Education administrator: job description
Education administrators help to ensure that institutions such as universities run smoothly by managing administrative, financial and support systems.
Most education administrators work in higher or further education, but they are becoming increasingly important in schools.
Education administrators often work within the central administrative (academic registrars) department and for individual faculties, departments and sections of universities and colleges of further and higher education. Opportunities also arise within private, tertiary and specialist training colleges, and there are increasingly vacancies available in primary and secondary schools.
There is no ‘typical' job profile: administrators may have student recruitment, funding, quality assurance, marketing, or public relations roles, or they may be responsible for budgetary/financial administration, project management or human resources management. Many work in a general capacity – undertaking tasks from all of these areas.
Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- handling correspondence
- organising and servicing committee and academic board meetings (producing agendas, taking minutes etc)
- researching and writing reports
- preparing statistics and handling data, such as attendance figures
- processing invoices
- purchasing equipment/other goods
- liaising with potential students, other institutions, government departments and external organisations
- helping with course approval and evaluation activities
- formulating and implementing regulations/policies
- timetabling and planning events
- administering and coordinating student recruitment, examinations and assessment activities
The job can be busy at key times in the academic year, when some long hours may be necessary. There are good opportunities for career progression via promotion into senior administrative, managerial and project management roles, or transfer/secondment between departments.
Vacancies are listed on the website of the Association of University Administrators, alongside volunteering opportunities which may enable you to gain relevant experience. Jobs are also advertised by careers services, in local and national newspapers (particularly The Guardian), in the Times Educational Supplement and in Times Higher Education. Roles in schools are advertised directly by schools and in local authority vacancy lists.
Some universities run graduate training schemes for education administrators, which give an overview of different areas of university management. A number of universities work together on Ambitious Futures, the graduate programme for university leadership, an eighteen-month programme open to graduates with a 2.1 degree or a postgraduate qualification.
A degree is not always required for roles in education administration. However, a good higher national diploma or honours degree in any subject can be helpful for entry into the profession. Alternatively, a business apprenticeship could provide school leavers with qualifications and experience relevant to a career in this area.
A degree in education, English, psychology, sociology, business studies, statistics, IT, administration or management may be beneficial. Previous higher/further education, office or commercial work experience can also be helpful.
The Institute of School Business Leadership offers some qualifications suitable for education administrators working in schools.
Good interpersonal, IT, numeracy, organisational, time management, negotiation and communication skills are essential. A polite telephone manner and discretion when dealing with confidential information is also very important.