Job opportunities in the Office and Administration Support occupations are expected to increase by 466,500 new jobs between 2014 and 2024. According to the department of labor statistics, this is slower than the average for all occupations as technology is expected to substitute or supplant some functions that workers in office and administrative support occupations do. However, overall job opportunities should remain good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation for a variety of reasons including changing careers, returning to school or retiring.
There are thirteen different occupations in the Office and Administration Cluster of careers all requiring slightly different levels of office skills and some of these professions are in more demand than others. If you’re thinking of starting a new career in the area of Office and Administration in 2017, you may wish to explore the occupations that are currently in the most demand. Below are 5 of the most in-demand office administration jobs for 2017 according to bls.gov and current trends in the industry.
- Medical Secretaries – The demand for medical secretaries is projected to grow 21 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. One of the reasons, according to bls.gov, is because the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of the federal health insurance reform. One other reason, the Occupational Handbook notes, is that aging baby boomers will demand more medical services as they become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. As a Medical secretary, you’ll need to be familiar with medical terminology and codes, medical records, hospital or laboratory procedures and billing and insurance processing.
- Customer Service Representatives – According to bls.gov, demand for customer service representatives is predicted to grow 10% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Telephone call centers, also known as customer contact centers, are expected to grow 39% and will add the most new jobs for customer service representatives. As a Customer service representative, you’ll generally answer questions or requests from customers by telephone. However, with the growing trend in customer service migrating to multiple channel support, you may also find yourself interacting with customers via face to face, email, live chat and social media. This may require many different skill sets that include not only good telephone etiquette skills but also good writing and communication skills. As many companies are providing online self-service tools for their customers, being familiar with your company website will be essential.
- Receptionists – The demand for receptionists won’t go away any time soon and it is projected to grow 10% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations according to bls.gov. One of the reasons is that Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry including technology, healthcare, physicians’ and dentists’ offices, law offices, veterinary offices, and hair salons just to name a few. Receptionists can be employed both full and part time and about 3 in 10 worked part time in 2014 according to bls.gov. As a receptionist, you’ll support management at all levels of the organization and generally greet the public and answer the company telephone. Establishing yourself as the face of the company requires excellent interpersonal skills, customer service skills, telephone etiquette and good communication skills. Good organizational skills and the ability to multi-task are also a must as Receptionists perform many duties including taking messages, scheduling appointments, and maintaining employee files.
- Medical Billing Financial Clerks – Financial clerks do administrative work for many types of organizations including keeping records, helping customers and carrying out financial transactions. Those with experience in medical billing have been sought-after for several years already, and that demand is expected to continue for sometime. Employment of billing and posting clerks is projected to grow 13 percent and job growth is expected to be particularly strong for those in medical billing, notes bls.gov.
- Virtual Assistants – while the overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to grow only 3 percent from 2014 to 2024 and even eventually decline, many industry experts expect the demand for virtual assistants to continue to grow. A virtual Assistant is an independent contractor who provides administrative and other support to individuals, consultants, entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses via the internet. While most secretaries and administrative assistants work in an office setting, virtual assistants, typically work out of their own homes. As a Virtual Assistant, you determine which particular skills you possess that you may offer to your clients. These may range from traditional office skills such as calendar management, document and spreadsheet support to a variety of other specialized skills such as email marketing, social medial support and web design. In addition to possessing the technical skills that are in demand in 2017, Virtual Assistants also need good business communication skills for dealing with their clients and an understanding of office procedures for organizing their clients forms, policies and procedures. If the prospect of starting your own virtual office seems somewhat overwhelming at first, you may want to consider working for one of the already established virtual staffing agencies listed on our Virtual Assistant Resources page.