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Computer Software Training for Administrative Assistants

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Administrative Assistant Training

In today’s competitive workforce, it is important for employees to let their current or potential employers know how their skills measure up.  A degree or some type of certification are the most common ways to prove competency and/or education.  For some careers, a candidate might not even be considered unless he or she has the necessary diploma or certificate for the job.

Administrative Assistants playing Solitaire.

So what about Administrative AssistantsAdmin positions tend to require at least a basic knowledge of various software and computer applications.  Without this knowledge it will be difficult to find any type of administrative or executive assistant position.    What are some ways admins can demonstrate to their bosses that they are capable of working in common software applications?

One popular way is to complete Microsoft’s MOS certification.  MOS stands for Microsoft Office Specialist, and shows competency in various Microsoft applications.  Microsoft currently offers three levels of certification:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist – at this level, a candidate must pass any exam in any of the following: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, or Outlook.
  • Microsoft Office Expert – at this level, a candidate must pass either a Word Expert or Excel Expert exam.
  • Microsoft Office Master – at this level, a candidate is required to pass three exams; Word Expert, Excel Expert, and PowerPoint Expert.  An elective exam must also be passed; either Access or Outlook.

Adobe is another software company that offers certification in their software. Administrative, executive, or office assistants might find it useful to focus on Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, or Photoshop for the duties associated with a support position.  Assistants these days are also finding themselves serving as webmasters or maintaining their company’s websites, so Dreamweaver is another software application to consider.  Like Microsoft, Adobe also offers a variety of levels of certifications, and they allow either individual certifications or ones that encompass their entire suite of programs.

SAP and Oracle are other popular business programs that are valuable when it comes to certifications, and one area that admins often find themselves learning ‘on the job’.  Duties associated with SAP and Oracle include purchase orders and requisitions, invoice payments, and account payables and account receivables.  Reporting tools such as Business Intelligence in SAP (formerly known as Business Warehouse) are also valuable for assistants to know.

Is it worth it for assistants to train and certify in computer software?  The answer of course depends on your employer and the type of duties you are expected to do.  Some administrative assistants only need to know the basics, such as answering phones, typing correspondence, filing, etc.  But more complex tasks are becoming the norm for assistants in today’s business world, such as data analysis, reports, budget planning, and so on.  It is important that assistants stay competitive and keep their marketable skills updated.

If your skills need to be updated, don’t be afraid to ask your employer for support when it comes to training.  Remind your boss that training and certification will improve your efficiency and streamline tasks and make you more valuable to the company.



Feb 22, 2011 10:38pm
Being computer savvy is so important, however, from an employer's point of view, sometimes they may be weary of paying for this type of education because an employee could use their new found knowledge to gain other employment. In the past, I've seen contracts where an employee agrees to remain with the company for at least 5 years or he/she would have to re-pay the cost of the class.
Feb 22, 2011 10:59pm
Yep, I've heard of that type of arrangement also. I can't blame the employer; most of those trainings aren't cheap and the employer is making an investment in their employees, and a contract protects the employer's investment. It's a fair trade...it's a great benefit for the employee and it (hopefully!) makes the employee a valuable asset to the company.

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