Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Learn The Ins and Outs of Office Administration

Office administration is a vast field whose professionals play a role in sectors such as: education, corporate, insurance or financial, government or small business. The titles of these professionals include: administrative assistants, administrative support officers, senior secretaries and executive secretaries. As is expected, the different positions have different responsibilities. For example, an executive secretary provides clerical and administrative support to a high level individual. Sometimes referred to as an administrative assistant, this person may also supervise and train lower level support staff. An executive secretary is expected to exhibit a highly professional image to contacts both in person and on the phone. Meanwhile, in addition to reading and screening incoming letters, memos and faxes, a senior secretary generally makes a preliminary assessment of how these should be handled. This can mean composing a response, delegating it to an appropriate staff member or compiling the background documents related to the issue and prioritizing these materials for your boss to review. A senior secretary also receives and screens phone calls and office visitors.

In order obtain a position in office administration, one must complete a post-secondary education program. At Centennial College, students can take the Office Administration — Executive undertaking, which is completed in two years and results in an Ontario College Diploma. When applying for this program, one must present an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. One must also have completed compulsory English 12C or U or a skills assessment or equivalent. However, having minimum admission requirements do not guarantee admission to the program.

This Office Administrator Schools teaches students how to handle the multiple functions performed by administrative assistants who work with upper-level management, such as developing document production, note-taking and related computer applications. Students will also concentrate on client service, communication, time management and supervisory skills. Program topics cover the full-range of office and business skills, including extensive software skills, Internet research abilities, presentation preparation, taking minutes of meetings, composing business correspondence and arranging national and international conferences.

These topics are introduced and developed through office administration courses such as: Microcomputers (participants in this course learn basic computer concepts as well as the techniques necessary to create a PowerPoint presentation); Office Procedures and Communications (course introduces learners to the basic techniques and procedures generally used in business organizations); Procedures for Managing Projects (this course provides realistic, practical, and meaningful experiences to strengthen students’ administrative skills and knowledge of executive office procedures); and others such as
Introduction to Word Processing, Transcription Techniques and Integrated Software Applications.

To reinforce everything they have learned in the office administration program, students participate in a field placement during their last semester. Students spend two days a week working in a business setting related to their area of specialization (Executive, Legal, or Medical). This real life experience helps students to gain confidence and encounter the challenges and triumphs of the field.

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