Postsecondary Education Administrators

Summary

postsecondary education administrators image
Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities.
Quick Facts: Postsecondary Education Administrators
2014 Median Pay $88,390 per year
$42.49 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Master's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 175,100
Job Outlook, 2014-24 9% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 15,200

What Postsecondary Education Administrators Do

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 life, or the office of the registrar.

Work Environment

Postsecondary education administrators work in colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and trade schools. Most work full time.

How to Become a Postsecondary Education Administrator

Although a bachelor’s degree may be acceptable for some entry-level positions, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is often required. Employers typically prefer to hire candidates who have experience working in the field, especially for occupations such as registrars and academic deans.

Pay

The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $88,390 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Expected growth is due to increases in enrollments.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for postsecondary education administrators.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of postsecondary education administrators with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about postsecondary education administrators by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Postsecondary Education Administrators Do

Postsecondary education administrators
Postsecondary education administrators assist students with a variety of tasks, such as registering for classes and completing admissions applications.

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, the office of the registrar, or student affairs.

Duties

Postsecondary education administrators who work in admissions decide if potential students should be admitted to the school. They typically do the following:

  • 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
  • Analyze data about applicants and admitted students
  • Prepare promotional materials about the school

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 often work with the financial aid department, which helps students determine if they are able to afford tuition and creates packages of federal and institutional financial aid, if necessary.

Postsecondary education administrators who work in the registrar’s office, sometimes called registrars, maintain student and course records. They typically do the following:

  • Schedule and register students for classes
  • Schedule space and times for classes
  • Ensure that students meet graduation requirements
  • Plan commencement ceremonies
  • Prepare transcripts and diplomas for students
  • Produce data about students and classes
  • Maintain the academic records of the institution

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:

  • Advise students on topics such as housing issues, personal problems, or academics
  • Communicate with parents or guardians
  • Create, support, and assess nonacademic programs for students
  • Schedule programs and services, such as athletic events or recreational activities

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 student workers, such as residential advisers. Education administrators who specialize in multicultural affairs 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. 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.

Work Environment

Postsecondary education administrators
Postsecondary education administrators work in colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and trade schools.

Postsecondary education administrators held about 175,100 jobs in 2014. Some work for public schools, and others work for private schools.

In 2014, about 75 percent of postsecondary education administrators worked for colleges, universities, and professional schools. About 15 percent worked for junior colleges in 2014.

Work Schedules

Postsecondary education administrators generally work full time. Most work year-round, but some administrators may reduce their hours during the summer.

How to Become a Postsecondary Education Administrator

Postsecondary education administrators
Postsecondary education administrators need to build good relationships with colleagues, students, and parents.

Although a bachelor’s degree may be acceptable for some entry-level positions, a master’s or higher degree is often required. Employers often want candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. 

Education

Educational requirements vary for different positions. A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient, but a master’s degree or Ph.D. is generally required. 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 career 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

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 or may not be necessary.

Important Qualities

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.

Advancement

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.

Pay

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Median annual wages, May 2014

Management occupations

$97,230

Education administrators, postsecondary

$88,390

Total, all occupations

$35,540

 

The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $88,390 in May 2014. 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 $50,240, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $174,000.

In May 2014, the median annual wage in colleges, universities, and professional schools, the industry that employed the most postsecondary education administrators, was $91,160. The median annual wage in junior colleges, the second largest industry, was $82,930.

Postsecondary education administrators generally work full time. Most work year-round, but some schools may reduce their hours during the summer.

As part of their employee benefits plan, many colleges and universities allow full-time employees to attend classes for a discount or for free.

Job Outlook

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Education administrators, postsecondary

9%

Total, all occupations

7%

Management occupations

6%

 

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Expected growth is due to increases in enrollments.

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.

Despite expected increases in enrollment, employment growth in public colleges and universities will depend on state and local government budgets. When state and local governments reduce budgets for higher education, postsecondary institutions may lay off employees, including administrators. As a result, employment growth may be somewhat limited by state and local government budget constraints.

Enrollment is expected to decrease in online colleges and universities. As a result, there will be less demand for postsecondary education administrators in these types of schools.

Job Prospects

Job prospects will be best for candidates who have experience working in higher education and for those with a master’s degree

Employment projections data for postsecondary education administrators, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Education administrators, postsecondary

11-9033 175,100 190,300 9 15,200 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of postsecondary education administrators.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2014 MEDIAN PAY
Administrative services managers

Administrative Services Managers

Administrative services managers plan, direct, and coordinate supportive services of an organization. Their specific responsibilities vary, but administrative service managers typically maintain facilities and supervise activities that include recordkeeping, mail distribution, and office upkeep.

Bachelor's degree $83,790
Human resources managers

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff; consult with top executives on strategic planning; and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.

Bachelor's degree $102,780
Postsecondary teachers

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

See How to Become One $70,790
Public relations managers and specialists

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Public relations managers plan and direct the creation of material that will maintain or enhance the public image of their employer or client. Fundraising managers coordinate campaigns that bring in donations for their organization.

Bachelor's degree $101,510
public relations specialists image

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals.

Bachelor's degree $55,680
School and Career Counselors

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills and succeed in school. Career counselors assist people with the process of making career decisions by helping them develop skills or choose a career or educational program.

Master's degree $53,370
Top executives

Top Executives

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Bachelor's degree $102,750
Training and development managers

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees. They also oversee a staff of training and development specialists.

Bachelor's degree $101,930
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Postsecondary Education Administrators,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm (visited February 09, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015