What is a Higher Education Administration?
Higher Education Administration is a field of study focused on the academic disciplines, organizational theory, and operational constructs of a higher education institution. Students electing to pursue a college degree in Higher Education Administration desire to help run the day to day operations within a college or university. Roles and responsibilities of a higher education administrator can range greatly depending on the following elements: school size (large, small), institution type (public, private, non-profit, for-profit), class type (distance learning, campus-based, hybrid), affiliation (secular, religious), geographic location (coastal, inland), funding type (tuition, subsidy, hybrid), and staffing mix (tenured, classified, union).
Top Higher Education Administration Degrees
The predominant degrees in higher education administration are graduate degrees. More specifically, degrees conferred in this field of study are either a master’s degree or doctorate degree. While the specialization may vary slightly, the emphasis is weighted heavily on upper-level classes designed for professional educators. We have outlined these graduate degrees below to help you better understand each track.
Higher Education Administration Master’s Degree
Earning a master’s degree in higher education administration will typically take students 2-3 years of full time work or longer based on course load and the curricular design of the program. Graduate students must qualify for programs at this level by meeting or exceeding the minimum academic and professional qualifications set forth by the college or university.
Students may elect to generalize or specialize in this field of study. For those interested in specializing, degree tracks may include the following paths of study:
- Organizational Leadership & Administration
- College Teaching & Learning
- Global Higher Education
- Adult Learning
- Enrollment Management
- Innovation & Technology
- Institutional Marketing
- Integrative Studies
Classes you can expect to see in a course catalog for the an MA program in Higher Education include the following type of classes: learning and developing, organizational behavior, student success best practices, managing resources, institutional behavior analysis, program planning, understanding assessments, globalization, foundations of research, financial management, and trends in higher education.
Higher Education Administration Doctorate Degree
Doctorate degrees in education can be conferred in three primary forms: PhD in Education, Doctor of Education (EdD), or an Education Specialist (EdS). In virtually all cases, students will be tasked to successfully complete an array of upper-level courses plus an approved dissertation project. A dissertation is required to substantially contribute to the higher education field of study with in-depth research, unique insights, and a compelling understanding of the industry. A doctoral degree can take students three to five years to complete as a function of course load and program pace.
Educational Requirements in Higher Ed Administration
In terms of educational requirements, Higher Education Administration degree holders will have typically studied the following courses while in college:
- English Language
- Behavioral Science
- Business Administration
- Education & Curriculum Training
Skills & Abilities Required for Education Administrators
- Reading Comprehension
- Active Listening
- Speech Clarity
- Oral Expression
- Oral Comprehension
- Speech Recognition
- Written Comprehension
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Information & Administration Specializations
For students that earn a college degree in Higher Education Administration, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue. The options range from registration, enrollment, finance, facilities, management, leadership, student life, admissions, housing, operations, and fundraising to name a few possible specialty tracks within higher education administration.
Job Growth, Salary, and Related Education Fields
The job growth in the greater Higher Education Administration domain are well above average. For example, the rate of job growth for higher education administrators is expected to rise 9% through 2024 while college professors are expected to rise 13% during the same period. Given the broad nature of the Higher Education Administration degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location. Related fields include teaching, curriculum design, research, organizational leadership, management, business operations, and finance.
Resource for Higher Education Administrators
The following represents a list of associations and organizations in the United States that may be of interest to students and professionals in higher education. The list, in no particular order, includes the following entities:
- American Association of University Administrators
- Association for the Study of Higher Education
- International Association of Universities
- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
- American Association for Higher Education
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
- American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
- American Educational Research Association