Office Manager: Career Summary, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements

Explore the career requirements for office managers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Office Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Office Manager?

As an office manager, you ensure the office you operate runs smoothly. You might assign tasks to staffers, create schedules, train employees and implement new company policies. You'll need good clerical and management skills, as well as some knowledge of computers. Office managers also need to be well-organized and have good communication skills.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as an office manager.

Education Required High school diploma or certificate are common; associate's or bachelor's degree often preferred
Education Field of Study Office management (for associate's degree), management or business management (for bachelor's degree)
Key Responsibilities Assign staffers to particular projects and monitor those tasks, review production reports, conduct employee evaluations, resolve workplace disputes
Certification Certification is voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)*
Median Salary (2017) $73,786**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Are the Duties of an Office Manager?

Your main responsibility as an office manager will be to assure that operations at your employer's office run smoothly and efficiently. Assigning staffers to particular tasks, monitoring their performance of those tasks and correcting problems will be your main duties. You may also create schedules; implement new company policies; explain new policies to employees; interview, select and train new employees; conduct employee evaluations; resolve workplace disputes; review production reports; and respond to customer complaints or questions.

What Is My Job Outlook?

Office managers can be found in any business setting with an office staff large enough to require organization and supervision. Financial institutions, government agencies, manufacturers, transportation firms, business services firms and medical institutions are among your potential employers. You can expect stiff competition for positions. A willingness to keep current with technology and strong leadership and team building skills will be key assets when seeking a job.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over 1.4 million people worked as office and administrative support workers and managers in 2014. Employment was projected to grow 8% to around 1.6 million from 2014-2024. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary of office managers was $73,786 as of January 2017.

What Education Should I Consider?

You have a lot of latitude in the level of education you need. Figures from O*Net OnLine show that about 23% of office managers have high school diplomas, 20% have some college education and 45% have bachelor's degrees (www.onetonline.org). Employers may prefer that you have at least a certificate in office management, and some may prefer that you have an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree.

Certificate and associate's degree programs in office management cover similar material. The main distinction between the two is that associate's degree programs include a general education component. In addition to training you to use business productivity software, certificate and associate's degree programs may teach office procedures, management principles and business communications.

Bachelor's degree programs in office management are rare, but relevant programs in management or business management are widely available. Bachelor's degree programs in management teach fundamental business principles and common business functions, such as accounting and marketing. Courses that bear on office management skills might include organizational behavior, business statistics, business law and critical thinking.

Can I Obtain Certification?

The National Office Managers Association of America offers the Certified Office Manager (COM) credential, a general credential for office managers (www.nomaa.net). You'll need at least one year of experience or one year of postsecondary education to be eligible to take the COM exam. The exam covers topics such as budgeting, workplace motivation, teamwork and planning.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Administrative services managers also require a high school diploma or associate's or bachelor's degree. Those in this profession direct supportive services for organizations. In addition, general and operations managers typically require a high school diploma or bachelor's degree. These professionals direct the operations of organizations.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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