How do I Become a College Administrator?

Carol Francois
Carol Francois
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There are four steps required to become a college administrator: post-secondary training, related work experience, applying for a job, and completing the job interview process. A college administrator is the highest ranked administrative official. In some schools, this role is known as the assistant dean, chief administrative officer, or administrative manager.

People who want to become a college administrator are typically outgoing, ambitious, hard working, and enjoy working with others. The role of college administrator is an important one, as she is responsible for the finances, operations, and management of the college. Although not on the academic staff, the college administrator has a large role in the development and implementation of academic policy and rules surrounding admissions, expulsions, and other related matters.

The first requirement to become a college administrator is to complete a post-secondary education program. The vast majority of college administrators have a master's in business administration (MBA) or are a certified public accountant (CPA). A college administrator often has a strong personal commitment to the post-secondary education sector and devotes significant time and effort to ensure that programs run smoothly.

Related work experience includes jobs as an accountant, company management, executive, or senior management for a large institution. All of these jobs provide opportunities to manage people, control spending, and oversee several different aspects of the business or operation. These experiences can be gained both inside and outside the college environment.

When applying for a job to become a college administrator, be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter, double-checking for any grammar or spelling mistakes. Research the details of the school or faculty and try to tailor your cover letter to its specific needs and requirements. All colleges will require a criminal records check before they can make a job offer. Keep this in mind when applying.

During the job interview process to become a college administrator, it is important to remember that the post-secondary sector typically has at least two rounds of interviews for most positions. The first round is with the human resources staff and is a preliminary interview. They have a standard list of questions and are looking for complete, concise responses.

The second set of interviews is typically with the board of directors or dean of the department. Think about your answers, stay calm, and focus on the skills you bring. Avoid the temptation to over-promise, or exaggerate your skills or experience. This role is highly visible, and may require attendance at networking and fundraising activities after-hours. Be sure to ask about this in the interview.

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