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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
MSC Southeast

Administrative Support Careers Skills Guide

Recommended high school level background courses

  • Four years of English (composition, grammar/spelling, reading comprehension, speech)
  • Four years of math (Algebra I & II)
  • Accounting
  • Business law
  • Business writing
  • Computer applications
  • Employability skills
  • Introduction to business
  • Keyboarding/information processing
  • Office machines
  • Office procedures
  • Personal finance
  • Presentation software
  • Recordkeeping
  • Sociology
  • Word processing

Basic skills in the program and on the job

Technical learning

Today’s business offices have a need for highly skilled employees who possess the skills and confidence necessary to handle a wide variety of office tasks. The administrative assistant degree provides a strong foundation in office skills, including the technological aspects, and combines coursework and hands-on computer experience.

To prepare students for the workplace, Southeast Technical’s administrative assistant A.A.S. degree includes coursework focusing on good communication skills, problem-solving skills, effective human relations skills and skilled use of computer applications and office procedures. Toward the end of the program, students will also participate in an internship to earn on-the-job experience in the field.


Students in this program will use texts and manuals written at the college-level. Reading comprehension and resourceful use of texts and other written materials is important to successful completion of the ADMS courses, especially for those students enrolling in online classes. Students will also be exposed to technical reading materials such as employee manuals, software help tutorials and electronic communication via email and the online classroom management system (when applicable).


In the workplace, the administrative assistant will communicate frequently with customers, clients, colleagues, and superiors. Written and verbal communications are as essential in the workplace as they are in the administrative assistant program at Southeast Technical. Students are expected to possess strong English skills upon entering the program and will take a business communications course to review proper English and grammar skills and apply their skills while composing many written assignments such as letters, memos and emails in response to workplace scenarios. When participating in class discussions, either in the classroom or online, usage of correct language is required.


Office professionals oftentimes find themselves using the 10-key calculator, calculating discounts, creating invoices and inputting data into spreadsheets. Successful completion of a 2000-level math course, in addition to Principles of Bookkeeping, prepares the student for workplace math. Students will also participate in spreadsheet and database courses which require accuracy while using numbers and basic computerized formulas to complete projects.


Today’s administrative assistant’s primary office tool is the computer. Completion of the Computers Issues and Applications course early on in our program exposes students to a variety of software programs as well as Internet basics. To develop proficiency and accuracy of computer skills, students will also take courses focusing solely on word processing, desktop publishing, presentation software, spreadsheets and database applications, and then use those software programs again in simulation-based coursework toward the end of the program.

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WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987
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Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment based on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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