Roles That Involve Working in a School Office (With Skills)

Updated February 16, 2023

Positions working in a school office connect individuals outside the school with the school staff. Through their administrative tasks, these individuals help ensure a school operates smoothly and effectively. Pursing a career in a school office can help you use secretarial skills in a meaningful environment. In this article, we discuss school office positions, provide types of school office positions, explore skills to develop for these types of careers and explain how to get a job in this setting.

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What is a school office position?

A school office position is an administrative role that involves keeping track of a school's calendar and maintaining correspondences with parents. These positions usually assist teachers by making their job easier. School office employees also greet visitors upon their arrival to the school and check them in. These individuals work in elementary, middle and high schools.

Related: 20 School Position Titles (With Salaries and Job Descriptions)

Why are school office positions important?

Schools need non-teaching professionals who can handle administration, direct communication and organize schedules. Every school requires a structure and personnel of liaison between the principal and teaching staff and the parents, whether it's in person, for visits, requests and meetings, or as written or electronic communication about school schedule, classroom learning or teacher requests. Schools use the help of office staff to manage administrative duties, such as answering calls and correspondence, ordering supplies and handling information. Schools also rely on a friendly representative of the school who helps to create a positive learning environment.

Types of school office positions

Here are some common school office positions:

1. School secretary

National average salary: $36,740 per year

Primary duties: A school secretary performs administrative duties and greets visitors upon arrival at the office. They also coordinate events such as field trips and fire drills, write newsletters for parents and order office supplies.

Related: Learn About Being a Secretary

2. School administrative assistant

National average salary: $42,928 per year

Primary duties: A school administrative assistant handles communications with parents, teachers, school officials and vendors by responding to emails and phone calls. They support teachers and the school principal through tasks, such as arranging meetings with parents or ordering supplies for them. Other tasks for a school administrative assistant include updating the school's website, maintaining student files and preparing school reports.

3. School office manager

National average salary: $52,176 per year

Primary duties: A school office manager assists the principal in organizing their schedule. They check in and release students. School office managers also handle employee relations, which includes arranging for a substitute teacher when an employee calls out sick or filing an employee complaint.

4. School office clerk

National average salary: $53,077 per year

Primary duties: A school office clerk oversees the attendance of students at their school. This includes recording attendances, calling parents or guardians about students not present in school and withdrawing students who don't meet a certain requirement.

5. School principal

National average salary: $99,484 per year

Primary duties: A school principal manages the operations of a school, ensuring a safe environment for students to learn. They set performance goals for teachers, implement school policies and monitor the performance of teachers.

Related: Learn About Being a Principal

Skills for working in a school office position

While each school office job has different responsibilities, there are some common traits that help them succeed. The following skills help those working in school offices succeed in their job:

  • Computer proficiency: Because school office positions use computers and related office software , it's important for these professionals to be at ease on computers, especially when keeping track of data, writing documents, making posters or presentations and possibly updating school websites.

  • Customer service: While working in the school office, these types of professionals interact with parents, teachers, students, vendors and other visitors. As a front office representative, schools expect them to be friendly and helpful.

  • Cross-functionality: Those working in a school office concurrently manage several tasks by prioritizing and using time management to accomplish their duties.

  • Organization: To keep track of school records, supply orders and communications, a school office employee uses organizational skills and designated systems for filing information.

  • Patience: Because school office professionals plan events and work with outside vendors, it's helpful for them to be patient as they wait for others to respond. Being in an office that consistently has a variety of children walking in and out and making noise also requires a level of patience and flexibility.

  • Strong communication skills: Because school office professionals share messages between the school staff and parents, it's helpful for them to have effective communication skills, both verbal and written.

Related: 10 Key Secretarial Skills To Use in the Workplace

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How to get a job in a school office

Follow these steps to get a job in a school office:

1. Graduate high school

To pursue a career in a school office, first, complete your high school education. Typically, most school office positions require a minimum education of a high school diploma or GED. More advanced positions or certain schools may require a college education.

2. Gain experience

Begin getting relevant experience in a clerical role. Here you can learn necessary skills, such as administrative duties. You also can develop customer service skills to help you interact with visitors.

3. Network with others

As you begin searching for a school office position, reach out to any contacts you know in academic settings to see if they are hiring. Consider setting up a meeting with a school superintendent to introduce yourself and inquire about any job openings in their school district. It may also be helpful to attend a parent teacher organization (PTO) meeting to become a familiar face at a school.

4. Search for jobs

To find a school office position, search the district website for job openings. Consider widening your search to nearby school districts for any open positions. When applying for jobs, research the requirements because some schools may require a college background.

5. Consider additional training

For more mid-level roles, such as a school office manager, employers may prefer individuals with an associate degree or bachelor's degree in business. It can also be beneficial for you to earn a certification through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). IAAP offers the certified administrative professional (CAP) certificate for those with a specific amount of experience in an office management role. Other training may include becoming first aid certified or learning Spanish when working in schools with a high percentage of Spanish-speaking students.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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