How to Become a Director of Admissions: Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a director of admissions. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career as an admissions director. View article »

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a…
  • 0:36 Step 1: Obtain a…
  • 0:58 Step 2: Seek…
  • 2:00 Step 3: Pursue Further…

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Director of Admissions?

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's degree preferred
Degree Field Business, marketing, or any other major
Experience 2 years of experience managing campus admissions teams; four years of experience in education admissions, such as working in a registrar's or dean's office
Key Skills Strong people, organizational, leadership, and problem-solving skills; extensive experience in planning events and programs; ability to evaluate and analyze admissions data; ability to develop a positive, well-trained staff; understanding of a school's admissions policies, procedures, and standards
Salary $88,580 (2015 median for college and university admission directors)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com, CareerBuilder.com job postings in December 2012

A director of admissions is a type of postsecondary education administrator responsible for overseeing the admission of potential students to a school. They determine how many students to admit, how to market the school, the school application process, and how to analyze data about applicants.

Directors of admissions may work at private and public universities, colleges, trade schools and community colleges. Many of these professionals keep full-time schedules and often need to work in the summer even when school is not in regular session.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational requirements for director of admissions posts vary by employer. Some employers may accept a bachelor's degree, while others may require a master's degree or higher. Undergraduate degrees in majors such as marketing, accounting or social work are among the fields aspiring directors of admissions may consider.

Step 2: Seek Employment Within Postsecondary Education Administration

The BLS noted that employers often require applicants to have experience in postsecondary administration, especially for those seeking to become school registrars and academic deans. Two years of experience managing campus admission teams, or four years of experience in education admissions, such as working in a registrar or dean's office, are highly recommended.

Key skills for this position include strong people and organizational skills, exemplary leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and extensive experience in planning events and programs. More key skills include the ability to evaluate and analyze admissions data. The ability to develop a positive, well trained staff, and understanding of a school's admissions policies, procedures and standards. Communication skills are at the center of all the aforementioned traits needed for the job.

As of May 2015, the median salary for college and university admissions directors was $88,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Step 3: Pursue Further Education

Current admissions directors may want to pursue a graduate degree to improve advancement and career opportunities. Education administrators who hold master's and doctoral degrees may be promoted to a higher level within the school. They may even become college presidents, noted the BLS.

Individuals may pursue a master's degree in higher education administration or educational administration. These types of programs prepare students for leadership positions in colleges and universities. They learn about personnel management, university operations, student advising, residential life, new student programs and student diversity efforts.

Becoming a director of admissions may require a bachelor's degree or master's degree, depending on the employer, and generally requires skills in leadership, communication and marketing.

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