Office Administrator Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

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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.
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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. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MSM in Organizational Design and Development
    Bachelor's
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      • 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. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Development
    Master's
      • MBA
      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Business Administration - Management
      • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
      • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
      • BA: Business Administration - Project Management
    Associate's
      • AA: Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

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

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
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    6. The University of Scranton

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    7. Colorado Christian University

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    10. Colorado State University Global

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      • MS - Management
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      • BS - Business Management
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    Certificate
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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

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

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • AA: Business Administration

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?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership

What is your highest level of education completed?

The University of Scranton

  • MBA - Operations Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Dual MBA-MHA

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Business Administration, MBA
  • Business Administration, B.S.
  • Business Administration, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Georgetown University

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

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