Computer Applications for Business

Computer technology plays a tremendous role in life and business, and that role is only expanding every day. As this technology advances, so does the need for a highly trained, computer-savvy workforce. Developing computer knowledge and skills gives you a competitive edge, no matter your career field or area of interest. Oakton's Computer Applications for Business (CAB) curriculum offers the programs and courses you need to develop these essential skills.

Learn Valuable Skills

The CAB program prepares you for all the application software commonly found in the modern workplace. You will become proficient with word processors, spreadsheets, databases, presentation graphics, business graphics and desktop publishing programs. In addition to making you a more efficient office problem solver, our program will also help you become a well-rounded office leader. You will develop supervisory skills, expand business productivity and enhance skills in communication, human relations and modern office technology systems and procedures.

Gain Professional Experience and Credentials

Eligible CAB students can register for a business internship, which provides salaried employment experience in a computer-related environment where you can put your new skills to work right away.

Students who complete the program will receive an associate in applied science degree. Students can also seek professional certificates, including but not limited to the Microsoft Office Specialist, Operational Software Specialist, Executive Administrative and Creative Software User certificates.

Open New Professional Opportunities

The office systems technology field is highly sophisticated and demands a trained and competent workforce, and we want you to be at the forefront of that workforce. The training you receive at Oakton will prepare you to pursue a career as an administrative assistant, office manager, director of information support systems, office supervisor, marketing support representative, office support professional or office automation specialist.

We can help you with your career planning while you are still working on completing our Computer Applications for Business program. Get a head start on your career with our experts in the Career and Transfer Center

Degrees and Certificates

The Computer Applications for Business curriculum provides education and workplace training for today and for the future. Courses are designed for students who will be working in a variety of business environments. The curriculum also supports other departments throughout the college by offering courses that develop students’ software expertise.

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This program prepares students for positions as administrative assistants. Graduates gain strong skills in computer applications, written communications, and office procedures.

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Complete this certificate in 29 credit hours and learn skills in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator and more. 

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Complete this certificate in one semester and take classes to learn Windows Fundamentals (CAB 110) in addition to learning skills in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more. 

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You can complete this certificate in one semester with a total of seven credit hours. You'll learn the fundamentals of Windows along with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. 

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This certificate is a 36 credit hour program in which you'll gain skills with Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint along with classes that focus on the Principles of Management and Financial Accounting. 

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You can learn basic keyboarding, communication strategies, keyboarding and Windows fundamentals with this eight-credit-hour course.

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Our Microsoft Office Advanced Specialist Certificate is a 14 credit hour course that includes classes on presenting with PowerPoint and Advanced Spreadsheeting Using Excel.

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With 10 credit hours needed, you can complete this certificate in one semester. You will learn how to use Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Windows and more.

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Earn your Microsoft Office User Certificate in three classes (six credit hours) in as little as one semester. 

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Earn your Office Assistant Certificate in 15 credit hours and learn the skills to perform basic office functions, compose business correspondence and create graphics and electronic presentations.

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This 12-credit hour certificate program prepares students for positions as either administrative or operational managers, or administrative or operational specialists across or within departments. In this program, students acquire strong skills in Information Technology, applications software, and administrative planning. 

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This 13-credit hour certificate program prepares students for positions as presentation coordinators and presentation specialists across and within departments. Students acquire strong skills in Information Technology, presentation software and communications planning.

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This 16-credit hour certificate program prepares students for positions as reporting managers and reporting specialists across and within departments. Students acquire strong skills in Information Technology, reporting software and communications planning.

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Job Outlook

The training you receive at Oakton will prepare you to pursue a career as an administrative assistant, office manager, director of information support systems, office supervisor, marketing support representative, office support professional or office automation specialist.

Among the career opportunities, the median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $40,990 in May 2020.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Oakton's professors and lecturers are experts in their fields with advanced degrees and years of real-world experience. The Computer Applications for Business program curriculum is overseen by an advisory committee featuring experts with a variety of professional backgrounds and expertise.

