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|
Postsecondary education administrators generally work full time. Most work year-round, but some administrators may reduce their hours during the summer.
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.
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.
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.
Postsecondary education administrators typically have an interest in the Helping and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.
If you are not sure whether you have a Helping or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a postsecondary education administrator, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Postsecondary education administrators should also possess the following specific qualities:
Computer skills. Registrars often need to be adept at working with computers so they can create and maintain databases and 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 co-curricular activities.
Organizational skills. Regardless of their field, administrators need to be organized so they can manage records, prioritize tasks, and coordinate the activities of their staff.
Problem-solving skills. Administrators often need to respond to difficult situations, develop creative solutions to problems, and react calmly when problems arise.
The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $95,410 in May 2019. 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 $55,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $194,090.
In May 2019, 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||$97,250|
|Junior colleges; state, local, and private||90,670|
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.
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 will be better for candidates who have experience working in higher education.
For more information about registrars or admissions counselors, visit
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
For more information about education administrators specializing in student affairs, visit
NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education