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Administrative Assistant Certification and Certificate Programs

Get the facts about administrative assistant certificate programs. Read on for information about common courses, employment options and certification opportunities after graduation.

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Essential Information

Administrative assistant certificate programs are widely available at 2-year community colleges and vocational schools. These programs cover fundamental computer, customer service and office organization skills. Students participate in both lecture-based courses and hands-on learning opportunities. Most programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED before beginning classes.

Course Topics

Administrative assistant certificate programs can often be completed in about a year, depending on enrollment as a full- or part-time basis. Some programs require an internship. Students will take an array of courses, some of which might include:

  • Databases
  • Office management
  • Business English
  • Communications
  • Keyboarding
  • Business writing
  • Microsoft Word for business

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), executive secretaries and administrative assistants make up one of the largest professions in the nation, with over 1.5 million positions in 2008. The BLS predicted that this profession would continue to remain a booming career, as it should grow at a rate of 11% between 2008 and 2018. As of 2010, the average salary for a secretary or administrative assistant was $32,000 per year or $15.38 per hour. Administrative assistants who worked for the postal system and federal government reported higher average earnings than those in other industries (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Organizations like the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) offer voluntary opportunities for administrative assistants to earn professional certification. Earning the IAAP's Certified Administrative Professional credential is one such distinction. In some instances, passing the certification exam can even count as college credit.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics