How to Become an Office Manager


How to Become an Office Manager

There are a few different paths you can take to become an office manager. The best path however, is to have a diploma or degree in business, combined with a few years worth of progressive experience in an administrative capacity. 


Being an office manager would involve organizing and coordinating the operations of an office, supervising staff and delegating tasks, reviewing and approving supply requisitions, and generally ensuring the office functions effectively and efficiently. 


A career as an office manager offers traditional weekday working hours, a comfortable office environment, good pay, and the opportunity to make excellent use of your administrative abilities. 


So, read on below if becoming an office manager sounds like it might suit you; we’ll tell you what you need to make it in this field!



Education You May Need

Some employers will require that you have a diploma or degree related to Human Resources, Finance, or some other area related to Business Administration, especially if the role has a heavy workload in any of those areas. Other employers however, might only require a high school diploma, provided you have plenty of relevant experience.  


Success Tip: Even if it’s not a formal requirement for a specific office manager job, having relevant education, such as a diploma or degree in Human Resources can greatly enhance your career advancement potential.




Skills Needed to Become Successful 

To be successful as an office manager, you need certain skills… but these skills don’t come overnight.

While you’re a student or working in administrative roles of lesser responsibility, try to hone the following skills, they will be crucial in your future career:


• Proficiency in Microsoft Word, including proper document formatting 

• Working knowledge of email, scheduling, spreadsheets and presentation software  

• The ability to keep organized and prioritize work effectively

• The ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment

• The ability to delegate tasks and provide the appropriate amount of support

• Knowledge of office administration

• Knowledge of personnel management and supervision 

• The ability to maintain a high level of accuracy and speed when preparing and entering information



Who Creates Jobs for Office Managers?

You could potentially be employed with virtually any organization that runs an office, from a small businesses to a government agency of multinational charity. Typical employers include:


• NHS and private healthcare organizations

• Educational institutions, including schools and post-secondary education institutions

• Local, provincial/state and federal government agencies

• Charities and non-profit organizations, including community groups

• Financial services organizations

• Professional firms, such as legal, architectural, engineering, medical and others 

• Social work organizations

• Entertainment, creative, media and leisure organizations 

• Transport companies

• Manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and distributors

• Science organizations

• Security services

• Public utilities - gas, electricity, water and telecommunications providers



Is This Career Right for You?

You should have the following attributes if you wish to become an office manager:


• Interest in a traditional, 9-5 office career

• Well organized and punctual

• Comfortable delegating work to others

• Willing to be accountable for the performance of office staff

• Able to complete work when faced with constant interruptions 

• Can complete projects with limited supervision

• Comfortable interacting with and working effectively with a variety of people, personalities, skills and organizational levels




Career Advancement Possibilities 

If you display competence and dedication as an office manager, there’s a good chance that career advancement opportunities will present themselves up to you. Examples of such opportunities might include (but aren’t limited to):


• An increase in earnings through a higher salary or bonuses

• Moving from the public to the private sector, or vice versa

• Becoming a part owner of the firm or company

• Moving into a senior management position, such as Operations Manager

• Moving into a specialized administrative role, such as finance or human resources (appropriate education may be required)

• Eventually moving into an executive leadership position with a large organization


Success Tip: Having post-secondary education related to human resources, management or a related field can greatly increase and diversify your opportunities for advancement.






Details of the Profession: General Job Description

Reporting to a senior administrative officer, such as an operations manager, you would be responsible for organizing and coordinating office operations and procedures in order to ensure organizational effectiveness and efficiency. 


This would include maintaining office services, ensuring the efficient use of office time and resources, supervising office staff and maintaining office records.



Typical Job Duties

Although your specific duties could vary from job to job, you could expect to be responsible for the following functions in any office manager role:


• Designing and implementing office policies

• Establishing operational standards and procedures

• Organizing office operations and procedures 

• Supervising office staff and delegating tasks

• Monitoring long distance phone calls 

• Preparing time sheets

• Controlling correspondences

• Reviewing and approving supply requisitions

• Liaising with other agencies, organizations and groups 

• Maintaining office equipment

• Using office software, such as Microsoft Excel 

• Managing information databases



Salary for Office Managers

The salary level you could earn as an office manager can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (having relevant education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and functions

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses) 


Office Manager Salary - Alberta: According to the Alberta Learning Information Service, the average salary level of Albertans in the Administrative Officers occupational group (which includes Office Managers) is $63,075 per year.


Salary in Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Administrative Officers occupational group is $51,200 per year.


Salary in the United States: According to a PayScale - Human Capital survey, the average salary level of Office Managers in the United States is $43,485 per year.



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Typical Work Environment

Working Hours: As an office manager, you would likely work normal, weekday working hours, such as 9-5 from Monday to Friday. Overtime may be required on occasion, which could involve going in early, staying late, or going in on weekends. 


Work Setting: Your work would take place in an office environment, which could be within a small building in the suburbs with bountiful parking, or it could be located downtown in a busy urban centre. Your job may involve some occasional local travel, but in all likelihood wouldn’t involve much, if any, out of region or international travel.


Working Conditions: You would spend much of your day in an office. You might, from time to time, make site visits around the building, go outdoors to supervise outdoor activities (such as grounds maintenance), or inspect other facilities or personnel under your management.



Careers Similar to ‘Office Manager’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Office Manager:


• Administrative Assistant

• Administrative Director

• Controller

• Human Resources Assistant

• Human Resources Manager

• Operations Manager

• Retail Manager



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become an Office Manager career guide:



Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Administrative Officers.” (January 1, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 6, 2020.

Career Profile:Office Manager.” AGCAS editors (February, 2019). Prospects website. Retrieved January 6, 2020.

Job Research: Average Office Manager Hourly Pay.” (n.d.). PayScale website. Retrieved January 6, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming an Office Manager 

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as an office manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


Business Administration Scholarships

Human Resources Scholarships

Management Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming an Office Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary) for becoming an office manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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