Administrative Assistant Training

Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

In almost every sector of business and industry, there is a need for skilled administrative assistants. You can complete Penn Foster Career School’s Administrative Assistant online program in as little as five months, learning the skills you’ll need at a pace that’s right for you. Jobs in the administrative field are always in demand, and administrative assistant jobs are expected to grow 12% in the coming years.¹

Students in the Penn Foster Administrative Assistant Program qualify for free membership in the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), a renowned nonprofit organization that provides education resources and leadership development to administrative professionals. Plus, this program includes a Work Experience Option, which allows you to gain field experience relative to your program and career goals.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career as an administrative assistant.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Understand how to maintain paper and electronic filing systems for records and messages as well as organize files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently
  • Comprehend how to schedule appointments and make travel arrangements for executives and other staff
  • Recognize how to answer phones, draft messages, write memos and email when communicating with managers, employees, and customers
  • Comprehend how to support staff to conduct research, compile data, and prepare papers for consideration and presentation by executives, committees, and boards of directors
  • Understand how to read, analyze, route, distribute, and answer routine incoming memos, submissions, reports, mail and email to determine their significance and plan their distribution
  • Communicate well with others in and out of the office
  • Understand how fax machines, videoconferencing and phone systems, and other office equipment work
  • Use computers to create spreadsheets, presentations, reports, compose messages, manage databases, and other applications
  • Understand how to negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, manage stockrooms or corporate libraries, and get data from various sources
  • Prepare reports, memos, letters, financial statements, and other documents, using word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software
  • Know how to greet visitors and determine whether they should be given access to specific individuals
  • Recognize a professional image in an office environment
  • Know how to manage stress and time in professional ways

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
The Administrative Professional

Administrative professionals are counted on to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently. In this lesson, you’ll receive an introduction to the field.

Objectives:

  • Explain the importance of the role of the administrative professional in today’s workplace.
  • List the skills and abilities needed to achieve success in the administrative professional field.
  • Identify current trends and opportunities for administrative professionals.

Unit 2

Your Professional Image

The image that you project plays a critical role in developing your career. This lesson focuses on what it takes for you to develop and improve your professional image.

Objectives:

  • Identify strategies for developing and enhancing your professional image.
  • Identify resources to assist you in developing and maintaining a professional image.
  • Evaluate your professional image.
  • Write goals and action plans to improve your professional image.
Stress and Time Management

This lesson teaches you how to apply stress-reducing techniques to a tense situation.

Objectives:

  • Identify common stressors and symptoms of stress.
  • Discuss effective stress management coping strategies.
  • Set goals and determine priorities.
  • Establish efficient, effective daily routines.

Unit 3

The Global Workplace

The workplace is constantly changing in this global economy, and this lesson presents the skills, abilities, and new knowledge required to be successful.

Objectives:

  • Create a strong resume and search for job opportunities locally and abroad.
  • Better understand the global workplace and different cultures.
  • Develop a working familiarity with webinars, web conferences, and other forms of communication.
  • Plan and organize an international business trip.
Interpersonal Communication Skills

This lesson is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace.

Objectives:

  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.

Unit 4

Administrative Office Procedures

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures.

Objectives:

  • Understand the important aspects of good human relations.
  • Professionally answer and place telephone calls within an office.
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email.
  • Analyze where your time is spent and identify common time wasters.
Travel and Meeting Planning

This lesson covers an administrative assistant’s role in making travel arrangements, and planning meetings and conventions.

Objectives:

  • Make travel arrangements and generate a travel itinerary.
  • Plan meetings and conventions for your company.

Unit 5

Filing Techniques

In this lesson you’ll learn how to set up, arrange, and maintain a filing system suitable for whatever type of office you’re working in.

Objectives:

  • Group files alphabetically, geographically, numerically, and by subject.
  • Establish and maintain a paper-based and electronic filing system.
  • Identify procedures for handling active, inactive, and permanent files.
Records Management

In this lesson, you’ll learn what a record is in an office environment and how records are managed.

Objectives:

  • Store, track, classify, and retrieve records.
  • Differentiate between centralized and decentralized files.
  • Define and differentiate various types of micrographics.
Math for the Office Professional

This lesson is a review of basic math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Objectives:

  • Calculate discounts and series discounts.
  • Calculate cash discounts and shipping charges.
  • Use a calculator to solve or check math problems.

Unit 6

Technologies in the Workplace

New ways of creating, processing, and communicating information are revolutionizing every aspect of any job. To perform your job effectively and efficiently, you must learn about the technology that’s available in the computerized workplace.

Objectives:

  • Describe major communication technologies and services.
  • Understand the network systems used to communicate information.
  • Navigate office computer systems and identify components used for input and output.
Resources and References

This lesson is designed to teach you how to use resources and references to search for information efficiently and effectively.

Objectives:

  • Compare and contrast various resources available within your organization.
  • Use a dictionary and thesaurus to find information and improve your vocabulary.
  • Find information in libraries and online references.
Internet Basics

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the vast world of information that exists on the Internet.

Objectives:

  • Use search engines and email.
  • Identify the best Internet providers and services for your needs.
  • Upload and download files from the Internet.

Unit 7

Business English

This lesson deals with basic writing skills and grammar, and how to create effective business documents.

