Postsecondary Education Administrator Career Description


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.

What they do

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.


Work Environment

Postsecondary education administrators generally work full time. Most work year-round, but some administrators may reduce their hours during the summer.


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.

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.

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.



The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators was $95,410 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $194,090.


Job Outlook

Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth in the occupation is tied to student enrollments at colleges and universities.

People will continue to seek postsecondary education to accomplish their career goals. As more people enter colleges and universities, more postsecondary education administrators will be needed to serve the needs of these additional students.

Provosts and academic dean positions will be limited, since there is typically a set number of these positions per institution.


Similar Job Titles

Academic Affairs Vice President, Academic Dean, Admissions Director, College President, Dean, Financial Aid Director, Institutional Research Director, Provost, Registrar, Students Dean, Academic Dean, Continuing Education Director


Related Occupations

Human Resources Managers, Training and Development Managers, Education Administrators - Elementary and Secondary School, Social Work Teachers – Postsecondary, Instructional Coordinators


More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.


Magazines and Publications



Video Transcript

Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the size of the school, and area of the college they manage. In admissions offices, administrators review college applications, conduct interviews with potential students, and decide whether to admit them to the school. Admissions counselors are typically assigned a region of the country and travel there to speak to high school counselors and students. In registrars’ offices, education administrators and their staff register students for classes, ensure they meet academic requirements, and maintain institutional records. Before the school year begins, registrars prepare course schedules, and as the year winds down, they also help plan graduation ceremonies. postsecondary education administrators may oversee student athletics, academic and personal advising, residential life, or other areas. Student affairs staff may advise student clubs, and train student workers, including residential advisors. Provosts and academic deans help develop academic policies, hire faculty, and manage budgets. Postsecondary education administrators work full time, year-round, for both private and public colleges and universities. Postsecondary education administrators typically need at least a master’s degree, although smaller colleges or community colleges may hire candidates with only a Bachelor’s. Provosts and deans usually need a Ph.D. Many positions also require several years of experience in a college administration setting.


Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH,
CareerOneStop, O*Net Online