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Administrative Assistant vs. Office Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Administrative assistants and office managers are both important roles in an office setting. Both positions require excellent organizational skills and the ability to multitask. However, there are several key differences between these two job titles. In this article, we discuss the duties of an administrative assistant and an office manager, and we provide information on the education and experience required for each position.

What is an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative Assistants provide high-level administrative support for company leaders to ensure they can efficiently accomplish key tasks and company initiatives. They keep the executive’s communications organized so that they can easily access the most important information without having to sort through low-priority items. Administrative Assistants screen all visitors and determine what level of support they need while offering polite, professional customer service. They manage the executive’s daily calendar, including scheduling meetings, confirming appointments, writing itineraries and arranging for transportation. Administrative Assistants also train other administrative staff on company policies and best practices.

What is an Office Manager?

Office Managers are responsible for the overall operation of an office, including supervising administrative staff, managing office finances, ordering supplies and maintaining office equipment. They develop and implement office policies and procedures to ensure that the office runs smoothly and efficiently. Office Managers also often act as a point of contact between the office and external vendors, clients and customers. They may also be responsible for coordinating office events and managing office projects.

Administrative Assistant vs. Office Manager

Here are the main differences between an administrative assistant and an office manager.

Job Duties

Administrative assistants and office managers often share similar job duties, such as answering phones, greeting clients and scheduling meetings. However, an administrative assistant might handle more confidential information than an office manager because they work closely with executives. An office manager might have additional job duties related to the overall management of the company, such as delegating tasks to other employees, overseeing projects and reporting to higher-level executives. They also might manage the business’s budget and make decisions about purchasing new equipment or hiring new staff.

Job Requirements

Most administrative assistant and office manager positions only require a high school diploma, although some employers may prefer candidates with an associate degree or postsecondary certificate in business administration or a related field. Many of these professionals learn their skills through on-the-job training, although some may choose to pursue voluntary certification to demonstrate their proficiency in the field. The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential, which requires passing an exam and meeting experience and education requirements.

Work Environment

Administrative assistants typically work in an office environment, but they may also work remotely for companies that don’t have a physical location. They often spend their days sitting at a desk and typing on a computer to complete tasks.

Office managers usually work in an office environment, but they may travel to different locations within the company to ensure all employees are meeting productivity goals. They may also visit clients or vendors to discuss business matters.


The specific skills used on the job by an administrative assistant and office manager can differ depending on the size of the company and the specific duties of the position. However, there are some general similarities and differences between the two roles.

Both administrative assistants and office managers need to have excellent communication skills, as they will be interacting with employees, clients and customers on a daily basis. They also both need to have strong organizational skills to keep the office running smoothly. Administrative assistants may need to be more detail-oriented than office managers, as they may be responsible for managing schedules, preparing correspondence and handling customer inquiries. Office managers may need to be more strategic in their thinking, as they may be responsible for developing office policies, overseeing budgets and supervising staff.


The average salary for an administrative assistant is $45,618 per year, while the average salary for an office manager is $55,923 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has.


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