What They Do: Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities.
Work Environment: Postsecondary education administrators work for public and private schools. Most work full time.
How to Become One: Postsecondary education administrators typically need a master’s degree. However, there will be some opportunities for those with a bachelor’s degree. Employers typically prefer to hire candidates who have experience working in a postsecondary education administrative office, especially for occupations such as registrars and academic deans.
Salary: The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators is $97,500.
Job Outlook: Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Expected growth may result from increasing student enrollment in colleges and universities.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of postsecondary education administrators with similar occupations.
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Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, student affairs, or the registrar's office.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in admissions decide if potential students should be admitted to the school. They typically do the following:
Many admissions counselors are assigned a region of the country and travel to that region to speak to high school counselors and students.
Admissions officers may work with the financial aid department to offer packages of federal and institutional financial aid to prospective students.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in the registrar's office, sometimes called registrars, maintain student and course records. They typically do the following:
Registrars have different duties throughout the school year. Before students register for classes, registrars must prepare schedules and course offerings. During registration and for the beginning of the semester, they help students sign up for, drop, and add courses. Toward the end of the semester, they plan graduation and ensure that students meet the requirements to graduate. Registrars need computer skills to create and maintain databases.
Postsecondary education administrators who work in student affairs are responsible for a variety of cocurricular school functions, such as student athletics and activities. They typically do the following:
Postsecondary education administrators in student affairs can specialize in student activities, housing and residential life, or multicultural affairs. In student activities, they plan events and advise student clubs and organizations. In housing and residential life, they assign students rooms and roommates, ensure that residential facilities are well maintained, and train residential advisers. In multicultural affairs, they plan events to celebrate different cultures and diverse backgrounds. Sometimes, they manage multicultural centers on campus.
Postsecondary education administrators can be provosts or academic deans. Provosts, also called chief academic officers, help college presidents develop academic policies, participate in making faculty appointments and tenure decisions, and manage budgets. They also oversee faculty research at colleges and universities. Academic deans direct and coordinate the activities of the individual colleges or schools. For example, in a large university, a dean may oversee the law school.
Education administrators' duties depend on the size of their college or university. Small schools often have smaller staffs who take on many different responsibilities, but larger schools may have different offices for each of these functions. For example, at a small college, the Office of Student Life may oversee student athletics and other activities, whereas a large university may have an Athletics Department.
Postsecondary education administrators hold about 190,500 jobs. The largest employers of postsecondary education administrators are as follows:
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private||79%|
|Junior colleges; state, local, and private||13%|
Postsecondary education administrators generally work full time. Most work year-round, but some administrators may reduce their hours during the summer.
Get the education you need: Find schools for Postsecondary Education Administrators near you!
Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master's degree. Employers typically prefer candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans.
Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master's degree. However, at smaller colleges or community college, a bachelor's degree may be sufficient. Degrees can be in a variety of disciplines, such as social work, accounting, or marketing.
Provosts and deans often must have a Ph.D. Some provosts and deans begin their careers as professors and later move into administration. These administrators have doctorates in the field in which they taught. Other provosts and deans have a Ph.D. in higher education or a related field.
Employers typically prefer to hire candidates who have several years of experience in a college administrative setting. Some postsecondary education administrators work in the registrar's office or as a resident assistant while in college to gain the necessary experience. For other positions, such as those in admissions and student affairs, experience may not be necessary.
Computer skills. Postsecondary education administrators often need to be adept at working with computers so they can create and maintain databases and use computer programs to manage student and school records.
Interpersonal skills. Postsecondary education administrators need to build good relationships with colleagues, students, and parents. Those in admissions and student affairs need to be outgoing so they can encourage prospective students to apply to the school and existing students to participate in cocurricular activities.
Organizational skills. Administrators need to be organized so they can manage records, prioritize tasks, and coordinate the activities with their staff.
Problem-solving skills. Administrators often need to respond to difficult situations, develop creative solutions to problems, and react calmly when problems arise.
Education administrators with advanced degrees can be promoted to higher level positions within their department or the college. Some become college presidents, an occupation which is discussed in the profile on top executives.
The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators is $97,500. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,310, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $199,400.
The median annual wages for postsecondary education administrators in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private||$100,060|
|Junior colleges; state, local, and private||$90,470|
As part of their employee benefits plan, many colleges and universities allow full-time employees to attend classes for a discount or for free.
Postsecondary education administrators generally work full time. Most work year-round, but some schools may reduce their hours during the summer.
Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth in the occupation is tied to student enrollments at colleges and universities.
People will continue to seek postsecondary education to accomplish their career goals. As more people enter colleges and universities, more postsecondary education administrators will be needed to serve the needs of these additional students.
Additional admissions officers will be needed to process students' applications. More registrars will be needed to register students for classes and ensure that they meet graduation requirements. More student affairs workers will be needed to make housing assignments and plan events for students.
Provosts and academic dean positions will be limited, since there is typically a set number of these positions per institution.
Despite expected increases in enrollment, employment growth in public colleges and universities will depend on state and local government budgets. If there is a budget deficit, postsecondary institutions may lay off employees, including administrators. If there is a budget surplus, postsecondary institutions may hire more employees.
Job prospects will be better for candidates who have prior experience working in higher education.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2019||Projected Employment, 2029||Change, 2019-29|
|Education administrators, postsecondary||190,500||197,600||4||7,100|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.