Best Online Associate in Office Administration Programs

An associate in office administration is a two-year degree that can prepare students for positions in business offices. Check out our list of the best online associate degree programs in office administration to find out what makes each program unique.

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by Bethanny Parker

Updated September 22, 2022

Edited by Rebecca Long
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An associate in office administration is a two-year degree that can prepare students for positions in business offices. Potential job titles include data entry specialist, documentation specialist, executive assistant, administrative assistant, and bank teller supervisor.

An associate in office administration — a type of business degree — typically takes two years to earn. This is true for students in both online and on-campus programs. However, some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed more quickly.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average total cost of attending a two-year institution was about $11,390 during the 2018-2019 academic year. This includes tuition, fees, and room and board. In-state tuition is usually much lower than out-of-state tuition, but some online schools charge in-state tuition to all online students.

According to PayScale, graduates with an associate in office administration earned an average base salary of $42,000 per year in June 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the demand for secretaries and administrative assistants will fall 7% from 2020 and 2030.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Office Administration Program?

Administrative assistants should be comfortable using technology and possess strong communication skills. They also need to be detail-oriented, organized, and sensitive to deadlines. These qualities can also help a student succeed in an associate in office administration program.

Most associate in office administration programs are about two years long and require students to complete at least 60 credits. Students learn the skills they need to work in all types of offices. They generally learn how to schedule and plan meetings, organize paper and electronic files, and make travel arrangements.

When applying to online associate in office administration programs, students should check with each school to find out if there are any in-person requirements. Some schools require in-person practicums, labs, or orientations.

Most associates in office administration result in either an associate of science (AS) or an associate of applied science (AAS) degree. The AS degree is heavy on science and math and can prepare students to continue their studies at four-year colleges or universities. Programs that award AAS degrees usually focus on giving students the skills they need to enter the workforce directly after graduation.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Office Administration Program?

Introduction to Business

This course introduces students to many facets of the business world. Students explore topics such as small business, international business, production, marketing, management, and financial accounting.

Principles of Accounting

In this course, students explore topics such as reporting financial information, recording transactions, accounting theory, and the accounting cycle. They also learn about generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

Document Production I and II

These two courses reinforce touch typing skills and teach students how to correctly format business documents. In these classes, students work on their proofreading and language arts skills and learn how to manage their workspaces.

Introduction to Computer Information Systems

This course introduces students to various aspects of information technology. Students learn about design and development, systems analysis, basic computer information, and business systems. They may also explore how to create simple computer programs.

Microcomputer Applications

In this course, students learn how to use productivity suites, internet technologies, and operating system functions. They gain hands-on experience using presentation software, database software, spreadsheets, and word processors.

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What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Office Administration Program?

To get into an associate in office administration program, candidates must submit an application along with the application fee. It's usually a good idea to apply to more than one school. In addition to the application, most schools require students to submit high school transcripts or proof of their GED diploma, along with scores from college entrance exams.

Some schools also require college application essays or letters of recommendation. Institutions may provide topics for your college application essay, or you may be able to choose your own topic. You can request letters of recommendation from your high school teachers if you've recently graduated, or from a supervisor at work.

If you've been working for a while, you may be able to get college credit for life and work experience. Check with the schools you're applying to in order to determine if they offer this type of credit.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Office Administration Degree?

Career Outlook

People with an associate in office administration earned an average salary of $42,000 per year in June 2021, according to PayScale. In December 2021, the average salary for all associate degree graduates overall was $56,000 per year. PayScale data indicates that professionals with an associate in business administration earned an average salary of $53,000 per year in November 2021.

One common job title for graduates with an associate in office administration is administrative assistant. The BLS projects a 7% decline in jobs for secretaries and administrative assistants between 2020 and 2030.

Even though the field is declining, there are still plenty of jobs for professionals with a background in office administration. Searches on Indeed return over 140,000 job openings for administrative assistants, more than 12,000 for executive assistants, and over 21,000 for office managers.

