Postsecondary Education Administrator

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Salary Range: $80,000 or more

Average Hourly: $46.87

Education: Master's degree

Number of Jobs: 178,800

Jobs Added to 2029: 13,400

Growth: As fast as average

Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

What Postsecondary Education Administrators Do

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.


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 held about 178,800 jobs in 2020. 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.

Job Outlook

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 14,500 openings for postsecondary education administrators are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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 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.

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.


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.

United Kingdom Job Data


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Education Administrators, at (visited ).