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How to Become a Salesforce Administrator

What started as an innovative CRM platform has evolved into a complex SaaS and technology ecosystem. The global Salesforce industry includes thousands of apps on a marketplace called the AppExchange, tends of thousands of businesses (including jobs on internal teams or in consulting), and over one million professional jobs — which doesn’t even account for the various Salesforce project opportunities that are tailored to Freelancers!

While the Salesforce market is incredibly lucrative, it isn’t open to just anyone. In order to apply for and be hired on to complete remote Salesforce jobs, you must first become an experienced Salesforce Administrator.

As the Salesforce ecosystem continues to expand, interest in learning the Salesforce platform has never been higher and there are incredible resources at the disposal of people that want to break in or continue expanding their Salesforce skill sets.

There's a lot of information out there but we can help. Below, the Found HQ staff will provide you with a crash course on becoming a Salesforce Administrator or up-skilling yourself. We’ll cover important details like the training platform that you need to use, how much you can expect to make, and everything in between!

Read on ...

What is Trailhead?

Trailhead is Salesforce’s proprietary learning & development platform. This one-stop shop for all things Salesforce includes everything you need to become a skilled Administrator, Developer, Consultant, or Marketing Specialist. Experts have spent countless hours developing a rigorous curriculum designed for both entry-level students and experienced Salesforce professionals.

If you want to become a Certified Salesforce Admin, you will need to do so using Trailhead. The best part is that you can get started for free. However, there are some paid resources that may come in handy along the way.

Once you’ve created your Trailhead account, simply select the training path that you want to pursue. In this case, you will need to choose the “Admin” training path and start with “Beginner” level courses.

After you set your custom goals, all learning material will be divided into three levels. These levels include units, modules, and trails.

Your lessons will be arranged in a very specific sequence. The purpose is to build off of each lesson and teach you new skills that leverage information provided during the previous module. According to Salesforce, this tactic is designed to provide you with a curated experience.

What Does a Salesforce Admin Do?

While Salesforce has expanded well beyond the core Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform - Sales Cloud - this remains a heavy focus for Salesforce Administrators and is still the primary use case within a business. Salesforce Admins can also work across other products, such as Service Cloud, Communities, Salesforce CPQ, Marketing Cloud, and more. Companies that are using these Salesforce products internally are known as Salesforce Customers - in order to provide a consistent, quality experience for thousands of Salesforce users within a company, the employ a staff of Salesforce Administrators to work specifically on this tool.

While there are several different designations within the Salesforce hierarchy, Administrators are one of the most integral components in the infrastructure. In fact, Salesforce recommends that any company with 31+ Salesforce users have a minimum of 1 full-time Salesforce Administrator on staff. As soon as companies hit 75 users, Salesforce recommends 2 full-time Salesforce Administrators and so on.

A Salesforce Administrator is responsible for working directly with business stakeholders. Their mission is to define specific system requirements, customize the user interface in accordance with the stakeholder's expectations, and provide quality service.

Depending on the size of the organization, it may employ a single Salesforce Administrator or an entire team of staff. For example, DoorDash has a 32+ person Salesforce team in-house that supports 4,000+ internal Salesforce users on a daily basis.

A Salesforce Administrator must:

  • Maintain the company's day-to-day use of the platform
  • Stay up-to-date on new tools and capabilities to drive product strategy
  • Provide an enjoyable experience for all end-point users, helping get users setup, generate reports or build custom dashboards etc.


Salesforce Administrators bridge the gap between business leaders, the day-to-day Salesforce users, and the more skilled and technical Salesforce Developer or Architect team. These employees should act as trusted advisors to the end user, being able to train and patiently support them while getting acclimated with the team, and also facilitating requirements gathering sessions to identify new ways the company can customize and use Salesforce.

What are Average Salesforce Admin Salaries?

According to Salesforce, their international ecosystem will yield roughly 4.2 million jobs between the years 2019 and 2024. This ecosystem will also generate $1.2 trillion in revenue for new businesses alone. Proficiency in the Salesforce platform has become the third most in-demand skill set for IT professionals.

With hands-on Salesforce experience in such high demand, it comes as no surprise that professionals within this field are compensated extremely well, especially as Salesforce continues to experience double digit year-over-year growth within its customer base.

On average, Salesforce Administrators can expect to earn approximately $95,000+ per year, although it obviously varies greatly by geography and overall experience level. If they are working exclusively as a Salesforce Freelancer, the hourly rate will vary greatly depending on the project duration and requirements. You can explore our Salesforce Consultant Hourly Rate Guide for more details.

Salesforce Administrators are not the only ones earning well in the Salesforce community. Salesforce Developers and Consultants have average earnings of over $105,000.

Certified Salesforce Architects are the highest earners within this skill set with median salaries over $130,000 and easily reaching up to $160,000-$175,000 for the most experience Architects. Regardless of where you are in your Salesforce journey, all of the knowledge and resources you need to get started or level up to these lucrative roles can be obtained through the Trailhead platform.

What Certifications Do Salesforce Admins Need?

If you are ready to jumpstart your career with Salesforce Trailhead, it is important that you know where to begin. Whether you want to become a Salesforce Architect, Developer, or Designer, you must start by obtaining the prerequisite Salesforce Certification. This means taking the Salesforce Admin course and passing the associated exam.

Although it is the very first course available, the Admin modules are the hardest for many individuals. This is because the Salesforce Certified Administrator course lays the groundwork for all future modules and learning opportunities.

The Salesforce Administrator Exam includes 60 multiple-choice questions. It also includes five “non-scored” questions that are used for data gathering. You will have a total of 105 minutes to complete the exam and must obtain a score of 65% in order to pass.

Salesforce charges a $200 registration fee (plus tax) for the initial exam and $100 (plus tax) for retakes, so be sure to invest in your studying and practice exams before paying to sit for the actual test! For individuals that currently work at a Salesforce Consulting Partner, be sure to ask if your employer will cover the cost. Salesforce Partners are incentivized to have as many Certified Salesforce Consultants as possible, so they will pick up the cost for all Certifications in most cases.

For Salesforce Administrators that already have experience on the platform (and have obtained the Administrator Certification), there are a total of 5 Admin Certifications you can obtain, including Advanced Administrator, CPQ Specialist, Marketing Cloud Administrator, and Platform App Builder. If you're interested in pursuing a more technical path, there are another 8 Salesforce Developer Certifications.

Getting a Job as a Salesforce Admin

Thanks to the dynamic learning resources available on Trailhead and the extensive Salesforce Customer base that is hiring at a given time, becoming a Salesforce Admin is much easier than you might expect.

While having a technical background in development or Salesforce might make the course easier, these are not prerequisites at all. All you need to get started is a reliable computer, a high-quality internet connection, and the motivation to learn.

To begin, create a Trailhead account and begin taking the Salesforce Admin courses. All of these courses are self-paced, which means that you can complete them around your busy schedule. This can be especially helpful for those who are learning about Salesforce while continuing to hold another position.

If you have no experience with Salesforce, expect the course to take approximately 115 to 125 hours in total. This includes study time and targeted exam prep.

Once you have completed the coursework, it is time to schedule your Salesforce Certified Administrator exam. You’ll be able to schedule this at a time that’s convenient for you, but make sure to set aside plenty of time in a quiet place to get it done.

After you pass this test, you are ready to start bidding for lucrative Salesforce freelance projects for remote Salesforce Administrators.

If you would like to learn more about these many opportunities or want to make sure that you are notified about the latest Salesforce projects, check out Found HQ’s resources for freelancers.