Chief Academic Officer: Job Description & Salary

Chief academic officers are administrative professionals who help manage educational institutions. Continue reading to learn more about what chief academic officers do, what they earn and how to become one.

Career Definition of a Chief Academic Officer

Chief academic officers are administrative professionals who help ensure that educational facilities operate as expected. They might serve on a board of directors for a college, or they could oversee many K-12 schools within a specific region or school district. Their duties involve providing direction for educational staff. They are also responsible for monitoring the schools or programs under their supervision to ensure that academic standards are met and that regulations are followed.

Chief academic officers can help determine the curriculum that will be followed and what programs will be developed. As part of their duties they may meet with other educational professionals in their region. They are also responsible for creating and implementing budget plans. While the specific duties can vary slightly from employer to employer, chief academic officers are integrally involved in ensuring that everything needed is in place to create an optimal academic environment for the students and faculty.

Educational Requirements Master's or doctoral degree
Job Skills Leadership, time management, problem-solving, and communication skills; able to multitask; pays close attention to details; organization and mathematical skills
Median Salary (2017)* $136,058
Job Outlook (2014-2024)** 9% (postsecondary education administrators)

Sources: *; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Employers typically require chief academic officers to have at least a master's degree, though a doctorate is required for some positions. It's common for those entering this career field to study education, though other degree fields like social work or marketing may be acceptable; professors who become administrators earn degrees in the fields they teach. Courses in accounting or advertising may also be helpful to those preparing for this type of career.

Required Skills

Chief academic officers oversee a lot of staff and are responsible for ensuring that educational standards are met. In order to do this they must have strong leadership skills. They also need to be able to clearly establish goals and strategies to achieve those goals. They need mathematical skills to create budgets, and since they work with a lot of information concerning a number of aspects of school operations, they need to be able to multitask. It's also important that they pay attention to details and have good judgment so that they can make effective decisions.

Career and Salary Outlook

Since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have a separate listing for chief academic officers, information about their career field is included with the listing for postsecondary education administrators. Those in this career field should expect to see a 9% growth in jobs from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. According to, chief academic officers earned a median annual income of $136,058 in October 2017.

Related Careers

There are many administrative roles in the field of education, and those considering becoming a chief academic officer may also be interested in pursuing another role in this field. Information about related careers, such as education coordinator, school principal and distance learning coordinator can be found here:

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