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Office Administrator


The dedicated people who run the administrative functions of an office are called office administrators. Also called administrative assistants or secretaries, they organize and control the day-to-day functions of an office or organization. They are truly the supporting backbones of an organization and without them, most offices and companies would be in complete disarray.

The duties and functions of an office administrator vary greatly from one organization to the next. They perform administrative tasks ranging from routine general office functions to acting as special assistants in particular departments, performing specific assignments. Depending on one's level of experience and position title, the administrative duties will fluctuate.

In the last decade, the role of the administrator has drastically changed and evolved due to technological advancements. Computers have replaced and simplified some of the once-traditional tasks of the administrator such as paper filing, dictaphones and using a typewriter. The computer automation has allowed office administrators to take on more challenging projects and lead them to a wider range of new responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff.

Functions such as training new staff members, conducting research on the Internet and operating new office programs such as spreadsheets and multimedia presentations are good examples of some newer administrative duties. In accordance with these technological changes, the administrator's main responsibilities have remained much the same. They still must answer phones, enter data and run the office's administrative side.

They perform a variety of administrative and clerical duties such as scheduling meetings and appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, managing projects, conducting research and providing information to managers and clients via the telephone, postal mail and email. Some administrators handle travel arrangements for their bosses. They use computers, photocopying machines, fax machines and answer phones. Some office administrators even work in teams, in larger offices.
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Glendale Career College

At Glendale Career College, your success is our success! Our short-term allied health training programs will give you the skills to become part of the ever-growing healthcare field. Your decision to continue your education with Glendale Career College will prove to be a rewarding experience.

Programs Offered:
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  Average Earnings  
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Median Salary:
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  Interests and Skills  
Office administrators will have good oral and written communication skills because they speak with many people on the phone and constantly deal with different people's problems and questions. They have good interpersonal skills, excellent organizational and time management skills, and have the ability to work independently or as part of a team. They should also enjoy using computer applications, and get comfortable with word processing and spreadsheets. Skills with numbers and bookkeeping can also be an added skill to help finding a job, and office administrators have the ability to compile and organize information in a concise fashion.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Administer word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software to prepare invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements and other documents
  • Answer telephones, schedule meetings, manage executives' calendars, greet visitors, meet with clients, and handle all business and administrative details
  • Prepare meeting agendas, attend meetings, and record and transcribe minutes
  • Open, sort and distribute correspondence (including faxes and electronic mail) and respond to routine inquiries
  • Draft correspondence and reports
  • Make travel arrangements, prepare expense reports, order and maintain office supplies
  • Develop and maintain a records management system, including classifying and coding electronic and hardcopy files
  • Train staff members in computer applications, and troubleshoot hardware and software problems
  • Research information on the Internet and prepare intranet documents
  • May handle basic bookkeeping duties such as accounts payable and receivable and the reconciliation of accounts
  • Operate office equipment such as fax machines, photocopiers, voice mail messaging systems and computer scanning equipment
  • Office administrators almost always work in office environments. A standard, 40-hour workweek is the norm for office administrators unless they work part time. In some cases, longer hours may be required to meet deadlines. A typical day often involves sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer. Office work can lend itself to alternative or flexible working arrangements, such as part time work or telecommuting.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Office administrators are employed in every sector of the working world. They usually work in offices, assisting professionals in schools, hospitals, law offices, business services, government services, medical and social services, wholesale traders, retailers, communications companies and so on . . .

  Long Term Career Potential  
Experienced administrative assistants often advance from routine clerical tasks such as typing and filing to a skilled specialty such as database computing or to the supervision of other office assistants. With experience, they can move into managerial positions within their organization. The organization and speciality area an officer administrator works for will really help determine the upward mobility of an administrator. Unfortunately, those looking for advancement in other companies will find it hard to move unless they want to acquire another administrative position.

A futuristic trend in the administrative field, is to become a virtual assistant and work independantly on the Internet performing administrative duties for contract. This allows office administrators to leave the conventional office setting and become their own boss, setting their own hours and billing clients hourly for their work.

  Educational Paths  
There is no set path for becoming an office administrator. Most office administration positions require a high school diploma with strong keyboarding skills. Community colleges offer diplomas and certificates in administrative or secretarial skills, which can also be very helpful and give you a competitive edge when searching for a job. Many specialized office administrators also have related postsecondary educations. For instance, legal secretaries take courses in that particular field.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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