Careers in the office professional field are vital to the day-to-day operations of businesses and organizations. If you are highly organized, capable of multitasking and enjoy interacting with people, a career in this field may be a good fit.
Office professionals tend to have a range of clerical and administrative responsibilities that include keeping the office organized by filing paperwork, scheduling appointments, arranging conference calls, greeting visitors, answering phones, booking travel arrangements, and researching and preparing reports. Specific job duties vary with education, experience and titles.
With the reliance on technology in most offices, the role of office professionals has evolved. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, secretaries and administrative assistants are assuming responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff. Companies require skilled and qualified office professionals who can offer managerial qualities. Employers look for good customer service and interpersonal skills because secretaries and administrative assistants must be tactful in their dealings with people.
Many careers begin at the entry level as clerks or receptionists. With career-focused training or professional certification, you could work as a secretary, bookkeeper, executive administrator, office manager or administrative assistant, to name a few options. The majority of secretaries and administrative assistants, however, are full-time employees who work standard 40-hour weeks.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook / Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual earnings of executive secretaries and administrative assistants was $33,240 in 2012. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,18 and $41,710. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,570, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,320.
Office Professional Schools and Training Programs
Businesses are continuing to grow and expand. With the increasingly complex technology, professional certification and advanced training is becoming more important than ever before. Employers increasingly require extensive knowledge of software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets and database management. Secretaries and administrative assistants need to be proficient in keyboarding with good written and oral communication.
As an office professional there is usually on-the-job training. However, 1- and 2-year office administration programs are recommended. Office administration programs are offered by business schools, vocational-technical institutes and community colleges. Bachelor’s degrees and professional certifications are becoming increasingly important as business continues to become more global.
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