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Office Administration

Coursework in the Office Assistant Certificate is designed for persons: (1) preparing for immediate entry-level employment in office occupations; and (2) already in business who desire skills update and enhancement. The program includes preparation in keyboarding skills, computation, Microsoft Office skills and communication to perform the coordination of activities including storing, retrieving, and integrating information for dissemination to staff and clients.

Students may attend full time or part time to complete the program requirements. Individual student background and time available for the program will determine the total completion time necessary. In general, the certificate program requires a minimum of three terms.

It is expected that students entering the program have competency in keyboarding skills at 25 words per minute and basic skills in math, reading, spelling, study habits and English grammar. Opportunities to gain or strengthen any of theses skills are available. CIS 10 is recommended for basic keyboarding skills acquisition. Both required core and specialization classes must be completed with a "C" grade or better. Students are encouraged to work closely with an advisor in order to determine the most appropriate course plan.

Employment Duties, Additional Certification and Advancement Opportunities

Office and administrative assistants perform a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to run an organization efficiently. They serve as information and communication managers for an office; plan and schedule meetings and appointments; organize and maintain paper and electronic files; manage projects; conduct research; and disseminate information by using the telephone, mail services, Web sites, and e-mail. They also may handle travel and guest arrangements.

Specific job duties vary with experience and titles.Executive secretaries and administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. Generally, they perform fewer clerical tasks than do secretaries and more information management.Some secretaries and administrative assistants, such as legal and medical secretaries, perform highly specialized work requiring knowledge of technical terminology and procedures. Secretaries employed in elementary schools and high schools perform important administrative functions for the school. They are responsible for handling most of the communications between parents, the community, and teachers and administrators who work at the school.

Testing and certification for proficiency in office skills are available through organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals; National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), Inc.; and Legal Secretaries International, Inc.

Secretaries and administrative assistants generally advance by being promoted to other administrative positions with more responsibilities. Qualified administrative assistants who broaden their knowledge of a company's operations and enhance their skills may be promoted to senior or executive secretary or administrative assistant, clerical supervisor, or office manager. Secretaries with word processing or data entry experience can advance to jobs as word processing or data entry trainers, supervisors, or managers within their own firms or in a secretarial, word processing, or data entry service bureau. Secretarial and administrative support experience also can lead to jobs such as instructor or sales representative with manufacturers of software or computer equipment. With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals.


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