of applied science in administrative office technology prepares students to work in a variety of business settings. In this program, individuals learn the essentials of word processing, business communications, and business software. Candidates also select from classes that focus on administrative, desktop publishing, financial, and/or legal office skills. This program includes an internship experience, giving students the opportunity to practice and enhance their skills in a professional setting.

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15 Dakota College at Bottineau 50.83 28% Bottineau, ND

Dakota College at Bottineau began as a forestry school in 1906. The college now offers over 30 programs in a range of fields. Classes are available on its campus in Bottineau, North Dakota; online; and through blended formats. DCB college maintains relationships with industry experts in the wider community, helping students network and gain professional connections throughout the state. Applicants must provide high school transcripts or a GED certificate and SAT or ACT scores.

DCB’s associate of applied science in administrative assistant - information management program takes two years to complete. Graduates learn about business communication, word processing, desktop publishing, spreadsheets and databases, and legal issues relevant to business settings. There is also a community service component to this degree, allowing students to demonstrate their skills in a real-world setting.

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16 Metropolitan Community College Area 49.64 37% Omaha, NE

Metropolitan Community College, founded in 1974, is one of the fastest growing educational institutions in Nebraska. The college currently offers more than 100 programs through its eight campuses in the Omaha area. Select classes are also available asynchronously online.

The college’s associate in applied science in office technology - administrative assistant program requires 97.5 quarter credit hours of study and takes two years to finish. Students learn about business communication and software, human resources practices, and database management. Distance learners can choose to focus on bookkeeping, payroll, business principles, or office supervision; students also have the opportunity to pursue more than one area of focus. Some degree requirements can be met by participating in a practicum or internship experience. Applicants should submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate and Accuplacer, SAT, or ACT test results.

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17 Trident Technical College 47.62 32% Charleston, SC

Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Trident Technical College offers more than 150 programs at affordable rates. Many students choose to begin their education at TTC by pursuing a two-year degree before going on to a four-year program elsewhere. Many of the college’s classes are also available online.

TTC’s associate in applied science in administrative office technology teaches students about business computers and software packages, business mathematics, office supervision and communication, and record management. Candidates complete 66 credit hours of study over a period of two years. Students in this program have the option to select from a wide range of electives, including courses in accounting, medical terminology, retail skills, and more. Some distance learners opt to pursue a medical office specialist certificate, which prepares them to perform administrative functions in hospitals, clinics, physician's offices, and other medical facilities. Interested applicants should submit their high school transcripts or GED certificate.

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18 St Philip's College 42.62 15% San Antonio, TX

With two locations in San Antonio, St Philip's College has some of the lowest tuition fees in Texas. The college offers flexible schedules and online options for many of its classes. As an open-enrolment institution, SPC accepts all students who meet admission requirements and can provide high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Some applicants may also need to take the Texas Success Initiative test. Additionally, SPC is a transfer-friendly institution and works to accommodate both incoming and outgoing transfer students.

SPC’s associate in applied science in administrative office technology program requires students to complete up to 61 credit hours and takes two years to finish. In the first year, all students learn the same core skills in keyboarding, business computer technology, and commonly used applications. In the second year, students choose to concentrate in legal, medical, application support, or internet marketing fields.

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19 Vincennes University 33.69 23% Vincennes, IN

Vincennes University offers more than 100 majors online and in person at its campuses in Indiana. Additionally, some of VU’s classes are offered in an accelerated format. Students are prepared to enter the workforce immediately or go on to pursue a four-year degree. VU extends low tuition rates to Indiana residents, and Illinois residents also qualify for the same in-state rates. Applicants must submit their high school or GED records; test scores from the ACT, SAT, or another major college readiness test; and Accuplacer results. Additionally, military training may qualify for credit.

VU’s associate in applied science in administrative office technology - administrative concentration program takes two years to complete. Students must finish 60 credit hours of study, and major classes teach business communication, records management, and business math skills. Students also learn about web design and marketing processes. Furthermore, they have the chance to become Microsoft Office certified.

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20 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 29.52 35% Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College offers more than 100 programs of study at its Cincinnati-based campuses and online. CState provides an economical way for students to begin their academic careers, and over 45% of its students transfer to a four-year program to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must submit high school or GED records and can either take a placement test or submit their ACT or SAT scores. Incoming transfer students may also be required to take a placement test.

