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Administrator Jobs: An Overview

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Administrators act, in essence, as clerical managers for businesses. They work a great deal with computer programs, financial reports, and client correspondence. Naturally, administrator jobs can be found in every kind of company, and their duties vary depending on the field. To gain a concrete idea of routine administrator work, this article will survey the duties of sales administrators, education administrators, and systems administrators.

Sales administrators demonstrate the high level of organization and multitasking that goes into administrative work. First, these administrators perform data-entry into computers and later process that data into reports, such as a sales report for a given period. After compiling these reports, they disseminate them to relevant parties, such as managers, sales representatives, and clients. From day to day, they retain knowledge of office and other regulatory procedures regarding sales administration, and are responsible for enforcing them. They spend much time on computers preparing reports, answering customer queries, processing invoices, and communicating with vendors. In between reports and phone calls, they regularly organize travel arrangements, draft schedules, and maintain office calendars. These administrators may also liaise with other department managers and act as the company representative for customer visits.

Education administrators perform the same basic tasks, though in an educational setting. They manage school paperwork, especially bills, status reports, and regulations. As with sales administrators, they are knowledgeable about the policies and procedures of their school or institution, and apply them as needed. They are also the custodians of employee and student files, financial records, and guidelines.

To be precise, however, education administrators assume more of a managerial position than do sales administrators. They act as the chief executive officers of their institutions, as they are responsible for hiring teachers, providing conflict resolution between students and employees, and supervising classroom quality. In elementary, middle, and high schools, they are known as principals. If they work in school district offices, they are known as administrators.

In college settings, education administrators take many names, as there are multiple academic departments, administrative departments, and financial departments. Presiding administrators are known as provosts or chief academic officers. They hire school faculty, develop budgets, and ensure compliance with academic policies. If they head a particular academic department, they are called department heads or chairpersons, though their administrative and regulatory duties remain largely unchanged. In addition, there are administrators for school admissions, financial aid, athletic departments, and student services.

Though both sales and education administrator jobs are basically people-driven, there is a new breed of administrator that works mainly with computers. These administrators are called systems administrators, and they launch, maintain, and troubleshoot computer programs used by businesses. They constitute a dynamically growing occupation as more companies transfer their administrative systems to computers.

Systems administrators undertake the individualized design of computer systems and networks for companies. They institute local-area networks (LANs), wide-area networks (WANs), as well as Internet and Intranet systems. They first consult company heads as to the desired look and functionality of these systems, and then apply these plans using their computer programming skills. Throughout the programming process, they ensure security, efficiency, and coordination in both hardware and software. They install security software, perform upgrades, and monitor the system daily for virus attacks. They are responsible for troubleshooting the system both during and after this process, by reviewing user complaints and locating the source of malfunctions.

For individuals and small businesses, systems administrators often work as contractors. For large companies and corporations, systems administrators often work on-site and act as the managers for the given company's computer system.

With computers assuming so much clerical work, there are now also “virtual” administrators who work from remote locations. They are also called remote administrators because they telecommute from their homes or other remote locations to do administrative work. A remote administrator is often a part-time administrative assistant, rather than the leading administrator for a business. However, this person has to demonstrate as much organizational and time management skill as an on-site administrator. Remote administrators typically have to download remote software, such as video conferencing software, in order to communicate with their employers. Their responsibilities mainly involve word processing, preparing spreadsheets, and drafting correspondence.

Despite the common theme of clerical work in their jobs, the required educations and average salaries for administrator jobs differ widely. Firstly, sales administrators often have at least two years of post-secondary education, though sufficient practical experience can waive this requirement. On the other hand, sales administrators who want to work for corporations should have at least a bachelor's degree in marketing or business. All sales administrators should be proficient with Microsoft Office, and able to maintain a hectic, deadline-driven schedule.

Sales administrators make about $35,000 per year upon entry to the field. Their salaries increase on a par with their experience, and senior-level administrators may make up to $80,000 per year and higher. Their job growth will be average as competition intensifies, especially for jobs in profitable technological companies.

Education administrators are required to have at least a master's degree in education administration along with considerable teaching experience. Most education administrators teach before pursuing their master's degree. Those who want to work in higher education should pursue a doctoral degree in their chosen field, such as college student affairs or higher education administration. Furthermore, they must attain licensure before pursuing administration jobs. Licensure requirements differ by state, but usually demand a graduate degree, work-study training, and, for some states, the passing of an administrator licensing exam.

Education administrators make about $82,000 per year in elementary schools and about $90,000 in junior high and high schools. In higher education, their salaries can easily surpass six figures. Job openings are expected to explode for education administrators as many baby boomer administrators retire and job responsibilities increase due to smaller school budgets.

Systems administrators earn about $60,000 annually, with an experienced minority earning about $95,000 per year. The job outlook for this profession is staggeringly positive, as more companies adopt computer networks and need specially trained people to manage them. Job opportunities will be best for administrators who have a bachelor's degree in computer science, certification in relevant software programs, and extensive practical experience.
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