Office Assistant Degree Program Information
Individuals who wish to become medical office assistants or general office or administrative assistants can enroll in an associate degree program at a community or vocational college. In addition to field-specific training, a 2-year degree program in office assisting prepares future office assistants for work in general bookkeeping, supply inventory management, correspondence preparation and data organization.
Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Professional and Office Technology
At the associate degree level, future office assistants master writing, word processing, typing and communication skills. They also learn to use various software applications, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Specific program concentrations may be available in accounting or human resources office assisting. After completing an associate degree program, graduates are generally ready for immediate employment as office assistants, secretaries or administrative assistants.
Office assistant program applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED. Students must typically complete a college assessment examination before registering for classes. Experience with computers is helpful.
While enrolled in an office assistant degree program, students may be able to participate in an internship experience. Throughout the program, they take general education classes, as well as core classes in:
- Grammar and composition
- Oral communication
- General office procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Beginning in 2010 and ending in 2020, employment of office clerks was predicted to increase 17%, while employment of secretaries was only predicted to rise 12%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The same government agency indicated that in 2012, office clerks earned an average yearly wage of $29,270, while secretaries averaged $33,560 annually.
Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Assistant
Individuals interested in medical office assistant positions learn about technology, programs, processes, terms and legalities related to the health care industry. They also gain a general educational background and develop a broad business sense. In addition, medical office assistant students improve oral and written communication skills.
Applicants must submit official documentation indicating completion of a high school curriculum or its equivalent. Standardized test scores may be needed, and, depending on the results, students may have to take a college placement test.
Typically, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher for successful completion of an associate's degree program in medical office assisting. Topics of study might include:
- Medical vocabulary and terminology
- The human body and its processes
- Privacy regulations pertaining to patient records
- Medical coding and cost reimbursement methods
- Keyboards, computers and office software applications
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2012, medical secretaries averaged an annual income of $32,670, according to the BLS. Furthermore, the BLS indicated that from 2010-2020, overall employment of medical secretaries was expected to rise much faster than average, or 41% throughout the decade.
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