If you're a leader with a passion for education and are comfortable making big decisions that could potentially affect large numbers of people, you may be interested in studying education administration for higher education. Read on to learn more about careers and academic programs in this field.
Education administrators in colleges and universities usually have managerial and policy-making duties. For example, student services directors may oversee career counseling programs, while faculty deans supervise departmental chairpersons. As a higher education administrator, your responsibilities might include planning school budgets, hosting community events, cultivating partnerships with regional businesses or appointing new staff members.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for postsecondary education administrators was projected to grow by 15% nationwide, or faster than average, from 2012-2022. While opportunities for employment can be limited by local and state budgets and funding deficits, administrators may be more in demand at online postsecondary schools. As of May 2013, educational administrators at the postsecondary level earned an average of $100,600 a year (www.bls.gov).
You might secure an entry-level position in this field after earning a bachelor's degree, but many top-level administrators hold a master's or doctoral degree in a relevant field of study. Many postsecondary administrators have college-level teaching experience, as well as master's or doctoral degrees in particular fields. Other aspiring administrators enroll in educational leadership, higher education administration or student affairs graduate programs. These programs often cover topics in policy analysis, curriculum development, human resources and finance. You may also study the philosophical foundations of higher education, learn how to conduct community relations and receive training in the use of educational technology.
Master's degree programs in student affairs usually take two years to complete and include research projects, internships or comprehensive exams. Some of these programs are available in both online and campus-based formats. In a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program, you may spend most of your time researching a particular subject, such as governmental or institutional policy, which you may eventually write about and defend in your dissertation. Ph.D. programs often focus more heavily on research and scholarly preparation, while Ed.D. programs are oriented towards professional practice.
Most postsecondary administrators have good decision-making and leadership skills. They're also comfortable communicating with parents, students, professors and other administrators.