Administrative Manager Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of an administrative management career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an administrative manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of an Administrative Management Career

Administrative managers perform supervisory and organizational duties in almost every industry. Read the list below so you can weigh the pros and cons of working as an administrative manager.

Pros of Becoming an Administrative Manager
Some jobs may only require a high school diploma*
Jobs are available in many industries (government, healthcare, insurance)*
High income potential (average salary of approximately $92,000 in 2014)*
Diverse job responsibilities (buying supplies, supervising employees, budgeting)**

Cons of Becoming an Administrative Manager
Overtime may be required (about 25% of administrative managers worked over 50 hours per week)*
May have to be available at all hours of the day to handle problems*
Keen competition expected for high-level positions*
May face stressful situations when dealing with employees (firing people, addressing performance issues)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. **O*NET Online.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the duties of an administrative manager will vary, based on the size and complexity of the company or organization. An administrative manager may perform the functions of an office manager in a smaller company, while managers of larger organizations may oversee a specific department or an entire facility.

Duties include supervising lower-level office workers, overseeing the purchasing of supplies and planning budgets. Facility managers coordinate maintenance schedules and track operational budgets. They may also lead repair and renovation projects to ensure that governmental safety standards and environmental regulations are adhered to.

Employment Prospects and Salary Info

As companies become more concerned about the management of facilities and the efficient use of resources, administrative managers should see decent job prospects as a result. The BLS projected that the employment of administrative managers would grow by 12% during the 2012-2022 decade.

Higher positions are often filled through promoting lower-level workers, which means that competition for these positions may be intense. Yearly job opportunities for administrative managers may vary, since many of these jobs are affected by the state of the economy. In May of 2014, the BLS found that the average salary of administrative services managers was close to $92,000. The top ten percent of administrative managers earned over $149,000 in 2014, according to the BLS.

What Are the Requirements?

Education requirements are usually dependent on the size of the organization. Generally, smaller companies seeking an office manager may only require a high school diploma and work experience, while larger organizations want administrative managers with a bachelor's degree. The field of study best suited for you depends on your career goals, but some of the common majors pursued by administrative managers include engineering, business administration and facility management.

The ability to communicate clear directions to others is essential, and you'll need to be highly organized. Difficult and stressful personnel issues may arise, so the ability to handle unhappy employees may be necessary. Other specific skills may be required for particular jobs, but these are often dependent on which industry you work in.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Administrative manager job opportunities are located in many industries, and some employers may want applicants to have experience or at least know something about the specific industry they're trying to work in. Generally, employers prefer candidates who have several years of experience working in a lower-level position, such as an administrative assistant, an office clerk or another non-supervisory position. Below are some examples of real job postings from March of 2012:

  • A medical practice in Texas is searching for an administrative manager with more than three years of experience in a medical office. Duties include personnel hiring and training, in addition to communicating issues to upper levels of management. The applicant must have excellent people skills and be able to handle high-stress situations.
  • A university in Utah wants to hire an administrative manager to help create and implement new educational programs, track budgets, coordinate personnel duties and perform employee evaluations. A bachelor's degree in a business field is required, in addition to several years of budget and management experience.
  • A real estate firm in New York is looking for an administrative manager with five years of office experience. Applicants must be proficient with word processing and spreadsheet software. The company prefers a candidate who can work independently, meet deadlines and work as a team player. Client contact and bookkeeping functions are among the many duties for this position.

How Can I Stand out in the Field?

The BLS noted that managers who have a wide range of skills and knowledge would see higher demand than those who just specialize in one or two functions. Since you'll be using computers fairly often, it could be a great benefit to learn how to operate software programs that are commonly used at businesses. Leadership skills are highly regarded, so finding ways to gain these skills (volunteering, supervising positions, etc.) can give your career a head start.

If you're interested in a high-level administrative management position, the BLS stated that you're likely to have better opportunities with a degree, particularly a master's degree. Focusing your graduate studies in areas of finance, management or business administration can help prepare you for the increased responsibilities you'd take on as a high-level manager.

Obtain Certification

Although certification is usually not required, you may open up advancement opportunities if you obtain a professional designation. Certifications could also give you an edge over applicants who have similar qualifications. The International Association of Administrative of Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional designation, which requires some administrative experience, regardless of how much education you have. The International Facility Management Association has the Facility Management Professional certification, which can be earned after passing the exam. Both of these certification options do not require you to have a degree.

Career Alternatives

Construction Manager

If you desire a career that might have more job opportunities and a higher salary than an administrative manager, you should consider becoming a construction manager. Construction managers supervise workers on the job site and keep track of materials and budgets. Some overtime may be necessary, and you could possibly end up working on some projects that require you to be available 24 hours a day.

The BLS predicted that the employment of construction managers would increase by 17% during the 2010-2020 decade, which was about the same as the average for all occupations. As measured by the BLS in May 2011, construction managers in the U.S. earned an average annual wage around $94,000. Although the salary is high, the costs are generally higher to prepare for this career. It has become increasingly important for these managers to have a bachelor's degree, so you should be prepared to spend at least four years in school and possibly acquire some debt as well.

Sales Manager

A sales manager organizes business operations and oversees personnel, all while promoting goods and services. You generally need to have good customer service skills and be able to work with many different people. A bachelor's degree in marketing is usually required by employers, along with some experience in sales.

The BLS estimated that the average salary of sales managers in the U.S. approached $117,000 in May of 2011. The BLS projected a 12% increase in jobs for these managers between 2010 and 2020. However, along with needing a bachelor's degree and possibly obtaining debt to get through school, you may face stiff competition for jobs. These jobs are less likely to be outsourced and offer solid job security, so the number of applicants is usually higher than the number of available positions.

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Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • M.S. in Management
  • BBA: Project Management
  • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
  • Medical Office Administration

Which subject are you interested in?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • Diploma: Medical Office Admin

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
  • PhD in Business Admin - Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business
  • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA

What is your highest level of education?