Career Info for a Degree in Business Support & Administrative Services

Learn about the education and preparation needed for a career in business support or administrative services. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree requirements, job duties and certifications to find out if this is the career for you.

A degree in business support and administrative services prepares professionals for a career in a variety of office work environments. Many types of businesses and institutions need business and administrative support, and job opportunities with this degree include working as an office manager, an admin assistant, or as an education administrator. Each of these has their own educational requirements, but most positions require an associates degree or higher.

Essential Information

Degree programs in business support or administrative services prepare people for careers in a variety of fields. Proper training and education can open doors for administrative and secretarial services, office management and educational administration. Earning a professional certification in these fields is lucrative to prospective employers. It can increase employment opportunities and better prepare existing employees for advancement.

Career Office Managers Administrative Assistants Postsecondary Education Administrators
Required Education Associates Degree Associates Degree or Certification Bachelors Degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% for all managers 3% 9%
Median Salary (2015)* $52,630 $36,500 $88,580

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Office Manager

An office manager oversees administrative services for an entire business or office. He or she assumes responsibility for office operations, such as liaising with contractors, ordering office supplies and ensuring that office machines remain in good repair. He or she may also perform the duties of a secretary or administrative assistant, such as maintaining files, making appointments or managing correspondence. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that while a degree is not always required to be an office manager, many employers give preference to those who hold at least an associate's degree.

Salary and Job Prospects

According to the BLS, office managers are classified as first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers for salary tracking purposes. As of May 2015, their median annual salary was $52,630. Employment is expected to grow 4% between 2014 and 2024.

Administrative Assistants and Secretaries

Administrative assistants and secretaries perform a variety of clerical tasks, but do not have responsibility for coordinating administrative services for an entire office. Instead, these individuals usually work for a department within a business or directly for one or two managers, executives or other high-level employees. A degree isn't always necessary to land a job, but an associate's degree in business support or certification as a Certified Administrative Professional through the International Association of Administrative Professionals can increase employability.

According to the BLS, legal secretaries and medical office administrators often need to complete degree programs that provide training in their respective, specialized field. Employers may also want legal and medical administrative assistants to hold professional certification, such as the Accredited Legal Secretary certification offered through the National Association of Legal Secretaries or the Medical Administrative Specialist designation, offered by the American Medical Technologists.


The average salary for administrative assistants and secretaries varies by industry as well as the types of services performed. According to the BLS, as of May 2015, the median annual salary for secretaries and administrative assistants, with the exception of those who work as executive assistants or in the legal or medical fields, was $36,500. Executive secretaries during the same time period earned a median salary of $53,370, while legal and medical secretaries earned median salaries of $43,200 and $33,040, respectively.

Job Prospects

The BLS expects secretarial jobs overall to increase 3% from 2014 through 2024, which is slower than average. However, some secretaries in specific fields have better job prospects; medical secretaries are expected to enjoy a 21% increase in jobs through 2024.

Higher Education Administrative Services

Administrative services jobs in higher education include positions in financial aid, student affairs and records offices. While it is possible to begin working in education administrative services with a bachelor's degree, moving into higher-level positions, such as a director of financial aid or a school registrar, often requires a master's degree in higher education administrative services or administration, according to the BLS.

Salary and Job Prospects

The BLS reports that educational administrators working in elementary and secondary schools earned a median wage of $90,410 annually in 2015, while those working in postsecondary educational institutions received a median salary of $88,580 per year. The bureau also projected a 9% percent increase in employment opportunities for postsecondary administrators in the decade between 2014 and 2024.

Degrees in business support and administrative services allow one to consider multiple career paths. Postsecondary education administrators can look forward to faster-than-average job growth, while office managers and administrative assistants will experience slower-than-average growth in opportunities through 2024.

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