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.
What are the best administrative assistant programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College||Shell Lake, WI|
|2||Copiah-Lincoln Technical College||Wesson, MS|
|3||Trinity Valley Community College||Athens, TX|
|4||East Mississippi Community College||Scooba, MS|
|5||Northeast Community College||Norfolk, NE|
|6||Palo Alto College||San Antonio, TX|
|7||Minnesota West Community and Technical College||Granite Falls, MN|
|8||Bismarck State College||Bismarck, ND|
|9||Northeast State Community College||Blountville, TN|
|10||Minnesota State College Southeast||Winona, MN|
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.
What are the Best Online Associate in Administrative Assistant Programs?
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
|Shell Lake, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College offers an online administrative professional associate degree. Students in this program learn the software and organizational skills needed to work in a variety of office settings. Graduates can pursue work as executive assistants and office managers.
This online associate in administrative assistant program requires 60 credits and takes two years to complete. Core courses include financial accounting, MS Outlook, Adobe Photoshop, document formatting, proofreading for the office, and desktop publishing.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. This program does not have strict testing or academic admission requirements, although competitive applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.1. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Copiah-Lincoln Technical College
|Wesson, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Copiah-Lincoln Technical College offers an online associate degree in administrative office technology that introduces students to office procedures, computer applications, financial systems, and communications. This program prepares graduates for entry-level positions as office administrators, accounting clerks, records clerks, and word processing specialists.
This 60-credit degree can be completed in two years. Core courses cover topics like business accounting, applied business math, Microsoft Word, Quickbooks, and desktop publishing. As a part of the degree, students are also awarded a technical certificate in administrative office technology.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma (or the GED equivalent) and submit ACT scores with a minimum composite score of 14. Copiah-Lincoln Technical College is regionally accredited by theSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Trinity Valley Community College
|Athens, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 76%||
Trinity Valley Community College offers an online associate of applied science in office technology. The program prepares graduates to coordinate office procedures and activities, although it can also lead to a bachelor of applied arts and sciences at some universities.
Students complete 60 credits over the course of two years. Core classes include introduction to spreadsheets, word processing, desktop publishing, and business computer applications. Students also earn a certificate in office technology.
Applicants are required to submit high school transcripts. Students may also be asked to sit for the Texas Success Initiative exam. Trinity Valley Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
East Mississippi Community College
|Scooba, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
East Mississippi Community College is located in the town of Scooba. The college offers an online office assistant track that includes career certificate, technical certificate, and associate of applied science options.
Students are awarded a career certificate for completing 30 credits, a technical certificate for completing 45 credits, and an associate degree for completing 60 credits. The associate-level program can be completed in two years or less. Core courses include principles of accounting, Microsoft Word, records management, social media management, and Quickbooks. Students also have the opportunity to take OPAC national certification exams as part of the program.
Applicants must have scores of at least 14 in the English, math, and reading sections of the ACT or ACCUPLACER scores of at least 21 in pre-algebra, 39 in writing, and 64 in reading. East Mississippi Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Northeast Community College
|Norfolk, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Northeast Community College has an online administrative professional program that can lead to an associate of applied science, associate of arts, certificate, or diploma. Graduates of these programs develop competencies related to the latest office methods and technology skills.
The associate of arts option requires 60 credits, while the associate of applied science option requires 64 credits. Core courses include administrative professional procedures, intermediate keyboarding, advanced Microsoft Word certification, and Excel spreadsheet applications. Students who choose the AAS track must also complete a cooperative internship where they gain hands-on experience.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Tuition is most affordable for Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota residents. Northeast Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Palo Alto College
|San Antonio, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 34%||
Palo Alto College awards an online administrative assistant degree that prepares graduates to assume administrative responsibilities and manage office environments. Graduates are eligible for entry-level positions or they can pursue further education.
The curriculum covers subjects such as spreadsheets, computer applications, word processing, and business correspondence. The 60-credit program can be completed in two years. Courses are available entirely online to accommodate working professionals. In-district students pay lower tuition rates.
Applicants must submit their high school transcripts (or the GED equivalent). The college also has a number of dual-credit and high school programs that help secondary students earn credit toward a college degree. Palo Alto College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Minnesota West Community and Technical College
|Granite Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Minnesota West Community and Technical College offers an online administrative assistant degree that prepares graduates to manage and coordinate day-to-day office operations. The program emphasizes word processing and data entry, business communications, and office management.
This online administrative assistant associate degree requires 60 credits and takes two years to complete. The curriculum covers major-specific courses as well as general education requirements like English composition and humanities classes. Major courses include spreadsheet concepts and applications, presentation graphics, and office accounting.
Applicants must complete an online application and submit high school transcripts (or the GED equivalent). If admitted, students receive a letter detailing steps for registration and taking the ACCUPLACER test. Minnesota West Community and Technical College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bismarck State College
|Bismarck, ND||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Bismarck State College provides an online administrative assistant degree that prepares learners for entry-level secretary or office assistant positions. Graduates can find employment in many fields, including education, retail, and healthcare. Students have the option to follow a general track or choose a specialized legal or medical track.
Students who complete the 60-credit, two-year program earn an associate in applied science degree, while those who complete the 30-credit, one-year program earn a program certificate. The curriculum covers the latest computer technologies and software applications used in office settings. Courses are available entirely online.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts (or the GED equivalent), as well as placement test scores. Students must also have access to the Microsoft Office suite. Bismarck State College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northeast State Community College
|Blountville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Northeast State Community College offers an associate degree in administrative professional technology with a business office concentration. The program develops proficiencies in software applications, critical thinking, office procedures, and office management. Graduates are prepared to take Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams. Students can take many of their required courses online.
This 60-credit degree can be completed in two years. Courses include records management, business communications, spreadsheet applications, and advanced word processing.
The college also participates in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway program, which facilitates the transfer of community college credits to schools in the University of Tennessee System. Northeast State Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Minnesota State College Southeast
|Winona, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Minnesota State College Southeast offers an online administrative assistant associate of applied science degree that helps students build expertise in office procedures, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, and desktop publishing.
This two-year degree requires foundational courses in the humanities and sciences and major-specific courses. Major courses include database concepts and applications, principles of bookkeeping, integrated office skills, and word processing applications. Students also complete an internship in an office setting.
Applicants must submit high school transcripts and take the ACCUPLACER exam. The college has transfer articulation agreements with many colleges and universities. Minnesota State College Southeast is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
What Else can I Expect from an Online Administrative Assistant Associate Degree?
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.
What Can I Do With an Administrative Assistant Associate Degree?
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%
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%