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The Difference Between Office Manager and Office Administrator

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Office managers and office administrators are similar and often require you to supervise clerical staff and monitor budgeting. However, they are different positions. Office administrators coordinate office functions. Office managers are the leaders that set the direction for the office.

Differences in Responsibilities

The office manager makes decisions that organize the flow of work. As an office manager, you lead the administrative personnel, oversee payroll and hire staff. You're part of the management team and sometimes take part in executive meetings. The office administrator runs the day-to-day functions of the office. As an office administrator, you coordinate administrative duties and reconcile accounts payable and accounts receivable. A major difference in the two positions is that the office manager is accountable for accurate financial projections and tracking.

Required Qualifications

You can secure employment in either occupation with a minimum of a high-school diploma. However, office managers will fare better with a bachelor's degree in business or management. Experience requirements vary, depending on the employer. Office administrators should have a least one year of administrative experience. For office manager, many job announcements state four years of experience; many employers also desire a strong leadership background.

Pay Differences

Pay varies greatly. An office administrator with several years experience might make more than a novice office manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business office managers fall under administrative service managers and make a median salary of $81,080. The job site Monster lists the salary range for office managers between $24,960 and $62,400. For office administrator, job announcements have listed salaries up to $27,000 a year.


Michelle Dwyer is a U.S. Army veteran writing fiction and nonfiction since 2003. She specializes in business, careers, leadership, military affairs and organizational change and behavior. Dwyer received an MBA from Tarleton State University/Texas A&M Central Texas and an MFA in creative writing from National University in La Jolla, Calif.

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