What Is a Dean of Students? - Responsibilities & Salary

Explore the career requirements for a dean of students. Learn about the job responsibilities, education requirements, personal qualities, and median salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

A dean of students works in a postsecondary educational institution, usually a college or university, as a voice and advocate for students. In larger institutions they may be responsible for one particular school, for example a law school or business school.

These professionals work closely with other departments, such as academic affairs, to ensure that students' well-being is at the forefront of decisions made by a college and that students are sufficiently supported in all areas of college life. They also direct, organize, and manage nonacademic programs and recreational activities. Take a look at the chart below for a summary of this role.

Degree Required Master's, but a Ph.D. is preferred
Key Responsibilities Schedule programs, advise student groups, direct student resource centers, manage staff
Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (for postsecondary education administrators)*
Median Salary (2017) $92,360 (for postsecondary education administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Responsibilities of a Dean of Students?

All responsibilities relating to this role are ultimately concerned with ensuring the overall welfare and success of students. A dean of students creates both long- and short-term goals and makes sure that the programs and services a school offers are successful. These programs and services can encompass everything from new student orientation and student government to campus safety and student judicial affairs.

The role also involves implementing policies and overseeing budgets within the dean's office. Being on university-wide planning and policy-making committees is often an important part of this career. Additionally, a dean of students is usually responsible for the staff structure and recruitment within their office. They often supervise and appraise members of their department. The role also involves directing and managing emergency situations that affect students and the college environment so students are able to continue their studies with minimal impact.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that postsecondary education administrators, which includes the dean of students role, earned a median salary of $92,360 as of May 2017.

A college, university, or professional school administrator earns a higher wage than an administrator working in a junior college. For a college, university, or professional school administrator, the median wage in 2017 was $94,320. At junior colleges, the median salary was $87,520 for administrators.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

To become a dean of students, the minimum requirement is a master's degree. Some colleges prefer applicants with a doctorate. Employers typically don't specify a particular field of study.

Previous experience in higher education is another common requirement, as this is not an entry-level role. Some colleges ask for a minimum of five years of experience in which a candidate can show they have worked with students, parents, and other college staff. A candidate may also have to demonstrate their leadership experience and success in a previous role in higher education.

What Personal Qualities Are Beneficial?

To be successful as a dean of students, it is important to have excellent communication skills. This role requires working closely with faculty, staff, students, and parents, meaning that a dean of students must have the ability to communicate clearly both in writing and in person. The ability to work with a wide-range of people is also an important part of the role.

A dean of students often manages projects within their department. They need to have strong leadership and problem-solving skills so they can adequately guide others.

What Are Similar Career Options?

Although this is a unique role within post-secondary education, there are several other careers that may be of interest to those who are considering becoming a dean of students.

An administrative services manager develops and oversees the support services of an organization. They generally work in an office environment and supervise areas such as office upkeep and record-keeping, ensuring that an organization is able to run smoothly.

High school principals work closely with teachers and school support staff to ensure an optimal learning environment for students. They are responsible for overseeing curriculum guidelines, class schedules, student discipline, teacher development, and other factors that go into the daily operations within schools.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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