Office Administrators


Education and Training Requirements

High School

A high school diploma is essential for this position, and a college degree is highly recommended. You should take courses in English, speech and communications, mathematics, sociology, history, and as many business-related courses, such as typing and bookkeeping, as possible. Knowledge of a wide variety of computer software programs is also very important.

Postsecondary Training

In college, pursue a degree in business administration or at least take several courses in business management and operations. In some cases, an associate's degree is considered sufficient for a supervisory position, but a bachelor's degree will make you more attractive to employers and help in advancement.

Many community colleges and vocational schools offer business education courses that help train office administrators. The American Management Association has a Self-Study Certificate Program in several areas, including customer service management, human resources management, general management, strategic leadership, and others.

Colleges and universities nationwide offer bachelor's degrees in business administration; a few may offer programs targeted to specific industries, such as medical administration or hotel management.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers voluntary certification to administrative professionals. Applicants who meet experience requirements and who pass an examination may use the designation, certified administrative professional. The Institute of Certified Professional Managers offers the certified manager designation to applicants who pass examinations that cover the foundations of management, planning and organizing, and leading and controlling.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Office managers should have knowledge of business and management principles necessary to plan, allocate resources, show leadership, enable production, and coordinate people and resources. They should have command of the English language, including spelling, grammar, and rules of composition, and mathematics, including arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics. They should feel comfortable with computers and be familiar with economic and accounting principles and practices, as well as the financial markets, banking, and the analysis of financial data. In addition to basic listening and speaking skills, office managers should be socially aware in interpreting and reacting to others, and possess skills in reasoning and logic in considering and solving problems. Office managers who are adept in communicating with others either in writing, e-mail, or in person and who have developed cooperative working relationships with others are the most effective in this job.

Offices can be hectic places. Deadlines on major projects can create tension, especially if some workers are sick or overburdened. Office administrators must constantly juggle the demands of their superiors with the capabilities of their subordinates. Thus, they need an even temperament and the ability to work well with others. Additional important attributes include organizational ability, attention to detail, dependability, and trustworthiness. Since many offices promote administrators from clerical work positions within their organization, relevant work experience is also helpful.