Bachelors in Office Administration: Program Overviews

A degree program in office administration is designed to prepare students for roles as office managers, administrators and secretaries for various types of businesses and corporations. Most are offered at the associate's level, but there are a few schools offering a Bachelor of Science in Office Administration program. Read on for information on prerequisites, common courses and professional certifications.

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Essential Information

A 4-year bachelor's degree programs in office administration provides students with a background in computer skills, office equipment, management, human resources and business law. Students must learn to answer e-mail correspondence, set up scheduling programs, order office supplies, book travel, make databases, keep filing systems intact and provide any amount of additional assistance required by owners, executives and other business personnel. Some of these programs are completion programs, requiring that students have completed their first two years of school, including general education requirements. At some schools, courses are offered online.

These programs give students practical skills in office management. They learn to work with common software and become familiar with office procedures. They also study business communications, both spoken and written, and learn basic accounting and bookkeeping skills. Some specific industries, such as the health care and legal fields, offer more detailed degree programs for aspiring office administrators.

Education Prerequisites

Most schools offering degree programs in office administration only require that incoming students have a high school diploma before applying. Many do request that students have a basic knowledge of computer systems, a strong grasp of the English language, oral communication skills and a grade point average of at least 2.5.

Program Coursework

The majority of courses in a bachelor's degree program in office administration are practical in nature and are designed to teach students specific skills. Some core course topics might include:

  • Business math
  • Business communications
  • Office procedures
  • Business computing
  • Word processing
  • Spreadsheet applications
  • Keyboarding
  • Machine transcription
  • Basic accounting
  • Business law

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Secretaries and administrative assistants held about 4 million jobs in the United States in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The position is one of the most ubiquitous in the country, although individuals who hold a degree are more likely to gain positions than those who do not, as noted by the BLS. The employment of administrative office assistants and secretaries was expected to grow by 12% between 2010 and 2020, which is about average growth. In 2012, the median annual wages of administrative assistants and secretaries, excluding legal, medical and executive, were $32,410 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduate degree programs in office administration are not typically available; experienced administrative assistants seeking to further their credentials might choose to pursue certification instead. Certifications awarded by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (www.iaap-hq.org) include the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) and Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) designations. Both credentials require candidates to pass a multi-part exam that covers topics in office technology and organizational management.

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