Office administration professionals can work in a variety of industries, including healthcare; educational services; scientific, professional, and technical services; government; and religion.

See where an associate in office administration degree can take you. Learn more about business administration careers.

Career Paths

Executive Administrative Assistant

Executive administrative assistants perform administrative tasks for directors and executives within a company. They help manage executives' time by scheduling meetings and planning itineraries for travel. Executive assistants often screen phone calls, run errands, and draft letters on behalf of executives. They also supervise the work of the administrative support staff.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $63,110


Documentation Specialist

Documentation specialists work for companies that utilize written manuals, records, policy briefs, or other forms of written communications. They ensure that the company's documentation is properly organized, stored, and maintained. They work in offices, creating new documentation as required. They may work for insurance companies, in legal offices, or for the government.

Average Annual Salary (November 2021): $50,910


Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants perform office tasks to help organizations run more smoothly. They use computers, copiers, and other office equipment. They must know how to use common office applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Administrative assistants often answer phone calls and take messages. They also set up staff meetings, prepare and send memos, and perform basic bookkeeping operations.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $40,990


Data Entry Keyer

Data entry keyers or clerks enter data into computers. They may enter orders, accounting information, or other data. The work is often repetitive, but entering the data correctly is of utmost importance. Data entry clerks may enter patients' insurance information, key in product information for retailers, and update patient information for medical offices.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $34,440


Bank Teller

Bank tellers process monetary transactions at a bank. They collect loan payments, deposit money, and cash checks. Tellers typically count the money in their drawers at the beginning of each shift and again at the end of the shift to make sure they have the right amount. A discrepancy indicates that a mistake was made. Accuracy is very important because bank tellers work with money all day.

Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $32,620


Office Administration Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

Although graduates with an associate degree in business administration earn more than those with a degree in office administration, the opposite is true at the baccalaureate level. According to PayScale, people with a bachelor's in business administration earn an average of $69,000 per year in September 2021, while those with a bachelor's in office administration earn an average of $81,000 per year in October 2021.

Graduates with a bachelor's in office administration or business administration may decide to advance their education even further. A master's in business administration (MBA) is a popular choice. An MBA can prepare learners for high-level leadership positions within a business or organization. A doctorate in business administration is the terminal degree for professionals in this field.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Office Administration Program?

Cost

According to the NCES, the average total cost of attending a two-year institution was about $11,390 during the 2018-2019 academic year. Calculate the true cost of an associate degree by factoring in additional fees for books, transportation, and other necessary expenses. Tuition at public schools is usually lower for in-state students than for out-of-state students. Online program costs typically are comparable to on-campus programs, but that can vary depending on the school.

Program Format

Synchronous programs require students to log in at specific times, while asynchronous programs allow students to set their own schedules. Check to see whether the school you're considering offers asynchronous or synchronous programs. Part-time programs give you more flexibility to schedule school around work, while full-time programs and accelerated programs allow you to earn your degree more quickly.

Location

Location is obviously important if you are attending classes in person, but it may be important even for online courses. Some schools have limited in-person requirements for their online programs, and you may need to travel to the school's location. When deciding whether to attend school online or in-person, make sure you're able to fulfill any in-person requirements.

Accreditation

Accredited schools have been approved by a third party, which has determined the institutions' academic programs meet certain standards. There are two kinds of accreditation, regional and national. Regional accreditation is most important. The credits from regionally-accredited institutions are generally transferable to other colleges and universities.

Student Support

Think about the types of student services you might need, and check to see which schools offer them. Many schools offer mentorship services or academic advising. They may also offer tutoring services, including extra help with math and writing. Students studying virtually may be able to take advantage of online student services such as career services, help with internships, and alumni networks.

2021 Best Accredited Online Associate in Office Administration Programs

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Best Online Associate in Office Administration Programs

  1. Lenoir Community College
    Location

    Kinston, NC

    Tuition

    $5021

    Based in Kinston, North Carolina, LCC offers an online associate in office administration program that prepares graduates for various office administrator certifications. The 64-credit curriculum blends general education courses with major courses like word processing, office ethics, and executive terminology. The program culminates in an office administration capstone course.

    All applicants must submit official high school transcripts. Incoming students with a GPA from 2.2-2.8 must enroll in a gateway course, while learners with a GPA below 2.2 must take a one-semester transition course.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $76/credit in state; $268/credit out of state
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 64 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  2. Fox Valley Technical College
    Location

    Appleton, WI

    Tuition

    $9969

    Located in Appleton, Wisconsin, FVTC provides an online associate in office administration program that maintains transfer agreements with over 65 two-year and four-year schools. The 43-credit major curriculum includes relevant courses like Microsoft Outlook, principles of accounting, administrative management, and business presentation techniques. All students also complete a cumulative project or supervised on-the-job experience in a working office.

    All applicants who do not have a minimum 2.75 high school GPA, 165 GED score, ACT or SAT scores, or an associate degree must take an academic skills assessment.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $158/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  3. Southern Arkansas University Tech
    Location

    Camden, AR

    Tuition

    $11605

    SAU Tech's associate of applied science in office management program requires 60 credits. Notable required courses include business communications, office procedures, records and database management, and legal environment of business. All learners also complete an internship and a capstone project during their final semester.

    Based in Camden, SAU Tech also offers a related online degree in medical office administration. Applicants must submit official transcripts and immunization records and complete a placement test.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $178/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  4. Texas State Technical College
    Location

    Waco, TX

    Tuition

    $6812

    Located in Waco, TSTC offers a 20-month online associate in business management technology program. The college also provides a 16-month online business management technology certificate and a four-month occupational skills award in basic accounting and bookkeeping.

    The associate program includes coursework in word processing, human resources management, and business communication. The program culminates in a small business operations capstone course.

    Applicants need a high school or GED diploma and a bacterial meningitis vaccination.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $213/credit
    • Program Length: 20 months
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  5. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
    Location

    Fennimore, WI

    Tuition

    $9295

    Based in Fennimore, Southwest Tech offers an online associate degree in business management that can prepare graduates for careers as office administrators. Online students can enroll full time or part time. In both cases, notable courses include career planning in business, human resources management, and beginning Microsoft Word.

    All enrolled students gain access to Charger Tech 360, a suite of services that includes a laptop and backpack, software, and technical support. Credit for prior learning is accepted in place of some of the program courses.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $154/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online or hybrid
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  6. Southwestern Community College
    Location

    Sylva, NC

    Tuition

    $4148

    Operating out of Sylva, North Carolina, SCC provides an online associate in office administration program that requires 66-69 credits. Notable courses include word processing, principles of supervision, and database concepts.

    All students complete a capstone course in their final semester. Applicants must be 18 years old or hold a high school diploma. Prospective students must also submit ACT or SAT scores or earn a good score on SCC's placement test. The program maintains a transfer agreement with the BS in business administration program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost: $2,392/semester in state; $7,704/semester out of state
    • Program Length: 2 years (5 semesters)
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 66-69 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  7. Seminole State College of Florida
    Location

    Sanford, FL

    Tuition

    $8392

    Based out of Sanford, Seminole State's online associate in office administration program offers certain courses both synchronously and asynchronously. Relevant courses in the 60-credit curriculum include Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, advanced keyboarding and document processing, and business communication. Students in the program can also pursue certificates in areas like accounting operations, office management, and office support.

    Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Seminole State maintains transfer agreements with the University of Florida Online and the University of Central Florida.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $84/credit in state; $382/credit out of state
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous
    • Format: Online or hybrid
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  8. Moraine Park Technical College
    Location

    Fond du Lac, WI

    Tuition

    $9396

    Located in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, MPTC offers an administrative coordinator associate degree that waives out-of-state tuition for online students. Standout courses in the program's 63-credit curriculum include advanced document formatting, team building and problem-solving, and business meeting and event planning. All students also complete a business practicum during their final semester.

