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Office Assistant I - Applied Business Technology Certificate

10-month online certificate (part-time options available)

Where: Online
Starts: Continuous entry
  • Be in demand: The BC 2024 Labour Economic Outlook predicts administrative assistants will be the second most in demand of top opportunity occupations requiring post-secondary training in BC, with more than 16,400 job openings available to 2024.
  • Explore a career in office administration while building skills valued in virtually every type of business and industry.
  • Develop core computer skills, basic keyboarding, word processing, records management, organizational, teamwork and interpersonal communication skills to advance your career.
  • Qualify for entry into the following specialty programs: Computing Accounting Assistant certificate, Legal Administrative Assistant certificate, Administrative Assistant certificate or Medical Office Assistant certificate.

Career possibilities: As a graduate, you will be well-prepared for office support positions in a variety of organizations including accounting, education, real estate and hospitality.

Why Choose North Island College?

  • Skills you can use. Today’s businesses prefer to hire entry-level employees who are comfortable with a range of office skills. With an Office Assistant I certificate, you’ll have a credential with specialized training in word processing, records management, keyboarding and more.
  • Virtual classrooms. As part of the BC Campus initiative, courses are available online, giving you the opportunity to study whenever or wherever you wish. You can complete your coursework on your own time while continuing to work.
  • Flexible schedules. Most courses are self-paced and qualified students are admitted on a continuous basis, subject to the availability of space. This means you can tailor the Office Assistant I certificate to suit your availability.
  • Credit for what you know. If you are transferring from another college or institution, you may be given transfer credit for prior course work. Prior office work experience may also be eligible for credit. Check with an educational advisor for details.
  • Want to go further? With an Office Assistant I certificate, you can enhance your knowledge by continuing into the Computing Accounting Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Legal Administrative Assistant or Medical Office Assistant certificate programs at NIC.

Program Highlights

The 11 online courses in the Office Assistant I certificate are offered throughout the year and provide you with the required knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform effectively in entry-level office support positions.

You begin by taking an Online Learner Success course which provides an essential introduction to the unique challenges of learning online. This course helps you maximize your online learning experience.

You will learn keyboarding skills by participating in skill-building activities which promote effective touch typing. A basic introduction to the Internet provides you with the essential terms, concepts and file management skills required in an office environment. Courses in word processing give you fundamental skills to formatting business documents and proficiency with advanced functions such as merging documents, applying graphics and creating tables, charts and reports.

You will learn essential skills in human relations, interpersonal skills, effective communication and client relations. You will learn administrative procedures and develop efficient office practices such as time management, safety and ergonomics, appointment scheduling and banking procedures. Records management is also explored.

The Business Calculators and Mathematics course provides you with the knowledge to complete computational functions. During Business English, you will receive a comprehensive review of grammar, punctuation, style, business spelling and vocabulary development. In Business Communication, you will learn how to best express yourself in a professional environment. All coursework is applied to current and best Canadian business practices and standards.

Career Opportunities

As a graduate of the Office Assistant I certificate, you will qualify for employment as a receptionist, office worker, office assistant, computer assistant, general office worker and more.

You may choose to continue your education by enrolling in the Administrative Assistant, Computing Accounting, Legal Administrative Assistant or Medical Office Assistant programs.

Admission Requirements

  1. C in one of Provincial English 12, English 12 First Peoples, NIC ENG-060, ENG-096, ENG-098, ESL-090, or equivalent; or English assessment; and
  2. C in one of Apprenticeship and Workplace Mathematics 10, Essentials Math 10, Foundations of Math 10, NIC MAT-033, or equivalent; or Math assessment.

Upgrade with us to meet prerequisites

Upgrade your English, math and science courses for entry into the program of your choice. Succeed with the help of NIC’s supportive instructors. Courses are flexible and start several times a year so you can learn at your own pace. We offer daytime and evening options. Learn more

Transfer Credit & Credit For Prior Learning

If you are transferring from other colleges or institutions, you may be given transfer credit for course work upon presentation of transcripts provided the course credit was awarded no more than three years prior to the application for transfer credit to a maximum of 50 per cent of the certificate's required courses. If you are a recent high school graduate, it is recommended that you meet with an educational advisor to determine if any of your high school credits are eligible for transfer credit. If you have prior office work experience and wish to enter a certificate program, contact the department chair to determine your eligibility and program planning needs.

