Office management programs prepare people to do support work for top managers. Students learn to budget, write reports, and keep records. They also learn to manage staff.
It is hard to describe what an office manager does without using the word "variety." And the same applies to the training program. You learn a variety of skills and you study a variety of technologies.
You can begin training for this field in high school or earlier by learning touch-typing. In a high school, especially a vocational school, you can learn many office procedures. You can master word processing software. You can learn how to operate copy machines, faxes, and conference telephones. Some work experience in an office can also give you good background in this field. In fact, you may be able to learn all the skills you need on the job.
Still, employers often want you to have some college education. A two-year degree would be a plus. But often you can prepare for the job by completing a one-year certificate program. A large number of community colleges offer such a program. So do many proprietary schools.
Keyboard speed, while helpful, is not a central goal of these programs. The assumption is that executives are now expected to use the keyboard as they write. For the same reason, shorthand is losing importance in these programs. But you need a good mastery of word processing so that you can turn the executive's draft into a polished document.
Managers need help with management. So you learn how to use scheduling software to set up meetings and create a calendar of appointments for your boss. You learn how to help create a simple budget by entering various categories of earnings and expenses on a spreadsheet. You study principles of human relations so that you can get the office team to work cooperatively. You learn how to find useful information (such as when the next westbound train leaves or the current value of the euro) on the Web. You learn how to organize information so that you and your boss can find it when you need it later.
And you learn principles of time management, so that you can juggle a variety of tasks without getting frazzled. There's that word "variety" again!