Bureau of Labor Statistics

Postsecondary Education Administrators

postsecondary education administrators image
Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities.
Quick Facts: Postsecondary Education Administrators
2018 Median Pay $94,340 per year
$45.36 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, 2018 192,600
Job Outlook, 2018-28 7% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-28 13,500

Summary

What Postsecondary Education Administrators 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 a Postsecondary Education Administrator

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $94,340 in May 2018.

Job Outlook

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Expected growth may result from increasing student enrollment in colleges and universities.

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 department in which they work, such as admissions, student affairs, or the registrar’s office.

Duties

Education administrators’ duties depend on the size of their college or university. Small schools often have small staffs that 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 who work in admissions decide which applicants 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 which students should be admitted
  • Analyze data about applicants and admitted students

Admissions officers also prepare promotional materials about the school. They often are assigned a region of the country to which they travel and speak to high school counselors and students.

Admissions officers who work with the financial aid department offer packages of federal and institutional financial aid to prospective students.

Postsecondary education administrators may 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 coordinate the activities of the individual colleges or schools. For example, a large university may have a separate dean for business, law, and medical schools.

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

  • Schedule course offerings, including space and times for classes
  • Oversee student registration 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’ duties vary throughout the school year. During registration and at the beginning of the academic term, for example, they help students sign up for, drop, and add courses. 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. They typically do the following:

  • Advise students on topics such as housing, 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 may specialize in areas such as 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 to rooms and match them with 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.

Work Environment

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

Postsecondary education administrators held about 192,600 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of postsecondary education administrators were as follows:

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 79%
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 13

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.

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 candidates who have experience working in a postsecondary academic administrative office, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans.

Education

Postsecondary education administrators typically need a master’s degree. However, a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for positions at small colleges and universities. 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 begin their careers as professors and later move into administration. They have a doctorate in the field in which they taught or in higher education.

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 not be necessary.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Postsecondary education administrators need to be comfortable working with computers so they can use software to manage student and school records.

Interpersonal skills. Postsecondary education administrators need to build good relationships with colleagues, students, and parents. For example, those in admissions need to be outgoing so they can encourage prospective students to apply to the school.

Organizational skills. Administrators need to be organized so they can manage records, prioritize tasks, and coordinate activities with their staff.

Problem-solving skills. Administrators need to react calmly when a difficult situation arises and develop creative solutions.

Advancement

Education administrators with advanced degrees may be promoted to higher level positions within their department or the college. Some become college presidents, an occupation discussed in the profile on top executives.

Pay

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Median annual wages, May 2018

Education administrators, postsecondary

$94,340

Other management occupations

$90,120

Total, all occupations

$38,640

 

The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $94,340 in May 2018. 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 $54,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $190,600.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for postsecondary education administrators in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $95,910
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 90,440

As part of their employee benefits plan, many colleges and universities allow full-time employees to attend classes at 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.

Job Outlook

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Percent change in employment, projected 2018-28

Education administrators, postsecondary

7%

Other management occupations

6%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected because of increasing student enrollment in 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 direct student registration 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

Job prospects will be better for candidates who have experience working in higher education.

Employment projections data for postsecondary education administrators, 2018-28

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

Occupational Title

Education administrators, postsecondary

SOC Code11-9033
Employment, 2018192,600
Projected Employment, 2028206,100
Percent Change, 2018-287
Numeric Change, 2018-2813,500
Employment by IndustryGet data

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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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 2018 MEDIAN PAY
Administrative services managers

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Bachelor's degree $96,180
Human resources managers

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Bachelor's degree $113,300
Postsecondary teachers

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See How to Become One $78,470
Public relations managers and specialists

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Bachelor's degree $114,800
public relations specialists image

Public Relations Specialists

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent.

Bachelor's degree $60,000
School and Career Counselors

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed. Career counselors help people choose a path to employment.

Master's degree $56,310
Top executives

Top Executives

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals.

Bachelor's degree $104,980
Training and development managers

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers oversee staff and plan and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees.

Bachelor's degree $111,340
Elementary, middle, and high school principals

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals oversee all school operations, including daily school activities.

Master's degree $95,310

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Education Administrators,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm (visited September 13, 2019).

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