To Be Successful

  • Contact an educational advisor to help to create an education plan that meets your goals within the available time needed to complete the program.
  • You will need access to a computer (a Mac computer is not recommended), the Internet and have a personal email account for correspondence. Additional supplies or equipment may be required for some courses. Please note: Starting fall 2014, NIC's Applied Business Technology programs have been upgraded to Office 2013 and Windows 7 or 8. 

Program Requirements

  • ABT-020 Online Learner Success
  • ABT-100 Introductory Keyboarding
  • ABT-101 Introduction to Computers & the Internet 
  • ABT-109 Human Relations for Career Success
  • ABT-110 Records Management
  • ABT-111 Administrative Procedures
  • ABT-116 Word Processing Level I
  • ABT-117 Word Processing Level II
  • ABT-147 Business Calculators & Mathematics
  • ABT-148 Business English
  • ABT-149 Business Communications

Completion Requirements

  • The keyboarding speed requirement for the Office Assistant I certificate is 40 words per minute with a maximum error rate of 3 errors in at least three 3-minute timings.
  • To be eligible to receive a certificate, students must achieve a minimum of 70% (B-) in each course listed for the certificate.

Tuition & Costs Estimate for
Fall 2016, Winter, Spring & Summer 2017

Costs indicated are estimates for a 100% course load per year, unless otherwise noted. Additional fees may also include necessary equipment, supplies or field trips not included in these estimates.

While we do our best to share accurate and timely fee information, changes may occur. For more information, visit tuition page.

Domestic Fees

Year 1
Tuition $1,570
NISU Fees $70
Books $1,100
Learner Resource $85
Total $2,825

International Fees

Year 1
Tuition $8,575
NISU Fees $60
Books $1,100
Learner Resource $85
Total $9,820
Additional Costs for International Students include the $100 Application fee and the $280 Accommodation Placement fee (optional).

About Online Learning

Online learning is the most rapidly expanding mode of teaching and learning on the planet. Online is ideal for students who wish to learn in their own environment using the Internet. Online learning allows you to learn while also connecting with others. Applied Business Technology (ABT) course materials are available through the BC Campus portal and the technology is used to communicate with peers and instructors and to submit assignments. The courses are delivered by a collaborative of North Island College and other post-secondary ABT instructors to students around the province.

Working in an online class in the Applied Business Technology online program is much the same as working in a face-to-face class. Interacting with peers in class discussions, and completing course work are accomplished in your time and place. Online learning provides access to the best course content and to qualified online instructors. Flexibility in the time taken to complete online courses is important to learners. You can attend your virtual classes when and where it is most convenient for you.

Planning and managing your time are keys to success in online learning. It is important to decide how much time you want to spend online and on which days. You must dedicate the required hours per week, but you choose the time (anytime during the day or night - 24 hours a day, seven days a week) to participate in your online course and meet deadlines. If you are a self-motivated, self-disciplined, and organized person - online learning will offer many benefits.

Your online instructor is available to assist you with guiding your learning, reviewing course content and assisting with any learning difficulties. You have the course materials, online instructor resource, online course progress, online web tools and your online class peers available to you for learner-centred activities. Your online instructors are available to answer questions and assist you with assignments through the pager, LiveRoom Chat, discussion and e-mail components of every course. The ABT online courses include chat sessions, messaging, course mail, a public bulletin board for class discussions, calendars, study tips and online assistance, as well as web-based course materials, quizzes, glossaries and links to other websites and resources. Online learning and research enables learners to enhance employability and advancement as well as providing the opportunity to expand your educational experience to advance your career.

Richelle Gardiner-Hynds

Richelle Gardiner-Hynds

Department Chair, Faculty

Applied Business Technology, Humanities & Social Sciences

MA, Integrated Studies (Athabasca University)

Subjects: Applied Business Technology, History, Women's Studies
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000 ext. 4159 | Location TYE - 214
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9707 | Location CWG - 204

Shirley Ackland

Shirley Ackland
Mt. Waddington Regional Campus 250-949-7912 ext. 2867

Jeannette Gingras

Jeannette Gingras


Applied Business Technology

Bachelor of Science (University of Prince Edward Island)

Subjects: Applied Business Technology
Comox Valley Campus 250-334-5000 ext. 4810 | Location VLG - F06

Donna Ley

Donna Ley
Mt. Waddington Regional Campus 250-949-7912 ext. 2876

Christian Madarasz

Christian Madarasz
Port Alberni Campus 250-724-8761 | Location NOR - 115A

Sabrina Van Hellemond

Sabrina Van Hellemond
Campbell River Campus 250-923-9700

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