    Applicants must submit proof of a high school or GED diploma. Prospective students with a minimum 3.0 GPA do not need to submit ACT or ACCUPLACER scores.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $141/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 63 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  9. Riverland Community College
    Location

    Austin, MN

    Tuition

    $9472

    Based out of Austin, Minnesota, Riverland's online administrative assistant associate of applied science program requires students to lease a laptop, which helps them master office software. The 60-credit curriculum includes courses like word processing, customer relationship management, office supervision and management, and employment search skills.

    Once accepted, students can apply for several Riverland-specific scholarships to finance their education. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma and must complete ACCUPLACER testing.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $186/credit
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: N/A
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  10. Eastern Florida State College
    Location

    Cocoa, FL

    Tuition

    $4408

    EFSC's online associate in office administration program helps graduates continue on to relevant bachelor's programs at EFSC, the University of Central Florida, Daytona State College, and Florida State College at Jacksonville.

    The program's 60-credit curriculum covers keyboarding, professional ethics, and business communications. All students complete a 15-credit administrative, legal office, or medical office specialization. In their final semester, learners complete an office administration internship or co-op experience.

    Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma and complete a placement test.

    Program Snapshot

    • Program URL: Visit Program
    • Cost-per-Credit: $104/credit in state; $406/credit out of state
    • Program Length: 2 years
    • Total Credits Required to Graduate: 60 credits
    • Instruction Style: Asynchronous
    • Format: Online
    • School Status: Public
    • School Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Office Administration Programs

Is an associate degree in office administration worth it?

An associate in office administration is likely to be worthwhile if you can earn significantly more than your current salary with the degree. For example, if you earn $30,000 now and expect to earn $40,990 per year as an administrative assistant, pursuing the degree may be worth it. However, if you plan to use that administrative assistant job as a stepping stone to a career as an executive assistant, the degree becomes more worthwhile. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for an executive assistant was $63,110 in May 2020. That makes it well worth the investment to earn a degree in office administration.

How fast can I get an associate in office administration degree online?

It typically takes two years to complete an associate in office administration. However, you may be able to find a school that offers an accelerated degree program and allows you to earn your degree in less time. You may also be able to get your degree faster by transferring existing college credits or finding a school that will give you college credit for work experience. In addition, you can accelerate your progress by taking more than the minimum recommended credits per term and by taking classes during the summer term.

Is an online associate degree in office administration credible?

If the school that issues your degree is credible, your degree will be credible as well. Search online to find reviews of the schools you're considering. Look for schools that have a good reputation overall. If you see a lot of negative reviews, you might want to consider a different institution. Also check to make sure the school is accredited. Accreditation goes a long way toward demonstrating credibility. At a minimum, your school should be regionally accredited. Some schools have national accreditation for their programs as well.

How much money can I make with an associate in office administration?

According to PayScale, people with an associate in office administration earned an average of $42,000 per year in June 2021. However, many earn much more. You may be able to earn $60,000 or more as an executive assistant, helping executives manage their time. Those who join companies in entry-level roles, such as executive assistant, may be able to grow within the organization through raises and promotions. Documentation specialists earn an average of $50,910 per year. They write manuals, policy briefs, and other documents for their employers. They also keep the documentation organized so that it is easy for other employees to find what they need.

Is an associate degree in office administration in demand?

Jobs for people with an associate in office administration are declining. The BLS projects a decrease of 7% for secretary and administrative assistant jobs and a decrease of 17% for bank teller jobs between 2020 and 2030. Broken down further, the BLS projects a 19% decline for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants and a 21% decline for legal secretaries. Bucking the trend, jobs for medical secretaries are projected to increase by 11% during the same period. The COVID-19 pandemic and an aging population are likely responsible for the increased need for jobs in the healthcare sector.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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