College Education Administrators Overview

Excellent job prospects await prospective college education administrators. Typically, a masters degree or doctoral degree is required for college education administrators, who often first gain experience as teachers or admissions counselors. The majority of the job duties involve working and collaborating with others so interpersonal and communication skills are key for success.

Nature of the Work for College Education Administrators

College Education Administrators

Competent college education administrators are key for the successful operation of an institution. They provide leadership for teaching and take charge of the day-to-day activities in colleges and universities.

College education administrators set goals and educational standards along with the policies and procedures that will help the school achieve them. They manage other staffers including teachers, professors, counselors, librarians, managers, support staff and coaches. Other duties include: managing student services such as career counseling, monitoring the educational progress of students, developing academic programs, preparing budgets and recordkeeping. Relations with prospective and current students, the community and employers is also part of the college education administrators duties. In a small technical school or private college one administrator may handle everything, but in a larger college or university responsibilities are typically allocated among many administrators who each have a specific function.

In colleges and universities college education administrators, college or university department heads or chairpersons may direct major or department programs such as communications, education and business. Besides teaching they may propose budgets, recruit and hire teachers, serve on committees, coordinate class schedules, evaluate faculty members and perform administrative duties. College education administrators must balance the needs and concerns of students, administrators and faculty.

College education administrators also take charge of student services. However, vice presidents of student affairs, directors of student services or dean of students may be responsible for career services, financial aid, recreational programs, foreign student services, heath and counseling services, admissions and housing and residential life. Small colleges may require these professionals to counsel students as well, while large colleges split up each of these services to different administrators. Registrars keep students’ records, registering them, recording grades, preparing transcripts, evaluating academic records, overseeing the preparation of the schedule, analyzing enrollment stats and evaluating academic records. Directors of admissions take on the process of admitting and recruiting students and they work closely with financial aid directors in charge or loans, fellowships and scholarships. Electronic student information systems are now the norm so computer skills are a must. Athletic directors at colleges may oversee the publicity for athletic events, supervise coaches, direct intramural activities and prepare budgets. Some college education administrators also direct technology, distance learning and public relations.

These leadership positions come with significant responsibilities and often in turn, a fair amount of stress. That said, many find working with students extremely rewarding. This position requires fast-paced, stimulating and sometimes demanding work interacting with students, community members, parents, faculty, state and local policymakers and business leaders.

In 2008 only about 35 percent of college education administrators worked more than 40 hours a week. Supervising school activities on nights and weekends is common. And while some college education administrators only work during the academic year, most work year round.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for College Education Administrators

Recommended Education Level

Usually college education administrators start out as teachers and then seek a masters degree or doctoral degree to advance into education administration. Educational backgrounds and experience vary as widely as do the levels of responsibility and duties these positions require.

At the college and university level, chairpersons and academic deans begin as professors, which already requires a masters degree or doctoral degree so an additional degree is not usually necessary to advance. Other college education administrators such as financial aid directors, student affairs, admissions officers and registrars may start in a related position with a bachelor’s degree. Later they may seek a masters degree in counseling, higher education administration or college student affairs. For top student affairs positions employers look for a Ph.D or Ed.D. For some finance, admissions or records work, a background in statistics or accounting along with computer skills are needed.

Many colleges and universities offer programs in educational leadership, college student affairs and higher education administration that lead to advanced degrees. Courses for college education administrators degree programs include: school finance and budgets, politics in education, counseling, school leadership, school law and curriculum development and evaluation.

Usually education administrators at the postsecondary level have no licensing requirements.

Because most college education administrators start out in another related position before advancing, to be considered for a college education administrators positions they must prove their skills in their current job. Important qualifications for advancement include motivation, confidence, determination, leadership and innovativeness. College education administrators must also be able to organize work effectively and make sound decisions. People in this position must be effective communicators and motivators with a knack for building strong interpersonal relationships. Leadership practices and principles can be learned through both education and work experience. Computer skills will also be necessary for basic tasks including coordinating technical resources.

Beyond college education administrators, advancements can occur to higher level administrative positions or to similar positions at larger institutions. Some may go on to become presidents of colleges or universities.

Top 10 Most Popular Education Administration Schools

1. University of Phoenix (Multiple Campus Locations)
2. Grand Canyon University (Multiple Campus Locations)
3. William Woods University (Fulton, Missouri)
4. Concordia University, River Forest (River Forest, Illinois)
5. Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
6. California State University, Northridge (Northridge, California)
7. Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, Arizona)
8. Prairie View A & M University (Prairie View, Texas)
9. Community College of the Air Force (Montgomery, Alabama)
10. National-Louis University (Chicago, Illinois)

See All Education Administration Schools

Top 10 Most Popular Online Education Administration Schools

1. University of Phoenix - Online School
2. Purdue University Global
3. University of Arizona Global Campus
4. American InterContinental University - Online School
5. Kansas State University - Online School
6. Strayer University - Online School
7. Walden University - Online School
8. Capella University - Online School
9. Keiser University - Online School
10. Jones International University - Online

See All Online Education Administration Schools

Employment and Job Outlook for College Education Administrators

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).

In 2008 there were 124,600 college education administrators and most worked in public and private educational institutions.

Employment opportunities are expected to grow at about the same rate as all occupations, but job prospects should be excellent as many in the field are expected to retire and few will apply to the same positions.

From 2008 to 2018, jobs for college education administrators will increase by about 8 percent, which is on average with the rate for all occupations. The primary reason for growth is that the number of students attending colleges and universities is expected to grow faster than other student populations. Many jobs will be with schools that cater to working adults. These schools help students update their skills, earn a degree or learn job-specific training through online schools or part time programs. As these schools and the demand for these schools continues to grow, more college education administrators will be needed to run them.

Many retirements are expected and there should be fewer applicants for some job openings. Different areas of the country may see a different range of opportunities. For example, the population is growing quickly in the West and South so more college education administrators will likely be needed there. Also jobs are typically more plentiful in urban and rural areas where salaries are lower than the suburbs.

Nonacademic college education administrators jobs such as director of student affairs or director of admissions tend to be less popular so fewer applicants are expected. Low applicant levels are also due to the fact that they need a masters degree or doctoral degree in education administration for these positions even though the salary opportunity is often lower than for other occupations.

Earnings and Salary for College Education Administrators

College education administrators earned a median annual salary of $80,670. The highest 10 percent earned above $160,500, the lowest earned under $45,050 and the middle 50 percent earned between $58,940 and $113,860.

Salaries varied based on the location and enrollment level of the college or university. Benefits for college education administrators usually include generous health and pension packages along with 4 to 5 weeks of vacation each year. Plus, employees can typically take advantage of free tuition for themselves and their families at the college or university where they work.

As stated by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, in the 2008-2009 school year, the median annual salaries of selected college education administrators were:

Chief academic officer: $158,000


Business: $150,000
Arts and sciences: $134,632
Graduate programs: $130,000
Education: $128,550
Nursing: $125,400
Health-related professions: $120,980
Continuing education: $109,925
Occupational studies/vocational education: $92,622


Chief development officer: $141,712
Dean of students: $88,280
Director, student financial aid: $74,261
Registrar: $71,764
Director, student activities: $54,931

Annual Salary for College Education Administrators

On average, College Education Administrators earn $82,800 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $46,310/yr $60,870/yr $115,980/yr $162,170/yr

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook