The role of an education administrator involves the organisation, management and coordination of the infrastructure and resources necessary for running an educational institution, irrespective of size, location and type.
Education administrators are employed by local education authorities, private schools, further education colleges, universities and other similar organisations.
The term ‘education administrator’ is fairly generic and most administrative professionals in this area actually specialise in a particular function, such as human resources, finance and accounting or information systems.
Other administrators in this arena focus their efforts on coordinating education-specific activities, such as admissions, course schedules, quality assurance, careers fairs and other on-campus recruitment events.
The areas of specialisation don’t stop there either, with some administrators also specialising in marketing, procurement or facilities management.
If you enter this profession, you will be providing administrative support to teachers, lecturers and senior management professionals in order to make sure that the institution is run in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
You might be monitoring attendance, organising examinations and coordinating the admissions process; you might be controlling budgets and the procurement of computers, equipment and other resources to enhance the learning environment; or you might be writing reports, maintaining databases and processing information to influence policy development and strategic decision-making.
Salary & benefits
Salary packages for education administrators vary by location, type of employer, individual qualifications and experience.
However, annual starting salaries range between £16,000 and £26,000, increasing to between £30,000 and £100,000 with increased levels of experience and promotion into senior positions.
Some administrators also work on fixed-term contacts or take up part-time work, specifically during peak academic seasons.
Education administrators tend to work five days a week on a standard nine-to-five basis, except during admission and examination periods or when they are responsible for organising campus events, where overtime and weekend work is often required for the smooth facilitation of such activities.
A strong undergraduate degree in a subject such as education, business studies, English, maths, statistics or information management is the preferred requirement for administrative roles in further and higher education institutions.
However, candidates with a degree in any discipline are eligible for entry into these roles. Some lower-level administrators may be able to enter this line of work without a relevant degree or diploma.
Candidates who have gained relevant work experience in an administrative capacity are highly desirable. This area of work is highly-competitive, so it’s important to work in other administrative positions or do internships before applying for entry-level roles.
Training & progression
Training is usually provided whilst on the job, usually beginning with an initial induction period which will bring you up to speed on any internal systems, processes and procedures.
Education administrators can also develop their skills, knowledge and expertise by attending external training programmes that focus on specialist computer skills, financial processes and procurement methodologies.
Some professional organisations, such as the Association of University Administrators (AUA), even offer postgraduate qualifications for administrators looking to validate their skills and progress further in their careers.
Career progression will depend on your performance, professional qualifications and specialist expertise. You could move laterally and specialise in a particular area of administration, or you could move vertically into supervisory, managerial and strategic planning positions.