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Academic Advisor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Academic advisors require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Academic advisors work in schools where they guide students' scholastic decisions. A master's degree is earned by most academic advisors; licensure, certification, and prior work experience may be mandatory depending on the state.

Essential Information

Academic advisors help students recognize and achieve their educational goals, primarily at the postsecondary level. They help students examine school programs, recognize their academic strengths and select a major. They also work closely with professors and other university administrators and stay up-to-date on program changes.

Aspiring academic advisors typically earn an education-related bachelor's degree and continue their education with a master's degree related to educational counseling. Depending on the state in which they are, they may need to get certified, licensed or both. Work experience in education may also be required.

Required Education Master's degree related to educational counseling
Other Requirements State licensure and/or certification; work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 8% for all education, school, guidance and vocational counselors
Median Salary (2016)** $39,626 annually

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Job Description of an Academic Advisor

Academic advisors at the postsecondary level may work within a specific school in a college or university, such as the school of business. At the high school level, they may be assigned to a certain grade or group of students.

An academic advisor is similar to a guidance counselor in a school setting, as they are both professionals who serve as educational resources to students. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all school, guidance and vocational counselor positions were expected to grow 8% between the years of 2014 and 2024, which is close to the average occupational growth rate for that time period (www.bls.gov).

Job Duties

An academic advisor is responsible for providing educational guidance and assistance for students by planning schedules, recommending courses and determining appropriate education solutions for different types of students. They must also follow through and track the advancement of students. Additionally, academic advisors must provide case management to students who do not meet local educational requirements. Academic advisors also provide assistance for at-risk students.

Education and Licensure Requirements

In order to achieve an academic advisor position, one typically must first complete a bachelor's degree program in education or a related field. A bachelor's degree is required for entrance into a master's degree program in educational counseling or a related concentration.

Academic advisors or counselors may also be required to have appropriate licensure and/or certification in order to work in a school setting, although these requirements vary by state. Some positions also require that academic advisors have somewhere between 2-5 years of experience in the education field. Because academic advisors work closely with a variety of students, they must also be willing to help others and have strong communication skills.

The academic advisor has a number of duties in assisting students, ensuring that they reach their educational potential. Advisors, like other counselors, should have a graduate degree in educational counseling or a related field. The necessary credentials vary by state and place of employment.

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