How to Become a Certified Office Manager

Learn how to become a certified office manager. Research the career requirements, certification information, and experience required for starting a career as a certified office manager. View article »

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Certified Office Manager Career Info

Degree Level Associate's degree or some college; bachelor's degree often preferred
Degree Fields Accounting, business, or related area
Experience 2-5 years of related experience
Certification Voluntary through associations like the International Facility Management Association
Key Skills Customer service, management, administrative, communication, and organizational skills; QuickBooks/general ledger/accounting, word processing, database, and spreadsheet software
Salary $86,110 (2015 median for all administrative services managers)

Sources: job postings (November 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

An office manager is in charge of managing the day-to-day activities within an office. A manager's duties vary by the type of organization and may include processing accounts receivable and accounts payable, as well as some administrative work, like scheduling appointments. Office managers also perform human resource duties, train employees, and delegate tasks. Many office managers work overtime, and some might be on-call for problems that may arise during off-hours.

Office managers have the option to get certified, but most are required to have a few key skills. These include management skills, customer service skills, administrative skills, communication and organizational skills, and a working knowledge of QuickBooks, accounting, word processing, database, and spreadsheet software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative services managers earned a median annual salary of $86,110 in 2015.

Complete an Associate's Degree Program

A minimum of some college coursework or an associate's degree in a business related discipline is usually required to become a certified office manager. An associate's degree program typically covers areas like business theory, communication, law, management, and computer systems. Math, accounting, economics, human resources, and information management are other areas of study. These programs help prepare for entry-level employment in an office setting.

Prospective certified office managers can build their professional skills while earning an associate's degree by completing courses such as office procedures, business communication, speech, and computer literacy.

Gain Work Experience

Business office managers, or administrative services managers, are responsible for effective planning, coordinating, and directing support staff in an office environment. Office managers must have related work experience in areas like leadership, purchasing, sales, and contract administration, depending on the organization they manage. To gain proper experience in the areas needed, prospective certified office managers should consider entry-level office employment to work up to the level they desire. Secretarial, administrative assistant, and office clerk positions could provide experience needed for certification and advancement to management positions.

Get Certified

While not required by most employers, certification allows an office manager to display specific skills and mastery of certain areas of management. Certifications vary by industry and may be offered for managers of medical offices or facilities. For example, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) certification for those interested in facility management. The CFM credential is available to managers with a specific combination of education and experience. Applicants must pass an exam and complete continuing education activities every three years.

Some office manager positions require at least a bachelor's degree for employment. A Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program offers an in-depth study of all areas of business and business management. Some typical areas of study include economics, accounting, marketing, financial management, business leadership, computer technology, and human resources. Earning a bachelor's degree will also give an office manager a competitive edge when seeking further promotion into upper-management positions.

To quickly recap, an aspiring office manager can earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in a field such as business administration or accounting before going on to work their way up in the business world and secure a management position.

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