Administrative Assistant VS Business Administration: Which to Choose?

Updated November 2022

Quick summary: Comparison of Herzing College Winnipeg's Administrative Assistant versus Business Administration diploma programs. Compare length, skills taught, job options, and career paths, and determine which course is right for you.

If you want to become a respected member of an office team, you’ll need to learn the technology and administrative skills today’s employers want most. 

And there are always new skills to learn! Even people with years of experience go back to school to learn the latest software and add new competencies to their resume. This is key if you want to qualify for promotion and advance your career. 

What skills are you looking to learn? Accounting? Marketing and sales? MS Office software? Project management? 

There are a lot of business administration programs out there. Some focus on just one or two skills, while others cover a lot of ground. You need to sort out your career goals to find out which course is right for you. 

That’s what this post is all about. At Herzing Winnipeg, we offer two programs for people who want successful careers in office administration. But these programs are quite different.

Should you go for the Administrative Assistant program (seven months) or the longer Business Administration program (12 months)? Where is your tuition money best spent? 

They're both great programs. Ask yourself these five questions to figure out which course is better for you


1. Is learning Microsoft Office your main goal? 

If this is the case, you may be better off choosing the administrative assistant program. This seven-month program is laser-focused on MS Office applications. The goal is to get students completely comfortable with tools like: 

  • Microsoft Word 
  • Microsoft Excel 
  • Microsoft Access 

You will get plenty of practice producing different kinds of documents, building Excel spreadsheets, and managing database information. This program is perfect for someone who wants to land a great administrative assistant or receptionist position. 

By graduation, you’ll have an excellent grasp of the office software every employer relies on for daily communications, managing tasks, and organizing information. 

Explore the Administrative Assistant Diploma Program


2. want to qualify for several different business admin jobs? 

If your answer is yes, you may want to keep your options open with a diploma in business administration. This program focuses on several key areas of business and prepares students for a variety of entry-level roles in: 

  • Accounting 
  • Marketing 
  • Sales 
  • Client services
  • Office administration 
  • Management 

This course covers a lot more ground than the administrative assistant program. The goal is to train students in all the main functions and roles of business administration—so they graduate with career options in more than one department. 

During the program, you’ll get the chance to explore your interests, find your talents, and decide which role fits you best. 

Learn more about Herzing's Business Administration Diploma


3. Do you want to join a team—or lead a team? 

Some people work best as team players. They love carrying out tasks and projects and working with colleagues to help the office run smoothly.

Others like to be in the driver’s seat. They enjoy coordinating and supervising staff. They like looking at the big picture and working toward long-term business goals. 

Leaders are prepared to take responsibility if a project doesn't go well. They are accountable for their team’s successes and failures.  Managers tend to crave a challenge. They enjoy setting and meeting targets and are prepared to take risks. 

On the other hand, team members are the ones who take care of all the details. They must work well with others, take criticism well, and respect the chain of command. They don’t need to be in charge. They get satisfaction from a job well done. 

Which one sounds more like you? 

If you’re aiming to become a team leader, department supervisor, or business manager, you should consider the business administration program.

Training includes several courses on how to motivate and manage others, including: 

  • Human resources 
  • Organizational behaviour 
  • Project management 
  • Entrepreneurship 


4. How fast do you want to graduate? 

This is a purely practical question that every student must consider. If you want to finish quickly and get straight into the workforce, the administrative assistant program is a good choice. At just seven months long, it’s the shortest business program available. 

You will graduate with enough knowledge and skill to land an administrative support position at a local business, corporation, or government office. 

What if you decide you want more advanced training to get promoted or move into a new position? 

The good news is you can always go back and get a diploma in business administration—without paying the full tuition! 

Once you have earned one Herzing diploma, you are automatically eligible for the Herzing Open Education Program (HOEP). That means you can take a second diploma, tuition-free. It’s two diplomas for the price of one. 

Some conditions apply, so we recommend asking an admissions advisor to walk you through how HOEP can work for you. 


5. Interested in starting your own business? 

If you’re planning to launch a business—or already have one in progress—you could definitely benefit from the business administration program.

This diploma covers key business management skills, such as accounting, marketing, and sales, which every entrepreneur should know. 

The administrative assistant program focuses more on clerical procedures and office software. These are important skills, no doubt. But there’s a lot more to running and growing your own business. You’ll need a more well-rounded skillset to make it work. 


Quick comparison of both business programs 

Still not sure which path to choose? Here is a quick comparison of both business programs to help you decide which training is better for you. 


☑️ Program Length 

Administrative Assistant: 7 months  *includes a four-week internship

Business Administration: 12 months  *includes an eight-week internship


☑️ Study options

Administrative Assistant: On-campus or online 

Business Administration: On-campus or online 


☑️ Key skills you will learn

Administrative Assistant: MS Office applications, clerical office procedures, business communication 

Business Administration: MS Office, accounting, marketing and sales, management, entrepreneurship 


☑️ Career options

Administrative Assistant: Administrative Assistant, Receptionist 

Business Administration: Marketing Assistant, Accounting Clerk, Account Representative, Office Manager, Administrative Assistant, Entrepreneur 


Still have questions? 

If you’re still torn between business programs, it’s time to meet with an admissions advisor. Advisors are experts in matching students with the right diploma programs. It’s what they are trained to do. 

Whether you’re considering Herzing—or some other business college—be sure to book a personal advising appointment before you apply. 

This is your chance to tour the campus, possibly meet the business instructors, and get all your questions answered about training and careers. 

The advisor will help you map out your career goals, figure out which program is right for you, and work out how to pay for tuition. They have a lot of information on financial aid and which loans and grants you may qualify for. 

At the end of your advising appointment, you’ll know for sure which business program is right for you! 

Ready to get started? 

Click below to visit our Herzing College Winnipeg page and browse all business programs. 

Explore Business Programs at Herzing College Winnipeg


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