Operations Administrator Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about an operations administrator's job duties, salary and education requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a career in operations administration.
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Pros and Cons of an Operations Administration Career

Operations administrators work in a variety of fields, generally overseeing an office or a facility to make sure that the organization runs smoothly. Check out the pros and cons to help you decide if this might be a career for you.

Pros of a Career in Operations Administration
High school diploma is sufficient for most positions*
Solid earning potential (most operations administrators earned between $31,000 and $67,000 in 2015)**
Can work in many different industries (healthcare, finance, banking, manufacturing)**
Multiple advancement opportunities (administrative director, management consultant)*
Varied job duties (preparing reports, setting goals, planning budgets)***

Cons of a Career in Operations Administration
Overtime may be required (about 25% of these managers worked over 50 hours per week in 2010)*
May have to be available at all hours of the day in the event that a problem occurs during non-working hours*
Strong competition expected for high-level positions*
May encounter stressful situations (firing employees, limiting budget spending, making quick decisions)***

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com, ***O*NET Online.

Essential Career Info

Operations administrators' job duties will vary depending on the specific industry, but typically they are responsible for overseeing the general functions of an office or a facility. You might make sure that supplies are available, process orders, keep financial records, ensure compliance with regulations or answer phones. You could also be responsible for reviewing the efficiency of office operations and making changes to improve output and decrease costs. In this vein, operations administrators are often responsible for tracking and dealing with maintenance issues, handling contracts for the rental or ownership of office space and maintaining relationships with vendors.

Operations administrators may need to have training specific to the type of industry they work in; for example, an operations administrator for a hospital might need to be understand how the healthcare system works and have a basic understanding of medical terminology. Local and state governments, the healthcare industry and education services employed the most administrative managers out of all industries.

Salary Info and Career Prospects

According to Payscale.com, the majority of operations administrators earned between about $31,000 and $67,000 as of 2015. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that administrative services managers were expected to see a 12% increase in jobs from 2012-2022, which was about as fast as the average of all occupations. Although solid growth was expected, the BLS mentioned that you could face strong competition for high-level management positions.

What Are the Requirements?

Education and Training

Operations administrators normally have a high school degree and several years of supervised experience. Depending upon the type of company you're working for, you may need to have a bachelor's degree in business administration, facility management or a related field. Some of the courses that are useful to operations administrators include accounting, economics, management and business law.

Most administrators do a great deal of work on computers. Proficiency in Microsoft Office and other database and word processing software is necessary. Additionally, many administrators keep payroll records for their companies, so the ability to use bookkeeping software may also be required.

Personal Skills

Operations administrators often need to use analytical skills to discern how an office or division of a company is working and to make modifications to improve efficiency as necessary. They also need to be detail-oriented and able to manage a variety of issues in a timely fashion. Communication and leadership abilities are also essential to doing this work. Many operations administration jobs involve multiple overlapping responsibilities; your ability to handle stress is essential, particularly in busy or large offices.

What Employers Are Looking For

Employers placing ads for operations administrators want someone with good communication skills and customer service experience. They also tend to look for applicants who are flexible and able to work with a team. Here is a sampling of job postings from April 2012:

  • A California municipal district advertised for an operations administrator with a high school diploma and five years of administration experience. Candidate would prepare spreadsheets, administer contracts, handle correspondence and maintain financial records.
  • A Florida materials manufacturer and distributor posted an opening for an operations administrator who would develop company policies, integrate acquired businesses and perform administrative tasks. A bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field, knowledge of QuickBooks and Microsoft Office, and the ability to communicate clearly in speaking and writing were required.
  • An insurance company in Connecticut sought an entry-level operations administrator. Job duties involved processing all insurance and securities licenses, developing tracking processes for licensing requirements, conducting audits of licenses, maintaining office supplies, answering phones and managing mail services. No education requirements were listed.
  • A clothing manufacturer in North Carolina advertised for an operations administrator with an undergraduate degree, at least two years of experience and bilingual English/Spanish capabilities. The candidate would process orders from receipt to completion, hire hourly employees, process the weekly payroll and maintain customer files.

How to Beat the Competition

Good communications skills tend to be vital to this type of work. Coursework in high school or college that will develop or improve these skills would be helpful, particularly in spelling and verbal communication. Additionally, coursework in computer usage for spreadsheets or bookkeeping would look good on your resume. Since operations administrators are found in many different industries, getting experience in the industry you wish to work in can give you an edge over other applicants.

Get Certified

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) provide certification and training opportunities that may be able to give your career a boost. IAAP offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) designation along with the Organizational Management specialty certificate program. You can obtain the Certified Facility Manager and the Facility Management Professional certifications from IFMA. You can typically earn a certification by passing the required exams for the particular designation you're pursuing. The specific certification that you'll want to obtain depends on the industry you work in and the responsibilities of your job.

Other Careers to Consider

Accountant

If you're interested in being able to find work in a variety of industries and you'd rather focus on a specific area of operations, then perhaps you might be interested in accounting. Accountants ensure that financial statements are accurate, maintain financial records and prepare tax returns. You'll typically need a bachelor's degree to become an accountant, but you should have solid earning potential; the BLS reported that accountants earned a median salary of approximately $63,000 in 2011. Since laws and regulations are becoming stricter in the financial industry, accountants should have solid job prospects. The BLS predicted that these professionals would experience a 16% increase in jobs between 2010 and 2020.

Property Manager

If you like the idea of managing the operations of a company but you want to work with real estate or property, then you might want to consider becoming a property manager. These managers take care of properties, making sure each one is in good shape and maintains its value. This role can involve leasing, finding renters and dealing with finances. You generally only need a high school diploma to become a property manager, but you'll need a real estate license if you plan on becoming involved with the buying and selling of properties. According to the BLS, property managers earned a median annual income of about $52,000 in 2011. However, you should be aware that the BLS predicted that property managers would only see 6% job growth from 2010-2020.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA: Project Management
      • Master: Management/Project Mgmt
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MBA: Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
      • BBA: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Small Business Management
      • AASBA in Health Club Operations
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    3. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Project Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
      • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
    Master's
      • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
      • MBA: Leadership
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      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
      • Master of Science in Business Analytics
      • MBA
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Applied Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    7. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Project Management
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      • PhD-TIM - IT Project Management
    Master's
      • MBA - Project Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    8. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
      • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
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  • Online Programs Available
    9. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

Featured Schools

George Mason University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Project Management
  • BSBA - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

American University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
  • PhD in Business Admin - Project Management
  • MBA - Project Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

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

What is your highest level of education completed?