what is an office administrator?

As an office administrator, you ensure the company's operations run efficiently and smoothly. You assist other professionals by providing administrative support like processing payroll, organizing company files, and basic bookkeeping tasks. You perform a mix of logistical and administrative duties to confirm appointments and ensure colleagues have the necessary information at their fingertips. You answer phone calls, take inventory, and organize the office calendar to ensure managers aren't double-booked for appointments.

Office administrators can work in any industry that requires support to organize the work environment. Whether you work in legal offices, hospitals, or consultancy firms, it's important to be a flexible multi-tasker and detail-oriented to keep up with business processes efficiently.

Apart from supporting other workers, an office administrator ensures the office has the resources to run smoothly. This involves coordinating repairs for malfunctioning office equipment and organizing regular maintenance. You also manage the use of office supplies and replenish stationery and cleaning supplies.

Would working as an office administrator suit your organization and multitasking skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an office administrator role.

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average office administrator salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office and administrative support careers have an average salary of $38,050 per year. Your exact pay will depend on location, experience, education, and the role you occupy within your company. You might have a different job title than "office administrator" even if you're performing the same duties as one, and that could impact your median salary.

If you're an administrative assistant, for example, you can expect to take home anywhere from $28,920 to $63,100 per year. If you're an information clerk, your salary could be anywhere from $24,010 to $60,230 per year.

Another factor to consider is seniority. The longer you work as an office administrator, the more money you could make. An experienced office manager is going to have a higher salary than an entry-level office assistant.

Wondering what you can earn as an office administrator? Find out immediately with the Randstad salary checker! You can quickly and easily see what the average salary of an office administrator is.

Two smiling female working on their laptop.
Two smiling female working on their laptop.

types of office administrators

The types of office administrators depend on the business sector and specialty they work in. Some types of office administrators include:

  • medical office administrators: As an office administrator working in healthcare, your job involves handling administrative tasks. You assist with filing and organizing patient documents and assist doctors in keeping up with appointments.
  • legal office administrators: When you work in law firms or other legal settings, you perform clerical duties and assist lawyers, paralegals, and legal secretaries with their work. You may supervise legal secretaries and other administrative workers to ensure the office runs smoothly.
  • construction office administrators: As an office administrator working in the construction industry, you assist the professionals with administrative work. You organize the documentation for construction projects and handle clerical and bookkeeping duties.

working as an office administrator

Working as an office administrator requires multitasking and organizational skills, as you will be juggling multiple tasks. Here is a breakdown of the specific functions and responsibilities of office administrators.


office administrator skills and education

There are no specific requirements for becoming an office administrator. However, you could make yourself a more attractive job candidate by having the right qualifications for the work, including the right education and experience.

Hiring managers are more likely to give positions to applicants with college degrees. While a high school diploma or GED is often enough to get your foot in the door, a degree will help you start or advance your career beyond entry-level jobs. There are both associate and bachelor's degrees offered in areas like office administration, business administration, and administrative management. There are also master's degree programs in office administration, which are especially helpful if you're trying to attain a senior-level position. Additionally, if you're drawn to a specific field such as healthcare, look for specialized degree programs focusing on areas like medical office administration.

As for certifications, you might consider obtaining the Certified Administrative Assistant (CAA) from the National Career Certification Board or the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) from the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Specialized certifications are also available for areas like project management, healthcare, payroll, and human resources.

Once you land a position, companies usually provide further on-the-job training.

skills and competencies

You typically wear many different hats as an office administrator, so you'll need to call on many different skills, too. Here are just a few areas to work on for a successful future as an office administrator:

  • organization
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • customer service skills
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • computer literacy
  • attention to detail
  • researching skills
  • problem-solving skills

You could also need specialized skills for certain industries. For example, if you are an office administrator in a hospital or healthcare setting, you could need to be familiar with medical coding. If you work in human resources, you might need to study payroll practices, employment guidelines, or workplace safety standards.

You can prepare yourself for a career in office administration by learning basic clerical skills. However, you should know that your employers often have their own ways of doing things. For example, you could learn how copiers are generally operated, but different offices have different brands with different functions.

Last but not least, consider brushing up on your software skills. In modern offices, technology is an everyday part of life. Being familiar with office management software can be a job-defining skill. Common names to know include Asana, Taskworld, LibreOffice, and Microsoft 365.

man in the office
man in the office

FAQs about working as an office administrator

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about office administrators.

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