Doris Gronseth
Distinguished Professor of Computer Technologies and Information Systems
B.A. Lewis University
M.B.A. Lewis University
M.A. Webster University
Office: 2751, Des Plaines

Meet our part-time faculty

Floyd Aylin
A.A. College of San Mateo
B.S. San Jose State University
M.S. San Jose State University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

B.S.B.A. University of Illinois, Chicago
M.B.A. Roosevelt Universtiy
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

Joanne Delaney
B.S. Mundelein College
M.S. DePaul University
J.D. DePaul University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

Renee Marks
B.J.S. Spertus College of Judaica
B.S.J. Northwestern University
J.M.A. Mundelein College
M.Ed. DePaul University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

Russell McNeilly

B.S. Illinois Institute of Technology
M.B.A. Loyola University, Chicago
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

Marianne Millman
B.S. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
M.B.A. DePaul University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

Deanne Rehmer
B.S. Northern Illinois University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

Joann Stavropoulos
A.A.S. Oakton College
B.S.Ed. DePaul University
M.A. DePaul University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

W. Ken Woo
B.S. Loyola University
M.S. DePaul University
M.B.A. Lake Forest University
Ed.D. Benedictine University
Office: 2180, Des Plaines

John Beck, BS
IT Manager
Environmental Monitoring and Technologies

Doris Gronseth, MBA, MA
Coordinator, Computer Application for Business
Oakton College

Russ McNeilly, MBA
SalesLava, Inc.

Patricia Muffoletto, MBA
Project Implementation Coordinator
Oakton College

Joann Stavropoulos, MA
Adjunct Professor, Computer Application for Business
Oakton College

Ken Woo, MSCS, MBA, EdD
Senior Director, Information Technology & Facilities
Northwestern University School of Professional Studies

Ex-Officio Members:

Floyd Aylin, MBA
Adjunct Professor, Computer Application for Business
Oakton College

Evelia Giraldo, MA
Language Lab Assistant Technology /
Adjunct Instructor, Spanish
Oakton College

Robert Sompolski, MS, Ph.D
Dean, STEM and Health Careers
Oakton College

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.


Licensure Requirements: Each state and territory has different licensure and certification requirements.  Oakton has researched and/or contacted state licensing authorities to confirm that the program meets the educational requirements leading to professional licensure or certification.  

Licensure information is reviewed and updated on this site in June of each year. As of July 1, 2020, we have determined that individuals that sit for and pass Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Expert Certification and Adobe Certified Expert Certification examinations after successful completion of Oakton’s Computer Applications for Business course and program curriculum:

Meets the education requirements leading to licensure/certification in these states and U.S. Territories: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Does NOT meet the education requirements For licensure/certification in these states and U.S. Territories: 

We have not made a determination if the program curriculum meets the requirements for licensure/certification in these states and US Territories: 

If you intend to practice in any state other than Illinois, you should contact the appropriate licensing agency to independently verify whether Oakton’s program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure in a particular state before beginning Oakton’s program. Be aware that state licensure requirements may change from time to time and that states may have conditions for licensure in addition to educational requirements. 

This information is provided to meet the Disclosure Requirements for Academic Programs Leading to Professional Licensure or Certification.

Can a student earn credit for a course without taking the course?
Some of the CAB courses have a proficiency exam that can be taken if you feel you know the material in a particular course. Successful performance on the exam would allow a student to move on to the next level course without having to take the first. But college credit would not be earned for the first course. After verifying with the CAB program coordinator that a proficiency exam is available for a given course, contact the testing center in Des Plaines to set up a time to take the exam. If you think your work or life experience qualifies you to earn Oakton credit for a course, contact, the CAB program coordinator to discuss this further.

If you register for a course without taking the prerequisite course, you are expected to have the equivalent knowledge of the prerequisite course on the first day of class. The instructor may assign a project or ask the students to take an exam covering the material from the prerequisite course on the first day of class and you would need to be successful in this activity. It is strongly recommended that the student talk to the CAB coordinator before the class begins. The student's knowledge will be evaluated and a recommendation will be made.

Depending on your work experience, you may be able to substitute an advanced course for a required lower-level course. Contact the CAB coordinator to make a substitution determination. In working towards any degree or certificate, you must earn the number of credits for that degree or certificate; this can be done by taking the required courses, substituting courses, or earning Oakton credit for life experience.

