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How to Become an Office Manager

The office is a vital component of all businesses to some degree or another. It acts as a foundational building block for most, and, at the very least, a critical support structure for all others.

Office managers ensure a smooth and efficient workplace by handling administrative tasks and delegating to support staff. From managing scheduling and meetings to booking accommodations or transportation for traveling staff, these managers play an integral part in the overall functionality of the office. They may additionally handle the implementation and enforcement of systems and policies, and help with recordkeeping, among other tasks.

If you’re looking to become an office manager, possessing experience as a manager, especially in an administrative role, goes a long way in landing you a job. Having great communication, organization, and time management skills are a major plus.

Sample job description

[Your company name] is in need of a devoted office manager with a passion for leadership and teamwork. Our office managers are expected to work well in a fast-paced environment and motivate team members to efficiently meet deadlines. In this position, you will be supervising employees, being the liaison between upper management and the front office, often be one of the first faces our customers see, order office supplies and keep track of inventory, and performing odd-and-end jobs that we may need completed. If you have strong organizational skills, enjoy being in charge and handle heavy loads of responsibility well, apply today!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Supervising office staff to ensure deadlines are met and work is being completed efficiently
  • Creating and implementing an office budget
  • Monitoring office supply levels and ordering when needed
  • Hiring and training new staff members
  • Make sure the office stays clean by hiring a third party janitor
  • Reporting to senior management to keep them informed on the office’s productivity
  • Supervising office members’ work and performances and implementing changes when necessary

Education and experience

  • B.S. degree in business administration
  • Minimum of two years experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to keep information confidential
  • Great customer service skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Strong leadership abilities
  • IT skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Administration and project management software knowledge
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Administrative experience

Preferred qualifications

  • Additional certifications preferred
  • Customer-facing work experience
  • Five years as an office administrator
  • Accounting and budgeting skills

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for an office manager is their office and their staff members’ offices. They may occasionally have to travel for meetings or conferences. Many office managers will also be at the front, greeting customers who may walk into the business.

Typical hours

Office managers can expect to work a full 40 hour workweek. They may occasionally be asked to stay overtime on weekends or holidays to meet a deadline. They also can be expected to travel from time to time.  

Available certifications

No matter your career of choice, certifications can always increase your marketability. Obtaining just a few of the following certifications can demonstrate your professional dedication to future employers:

  • Certified Business Office Manager (CBOM). For this certification, there are no prerequisites. Candidates must simply pass an oral or written exam. The modules cover how to be the best office manager. Recertification is not required. 
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA). This certification requires a minimum of two years of education or training after high school. Candidates are also required to have at least two years of work experience. Candidates must pass an oral or written exam. Though not strictly required as an office manager, knowing accounting and finance will set you apart from the rest of the candidates. Recertification is required every 12 months.  
  • Certified Manager Certification (CMC). This certification is for mid-level managers and supervisors. It requires candidates to pass an oral or written exam. Recertification is not necessary.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP). This certification requires a four year degree, 36 hours of leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education/training or CAPM certification. If candidates don’t meet these criteria, another option is a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, 60 months leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education or training or CAPM certification.

Career path

To become an office manager, students should earn a bachelor’s degree in business, management, or another related field. Management internships will also look good on resumes. After a few years of experience as an office manager, they may work themselves up to becoming an administrative director, which requires more management experience and education.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3010

2020 Employment322,000
Projected Employment in 2030350,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% Increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift28,600 Increase

As long as there are offices, there will be a need for office managers. They play a major role in the success and efficiency of the office. Team members must have someone to supervise them and counsel them when it is needed. Office managers are also necessary for handling responsibilities, like ordering supplies and creating budgets. They are the glue that keeps an office functioning, and with a 9% increase over the next 10 years, this is a secure line of work to pursue.