An office manager supervises the administrative staff in a variety of businesses and government agencies. He or she may head the entire office in a smaller firm, or run the administrative department in a larger company or agency. Becoming an office manager means acting as the liaison between the support staff and management.
While most office managers start out as assistants and work their way up to higher positions, many companies still require an associate or bachelor’s degree in order to gain entry-level employment. Courses in computers, personnel management and business taken either online or at a quality school can help start a career as an office manager.
Most office managers are initially hired as administrative assistants who use their experience in the industry and an advanced degree to work their way up to a management position. A bachelor’s degree in business can open doors, and a master’s degree or higher can be helpful to those office managers who have their sights set on a top-level management position within the company.
An office manager’s primary responsibility is to hire, train and support the administrative staff. To know if a position is being performed correctly, the office manager must have a working knowledge of every employee and position within the department.
Strong interpersonal skills are required to resolve conflicts between employees and evaluate the staff in annual reviews. Other office manager job duties include:
Jobs for office managers exist in the government, banks, retail, business services, health care and education. Most work a standard week, but some businesses are open around the clock and demand a more flexible schedule.
Office managers are considered mid-level managers and are compensated accordingly. The median salary for an office manager in May 2006 was $43,510 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the highest paid managers earning over $71,340 per year. The highest earners were employed by private corporations while the lowest earners worked for private physicians and banks.