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How Do I Choose the Best Administrative Assistant Education?

Patricia Ohanian Lundstrom
Patricia Ohanian Lundstrom

Traditionally, the best way to learn about being an administrative assistant has been on-the-job training. It has become more common, however, for people in the career field to seek out degrees and certifications from educational institutions. Employers typically will give preference to applicants who have the most-advanced skills. To choose the best administrative assistant education path, you will need to consider how and where you want to take courses, what specialized fields you will want to work in, and how you will fund the process.

The importance of practical knowledge learned on the job cannot be overstated. Skills most valued in the field include organization, the ability to multitask, and the qualities that allow management to work to its strengths while you take care of the details. Yet, even though companies value experience and a good attitude, the business climate may require that administrative assistants have an excellent grasp on business software and computers, as well as communication skills beyond answering telephones.

Administrative assistants commonly work in an office setting.
Administrative assistants commonly work in an office setting.

Administrative assistant education courses are available through many trade schools, colleges, and universities, both on-site and online. You can find schools and courses on the Internet by searching "administrative assistant" with "program," "training," or "classes." Check your library’s reference section for books listing the available programs from local schools. Also check with professional organizations in the field to see if they have a list of recommended programs. After careful research, there should be many programs to choose from, and how you choose will depend on a few factors.

Administrative assistant training varies by school and specialty.
Administrative assistant training varies by school and specialty.

First, decide how long it would be practical for you to be involved in a course of study. If you are new to the administrative assistant field, more courses will be necessary than if you are a veteran in the field but are looking to advance. How many courses you take will depend on whether or not the course of study is working toward a certificate, a degree, or simply meant to add to your skills.

Next, if you are interested in working in a specialized field, such as the medical, legal, financial, or real estate fields, look for programs that offer administrative assistant education courses specific to those specialties. Oftentimes, an administrative assistant in these fields acts as management’s proverbial "right hand." This means that the assistant is expected to know the intricacies of the specialty as well as management does.

A good administrative assistant education should include a variety of ways for you to learn. Choose a curriculum that offers courses with specific goals, as opposed to generalized skills. Ask the admissions office where alumni of the program have been hired and ask if the school offers job placement or job mentoring. Request to see the teacher’s syllabus or course schedule from last year — look for classes that offer plenty of practical experience. Other factors, such as transportation, flexible scheduling, and tuition costs, will impact your decision, as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of education should I pursue to become an administrative assistant?

You can think about obtaining post-secondary education in business administration, office management, or a comparable profession if you want to work as an administrative assistant. You may get the expertise you need for the position through this form of education, including an understanding of office software, organizational strategies, and fundamental accounting concepts. Administrative assistants must also have excellent interpersonal and communication skills since they frequently operate as the company's main point of contact with its clients, customers, and suppliers.

What are the benefits of having an administrative assistant education?

Your ability to succeed in the position can be improved by receiving an administrative assistant education. You'll learn more about how to utilize office programs like Microsoft Office Suite and fundamental accounting concepts. Also, you will learn about how organizations are organized, which will enable you to manage your time and resources more effectively. Also, a degree in this area may lead to job prospects like office management or executive assistantships.

How do I choose the right educational program for me?

Your aims and objectives should be taken into account while choosing the best educational program for you. Be sure the course offerings and program are certified and will give you the information and abilities you need to succeed in the position. Be sure the faculty has the experience and knowledge necessary to assist you in achieving your goals by investigating their backgrounds and credentials. The price of the program, the success rate of students finding jobs, and any other support services the institution offers should also be taken into account.

What should I look for in an administrative assistant education program?

You should search for an administrative assistant training program that provides classes in office software, organizational skills, and fundamental accounting concepts. Finding a school that offers real-world experience, like internships, is crucial if you want to develop the skills and expertise necessary for the position. In order to assist you in securing the ideal position after graduation, search for schools that include career counseling and job placement services.

What are the advantages of online education for administrative assistants?

There are several advantages to getting administrative assistant education online. In comparison to conventional classroom-based programs, it offers greater flexibility and lets you study and learn at your own speed. Furthermore, compared to traditional schools, many online programs have reduced tuition costs and a greater selection of courses. Lastly, since many organizations are increasingly looking for employees with expertise in virtual office environments, an online education will help you access a larger range of employment prospects.

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    • Administrative assistants commonly work in an office setting.
      By: Peter Atkins
      Administrative assistants commonly work in an office setting.
    • Administrative assistant training varies by school and specialty.
      By: Gina Sanders
      Administrative assistant training varies by school and specialty.