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College Administrators

College administrators, also known as postsecondary administrators, are involved in developing, coordinating, managing and maintaining the numerous programs utilized by colleges. There are a variety of administrators. Many administrators specialize in one area such as financial aid.

The college president oversees the entire college operation and supervises all the administrators. Admissions directors oversee the student admissions processes and recruitment activities. Provosts, also called chief academic officers, assist presidents, prepare budgets, make faculty appointments and tenure decisions and establish academic programs and policies.

The dean of student affairs manages extracurricular activities, counseling services and student housing. Financial aid directors oversee the programs which provide students financial aid such as loan programs, grants and scholarships. They also manage the collection of tuition and fees and maintain student transcripts. Colleges and universities have other administrative positions such as director of alumni affairs, director of public relations and chief planning officer.


  • Prepare and administer budgets
  • Establish operational policies and procedures and make modifications when necessary
  • Recruit, hire and train personnel
  • Produce and maintain financial reports
  • Assist with formulating admission requirements
  • Provide assistance to staff and faculty
  • Appoint individuals to faculty positions
  • Assist with developing course credit policies

Job Characteristics

College administrators need strong managerial, interpersonal, communications and organizational skills. A solid foundation in computer science and data processing is helpful for the occupation.

Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 14 percent growth in the employment of postsecondary education administrators. The demand for postsecondary administrators is expected to grow due to the projected growth of college students. A substantial part of the growth will occur in the private segment of higher education. The growth of colleges that cater to working adults will increase the demand for college administrators.

In 2006 the median annual earnings for postsecondary school administrators was $73,990. Some of the highest paying positions in 2006 were chief academic officer, academic dean of business and chief development officer.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Most college administrators have earned a master's degree in a subject such as higher education administration, business, education, information management, student personnel administration, finance or student counseling. Some colleges and universities require postsecondary administrators to have a Ph.D.


Major Employers

The top employees are public and private colleges and universities.

Schools for Postsecondary Administrators are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Postsecondary Administrators

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Postsecondary Administrators jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 5,490 $126,250
San Diego-Carlsbad 1,640 $112,650
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 1,570 $127,040
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 1,420 $105,350
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin 1,360 $92,380
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 1,340 $131,450
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis 1,330 $112,650
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 1,280 $107,850
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 1,160 $123,080
Columbus 1,080 $116,080

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to postsecondary administrators

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Postsecondary Administrators

To find out more about building a career as Postsecondary Administrators, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Postsecondary Administrators

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Education 95,940 98% $80,550
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Postsecondary Administrators.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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