Business Office Specialist: Salary, Requirements and Career Information

Business office specialists provide administrative, clerical, and organizational services in an office or business environment. Although some may enter the profession after high school, those who complete some postsecondary education may improve their skill levels and secure higher paying jobs.

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Salary Information for Business Office Specialists

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), business office specialists, also known as administrative assistants, earned a median salary of $32,410 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The middle 50% earned between $25,650 and $40,360, and the highest salaries were in the postal service and federal government, with mean salaries of $54,860 and $47,360 respectively, as of May 2012.

Requirements to Become a Business Office Specialist

While part-time jobs or positions with small firms may accept candidates with just a high school diploma or GED, employers seeking workers for full-time positions may prefer to hire candidates who have completed a formal education program, according to multiple online job listings in May 2011. Relevant options include certificate, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in administrative assisting, business, accounting, finance, or human resources.

Additionally, employers may favor applicants who have experience with computer programs, such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, or are familiar with specific knowledge or procedures, such as payroll administration, accounts payable, and billing. Excellent understanding of English and word processing may also be required, as these professionals may be asked to proofread and reproduce business documents.

Career Information

The BLS reported that employment for secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to increase by 12% between 2010 and 2020. New job growth may depend on economic strength and therefore candidates may wish to look to the social assistance and health care industries, which will be least likely to be affected by economic fluctuations.

Certification

Business office specialists may wish to increase their employment and advancement opportunities by earning industry certification, such as the Certified Administrative Professional designation by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (www.iaap-hq.org). Earning the certification requires successfully completing a qualifying examination based on office systems, management skills and office professionalism.

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