Job Description for a College Administrator


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 specialized academic tasks. Administrators may be responsible for recruiting new students, developing academic curricula or managing extracurricular 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.

Many Types of Administrators

  • 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 chairpersons and deans of individual colleges. Academic chairpersons supervise their specific academic department, which may include devising class schedules, making teaching assignments, recruiting teachers, and evaluating faculty. Development directors help raise funds. Deans of students oversee admissions and other activities that directly impact student life, such as health and counseling services, housing, financial aid and career counseling.

Various Levels of Education

  • Most college administrators who serve as academic deans or department chairpersons begin as professors in their academic department, so they typically have a doctorate. Many college administrators who work in admissions, financial aid or student affairs start out in staff positions. They usually have a bachelor's degree and go on to earn a graduate degree in administration, student affairs or counseling. Students in education administration programs normally take classes in school finance, school law, school leadership and politics in education.

Long Hours

  • 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. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 35 percent of college administrators put in more than 40 hours a week. 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 postsecondary school administrators was $105,00 as of May 2013. The mean annual wage for two-year-college administrators was $87,670. Administrators of trade schools and technical colleges averaged $79,630.

Employment Outlook

  • The BLS estimates that employment for college administrators, will increase by 15 percent through 2022, a faster rate than the average for all occupations. Enrollment in colleges and universities is expected to increase, so more administrators will be required to manage these larger student bodies.

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