What Does an Office Manager Do?
An office manager keeps an office organized and running smoothly. This person is key to organizations of all sizes.
An office manager — also called an office administrator, virtual office manager, office coordinator or administrative services manager — is needed in a variety of environments, from small businesses to medical offices. In fact, the size of an office staff determines the range of a manager’s duties.
Essentially, every type of business needs an office manager. That’s why people who are good at this type of work are in such high demand.
The day-to-day work of an office administrator is rarely the same. For many, that’s one of the perks of the job, but it can be stressful to someone who doesn’t respond well to a rapidly changing to-do list and the associated deadlines.
If you want to be the go-to person in an office, this career is worth exploring in more detail. Keep reading to learn about what training and experience you’ll need.
- Arrange appointments and travel arrangements
- Purchase all office materials
- Complete data entry
- Answer phone calls and emails
- Manage bookkeeping and budgets
- Help resolve any problem that stands in the way of work getting done in the office
- Create presentations
- Organize and prepare for office meetings and social gatherings
How To Become an Office Manager: FAQs
Office manager requirements: What steps do I take to get this job?
The first step is completing your high school education and earning a diploma or equivalent. If you get the opportunity while you’re still in high school, try helping out in an office setting. You’ll learn about the office environment, which will be beneficial in the long run.
Next comes focused training. You’ll need to earn a certificate in office management or an associate degree in business administration, human resources management or information management. Be aware that some large employers look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree in similar topics.
Office manager programs will cover administrative software programs, payroll best practices, basic math and writing, human resources and file management.
Gaining experience is the key to success in this role because it’s proof of your skills. If you don’t have any leads on a job out of school, consider temp agency work. That can lead to a permanent position, but even if it doesn’t, it’s still worthwhile experience.
Similarly, you can work in a parallel role in an industry that interests you but requires more experience. For example, you can gain insight into medical office management by taking a less prominent role, such as administrative assistant or bookkeeper.
Once you have experience, you may want to become more specialized or broaden your skills. For example, many good office managers are excellent at trouble-shooting, especially if there isn't an IT support specialist on staff.
There are plenty of opportunities to grow in this role.
Are there any other qualifications to consider?
Office manager certification isn’t required, but it could distinguish you from the next candidate.
Some options include Certified Records Manager from the Institute of Certified Records Managers (ICRM), Certified Administrative Professional from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) or Information Governance Professional certification from the Association of Records Managers and Administrators, also called ARMA International.
Certifications require passing a test and renewal every few years.
How long does it take to become an office manager?
Earning a certificate will take a year or less. Earning an associate degree will take two years.
Is there a demand for office administrators?
Yes. Overall employment is expected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That works out to almost 32,000 openings each year.
What skills and qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
Successful office administrators typically have these traits:
- Attention to detail
- Good analytical and problem-solving skills
- Good listening and communication skills
- Positive attitude
- Good time-management skills
- Able to learn new computer software applications quickly