Job Description for a College Administrator

Written by jennifer blair Google
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Job Description for a College Administrator
Some college adminstrators oversee special events, like graduation ceremonies. (students image by dinostock from

College administrators are responsible for overseeing daily activities at colleges and universities. They hold a variety of titles, and perform both general administrative duties and specialised academic tasks as well. Administrators may be responsible for recruiting new students, developing academic curriculum or managing extra-curricular activities. They may also oversee alumni relations and help plan commencement ceremonies. Education requirements vary based on the institution and type of position, but all college administrators have at least a bachelor’s degree.


College administrators may work in a range of capacities. Provosts are responsible for selecting new faculty and making tenure decisions. They also create academic policies and plan budgets. Along with academic deans, provosts supervise academic chairmen and deans of individual colleges.

Academic chairmen supervise their specific academic department, which may include devising class schedules; handing out teaching assignments; recruiting new applicants for teaching jobs; and conducting faculty evaluations.

Development directors help fund raise for their college and university, though many administrators are called upon to help with this task. Deans of students oversee admissions and other activities that directly impact student life, such as health and counselling services, housing, financial aid and career counselling. In addition, there may be specific administrators for each of these areas as well, such as a director of admissions or financial aid director. Some administrators also work in public relations or distance learning.


Most college administrators who serve as academic deans or department chairmen begin as professors in their academic department, so they typically have a master’s or doctoral degree. Many college administrators who work in admissions, financial aid or student affairs usually start out in staff positions in those fields and advance to an administrator title. They usually have a bachelor’s degree and go on to earn a graduate degree in high education administration, college student affairs or counselling while employed. Students in education administration programs normally take classes in school finance, school law, school leadership and politics in education.

Working Conditions

College administration jobs can be extremely stressful because they come with a great deal of responsibility. Administrators must not only work with students, but collaborate with faculty, parents, alumni, business leaders and representatives from state and local government as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 35 per cent of education administrators, including college administrators, put in more than 40 hours a week in 2008. They are often required to attend school events that take place at night or on weekends, and most college administrators work year round despite school breaks for summer and holidays.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for post secondary school administrators, including college administrators, was £52,435 as of May 2008. The highest 10 per cent were paid more than £104,325, while the lowest 10 per cent were paid less than £29,282. The middle 50 per cent earned between £38,311 and £74,009. College administrators often receive other benefits as well, such as paid vacation and health and pension packages. Many colleges and universities also allow employees and their families to attend the school for free.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment for post secondary school administrators, including college administrators, will increase by 2 per cent between 2008 and 2018, which is a slower rate than the average for all occupations. Enrolment in colleges and universities is expected to increase, so more administrators will be required to manage these larger student bodies. Many opportunities will also result from the need to replace administrators who retire. Candidates with a doctoral degree should enjoy the best prospects.

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