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Administrative Assistant

Students studying together

Administrative Assistant - AAS

Train for a career as an administrative assistant, administrative secretary, office administrator, or office manager, and work in your choice of business and office settings. Bellingham Technical College's Administrative Assistant program will prepare you for success in today’s business world as you use your math, communication, and technical reading skills—and discover your personal strengths.

This program will prepare you for a career as an administrative assistant so you can provide office support and customer service in a variety of industries including health care, education, legal, finance, insurance, manufacturing, construction, and government.

To learn more about Bellingham Technical College programs you’re interested in, join us for a Virtual Program Info Session. Prior sign up is required. If you do not see an Info Session for the program you’re interested in, email for more information.

Employment Information

82% BTC graduate placement rate

$34,320 starting annual wage
$41,330 average annual wage
$50,627 potential annual wage
  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 75th percentile

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

The program typically starts in Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer Quarters.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at for assistance with academic planning.

  • ACCUPLACER Classic Reading (71) or higher OR ACCUPLACER NextGen Reading (247) or higher OR RDG 085 with a C or higher.
  • ACCUPLACER Classic Sentence Skills (71) or higher OR ACCUPLACER NextGen Writing (245) or higher OR ENGL 092 with a C or higher.
  • ACCUPLACER Classic Arithmetic (50) or higher OR ACCUPLACER NextGen Arithmetic (238) or higher OR MATH 90 with a C or higher.

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 90

  • Quarter 1

  • BUS 188Business English5 CR
  • CAP 101Microsoft Computer Applications5 CR
  • CAP 105Computerized Touch Keyboarding2 CR
  • Required Courses for Program

  • Required Courses credits to TOTAL 85 Credits.
  • ACCT 141Practical Accounting I5 CR
  • BUS 100Electronic Math Applications3 CR
  • BUS 123Records Management3 CR
  • BUS 150Math for Business5 CR
  • BUS 191Technical Communications5 CR
  • BUS 188Business English5 CR
  • BUS 232Office Procedures5 CR
  • BUS 276Field-Based Experience5 CR
  • OR
  • BUS& 101Introduction to Business5 CR
  • CAP 101Microsoft Computer Applications5 CR
  • CAP 105Computerized Touch Keyboarding2 CR
  • CAP 106Formatting with MSWord4 CR
  • CAP 107Computerized Keyboard Skillbuilding I3 CR
  • CAP 114MS Outlook2 CR
  • CAP 138MS Word5 CR
  • CAP 142Microsoft Excel5 CR
  • CAP 146Microsoft Access5 CR
  • CAP 148MS PowerPoint3 CR
  • CAP 200Integrated Computer Applications5 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • Electives

  • Administrative Assistant students may choose elective credits from any 100 level of higher courses with the following prefixes: ACCT, BUS, CAP, CIS, ECON, HRM, LGL, IT, or MGMT. Field-Based Experience courses may not be used as electives. Courses taken to meet the general education or program core requirements may not be used for electives.5 CR

Program Outcomes

  • Type 35 words per minute with no more than four errors on a three-minute timed writing.
  • Produce accurate business documents in a variety of file formats using computer technology and applying editing and language skills.
  • Use a spreadsheet program to solve business problems using formulas, functions, lists, and charts.
  • Apply techniques for managing time, records, and meetings in an office environment.
  • Organize records according to ARMA rules and procedures.
  • Use Microsoft Outlook to create electronic messages and contacts, manage multiple calendars, and track tasks.
  • Design and create a relational database that includes tables, multiple form types, simple and action queries, and reports.
  • Integrate Microsoft Access and Word to prepare a mail merge for form letters, mailing labels, and envelopes.
  • Apply communication and interpersonal skills while providing effective administrative support in an office environment.

Employment Outlook

Job openings are expected to be plentiful, especially for well-qualified and experienced administrative assistants. Rapidly growing industries, such as personnel supply, computer and data processing, and management and public relations, will also generate new job opportunities.

The average annual wage in this field is $41,330, with an earning potential of about $50,627 per year.

Administrative assistants are needed in a variety of industries. Employment for administrative assistants is projected to grow 19 percent in Washington State and decline by 9 percent across the United States according to O*Net OnLine

As with other clerical employees, administrative assistants are employed in organizations of every description. Nationally, most office support staff are employed in firms providing services, ranging from education and health, to legal and business services. Banks, insurance companies, investment firms, and real estate firms are important employers, as are Federal, State, and local government agencies.

Opportunities also exist working for companies that engage in manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, transportation, and communications. Potential positions include administrative secretary, administrative assistant, office administrator, and office manager.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Marcia Pedersen
Marcia Pedersen

Marcia Pedersen has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Central Washington University and has taught a variety of courses over 27 years including computers, finance, law, entrepreneurship, office procedures and English. She is certified in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Access. Her professional networks are with the National Business Education Association, Washington Association of Career and Technical Education, and Washington State Business Education Association. In addition, she has worked as a receptionist, legal secretary, athletic program manager, clerical testing administrator, lifeguard, and juvenile detention officer. She enjoys traveling, scuba diving, reading, volunteering with search and rescue, and spending time with her family—two and four-legged!