Online Class: Administrative Assistant 101

This course will open your eyes in regards to the choices you have available in an Administrative Assistant career, as well as introduce you to the business sector and necessary skillset needed to be a successful AA.

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  • 8,658
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Course Description

Administrative Assistant Fundamentals

Oh how times, and people, have changed in the world over the last few years.  Presently and into the foreseeable future, business people will not only have to continue picking up the pace but will need to adapt to new methods, systems and responsibilities that would have seemed unsustainable a few years ago or even just last year! 

Technology and necessity have amplified the requirements and pace of this change. It's not all bad news though, the truth of the matter is that this economy is providing opportunities to people in certain segments of the business world--administrative assistants are one of them.  AA's are now, and will in the future, be performing roles that middle managers would have done only a year or two ago.  They are acting on behalf of their bosses on a regular basis and have full authority to do so.

Whether you are returning to the workforce after a number of years away or you are new to the administrative side of the business world, there are some great opportunities out there for administrative assistants, especially the new kind of administrative assistants--i.e. those who are skilled, prepared to take on extra responsibility and don't mind taking a risk or two.

This is a 3 Part Course, which will begin covering some very important basics before going on to deal with the importance of training others to fulfill the position. We will then focus on the innovative role which has a place both in the present and future--that of a Virtual Assistant!

This course will open your eyes wider in regards to the choices you have available in an Administrative Assistant career, as well as introduce you to the business sector and the opportunities that now exist in this demanding field.

Course Motivation

Could becoming an administrative assistant be a good way for you to enter the corporate world? Yes, it could; but do you know exactly what administrative assistants are and what they do?

Would the role of secretary be more likely to lead to increased authority and responsibility, along with greater possibilities of progression within the organization? No. Let us take it a step at a time, though, commencing with a quick look at the two roles and what they actually cover.

Administrative assistant: The title of administrative assistant can often cause confusion because its meaning is somewhat vague, one that can be applied to a wide variety of positions with varying duties.

An administrative assistant's duties can end up covering all kinds of job functions, ranging from filing, processing correspondence, and dealing with administrative tasks to carrying out a range of minor decision-making activities to free up an executive for more significant duties.

Secretary: A secretary's job by definition is usually more specifically oriented to personal tasks, including incoming and outgoing correspondence for a particular executive or executives. Correspondence refers to the full gamut of both verbal and written communications of all kinds, including internal and external e-mail, hard-copy letters, telephone calls and messages, and other general personally oriented tasks.

Secretaries are assigned a range of clerical duties, such as typing, filing, copying, etc., as well as some basic scheduling tasks. Some are still required to take dictation using shorthand, a dying but valuable craft and one not often utilized these days.

Secretaries are not normally given many decision-making responsibilities or authority to act on behalf of the boss or the employing organization.

General: Although the duties of each role can be blurred at times, this is a generalization of the positions, with the caveat that particular organizations can and do differ in how they use these positions. It is the writer's experience, gained over more than 40 years, that the essential differences involve (1) the level of decision-making authority and duties, and (2) the level of difficulty of tasks that are assigned to any particular individual.

Why might I be needed?

For a multitude of reasons actually, but we need to be more precise than that.

Broadly speaking, administrative assistants are hired to relieve an employer of the minutiae and many tasks associated with office procedures and a variety of other matters that do not require the personal attention of the boss. They also act as liaisons or buffers between supervisors they work for and the remainder of the organization.

A must: Everything you do in your role as an administrative assistant must duplicate as closely as possible the style in which your boss would perform that task if not absorbed in other tasks. In time, the methodology may be changed; but as a new administrative assistant you must start off with this directive in mind: It is a golden rule for new administrative assistants!

What do employers really want?

Following is a list of the qualities that bosses look for in the administrative assistants they choose to hire. This list is culled from years of experience as an administrative assistant and office manager, including experiences hiring and unfortunately firing a number of administrative assistants.

  • Consistent punctuality.
  • Dependability, even in crises.
  • Ability and willingness to learn.
  • Willingness to follow instructions.
  • Loyalty.
  • Ability to keep a confidence.



While it is important that you have a good opinion of yourself, your skills, and talents, it is equally important that you promote yourself with a sense of reality.

In other words, you should realistically assess your skill base and experience, if any. A good way to go about this is to do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). The best way is to take four sheets of paper and make a list for each characteristic. Then, if you have a good friend that will be honest with you and from whom you can accept suggestions, have the friend perform the same exercise for you. This can help you prepare for the job interview.

Do not skip this analysis. If you are fully aware of any weaknesses, you can allow and even cover for them. As for strengths, you should emphasize them to a prospective employer. Opportunities and "threats" can be viewed in several ways; they may come into your assessment of the job, people, etc. Think about this. Look closely and consider. However, the main focus initially should be your strengths and weaknesses.

