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Office managers oversee all facets of administrative support services for an organization. Candidates can pursue a variety of paths to an office management career.

Essential Career Information for Office Managers
Median Annual Salary $96,180
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 7%
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 21,800
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% $165,470
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $55,000

Source: BLS.gov: OOH, May 2018

Table of Contents

This guide covers how to become an office manager, including degree and certification options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you become an office manager?

Most office managers need at least an associate degree in business or management and related work experience.

Is an office manager a good job?

Yes, office managers make above-average salaries and have a projected 7% job growth rate through 2028.

What is the job title for office manager?

Depending on where they work, office managers may receive titles such as administrative services manager or business office manager.

What does an office manager do?

Office managers coordinate and supervise an organization's administrative tasks, including correspondence, recordkeeping, and office maintenance.

What is an Office Manager?

Office managers oversee the administrative functions of organizations. They need administrative skills in areas such as recordkeeping; correspondence; mail distribution; and printing, copying, and filing. Office managers typically need at least a bachelor's degree; however, many employers maintain flexible education requirements and allow on-the-job training for new hires.

Office managers serve critical roles in nearly every industry, ensuring that organizations run smoothly and efficiently. Their duties may include planning budgets, buying and distributing supplies, setting department goals, and supervising administrative and clerical personnel.

  • Administrative Services Manager
  • Business Office Manager
  • Business Unit Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Records Management Director
  • Records and Information Manager

What Does an Office Manager Do?

Office managers may supervise all administrative duties in a small business or oversee a particular area of administration for a larger organization. The best office managers possess organization, leadership, and communication skills.

Office managers perform various administrative support tasks to contribute to the overall efficiency and prosperity of their organization. Depending on the organization, office managers may perform tasks such as supervising personnel, maintaining office facilities, and developing records management systems. Daily job duties often include distributing mail, ordering supplies, printing and copying documents, and maintaining office-wide recycling programs.

Office managers may supervise all administrative duties in a small business or oversee a particular area of administration for a larger organization..

Office managers may specialize in areas such as facilities management or records and information management. Facilities managers ensure that buildings meet the needs of the people using them, and perform duties such as overseeing maintenance staff and making sure that buildings meet safety codes. Records and information managers often work with executives and technical staff to maintain physical and digital records for an organization.

How to Become an Office Manager

Many office managers hold an associate degree, while others may qualify for entry-level employment with a postsecondary certificate in office administration or a related field. However, employers increasingly prefer to hire office managers with a bachelor's degree in business, information management, facilities management, or a related field.

Though not required, office managers may pursue professional certification to advance their careers. Examples include becoming a certified facility manager through the International Facility Management Association or a certified records manager through the Institute of Certified Records Managers. These certifications demonstrate advanced skills and expertise to potential employers.

Prospective office management students should look for accredited programs, which indicates that a program meets high-quality education standards. Business programs may receive specialized accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). While AACSB accredits bachelor's degrees in business and higher, ACBSP is the only accreditor of associate-level business programs.

Certificate Programs

Aspiring office managers can enroll in a business certificate program through a vocational school, community college, or four-year university. Schools typically offer certificates in fields like business administration, business management, and facilities management. Certificates typically take two years of full-time study to complete, though some programs offer flexible online and/or accelerated options that allow students to graduate faster.

Certificate programs typically explore core business and leadership topics including budgeting, project management, human resources, conflict management, and contracting and procurement. A certificate in facilities management or another specialized discipline may require additional courses on topics like operations and maintenance, strategic planning, and risk and continuity in business.

Associate Degree Programs

Many employers hire office managers with an associate degree and work experience in management. Some general business programs offer concentrations tailored to a student's career goals, such as small business or office management, while others offer full degrees in areas like office management, office administration, and business administration.

Most associate degrees comprise around 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. Associate programs include general education courses on topics like English and math in addition to major-specific courses on topics like finance, marketing, and leadership.

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Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree in business or a related field is the most common educational requirement for office managers. Generally, bachelor's degrees require students to complete 120 credits, including general education, core business, and concentration coursework.

Depending on the school, students may major in office management or office administration, or pursue a general business bachelor's degree with a concentration in office management. Most bachelor's degrees in office management require students to complete an internship and complete the degree with a strategic management seminar course.

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Professional Licensure and Certification

While not required, professional certification can help boost candidates' competitiveness in the job market. Organizations like the International Facility Management Association and the Institute of Certified Records Managers offer certified facility manager and certified records manager credentials, respectively. Other organizations award specialized certifications in areas such as medical records management, legal management, and property administration.

Though requirements vary, most certifications require at least a bachelor's degree and several years of work experience to sit for a credentialing exam. The exam may take place over several hours and test competencies in areas like communication, leadership, and project management. Applicants must pay a fee to take the exam. They must also typically pay a fee and meet continuing education requirements to renew and maintain their credentials.

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