Frequently Asked Questions

How long is this program?

The Office Administration program is a ten-month program offered over three semesters.

What is the cost of this program?

For the most recent information on tuition and fees, please visit

What are the costs of books and supplies?

Books for the specialties vary.  For the most recent information on textbook costs, please visit Used books may be available through the VIU Campus Store.

Does this program qualify for student loans?

Yes, as long as you are taking an Office Administration course load of 60 percent or more. Information on financial aid is available on the Financial Aid & Awards website. Contact the Nanaimo office at or 250-740-6423; contact the Cowichan office at or 250-746-3509. Application should be made eight to ten weeks prior to the start of classes.

Is the cost of the program comparable to other programs of this type?

The tuition fees are similar to those of any other publicly-funded community college in British Columbia. However, the fees are much lower than those of private institutions with programs of similar duration and comprehensiveness.

What other expenses will I incur while I am taking this program?

Additional expenses include living and transportation costs. Pay parking is in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at the Nanaimo campus. Parking is limited and on a first-come, first-parked basis; alternative forms of transportation are encouraged. Visit VIU Parking for current fees. Parking on the Cowichan campus is free.

If you want to rent a locker on the Nanaimo campus, these can be purchased through the VIU Campus Store.  Please visit for more information.

Do I have to purchase a new wardrobe?

Although you are encouraged to wear businesslike attire in class, you are not expected to purchase a new wardrobe.

Are courses in this program transferable to other community colleges?

Yes, these courses have been articulated with all other Universities and Community Colleges in British Columbia for transferability purposes.

Is childcare available?

An excellent daycare is located on the Nanaimo campus, but applications must be made early. For more information, call 250-753-6931.

What types of jobs are graduates prepared for?

Graduates will attain the skills that are asked for by today's office managers. Graduates will be able to perform computer-related applications work, such as word processing, spreadsheeting, and scheduling. VIU graduates find work all over the Island and the Lower Mainland with government ministries, medical facilities, professional offices, small businesses, legal firms, resource companies, municipalities, and service-sector employers.

Is further training necessary in order for me to enter the job market?

No. Students who successfully complete the ten-month program have acquired the necessary training for office employment.

What are the starting wages that a graduate might expect?

Generally, graduates have received starting wages from $18 to $22 per hour, depending on the type of workplace. Starting wages will be dependent on the student's experience and training, as well as the workplace.

Are many jobs available?

Many graduates find employment soon after graduation. Many local employers contact the program directly when they have a job opening, resulting in graduates being sent to job interviews. Graduates are invited to subscribe to an email job posting notification system managed by the Office Administration program. As job posting are received, they are distributed to all graduates who subscribe to this FREE service. From time-to-time, job postings for part-time work are also sent to current students.

Will I have to travel to find employment in the field? If so, where would this be?

Many Office Administration graduates find work locally, in communities throughout Vancouver Island, or in larger urban areas like Vancouver and Victoria.

On average, what percentage of the class successfully completes the program?

On average, 90 percent of our students successfully complete the program.

On average, what percentage of the graduates get employment in the field?

Approximately 85 percent of graduates find employment within a few months of graduation.

Is the program full-time?

The program is full-time study only to enable students to complete the program in ten months.

Can the program be done on a part-time basis?

Part-time schedules are possible but require consultation with the Office Administration Program Chair. Please email for more information. 

Courses must be completed within three years in order to be used towards an Office Administration certificate. Certain courses (Math, English, Human Relations) may be considered if they have been completed within the last five years. Please speak with the Program Chair for more information.

Are Office Administration courses available in the evening?

This program does not offer evening classes at this time.

Are Office Administration courses available online?

This program does not offer online courses at this time.

How many hours of class time are there per week if I take full-time classes?

Full-time students attend scheduled classes from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, for a total of approximately 25 hours per week. There are no classes on Fridays, which are designated as a study day for students.

What is the average class size?

Class sizes rarely exceed 20 students.

What is the typical weekly schedule?

Full-time students attend two scheduled classes each day, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Each class is 160 minutes long. Class schedules are distributed to students at the beginning of each new term.

Is there an attendance requirement?

