Office Administrator Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

About this article
What are the pros and cons of an office administrator career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an office administrator is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of Office Administrator Careers

Office administrators oversee administrative support staff, delegate assignments and ensure the work of the office progresses on schedule and within budget. Check out the pros and cons below to find out if this career is right for you.

Pros of an Office Administrator Career
Office administrators perform a wide range of tasks*
Administrators work in a clean office environment**
Associate degree or experience in administrative duties sufficient for entry to low-level office administrator positions**
Administrator positions are available in a wide variety of industries**

Cons of an Office Administrator Career
Competition for management positions in administrative services will be high**
Office administrators may be required to work long hours without additional compensation**
Administrators must pursue continuing education courses and workshops to stay abreast of changes in office technology and procedures*
Office administrators must resolve workplace conflicts and handle high stress situations*

Sources: *Association of Professional Office Managers, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Office administrators or managers lead support staff in the delivery of administrative services, such as scheduling meetings and appointments, managing transportation and travel arrangements, processing office mail, bookkeeping, ordering supplies and performing receptionist duties. In addition, the office administrator may provide analysis on office expenditures and manage budgets, projects and company inventory. The administrator ensures staff has the tools and resources to support management. In some offices, the administrator may perform human resource activities, such as establishing employee procedures and policies, creating job descriptions and hiring, training and disciplining staff.

Job Growth and Salary

The median annual salary for managers and supervisors of administrative support workers was $50,780 as of May 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that employment of administrative services managers was expected to grow by 12% from 2012-2022. Individuals seeking high-level positions will face increased competition for jobs during the same period.

Career Skills and Requirements

According to the BLS, employers in smaller companies may only require a high school education for office managers, but many prefer an associate's or bachelor's degree. Courses in an office administration degree program include keyboarding, accounting, business communication, project management and human resource management. Students also complete courses in the software applications used on the job as an administrator or office manager. The skills employers look for in an office administrator include leadership, time management, communication and the interpersonal skills to work with a diverse group of coworkers.

What Employers Are Looking For

Employers in any type of business hire office administrators to manage support activities and personnel. Requirements for landing a job as an administrator include experience in administrative duties and organization and communication skills. Below are some examples of real job postings available in March 2012.

  • A manufacturing business in Massachusetts was looking for an office and data entry administrator to perform data entry and light accounting work in its warehouse and distribution department. The employer required a minimum of three years of experience in an office environment.
  • A California employer searched for an office manager to receive mail, manage vendors and purchasing activities, order supplies and perform light accounting. The employer required at least three years of experience.
  • A parking management business in Milwaukee sought an office administrator to perform accounting duties, sort and distribute mail, order supplies, train personnel and process paperwork for new employees. The position required an individual with 3-5 years of experience in accounting and office administration.

How to Stand Out

Candidates with an associate's or bachelor's degree in office administration may have a competitive advantage in the job market. The Association of Professional Office Managers provides online training for members in office safety, software applications, business management and leadership. The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers certifications for administrative professionals, with specializations in organizational management and technology.

Other Careers to Consider

Legal Secretary

If you are interested in a career providing administrative support to professionals, but prefer to work in a specialized area, a position as a legal secretary may be a better fit. Legal secretaries must undergo specialized training to learn the terminology and procedures used in the legal profession. According to the BLS, organizations such as the National Association of Legal Secretaries and Legal Secretaries International provide certifications that may enhance job opportunities. The median annual salary for a legal secretary as of May 2011 was $42,000, according to the BLS.

Executive Secretary

Executive secretaries perform many of the same duties as office administrators, but work primarily with top executives. While the position can be stressful, executive secretaries may not be required to supervise office staff. The BLS reported the median annual salary for executive secretaries as of May 2011 was $46,000.

Medical Secretary

A medical secretary career requires many of the same duties as an office manager. The position may also require direct interaction with patients, scheduling appointments and arranging for hospitalization and testing. Secretaries and administrative assistants in the healthcare field must be familiar with medical terminology, insurance billing practices and hospital procedures. Specialized training is available for medical secretaries. The annual median salary for medical secretaries as of May 2011 was $31,000, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MSM in Organizational Design and Development
    Bachelor's
      • BBA: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Small Business Management
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Internet Marketing
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
      • MA in Public Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Human Resources Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Public Admin
      • Doctor of Marriage & Family Therapy: Small Business & Entrepreneurship
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Strategic Management
      • MBA - Management
      • MBA - Public Admin
      • MBA - Human Resources Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation
  • Campus Locations:
    8. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate's - Business Admin
    Certificate
      • Diploma Program - Business Administration
      • Diploma Program - Medical Office Specialist
  • Online Programs Available
    9. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General
      • Master of Business Administration - Multiple Concentrations
      • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Individualized Studies
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Leadership Coaching
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Servant Leadership
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Strategic Foresight
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Strategic Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - General Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Innovation Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Kindom Business
      • Master of Business Administration - Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

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

Which subject are you interested in?

George Mason University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

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

What is your highest level of education completed?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • MA in Public Management

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?

American University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Virginia College

  • Associate's - Business Admin
  • Diploma Program - Business Administration
  • Diploma Program - Medical Office Specialist

What is your highest level of education completed?