How To Become a Business Administrator: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 October 2022

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A business administrator plays several roles within an organisation, primarily to ensure that its operations run smoothly and efficiently. These professionals oversee staff members and organisational practices and make decisions to help a business achieve its goals and grow. Learning more about this career and its typical responsibilities and requirements can help you assess whether you want to pursue it. In this article, we answer several frequently asked questions about this profession and provide a list of steps to help you understand how to become a business administrator.

What is a business administrator?

A business administrator oversees and makes decisions regarding daily business operations to ensure their organisation functions efficiently and thrives. Their responsibilities can vary depending on their job because these professionals can find employment at both large and small organisations in various industries. They play a role in all areas of the business, analysing organisational and departmental operations to identify issues and develop strategies for improvement. Business administrators also supervise staff across the organisation, creating and implementing best business practices to maintain productivity.

How to become a business administrator

You can use the following steps as guidance for becoming a business administrator:

1. Get certificates

You can begin your career as a business administrator by participating in relevant certificate programs offered by technical and further education (TAFE) institutions or Registered Training Organisations. The length of these programs can vary, and you can find both part- and full-time options depending on your needs. You can also find both online and in-person courses.

Seek Certificate III in Business Administration, Certificate IV in Business Administration or Diploma of Business programs, which provide you with the technical skills and knowledge needed to perform administrative roles and responsibilities for businesses. Relevant skills taught in these programs include:

  • Using business enterprise software

  • Creating business reports and documents, such as spreadsheets and presentations

  • Monitoring and implementing Work Health and Safety (WHS) policies

  • Organising schedules, meetings and travel

  • Performing project management and risk management activities

  • Maintaining databases and financial records

Related: Vocational Training: Definition and Different Types

2. Pursue a degree

If you have business administration certificates or diplomas, employers might not require a bachelor degree. However, pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration or other relevant fields of study can help prove your expertise, and some employers prefer this qualification. While certificate and diploma programs teach you the technical skills needed to succeed in this profession, a degree can help you build specialised knowledge and soft skills. For example, you may take courses related to accountancy, economics and management strategies and practices. Your coursework and experiences also help you develop valuable problem-solving, decision-making, leadership and communication skills.

3. Gain relevant experience

Business administrators can find jobs in many industries. You may choose a particular one to focus on as you meet your educational requirements, such as the healthcare or retail industries. Before applying to full-time jobs, you can seek internships or part-time opportunities within your desired industry to gain relevant experience and understand how businesses within it function. These insights are crucial for a business administrator career, as your primary responsibility is to ensure operations run smoothly.

Interns often receive hands-on training to learn specific skills and responsibilities for their chosen field. Even if you do not find business administration internships, seek positions that involve similar tasks or enable you to work with these professionals. Working within an administrative capacity can often help you gain clarity about the work environment and its typical operations or activities. These opportunities also enable you to build relationships with industry professionals who can answer questions and provide career guidance.

Related: What Is an Internship: Everything You Need To Know

4. Apply for entry-level roles

Once you've met educational requirements and gained sufficient experience, you can apply for entry-level business administration jobs. Examples of entry-level roles include an administrative assistant, an office administrator or a human resources assistant. Depending on the organisation's size, some employers offer entry-level business administrator positions. Read job postings carefully to ensure you meet the employers' expectations. For example, they might require candidates to have proficiency with particular business software and tools, years of relevant experience and specific soft skills. Identify keywords and phrases from the post that you can use throughout your resume to prove your qualifications.

Related: How To Apply For A Job in 6 Steps

5. Continue developing your skill set

Business administrators take on many responsibilities, so you can continue learning to ensure you manage them effectively. Staying updated on your industry and its trends can help you maintain a strong understanding of your business and its needs to form better decisions. For example, you may identify new technologies that can improve efficiency and productivity within a particular department.

Throughout your career, seek formal and informal training opportunities to keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date. For example, you can take management classes to boost your leadership skills or find online courses aimed at developing specific hard skills related to the software or tools you use regularly. Showing interest in professional development can prove your commitment to this role and impress current and potential employers.

Read more: How To Develop Your Skill Set To Advance Your Career

6. Consider an advanced degree

As you develop your business administrator career, consider pursuing a master's degree to qualify for more advanced leadership positions. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree represents a popular option for business administrators. When applying for MBA programs, you often need a bachelor's degree and relevant work experience. Schools also often specify the minimum score candidates must get on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

An MBA can give you specialised skills and knowledge related to business and management practices. For example, your coursework may include subjects such as business strategy, finance, data analysis and people management. This knowledge and experience can help you form better decisions for your organisation. When participating in these programs, you'll also meet like-minded individuals and professors to build your professional network.

What does a business administrator do?

As mentioned, the day-to-day responsibilities of a business administrator can vary depending on their role. These professionals often help develop and implement strategies that support the daily and long-term success of their organisation. Some typical job duties performed by business administrators include:

  • Overseeing organisational budgets and financial activities

  • Collaborating with staff, executives, board members and other stakeholders to develop and implement organisational policies and procedures

  • Establishing organisational goals and strategies to improve productivity, innovation and performance

  • Analysing the organisation's financial performance using financial statements and sales reports

  • Managing filing systems for bookkeeping and records management purposes

  • Performing invoice management activities

  • Negotiating, reviewing and approving business contracts and agreements

  • Coordinating business events and travel plans

  • Preparing business documents, reports, presentations and official communications

  • Managing inventory of office supplies and other necessary equipment or stock

Frequently asked questions

The answers to the following frequently asked questions may help you decide whether to pursue a business administrator career:

How long does it take to become a business administrator?

The length it takes to become a business administrator can vary depending on your educational path. If you pursue certificates, a Certificate III in Business Administration can take about one year to complete, and a Certificate IV in Business Administration can take about a year and a half. A bachelor's degree can take three years, while a master's degree typically takes an additional two years to complete. You may find some business administrator roles right after receiving your certificate or degree, though some employers prefer candidates who have at least two to three years of professional experience.

What skills are needed to become a business administrator?

Business administrators need many hard or technical skills to perform their jobs, which you typically learn through your formal education and training. However, you also benefit from having numerous soft skills as a professional. These skills include:

  • Communication: Business administrators need strong written and verbal communication skills to deliver messages clearly and concisely to their colleagues, clients and other stakeholders, whether in person or virtually. These skills are also important when developing business reports, documents and policies, as they can ensure their audience understands the information in these materials.

  • Interpersonal skills: Business administrators need various interpersonal skills to ensure positive interactions with their colleagues and stakeholders, such as empathy and active listening to understand their varying business needs. These professionals also need leadership abilities to implement new policies, procedures and organisational goals and monitor their success in the workplace.

  • Problem-solving: Business administrators oversee many aspects of a business, from departments to employees, to assess operational performance and identify issues. They need problem-solving skills to develop effective solutions to the problems they find, along with strategies aimed at helping their organisation grow and thrive in its industry.

  • Organisation: Business administrators hold many responsibilities, so strong organisational and time management skills enable them to prioritise tasks and plan their schedules effectively. These professionals can also maintain organised filing systems or databases.

Related: Top Organisational Skills For Your Resume and Workplace

What's the average salary for a business administrator?

The average salary for a business administrator in Australia is $60,962 per year. It may be possible to become a business administrator with a different salary as several factors can affect pay, such as your level of experience or education, geographic location and employer.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing.

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