Education and Training Required to Become an Administrative Assistant

Posted in Career Blog

Administrative assistants normally complete certain educational requirements in order to gain the clerical skills needed in this line of work. After that, they undergo intense on-the-job training that is tailored more toward the specific industry they are employed in.

High School Core Classes
High schools students can prepare to become administrative assistants by taking four years of English while in high school. These English classes should focus a great deal on punctuation, grammar and spelling, since administrative professionals must often proofread and correct written documents. Basic math courses could also be helpful because many workers are in charge of the company’s petty cash fund or must complete financial transactions with vendors and clients. Those who wish to work in companies that do a great deal of business with overseas clients may want to consider taking a foreign language while in high school.

Administrative Assistant Career Certificate
Administrative assistant education is often completed by earning a career certificate from a vocational or technical college. Some colleges also offer online certificate programs.During this training, students could be expected to take courses in keyboarding, records management and business communications. This training can take between six and nine months to complete. Those who enroll in one of these programs can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for tuition; books and related fees can be an additional $200 to $750.

Associate’s Degree in Administrative Assisting
Community colleges also offer a two-year Associate degree program for administrative assistants. Courses that are usually included in this degree program include business math, spreadsheets and databases, office procedures and public relations. Students can also specialize in a particular field such as medical or legal office administration. The cost of obtaining an Associate’s degree can be anywhere from $12,000 to $25,000 for tuition, with books running an additional $250 to $800 per year.

On-the-Job Training
After being hired by an employer, an on-the-job administrative assistant training program will need to be completed. During this training, workers will learn each company’s policies and procedures in order to perform their specific job duties. They may work under the supervision of an office manager in larger companies, or be mentored by the business owner in small operations. This training can last anywhere from a few weeks to six months.

Voluntary Certification Programs
Although certification is not required, it can often help validate one’s credentials. The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers two certifications for workers in this career field: certified professional secretary (CPS) and certified administrative professional (CAP). In order to become certified, applicants will have to meet certain education and experience requirements. It costs between $200 and $375 to take the exam. A license is good for five years, after which time it will need to be renewed at a cost of $200.
Even after working as an administrative assistant for some time, individuals are bound to discover there are always new things to learn. Maintaining flexibility and the willingness to continue education as technology evolves will ensure one’s success in one of these positions.

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