Administrative Assistant

Career Diploma

Program Outline

Instruction Sets
Penn Foster College’s online Administrative Assistant program consists of courses to help you gain the knowledge and skills relevant for performing administrative assistant jobs in a variety of settings - including corporate businesses, law firms, banks, hospitals, and more.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.

Note: A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this program.

Here is an overview of what you’ll learn and the order in which you’ll access your lessons:

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...

  • Describe 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
  • Explain 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
  • List ways to support staff in conducting research, compiling data, and preparing papers for consideration and presentation by executives, committees, and boards of directors
  • Describe how to read, analyze, route, distribute, and answer routine incoming memos, submissions, reports, mail, and email to determine their significance and plan their distribution
  • Explain how to communicate well with others in and out of the office
  • List how fax machines, videoconferencing software, phone systems, and other office equipment work
  • Explain how to create spreadsheets, presentations, reports, messages, databases, and other applications
  • Outline 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
  • Describe how to greet visitors and to decide whether they should be given access to specific individuals
  • Recognize a professional image in an office environment
  • List techniques for managing stress and time in professional ways



Starting Your Program
In this course, you’ll develop the necessary skills to ensure your success in the program. You'll learn how you can improve your study skills, so you're able to use a number of tools that will help you to be successful.


  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner.

Introduction to Administrative Assistant
In this course, you'll learn about job opportunities for administrative professionals and the importance of lifelong learning to obtain and maintain employment in the field. You'll then explain the importance of consistently maintaining a positive and professional image in the workplace. You'll also review how to manage time effectively.


  • Describe job opportunities for administrative professionals and the importance of lifelong learning to obtain and maintain employment in the field
  • Explain the importance of consistently maintaining a positive and professional image in the workplace
  • Analyze how to manage time effectively

Workplace Communication Skills
In this course, you'll learn how working as an administrative assistant can mean working with people around the world. You'll also identify effective ways to communicate with other people.


  • Explain how to prepare for employment in the global workplace
  • Identify effective ways to communicate with other people

Administrative Office Procedures
In this course, you’ll learn about administrative office procedures. You’ll also learn how to make travel arrangements and plan meetings.


  • Describe how to professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures
  • Explain an administrative assistant's role in making and booking travel arrangements, and planning meetings

Filing and Records Management
In this course, you’ll discover how to set up, arrange, and maintain a filing system. You’ll also learn about managing records in an office environment.


  • Describe how to set up, arrange, and maintain a paper-based or electronic filing system
  • Explain how to manage records in an office setting
  • Apply basic math skills to real-world business scenarios

Technologies in the Workplace
In this course, you’ll learn about technology that’s available in the computerized workplace. Finally, you’ll learn how to use resources and references to search for information efficiently and effectively.


  • Describe common electronic communication systems, phone and computer technologies, and multi-function and single function machines used in the workplace
  • Identify resources and references available to search for information needed to help you succeed in the workplace

Business English
In this course you'll learn the skills you need to become more confident in your writing.


  • Describe the process of writing, as well as the parts of speech and how to use them
  • Explain various types of punctuation, rules for capitalization and spelling, and documenting sources for research
  • Construct complete, correct sentences and well-organized, coherent paragraphs
  • Recognize how to plan, develop, revise, and present your work
  • Prepare for the various kinds of writing most likely needed for a job

Computer Applications
You’ll learn about PC applications in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software, as well as create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You’ll also learn how to integrate the applications.


  • Demonstrate a high level of inquiry, analytical, and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrate effective quantitative skills
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Demonstrate job-specific technical and professional skills
  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Identify how to create various Microsoft® Word™ documents
  • Write a sound Microsoft® Word™ 2019 letter
  • Identify how to create various Microsoft® Excel® documents
  • Produce a thorough Microsoft® Excel® 2019 spreadsheet
  • Identify the basic skills needed to use Microsoft® PowerPoint®
  • Create a well-constructed memo, spreadsheet, and presentation

Bookkeeping and Office Management
In this course, you’ll learn how 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. You’ll learn key managerial concepts that will help you keep things running smoothly and efficiently in an office.


  • Define varying financial concepts in a business setting
  • Describe office management skills used by an administrative assistant


The titles of your learning materials may be different from those listed on your program outline. There is no need to call your instructor about these differences. While the titles of certain learning materials may differ, the edu­cational content is the same. All learning materials are designed to give you the finest education in your field. If you need instructional assistance, however, be sure to call for help. We reserve the right to revise the program of study and the instructional materials and to substitute for the items of equipment offered.


Work Experience Option
Upon completion of your program, you’ll have the opportunity to apply the skills you’ve learned in real-life, hands-on situations in an office or business setting through a Work Experience Option. Although this is not required for program completion, the self-arranged Work Experience Option allows you to seek out and gain experience as an Administrative Assistant with an employer near you.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster College have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster College International.

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.

Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.