What you need to know
College 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 life, or the registrar’s office. Provosts and academic deans are two examples of college administrators.
College administrators generally work full time at a university, college, or junior college. Most work year-round, but some administrators may reduce their hours during the summer.
Some of the things college administrators might do:
- Determine how many students to admit to the school
- Meet with prospective students and encourage them to apply
- Review applications to determine if each potential student should be admitted
- Schedule and register students for classes
- Schedule space and times for classes
- Ensure that students meet graduation requirements
- Plan commencement ceremonies
- Advise students on topics such as housing issues, personal problems, or academics
- Communicate with parents or guardians
- Schedule programs and services, such as athletic events or recreational activities
- Computer skills. College 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. College 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. College administrators need to be organized so they can manage records, prioritize tasks, and coordinate the activities with their staff.
- Problem-solving skills. College administrators often need to respond to difficult situations, develop creative solutions to problems, and react calmly when problems arise.
The average pay for college administrators in the United States was $96,910 in May 2021 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
About 17,600 new job openings for college administrators are projected each year, on average, over the next 10 years in the United States.
Overall employment of college administrators is projected to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations.
People will continue to seek college education to accomplish their career goals. As more people enter colleges and universities, more college administrators will be needed to serve the needs of these additional students.
College 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.
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