School Office Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

A school office manager typically works in an elementary, middle or high school as a support for the principal. They are responsible for many of the day-to-day tasks throughout the school. Typically, the minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma; however, it is beneficial for a school office manager to have some training or certification.

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School Office Manager Job Description

A school office manager works in the office of a school or school district, usually under the guidance of the principal. They are responsible for a majority of the clerical work in the school, including handling sensitive documents such as student records. They act as a liaison between the students, parents and principal.

School Office Manager Job Outlook and Salary Information

School office managers can also be called secretaries or administrative assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), schools employed the largest percentage of secretaries and administrative assistants in 2010. In general, employment opportunities in this profession are expected to increase by 12% between 2010 and 2020, based on figures from the BLS. The BLS reports individuals in this field who worked for elementary or secondary schools earned an average of $34,030 yearly in 2012.

Job Duties of a School Office Manager

The school office manager works as the principal's and the school's secretary, making appointments and managing the principal's schedule. They also greet those who walk into the school office, answer phone calls, take messages and sort mail. School office managers may also be responsible for typing and sending out school documents. They are also usually the person who registers and releases students to school and maintains attendance records.

The school office manager is generally also in charge of handling all employee relations, such as fielding complaints and maintaining employee attendance reports. They also may be responsible for putting in substitute requests when an employee calls out sick.

Requirements to Become a School Office Manager

Educational Requirements

The minimum educational requirements to become a school office manager differ from school to school. However, it is beneficial for the applicant to possess an associate's or bachelor's degree in a business-related discipline. While in school, potential school office managers should concentrate on classes in public relations, managerial skills and bookkeeping.

Some colleges and universities offer programs in office administration leading to associate's degrees or certificates in administrative support or office administration. In an office administration program, students can expect to take classes on topics such as word processing, records management, computer applications and keyboarding. Some degree or certification programs allow students to choose a specialization in medical or legal administration; however, a prospective school office manager, may wish to take general classes instead of focusing on law or medicine. Some colleges also offer school secretary certificates.

Certification Information

In lieu of or in addition to a college degree, potential school office managers may decide to earn certification. The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is one such organization that offers certification (www.iaap-hq.org). The designations available are the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) and a specialty in Organizational Management (OM). Experience in office management is required to attain certification. The minimum number of years varies depending on the applicant's educational background.

Additional Requirements

Because school office managers work in an environment with children, many school districts and states require them to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and to be trained in first aid. School office managers, like all other school employees, must also pass a criminal background test and be fingerprinted before gaining employment.

The school office manager must also be extremely adept at using computers, particularly Microsoft Office programs, such as Excel and Outlook. It is imperative that they are extremely organized and able to multitask because they deal with many different aspects of the job simultaneously.

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