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Office Applications Specialist

Word processing, spreadsheets, databases—and a whole lot more

Global competition that forces businesses to design smarter-than-ever databases to keep track of customers—and competitors... an ever-changing Internet that prompts all organizations to constantly re-evaluate their Web presence... Microsoft Office® software that regularly adds new features... desktop and laptop computers that need continual maintenance, repair and upgrading... Our computer-driven world continues to grow, evolve—and create exciting job opportunities.

What does an office applications specialist do?

To operate efficiently, today's office needs a "go-to" person with a well-rounded set of computer skills. With your advanced training in Microsoft Office® software, you'll create Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Use Microsoft Access to design smart, efficient databases to keep track of customers, inventory, competitors or any critical information.

What are the typical job titles?

Entry-level positions include administrative assistant, receptionist, office coordinator and customer service representative. With experience, you can advance to office manager.

What kind of salary can you earn?

As of May 2010, the annual salary for administrative assistants in greater Chicago ranged from $21,730 to $55,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. As with any occupation, the salary can vary greatly by employer size, industry, employee credentials, years of experience, location and other factors.

What are the job prospects?

Employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations. Secretaries and administrative assistants will have among the largest numbers of new jobs arise, about 362,000, over the 2006-16 period. Additional opportunities will result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave this occupation.