Remember: Awareness gives you power. Do not weaken yourself and your chances by burying your head in the sand. That is why it's essential to take this course!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.3 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(8,112 votes)

Lesson One : Job Overview

Consider becoming an administrative assistant. Could it be a good way for you to enter the corporate world? Yes, but do you know exactly what administrative assistants are and what they do? 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Administrative Assistant Course; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 : Job Overview

Lesson 2 : Job Duties and Skills

The U.S. Department of Labor defines administrative assistants as those being responsible for a variety of administrative and clerical duties necessary to run an organization efficiently. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 : Job Duties & Skills

Lesson 3 : Doing Your Job Properly

Does everyone aim to do his or her job properly? No. Put it this way, whether someone does or does not really does not matter to a large percentage of the population, just as long as the pay comes at the end of the week/fortnight, etc. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 : Doing Your Job Properly

Lesson 4 : Be On Top Of Daily Routines

Naturally enough, an administrative assistant's office conditions and setup will vary depending to a degree on where and how the employer is set up. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Staying on Top of Daily Work
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 : Be On Top Of Daily Routines

Lesson 5 : Be Prepared for Diversity

'Diversity' is the assortment, range, variety, and multiplicity of tasks that an administrative assistant is likely to need to handle at one time or another in the workplace. 5 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 : Be Prepared For Diversity

Lesson 6 : Translating "Doing" Into "Teaching" Those Administrative Assistant Skills

Why would you be involved with teaching the administrative assistant skills and responsibilities involved in your particular job to someone else? 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 : " Translating "Doing" Into "Teaching" Those Administrative Assistant Skills

Lesson 7 : Teaching Those VIP Skills

Good communication skills are critical to anyone's success in business and possibly even more so in the case of an administrative assistant. 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment - Improve Your Communication Skills
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 : Teaching Those VIP Skills

Lesson 8 : How To Develop Good Working Relationships

Good working relationships within a company can make all the difference to whether you enjoy your work as an administrative assistant. They also can be a deciding factor as to whether you are successful and to what degree you are so. Additional lesson topics: Building Good Work Relationships 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 : How To Develop Good Working Relationships

Lesson 9 : Changing Workforces

Those who have been working for all that time or who are returning to the workforce would notice the multitude of technical changes to working equipment, systems, and methods. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 : Changing Workforces

Lesson 10 : Building Self-esteem, Self-confidence & Assertiveness in Yourself & Others

Self-esteem, self-confidence, and assertiveness are all different facets of someone's personality and character traits. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 10 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 : Building Self-esteem, Self-confidence & Assertiveness In Yourself & Others

Lesson 11 : What Exactly Is a Virtual Assistant and How Do I Become One

Over the last decade or so, the expression to "work virtually" has been taken to define someone who simply works from home, but it means so much more than that. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Virtual Assistant
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 : What Exactly Is A Virtual Assistant & How Do I Become One

Lesson 12 : Just Another Job Or Is The VA Really Self-employed?

Virtual assistants, or VAs as they are more frequently called, are definitely self-employed professionals. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 : Just Another Job Or Is The Va Really Self-employed?

Lesson 13 : Necessary Marketing Tools And "Bits & Pieces"

Before commencing any marketing of your new virtual assistant business, you need a complete plan of action. This includes a business plan. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 : Necessary Marketing, Tools And "Bits & Pieces"


References/Resources 75 Total Points
  • Lesson discussions: Let us know what you think of this course; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Identify the role and responsibilities of the Admin Assistant.
  • Summarize the job duties and skills of an Admin Assistant.
  • Identify ways of doing the job properly.
  • Create routines and prepare for diversity.
  • Be able to train for the position.
  • Identify self-employment opportunities.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Administrative Assistant 101
Course Number: 7550190
Lessons Rating: 4.3 / 5 Stars (8,112 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Last Updated: January 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.8 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Linda Zavadil
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $95.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "This course was very helpful and informative, it really broke down the in's and out's of the Administrative Assistant position and roles." -- Jennifer G.
  • "I think it was a great course. It was definitely helped refine my administrative assistant skills. I think it is a great course to take as a beginner and even if you have been in the field a few years." -- Viridiana J.
  • "This has opened my eyes on how inportant it is to continue to brush up on my skills. Thanks for having this training." -- Glen T.
  • "I found this course to be very helpful in terms of getting a very thorough understanding of the role of an Administrative Assistant, and how that role is changing due to the current economic/health climate. Great course!" -- Lawerence R.
  • "I really love the instructor the way she organized all the materials, exam and she's very helpful to me, and always giving me a chance to lear more." -- Lilian B.
  • "My instructor gave excellent feedback and made this process less frightening for someone returning to studies after a long time." -- Nicole B.
  • "I really enjoyed taking the course and I'm ready to work with my certificate." -- Rose G.
  • "It was a great experience and a very exciting adventure!the use of computer." -- Jamila A.
  • "Instructor was very prompt and provided useful feedback." -- Omobola R.
  • "The instructor was helpful but not intrusive. I was very satisfied with her." -- Angela P.
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