Objectives:

  • Learn about business letters, forms, client records, and memos.
  • Understand orgnization, grammar, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph construction.
  • Develop coherent paragraphs, well-organized documents, and purpose-focused materials.
  • Produce accurate, attractive, and effective final copies.

Unit 8

First Steps in Using a Personal Computer

It’s hard to imagine a world without computers as they’ve come to be a part of just about everything. This lesson will help you get used to the computer by walking you through the first steps of using your PC.

Objectives:

  • Set up a computer system.
  • Navigate in the Windows® environment.
  • Consult on-screen Help for answers to questions.
  • Use the programs contained in the Windows® Accessories and the System Tools for Windows.®
Using Windows®

Learn the many ways that Windows® can help you complete your daily tasks. Practice a number of important commands as you complete interesting hands-on exercises.

Objectives:

  • Customize your computer display and input devices to suit your preferences.
  • Create notes, documents, and drawings using Windows® Accessories.
  • Locate a file, open a recently used document, or retrieve a file that has been recently deleted.
  • View and organize files and folders on your local disk.

Unit 9

Microsoft® Word™

Learn how to use Microsoft® Word™ 2013 to create, edit, and illustrate documents.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, format, and merge Word™ documents.
  • Add graphics and tables.
Graded Project: Microsoft® Word™

This project gives you a chance to use your Word™ skills. Create four promotional documents for a company’s training event: a cover letter introducing the company, a facts sheet highlighting product features, a flier promoting the event, and a registration form.

IAAP Membership

Student Membership in the International Association of Administrative Professionals® (IAAP)

Unit 10

Microsoft® Excel®

In this lesson, you’ll learn about the most widely used spreadsheet program, Microsoft® Excel.® Excel® can perform numerical calculations and is also useful for non-numerical applications such as creating charts, organizing lists, accessing data, creating graphics and diagrams, and automating tasks.

Objectives:

  • Use the basic elements of Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Add, delete, and sort data.
  • Create and use formulas, charts, and graphs.
Microsoft® PowerPoint®

Microsoft® PowerPoint® is a powerful graphics presentation program for communicating ideas to an audience.

Objectives:

  • Understand the basic elements and fundamentals of Microsoft® PowerPoint.®
  • Apply Slide Master.
  • Insert hyperlinks, illustration objects, and media clips.
  • Work with advanced tools, tables, and charts.

Unit 11

Office Finances

In many offices, employees are expected to handle a variety of bookkeeping tasks, such as keeping a record of payments as they arrive, sending out bills to those who owe money, and making bank deposits.

Objectives:

  • Identify an accounts receivable.
  • Settle a bank statement.
  • Complete the entries for a bank deposit.
  • Understand how computers are used in bookkeeping.
Office Management

Most offices require a manager to keep things running smoothly and efficiently.

Objectives:

  • Plan an effective office layout.
  • Recruit, interview, and motivate employees.
  • Identify legal issues in office management.
  • Use effective oral and written communication skills.
Additional Unit Materials

Supplements:

  • Work Experience Option
  • Managing a Successful Job Search

You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® XP SP3 or later, Microsoft® Office 2007, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Transfer Credits & Graduate Sooner!

Students can receive advanced academic credit for Business English, Computer Basics, and Microsoft® Office within this program. Learn more about our transfer credit policy.

Sample Lesson

To view an Administrative Assistant sample lesson, click here.

Administrative Assistant Program Details

Penn Foster will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need:

  • Office procedures like phone skills, filing, and scheduling
  • Finances and use of reference materials for everyday tasks
  • Latest office technologies like webinars, web conferencing, and computer software
administrative assistant courses online

As an administrative assistant, you can work for corporate businesses, law firms, banks, hospitals, and doctors' offices. Here are a few qualities that efficient administrative assistants have in common:

  • Sociable: Spending time with others is fun and rewarding.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Affable: You make others feel welcome and relaxed in potentially stressful situations.
  • Reliable: Employers can rely on you to work hard and perform consistently.

Even though I have been in the secretarial/administrative assistant field for almost 25 years, I still gained a good deal of skills from this program. The content of the programs is comprehensive and well worth the expense.

- Mary T., Administrative Assistant Student

Penn Foster is great because you can work at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. It really helps out when you have kids and a full-time job to be able to do it all from home. I also plan on enrolling in the Human Resources Management Degree Program from Penn Foster College.

- Chrissy T., Administrative Assistant Student

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books, learning aids, and free membership in the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Administrative Assistant academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

What is the IAAP®?

The IAAP® (International Association of Administrative Professionals) is the world’s largest organization for administrative professionals, and offers professional development, leadership training and networking opportunities. Membership is free to Administrative Assistant students.

What are the employment prospects for graduates with an Administrative Assistant Career Diploma?

Graduates of the Administrative Assistant Career Diploma Program are qualified to work as assistants in many business settings, including law firms, banks, hospitals, doctors' offices, and corporate businesses.

Can I transfer previously earned credits to the Penn Foster Administrative Assistant Career Diploma program?

Yes, you can receive advanced academic credit for some courses within the program, which means you can move through your curriculum faster and earn your certificate or diploma sooner. Learn more about our transfer credit policy.

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, on the Internet here.

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