The program is instructor-led. Most courses consist of instructor lectures and student assignments with definite due dates. Because students are being trained for the workplace, the Office Administration program has a student attendance requirement of 90%. Students who will not be attending class, for any reason, must contact the faculty and students leaving during the day must report their absence and reason to their instructors.

How much homework should I expect if I am a full-time student?

Students should be prepared to do homework each night. The amount of time could vary from one-half hour to several hours per night.

If I don't have a computer at home, is a computer lab available for out-of-class work?

Students have generous access to computer labs after class. It is not necessary to have a home computer.

Does this program offer Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

Yes, some courses in the program are eligible for PLA. Please contact the Chair at for an appointment to determine eligibility.

What is the cost of Prior Learning Assessment?

The costs to PLA vary from $126 for a single course up to $300 for 3 or more courses.

Is work experience or practicum available in this program?

Students who have successfully completed a specialty (or specialties) and who demonstrate suitability and reliability may be eligible for a two-week work experience at the end of the specialty term. Internships and co-ops are not available.

How many intakes in the program are there per year?

The Nanaimo campus offers one intake of each of the three specialties (Legal, Accounting, Admin) starting in September. The Cowichan campus in Duncan offers one intake of the Administrative Assistant certificate starting in February. Please contact the program chair for more information at

How many people usually apply for the program?

The number of applicants varies; however, waitlists are not uncommon.

How many students are admitted into the program each intake?

A maximum of 66 students will be admitted annually.

How are students selected for the program?

Students must meet the entrance requirement for the program.

What are the entrance requirements for OADM?

Students must provide transcripts with a minimum of a "C" in English 12 and Math 10 or their equivalent. If transcripts are not available, applicants can write assessment tests by contacting Student Affairs. To make an appointment, contact the Nanaimo office at 250-740-6276 or, or contact the Cowichan office at 250-746-3509.

What is the grading scale used?

The grading scale used to assign letter grades to course work in Office Administration is:





















I've been out of school for some time. Would this program be appropriate for me?

The program welcomes students of all ages. Time away from the learning environment should not hold anyone back.

If I have limited knowledge of computers, will I be successful in the program?

While it is recommended that students have at least an introductory knowledge before entering the program, this program does begin at an introductory level because of the varied experience of students. If you have any questions about options for preparing to enter the program, please contact the program chair at

Should I apply for the program if I do not meet all the prerequisites?

Students, including those who meet "mature student status," and who have successfully completed the assessment tests will be considered for admission.

What is the format of the Office Administration assessment tests?

Information about assessment testing is available through Student Affairs VIU Assessment and Exam Invigilation Services. You can make an appointment by contacting the Nanaimo office at 250-740-6276 or, or contact the Cowichan office at 250-746-3509.

What is on the math assessment test?

The Learning Centre in Building 205, Room 204 (Nanaimo campus), will provide a list of topics covered in the assessment. You may bring a calculator for the math test. You can learn more by by contacting the Nanaimo office at 250-740-6276 or, or contact the Cowichan office at 250-746-3509.

Do I need to prepare for the entrance testing?

The Learning Centre in Building 205 (Nanaimo Campus) provides study materials for the math and English assessments. Study guides can be found on the Assessment Services website.

How do I book an assessment test?

Assessments are booked by emailing the Assessment Centre at (Nanaimo) or (Cowichan).

How long is the assessment test?

The math and English assessment takes 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

May I write the assessment test more than once?

You would be able to retest, but you would be expected to upgrade in the area(s) of weakness before retesting.

If I don't get accepted into the program this year, can I apply again next year?

Yes. If you had not passed the assessment testing, you would be expected to upgrade in the area(s) of weakness before retesting.

If I am not admitted into the program this year or am waitlisted, can I take any classes that will give me credit in the program?

Comparable Office Administration courses taken in programs at other community colleges in British Columbia have been articulated for transferability.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting into this program?

Upgrade English and math skills, as needed.

When will I hear if I have been accepted?

VIU's Admissions office will notify you if you have met all entrance requirements and provide you with information on the next steps to take.

Are there scholarships and bursaries available?

Yes, please check the Financial Aid and Awards