Online Clerical Certification Programs with Course Information

Clerical workers perform general office duties for business owners. An online clerical certification program trains participants for employment as clerks, receptionists, secretaries or industry-specific administrative support positions like a medical records assistant.

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Essential Information

Vocational certificate programs for clerical occupations such as administrative assistants and medical records assistants are available as fully-online programs or hybrid programs that require attending some classes on campus. Typically taking less than a year, these certificate programs may prepare graduates for professional certification, and credits can transfer to associate's degree programs.


Overview of an Online Clerical Certificate Program

Students in online clerical certificate programs learn skills for communication, administrative support, customer service, accounting and office management. Coursework in the certificate program usually can be applied to a degree program's credit requirements, and may also fulfill educational requirement for administrative professional or secretarial certification through a professional certifying body. A background in office education is helpful, but not a prerequisite for entry. Some programs offer a bilingual English-Spanish curriculum.

Program Information and Requirements

Clerical certificate programs consist of 4-5 courses and can usually be completed in under a year. All classes are offered entirely online, but some schools offer a hybrid format combining distance education with on-campus attendance. Some schools have open enrollment and do not require an application for entry into their program; students register for each course separately.

A reliable Internet connection and personal computer are necessary for access to classes. Most offer access any time, and some courses are offered in real-time allowing students to view a class while it is being facilitated.

List of Common Online Courses

Online coursework in clerical certificate programs covers office management and administration, accounting, keyboarding, communication and technology. Professional career development may also be a portion of the program.

Office Administration and Management Course

This course emphasizes office procedures including records management, time management, teamwork, ethics and customer service. Students also learn presentation and document creation, file storage and retrieval, meeting preparation, telecommunications and travel arrangements.

Office Communications Course

Principles in business communications and the application of them are the focus of this class. Writing business letters, memoranda, reports and customer service-related documents are also studied.

Keyboarding and Office Technology Course

Students of this class learn to type by touch via the Internet. Basic features of word processing including creating tables, memos, reports and letters are also part of the coursework.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of office clerks overall was $27,700 in May of 2009. Employment is expected to grow by 12% between 2008 and 2018, and is largely dependent on consolidation of tasks in the industry, use of technology and office automation (www.bls.gov).

Clerical Certification Information

Additional clerical training is available through both vocational schools and colleges. Several associations offer general and industry-specific clerical certification, including the International Association of Administrative Professionals, International Virtual Assistants Association and National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). Clerical associates who pass an exam and meet experience requirements can earn the designations of Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS).

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