Office Manager: Career Summary, Employment Outlook, and Education Requirements
Are you organized, an effective communicator and a good judge of people? Do others look to you as a leader? If you're thinking about becoming an office manager you have the right personal qualities. Read here for more on the duties, career prospects and training of office managers. Schools offering Office Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
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 2008. Employment was projected to grow 11% to around 1.6 million from 2008-2018. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary of office managers was $58,114 as of October 2011.
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 28% of office managers have high school diplomas, 20% have some college education and 26% 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.
As of October 2011 the Association of Professional Office Managers was developing a certification program for its members (apomonline.org). Proposed certification levels include computer proficiency, personnel management, workplace safety and negotiation.
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