CState’s associate in administrative assistant program teaches distance learners the skills needed to work in business administration roles. Students learn office communication and technology skills while focusing on how emerging technologies are changing office processes. The program also includes soft skills training, teaching students to cooperate with others in complex business settings.

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Administrative assistant associate degree programs prepare candidates for careers related to business administration. Quality programs teach core administrative competencies that are standard to all industries. However, different colleges offer varying opportunities for industry-specific and/or specialized training. Candidates should take these electives into consideration and choose a program based on their individual learning goals.

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ASSOCIATE DEGREE

All students in administrative assistant associate degree programs learn similar core skills. These include keyboarding, business communication, computer literacy, and the use of spreadsheets and databases. However, programs vary and prospective students in this field should carefully consider the electives available at different institutions. The sample curricula described below represent some common classes that are typically completed while pursuing this degree.

  • Business Fundamentals: Candidates in this course learn common practices in business office settings, including key business terms and basic business law. Students gain experience working in teams and with business technologies. This class focuses on product development and marketing and teaches relevant theoretical knowledge through hands-on work.
  • Database Concepts and Applications: The ability to sort and retrieve information is critical to business administration; therefore, students in this field need to learn how to design and maintain databases. This course presents an overview of the databases commonly found in business settings as well as the software used to create them. Students also practice the skills required to maintain records, make queries, and generate reports.
  • Desktop Publishing: Students in this course learn the publishing and graphic design applications used in business settings. They gain experience manipulating text and images and utilizing page layout techniques to produce professional-quality publications. Additionally, this class describes typical office documents and examines their preferred layout and design characteristics. Students also learn to design and deliver business presentations.
  • Medical Terminology: This class, which is normally an elective rather than a core course in administrative assistant associate degree programs, introduces commonly used terms in medical office settings. It teaches students definitions and emphasizes correct spelling and proper pronunciation. Students also learn common abbreviations used on medical records and billing sheets.
  • Word Processing II: This class teaches intermediate and advanced word processing. Students improve their keyboarding skills and learn more about the software capabilities of word processors. By the end of this course, students can execute advanced functions in Microsoft Word, such as merging text and documents, customizing autocorrect and document styles, and enabling document protections.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ASSOCIATE DEGREE?

Most administrative assistant associate degree online programs take two years to finish and require students to complete about 60 credit hours. However, some programs offer options such as industry specializations or internship experiences that may require extra time. The additional skills learned through these optional credits may be worth delaying graduation for some candidates, and internships often lead to important professional connections.

Many higher education institutions accept incoming transfer credits, which can be used to fulfil certain general education requirements and enable incoming transfer students to graduate more quickly. Additionally, transfer credit is given for military training at some institutions; veterans should consider this fact when selecting colleges. Some courses are available in accelerated formats, and candidates who prioritize early degree completion should discuss this option with their college advisor. Furthermore, administrative assistant associate degree online programs that deliver material asynchronously often offer accelerated classes.

CAREER PATHS

Administrative assistant associate degree online programs can lead to careers in several interesting fields. For example, students who demonstrate outstanding communication skills may opt to work in reception roles, while those who can accurately record, query, and generate reports in financial database systems can work as billing clerks. Additionally, candidates who excel at maintaining and querying medical records and can master complicated medical terms may choose to become medical records technicians.

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk

This role involves producing and maintaining financial records for businesses. Professionals in this field must be able to maintain highly accurate records of financial transactions and communicate cash flow trends through reports to other organizational employees.

Median Annual Salary: $38,390

Projected Growth Rate: -8%

Court Reporter

Court reporters play critical roles in the U.S. legal system by quickly and accurately typing up transcripts of court proceedings to help lawyers and judges carefully review cases. Some states require court reporters to be licensed; further study may be required to meet this qualification.

Median Annual Salary: $51,320

Projected Growth Rate: 2%

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

Providing patients with quality care depends on up to date and easy to access medical information. Medical records and health information technicians streamline patient care by accurately recording health data and organizing information according to clinic standards.

Median Annual Salary: $38,040

Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Receptionist

Receptionists greet visitors, answer phones, and respond to email inquiries. They may also be responsible for other administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments, facilitating meetings, and maintaining business calendars.

Median Annual Salary: $27,920

Projected Growth Rate: 10%

Secretary and Administrative Assistant

This may be the most generalized career in the administrative field. Professionals in this role maintain and retrieve paper files and information in databases, prepare documents and business letters, and provide other forms of clerical support for staff members.

Median Annual Salary: $37,230

Projected Growth Rate: 3%