Become an Enrollment Counselor: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become an enrollment counselor. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in enrollment counseling.

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Enrollment Counselors

Enrollment counselors, sometimes referred to as admissions counselors, usually work for postsecondary institutions helping prospective and admitted students learn about the school's admissions and program requirements. They may also review applications, make admissions decisions, recruit students, and develop enrollment strategies. Enrollment counselors may also work at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, as well as at prisons and government career centers. Those counselors who are employed at schools may have summers off.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Minimum of a bachelor's degree
Degree Field Counseling, social work, higher education, or related field
Experience 1-3 years of related experience
Key Skills Oral and written communication skills; ability to manage school and student records, maintain databases, and utilize other relevant software
Median Salary (2015)* $53,660 (for all educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors)

Sources: Job Postings from employers (August 2012), *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Steps to Be an Enrollment Counselor

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is generally required to become an enrollment counselor. However, there is no specific field of study in which you must earn a degree. A school that caters to specific fields of study, such as business or design, may seek candidates with a bachelor's degree in their area of focus. Regardless of field of study, students can complete elective courses in communications, sociology, or psychology to develop a background in the areas related to an enrollment counseling position.

Prior to entering the workforce, students can gain experience by interning in an office or other administrative environment. By shadowing enrollment or admissions professionals, students become familiar with the aspects of the job.

Step 2: Gain Professional Work Experience

Most employers hire an enrollment counselor with previous, related work experience. Gaining experience in customer service or sales positions can be helpful to finding a job in the field. Experience working with students as a tour guide, orientation leader, resident adviser, outreach coordinator, or student ambassador is also looked upon favorably by many employers.

Step 3: Pursue Additional Education

Although not required for all positions, the BLS notes that completion of a graduate program or doctoral degree is generally required for career advancement in the field of enrollment counseling. Enrollment counselors can attend post-graduate certificate programs in enrollment management or master's degree programs in higher education administration. A master's degree program generally takes two years to complete and provides students with advanced training in administrative policies and academic institution operations.

Enrollment counselors generally need at least a bachelor's degree, and related experience is valued by employers. Graduate training is typically required for advancement in the field.

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