Office Administrator: Job Outlook & Career Info

Apr 21, 2019

Learn what work an office administrator performs. Discover the academic requirements and needed skills, as well as the employment outlook and salary info to see if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition of an Office Administrator

Office administrators perform administrative and management tasks to ensure that staff can work efficiently and effectively. They are employed by all types of organizations, including large corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies. Common duties of office administrators include allocating work assignments, setting deadlines, maintaining office equipment, ordering office supplies, training employees, evaluating work performance and formulating and implementing company policies.

Educational Requirements Associate's or bachelor's degree preferred, but some positions may be open to those with a high school diploma or equivalent
Job Skills Strong multitasking skills, good decision-making abilities and good interpersonal and communication skills
Median Salary (2018)* $55,810 (all first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 3% increase (all first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Most places of employment prefer candidates for positions in office administration to have training beyond high school, such as an associate's or bachelor's degree, although some positions are available to those with a high school diploma or equivalent. Common degrees or areas of study include business administration and office management. Courses in a 2-year associate's or 4-year bachelor's program that can help prepare you for a career as an office administrator include bookkeeping, business correspondence, records management, business law, career planning, professional development and computer applications.

Skill Requirements

Office administrators are, at heart, managers; thus, they must have strong multitasking and decision-making abilities. Good interpersonal and communication skills are also critical for a successful career in office administration.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers (including office administrators) is slower than average; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projects that employment in this field will grow by 3% from 2016-2026. Median annual earnings for first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, including office administrators, were $55,810 in 2018.

Alternative Careers

Similar options for those interested in an office administration career are:

Executive Administrative Assistant

For those who may be looking for a non-supervisory job in administrative services, becoming an executive administrative assistant may be the right fit. Administrative assistants are found in business, government, legal and medical offices and provide support such as scheduling meetings and appointments, answering phones and emails, organizing records, conducting research, producing reports and ordering supplies.

To enter the field, a high school diploma, knowledge of computers and some related experience is usually sufficient. Executive administrative assistants in the legal and medical fields may need additional skills and knowledge. According to the BLS, a 17% decline in employment is projected for executive secretaries and administrative assistants between 2016 and 2026. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants received $59,340 in median annual wages, as reported by the BLS, in 2018.

Administrative Services Manager

Those who may be interested in a management position at a company should consider becoming an administrative services manager. Sometimes called facility or records managers, they develop budgets for necessary tools and equipment, purchase and distribute supplies, organize information and databases, create department goals, manage administrative employees and arrange maintenance of buildings and equipment.

Depending on the employer, a high school diploma or college degree in engineering, facility management or business may be required to gain a position in this field. As reported by the BLS in May 2018, administrative services managers earned a median salary of $96,180. The BLS also expects job opportunities for these managers to increase by 10% over the 2016-2026 decade, resulting in the creation of approximately 28,500 positions.

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