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Administrative Assistant Certification and Certificate Programs

Administrative assistants are essential to the smooth operation of any organization. They perform many administrative and clerical duties, including planning meetings, scheduling appointments, organizing files and ensuring effective communications between employees and customers. Because of the complexities of the position, many employers look for candidates with formal training.

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Administrative Assistant Certificate

Earning an administrative assistant certificate can prepare graduates for entry-level positions in office support and administration. Many certificate programs do this by providing students with a chance to learn computer, customer service and communication skills. Most programs require students to have a high school diploma or GED before beginning classes. Administrative assistant certificate programs don't prepare graduates for careers as medical or legal assistants.

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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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics