The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as of 2010, there were over four million administrative assistant jobs across the country. With a projected addition of 492,000 jobs through the year 2020, getting the business training necessary to work as an administrative assistant can help future professionals enter this growing field. If you're considering a career as an administrative assistant but don't have a schedule that matches with an on-campus program, you can receive your degree from an online school.
Community College Online
Attending your local community college doesn't mean that you'll have to go to campus for classes. Some, but not all, community colleges offer web-based distance education programs that allow students to receive a degree online. For example, the New River Community College in Dublin, Virginia, offers a certificate in administrative assistant career studies through its distance education program. Likewise, the Hagerstown Community College in Maryland also offers a similar program, with an online administrative assistant option for students who want the freedom and flexibility to complete their classes on the web.
If a community college option isn't for you, many online career business schools offer administrative assistant training programs. These schools include online-only institutions as well as ones that have on-campus locations. For example, Globe University offers a business administrative assistant diploma through its online program as well as at its campuses across the United States. Choosing the online version is preferable for students who don't live near a campus location or have schedules that prohibit traveling to and from classes. Other schools, such as Penn Foster Career School, only offer an administrative assistant program through an online option. In this type of program, students only can complete their degree through web-based courses.
Courses and Curriculum
An online business administrative assistant program follows a curriculum that looks like the ones in a traditional on-campus school. Some schools that offer both options -- on-campus and distance learning -- have an identical course of study for both programs. For example, Hagerstown Community College's administrative assistant certificate curriculum includes courses in business organization and management, customer service, keyboarding, information technology, word processing, spreadsheet software, web design, management and professionalism through both in-class and online programs.
Pre-professional practical experience can help the future administrative assistant to prepare for a job and enter work with the best skills possible. Choosing an online administrative assistant degree option doesn't mean that you can't get hands-on experience before graduating. Although you won't have a teacher standing over you in a classroom setting, your online classes can still provide practice in the essential skills that you'll need in a business environment. For example, Globe University's online classes offer practical training in administrative tasks such as using word processing, creating presentations and making spreadsheets.
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.