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How Much Does Office Management School Cost?

Office Management School Prices

The duties of an office manager depend, in large part, on the type of business he or she works for as well as the size of the organization. In general, however, office managers are expected to perform a wide range of tasks pertaining to day-to-day company operations. This might include supervising secretaries and receptionists, pricing and ordering office supplies, interviewing job applicants, and working closely with members of payroll and accounting. Formal training isn't always required for office managers but career prospects can be enhanced with a degree or certification in office management.

Becoming an Office Manager

Skills Needed

Office managers should possess leadership skills, be able to multi-task, and have experience working with office software programs (such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook). Communication, organizational, and planning skills are also important, as is the ability to be flexible in response to ad hoc duties.

Salary Potential

Just as the job duties of an office manager vary from company to company, so too does the compensation. According to salary.com, office managers earn between $32,000 per year (retail store office mangers) and $110,000 per year (Program Management Office [PMO] managers). Many of the office manager salaries listed on the website are in the $40,000 to $60,000 per year range. PayScale.com reports a median office manager pay of just over $38,000 per year. Note, however, that these are unofficial salary estimates; actual pay might be higher or lower depending on the organization and an individual's experience level.

Formal Training

Many office managers work their way up to the position after starting as a secretary or receptionist. The College Board notes that people who choose to major in office management usually have experience working in an office and pursue an associate's degree (i.e. a 2-year degree) in order to be promoted to a supervisory role. A four-year degree (bachelor's degree) in business, communications, or a related field may also help with career advancement. Specific courses that can help prospective office managers include accounting, business communication, organizational behavior, finance, psychology, and sociology. If you know what type of office you want to work in, consider an office management concentration (for example, a concentration in medical office management).

Certificate programs in office management are also available. These programs usually take less than a year to complete and teach basic office management skills such as proficiency with computer software and networks, management planning and decision making, and business issue analysis.

Another way to improve professional qualifications is with the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) rating. Awarded by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the certification is awarded upon completion of an exam that tests knowledge in office systems, management, administration, and more.

Office Management School Average Costs

The actual costs of degree and certificate programs vary significantly. Contact individual schools for the most accurate tuition prices.

  • The College Board's 2012 Trends in College Pricing report estimates that the average cost of a two-year college is $6,000 to $6,500 (tuition and fees over two years). For four-year public institutions tuition and fees average $35,000 to $87,000 over four years (costs are cheaper for in-state students), while tuition and fees at private four-year institutions run $110,000 to $120,000 over four years.
  • A certificate program in office management might cost $3,000 to $6,000 or more (including tuition, fees, books, and supplies).
  • The examination fee for the IAAP CAP exam is $375 for nonmembers and $200 for members.
  • Loans, grants, and scholarships to pay for school are available from colleges, the federal government, state governments, and private organizations. Learn more at studentaid.ed.gov.

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