The following courses are not offered every semester:


  • CAB132
  • CAB160
  • CAB180
  • CAB182
  • CAB281


  • CAB184
  • CAB225
  • CAB265
  • CAB275

The CTIS Department--Computer Technology and Information Systems--is made up of two programs: CAB--Computer Applications for Business, and CIS--Computer Information Systems. The coordinator for each of these programs or the department chair can be contacted as indicated below:

Harold Ogg, chair of CTIS, coordinator of CSC or 847.376.7092

Michele Reznick, coordinator of CIS or 847.635.1904

Doris Gronseth, coordinator of CAB or 847.376.7055

To contact any faculty member in CAB, consult the faculty page of this website. Other programs also offer computer-oriented curriculum such as Computer Networking and Systems, Electronics, etc. Consult the college catalog for further information.

The CAB program offers a variety of classes delivered through the World Wide Web. The Microsoft Office Specialist Core certificate as well as courses in all four main components of Microsoft Office--Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access can be learned in an online course environment. Visit the online courses link on this website for additional courses taught online in the CTIS Department. These credit courses can usually be adapted to the student's schedule and availability. The courses taught online often require a majority of class time be spent on the web, though most will require additional materials such as textbooks and/or video media. The courses contain a discussion forum and other online devices through which students can interact via the web with their teacher and classmates as well as a variety of other sources.

Online courses require different skills and learning styles from conventional courses. For instance, students in an online class are responsible for scheduling their own "class time." Motivation and self-discipline are essential for success in an online course. The online courses cover the same material as the on campus sections of the same courses. The expected student requirements are the same whether the course is taken online or on campus. Visit Oakton's online learning site for more information.

With a good majority of communication taking place through the computer, keyboarding--being able to enter data without looking at your fingers and using both hands--is an essential skill. Do you want to be able to say all you want in an e-mail message and not have to cut it short because of the time it takes to find all the keys? Do you want to be able to concentrate on learning and/or using a software package without slowing yourself down looking for all of the necessary keys?

CAB 102 Basic Keyboarding is a one credit course that, in seven weeks, will teach you to keyboard without looking at your fingers. CAB104 Skill Building and Formatting is for the student that wants to further develop their keyboarding, document design, word processing, and communication skills. If you had a keyboarding course and wish to improve your speed or accuracy, consider CAB 106 Keyboarding Speed and Accuracy Development.

While the CAB program has a variety of desktop publishing courses and certificate/degree options for those wanting to work in that capacity, if you are working in an environment or have personal needs that require a "published" looking document from time to time you may want to check out the desktop publishing features in the Word software of Microsoft Office. CAB 225 Advanced Word Processing and Publishing will teach you the basic desktop publishing features of the word processing software. With these tools, newsletters, flyers, business cards, brochures, etc. can be developed.

CAB 125 should be taken before taking CAB 104. CAB 104 will assist you in building the speed and accuracy of your keyboarding skills and enable you to create business documents in a variety of formats, as well as complete business forms. It will also review and enhance the word processing skills that were developed in CAB 125. For example, as a table display is created, the sort feature in Word may be used to organize the material within the table. Or as one of the varied letter styles is learned, it may be developed as a merge document so the same document can be sent to several persons personalizing the letter automatically where needed. Students complete the CAB 104 course having developed better keyboarding skills, confidence in creating business documents in a variety of formats and a solid foundation in using the many and varied word processing features that are available.

Many students enrolled in the CAB program have salaried jobs in the CAB employment area while they are completing their studies. After a couple of courses students are able to find part-time employment on the college campus or in businesses in the community.

After completing a minimum of 15 credits in CAB with a grade of C or better in each course, students can register for CAB 251 Computer Applications for Business Internship. This course provides salaried employment experience in a computer-related environment where previously learned skills and knowledge are put to use in daily on-the-job work activities. The student must work a minimum of ten hours per week. There are weekly classroom meetings to integrate work experience with classroom activities.

The desktop publishing courses in the CAB program will teach you how to use the tools of the software used in desktop publishing such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc. The graphics arts program will teach you the graphic arts concepts using the software to do this. Consult the coordinator of each program for more details.

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