Office Support Specialist - Learn More

Office Support Specialist

Technical Diploma

Credits Required for Graduation: 32.00

Learn More About This Program

Office Support Specialist

The Office Support Specialist program provides challenging hands-on experience using word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation, and web design software. Creating, formatting and editing business documents are the focus of this one-year program. An Office Support Specialist will be a key member of the office team responsible for a variety of activities which support the office operations.

Historical Curriculum

Program Head

Gail Fancher
La Crosse Campus, Business Education Center, 210H


Gail Fancher
La Crosse Campus, Business Education Center, 210H

Kim Walsh Betthauser

Web Related Links/Professional Organizations

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some career opportunities available to Office Support Specialist graduates?

Potential employment opportunities include the following:

  • Administrative Clerk
  • Office Assistant
  • Office Computer Specialist
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Program Assistant
  • General Office Assistant
  • Receptionist
  • Information Processing Specialist
  • Records Clerk
  • Transcriptionist

Once I complete my Technical Diploma in Office Support Specialist, where could I transfer this degree to further my education?

Western has articulation agreements with a number of higher education institutions that will allow you to transfer some or all of your credits towards a bachelors program. To review what options are available to you visit the following site:

What types of formats are my courses offered in?

Courses are offered face-to-face, online, interactive television, and blended formats to offer flexible learning options for students. Courses are offered at Black River Falls, Independence, La Crosse, Mauston, Tomah, and Viroqua.

What will my classes be like?

The class sizes are small, with usually with no more than twenty students. Some of the introductory courses will involve examinations based on readings. However, many of the courses are based on the "hands-on" approach to learning. You will learn to perform human resource duties by working on team and individual projects, with assistance from the instructor.

Are there certifications related to the program?

All software materials prepare students for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exam. With additional education and/or work experience, students will be prepared for certification exams offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

How is the technical diploma different from the Administrative Assistant Associate Degree?

A technical diploma is a one-year program that focuses on hands-on learning of occupational skills. A total of 100 percent of the Office Support Specialist courses are transferable to Administrative Assistant associate degree program. With an additional two semesters, the Administrative Assistant program can be completed. An associate degree combines technical skills with more general education, such as communications and social sciences.

How important is it to stay in sequence with the courses that I take each semester?

It is extremely important, if you want to complete your program in the shortest amount of time. You need to be careful to follow the curriculum plan that is set-up for you or you may end up extending your education one or two extra semesters depending on the courses that are our of sequence. Some courses are prerequisites that you must take before you are able to enroll for other courses. Also many classes are only offered once a year therefore if you miss one it will put you behind depending on when it's offered. Make sure to meet with your faculty advisor and go through your classes before registration every semester.

Will there be an orientation for the new Office Support Specialist students?

There is not a specific orientation for Office Support Specialist students; however, the division holds an orientation prior to each semester for all new and transfer students. If you are not on the list for the orientation and would like to attend, please contact the division office at 608.785.9168.

Will there be an advisor/counselor available to help me?

Yes, we have student advisors for all Business programs:

Barb Fitzsimmons - Main Contact
La Crosse Campus, Welcome Center

Marie Kliebenstein
Regional Locations Enrollment Services Advisor

Counseling services are available at Western. If you would like to see a counselor please call 608.785.9553 or toll-free 800.322.9982 to schedule an appointment. For more information on counseling services, visit

Will I have a faculty advisor?

Yes, you will have an advisor specific to your program until you graduate. It will be necessary for you to meet with your advisor prior to registration every semester. To find out whom your advisor is you will need to contact the Business Division Office at 608.785.9168.

What happens if I don't meet the admissions criteria?

Either a counselor or the test evaluator will go over the results with you. If you are unable to get the results right away, you will either be contacted by phone or mail by the Admissions Office. There are many factors that play in to what will happen next. You will either be referred to the Instructional Support Services area for developmental work, be required to take other college courses prior to acceptance or discuss your scores, etc. with a counselor and need to retest. If you don't meet the entrance requirements you will be placed in program prep status. If you have more questions related to assessment, refer to the following web address:

Will I be able to receive Financial Aid?

You will need to discuss that with the Financial Aid office. The Financial Aid office is located on the La Crosse Campus, Welcome Center. You can reach them by phone at 608.785.9302.