Do I Need A Degree For Administration?

"I don’t really want some kind of complicated job, and I think I would be perfectly happy to do secretarial work at some company or other. But what I was wondering is, would there be any purpose for me to get a degree? Is there even such a thing as a degree in administration? As far as I can tell, it’s perfectly easy to perform all job requirements for administration with nothing more than a high school degree, if even that. Should I bother continuing in school if this is my plan? Would I regret it if I don’t keep going, or would it just be a waste of money if I do?"

asked by Betsy from San Jose, CA

There is really no need for a degree in administration, and I do not believe any school would offer one. The closest you would likely find is something like a degree in business or management, but administrators are usually not managers (even though there are many aspects of office life which they do manage). So, no, you do not need a higher degree to do the job. A high-school diploma or a GED is still a really good idea, though, and will greatly increase your chances of finding work. A higher degree may help you to get a higher paying gig or it may make you look overqualified. It probably depends on where you apply.

Some certifications and courses could still be helpful in getting a good administration job. For example, how much do you know about computers? You might consider taking some tutorials in Excel and other programs which you may use often on the job. You could also think about getting some handy computer-related certifications.

On-the-job training and related experience can help you to climb the corporate ladder. The majority of office administration jobs don’t pay very well, and you won’t likely make a suitable living if you are the sole earner in your household when you are starting out. With enough experience under your belt, though, you may be able to start applying for some office administration jobs that offer a higher salary.

Look up the role of “executive assistant.” Some executive assistants earn very good salaries, though it can be a stressful and high pressured role.

One other reason to still consider getting a degree is to open up other doors. A degree in business or management won’t likely make you look overqualified or like you’ll ditch out of an administration gig the first chance you get if an opening appears in another field.

That kind of degree might afford you opportunities which you would not otherwise qualify for, and which you may find yourself interested in at a later date, particularly if you grow tired of earning a low salary as an office administrator. You also never know what new interests you might discover in college while you do your general education classes, so this is another reason you might still consider going to university.

Career Spotlight: Administrative Assistant

Join The Discussion - 3 Comments

  1. Cindy Kendrick says:

    No, a degree is not necessary for an Administrative position. But having a degree can be very important. Obtaining a degree opens a vast amount of growth opportunities for you. I finished my degree while holding down my Administrative Assistant position. My job duties have drastically changed because of this. I now have an impact on my company’s profitability and I couldn’t be happier.

    • Diana K Kelly says:

      I disagree. I highly suggest having a business degree. I have been an administrative assistant for my present company for 8 years. I went through a staffing agency to obtain the position. I had an associates degree in Computer Science with a lot of business courses. As an admin. asst. working knowledge of spelling, grammar, sentence structures, etc. is essential. Any kind of office work is also a plus. Learning how to communicate in a business enviroment is essential. I watched high school grads come into my college courses who had no idea how to act in a business atmosphere. My previous job was as an executive admin. asst. for 7 years. This obviously helped but I had been taking business courses in the local community college for years. I worked my way from a clerk to a vice-presidents executive admin. asst.

  2. Angela K says:

    “… , and I do not believe any school would offer one.”
    That is incorrect. Our community college has been offering Computer Applications/Office Systems: Administrative Assistant, and Administrative Office Professional degrees for a few years now. I am working on the AOP degree, and have learned new things, even with my almost 20 years of admin work.

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