Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a certificate and a degree?
A certificate focuses on the core curriculum of a program. These courses provide the information and skills necessary for performing the job duties of a specific profession. A degree includes the entire core curriculum, as well as a broad range of academic courses.
How long will it take to complete a certificate or a degree?
The length of time it takes to complete a certificate or a degree depends on how many courses are taken each term. A degree is designed to be completed within two years if a student takes 16 hours each term (summer excluded). Students should always meet with an OFTI advisor to set up a course schedule.
Can I meet with a general advisor?
Yes, general advising can help you to get started. However, you should always meet with an OFTI faculty advisor to help you plan your courses and determine the course sequence and availability.
Do I need a certificate or a degree?
The decision to complete a certificate or a degree is a personal one. Some who pursue a certificate do so because it takes less time to complete a certificate. Others who pursue a certificate do so because they already have a degree and are seeking retraining or career advancement. Degree seekers wish to complete the core curriculum as well as the required academic courses. These individuals may wish to transfer to a four-year school or university and pursue a bachelor's degree. Some employers require a certificate while others may prefer a degree. Typically those who complete a degree demand a higher salary than those who do not.
What are prerequisites?
Prerequisites are courses (or demonstrated equivalent experience) that students must complete prior to enrolling in a similar higher-level course.
Why should I complete a prerequisite course?
A prerequisite course provides the background necessary for the successful completion of a higher-level course. A higher-level course instructor assumes that a student has mastered the content of the prerequisite course. Generally, mastery of the content covered in a prerequisite course will improve a student's chances of successful performance in the higher-level course.
Do I need to take OFTI 1100, Introduction to Computer Keyboarding?
Maybe not. If Introduction to Computer Keyboarding (OFTI 1100) is not listed as a required course, it is assumed that you have had previous keyboarding training, can type at least 25 wpm with one or less errors per minute of timing, and can use the correct fingers on the correct keys while not looking at the keyboard. If you do not meet all of these conditions, you must enroll in OFTI 1100, as success in all OFTI certificates and degrees requires correct and proficient keyboarding skill.
Do I need to be admitted to the programs?
No. Our programs are open admission, but you should speak to one of the OFTI faculty advisors to ensure that you are enrolling in the correct classes. Many classes have prerequisites and required sequences.
Can I take a proficiency exam for any courses?
Yes, you can take a proficiency exam for OFTI 1100 (Introduction to Computer Keyboarding), OFTI 1120 (Speed Development Keyboarding), OFTI 1200 (MS Office for Professional Staff), and OFTI 1210 (Word Processing I). You can earn credit by demonstrated
competency for OFTI 1100 (Introduction to Computer Keyboarding) by successfully completing OFTI 1110 (Document Formatting) with a C or higher. Contact the Testing Office at www.cod.edu/testing for details. Or see OFTI PROFICIENCY EXAMS for details.
Is every course offered every semester?
No, but many Office Technology Information courses are available each term. Basic courses are offered every semester. Courses are also offered in day, evening and online.
How much homework will I have?
The rule of thumb is between one to three hours of homework each week for each semester hour of a course. For instance, a three-semester- hour course can expect to have three to nine hours of homework each week. The actual amount of time will depend on your skill level and understanding of the course material. Online courses can expect to spend an additional two to four hours each week to make up for the time not spent in the actual classroom.
Are online classes easier than traditional classes?
No, online classes cover the exact same material that traditional classes cover. Traditional classes have the advantage of face-to-face interaction with the instructor and other students. Some students tend to do better in traditional classes.
Do online classes have instructors?
Yes! Your online classes are closely monitored by an instructor. Your instructor is available to you online via email and on campus for face-to-face meetings. Instructors may also be available via telephone. See the syllabus for days and times when your instructor is available.
What is the difference between an administrative assistant and an executive assistant?
An executive assistant performs administrative duties for executive management. Responsibilities may include screening calls, making travel and meeting arrangements, preparing reports and financial data, training and supervising other support staff, and customer relations. This position requires strong computer and Internet research skills. This individual must be flexible with excellent interpersonal skills, possess project coordination experience and the ability to work well with all levels of internal management and staff as well as outside clients and vendors.
An administrative assistant performs administrative and office support activities for multiple supervisors. Duties may include fielding telephone calls, receiving and directing visitors, word processing, filing, and faxing. Extensive software skills are required, as well as Internet research abilities and strong communication skills. Staff in this category also may have the title of department assistant, coordinator or associate.
A glossary of administrative support job descriptions is posted on the International Association of Administrative Professionals website at www.iaap-hq.org/careers/job descriptions.
What salary can I expect?
Entry-level positions can expect to earn $23,000 to $29,000 per year. Senior executive assistants can expect to earn $42,000 to $57,000 per year. Your salary will be determined by your education and experience. See www.officeteam.com for the current year's salary guide.
What is the job outlook?
This occupation ranks among those with the largest number of job openings, due to growth and the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave this occupation.
How can I learn more about this occupation?
You can learn more about a career in this profession by accessing Occupational Outlook Handbook at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Kay Gerken, Professor, Coordinator
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1614, (630) 942-3063
Casey Miller, Instructor
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1618, (630) 942-2472
Kim Groesbeck, Program Support Specialist
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1634, (630) 942-2599
Business and Technology Division
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1034, (630) 942-2592
College of DuPage
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