Career Information for a Degree in Office Management

Office management is generally studied through an undergraduate certificate or degree program. Continue reading for an overview of the training, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Essential Information

Many aspects of the modern company require strong management, including everyday operations. Although postsecondary education may not strictly be required, an associate's degree in the field may be preferred for office managers. Certificate and degree programs in office management prepare students for careers in office administration and leadership.

Career Office Manager Executive Assistant
Required Education High school diploma at minimum; associate's degree may be preferred High school diploma
Projected Job Growth (2012-22)* 12% for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers -1% for executive secretaries
Median Salary (2013)* $50,190 for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers $49,290 for executive secretaries

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Information

Office management programs - sometimes called office administration or office systems technology programs - are commonly offered as certificate and 2-year associate degree programs through community colleges and technical schools. Students in these programs gain management and office technology skills that prepare them to carry out, organize and direct support operations in a variety of settings. Classes focus on principles of management and accounting, software applications and records management.

Career Options

Graduates of an office management program often have a combination of operational and organizational skills, which they can use in offices across a number of industries. Two common positions for graduates are office manager and executive assistant.

Office Manager

Office managers are tasked with keeping all office operations running smoothly. They may supervise clerical staff, inventory and order office supplies, ensure that all equipment is operational and coordinate all office activity. Office managers typically act as intermediaries between management and external vendors as well as between various departmental staff. They may additionally be responsible for tasks like accounting and payroll, hiring and firing employees or even data entry and reception. Office managers in smaller companies are likely to have the greatest range of responsibilities due to a fewer number of support staff. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual salary for office managers as $50,190 in May 2013 and projects a job growth rate of 12% for the profession between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov).

Executive Secretary

Executive secretaries provide many types of support to corporate executives and other high-ranking managers. Their duties are similar in nature to those carried out by traditional administrative assistants or secretaries, but executive secretaries do less clerical work. Instead, they may carry out such tasks as conducting research, preparing reports, creating spreadsheets and managing schedules. Executive secretaries may also be responsible for overseeing other administrative support employees. May 2013 statistics from the BLS showed a median salary for executive assistants of $49,290 per year, with employment in the field projected to decrease by 1% from 2012-2022.

Other Career Options

There are quite a few careers that make use of the skills obtained from an office management degree program. A few alternative titles and similar positions can include:

  • Administrative assistant
  • Facilities manager
  • Front desk coordinator
  • Data entry specialist
  • Receptionist
  • Executive secretary

With additional or related coursework, graduates may find employment as medical or legal office managers and administrative assistants.

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