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Become A Department Chairperson

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Working As A Department Chairperson

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $136,970

    Average Salary

What Does A Department Chairperson Do

Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities. Their job duties vary depending on the area of the college they manage, such as admissions, the office of the registrar, or student affairs.

Duties

Postsecondary education administrators who work in admissions decide if potential students should be admitted to the school. They typically do the following:

  • Determine how many students to admit to the school
  • Meet with prospective students and encourage them to apply
  • Review applications to determine if each potential student should be admitted
  • Analyze data about applicants and admitted students
  • Prepare promotional materials about the school

Many admissions counselors are assigned a region of the country and travel to that region to speak to high school counselors and students.

Admissions officers often work with the financial aid department, which helps students determine if they are able to afford tuition and creates packages of federal and institutional financial aid, if necessary.

Postsecondary education administrators who work in the registrar’s office, sometimes called registrars, maintain student and course records. They typically do the following:

  • Schedule and register students for classes
  • Schedule space and times for classes
  • Ensure that students meet graduation requirements
  • Plan commencement ceremonies
  • Prepare transcripts and diplomas for students
  • Produce data about students and classes
  • Maintain the academic records of the institution

Registrars have different duties throughout the school year. Before students register for classes, registrars must prepare schedules and course offerings. During registration and for the beginning of the semester, they help students sign up for, drop, and add courses. Toward the end of the semester, they plan graduation and ensure that students meet the requirements to graduate. Registrars need computer skills to create and maintain databases.

Postsecondary education administrators who work in student affairs are responsible for a variety of cocurricular school functions, such as student athletics and activities. They typically do the following:

  • Advise students on topics such as housing issues, personal problems, or academics
  • Communicate with parents or guardians
  • Create, support, and assess nonacademic programs for students
  • Schedule programs and services, such as athletic events or recreational activities

Postsecondary education administrators in student affairs can specialize in student activities, housing and residential life, or multicultural affairs. In student activities, they plan events and advise student clubs and organizations. In housing and residential life, they assign students rooms and roommates, ensure that residential facilities are well maintained, and train student workers, such as residential advisers. Education administrators who specialize in multicultural affairs plan events to celebrate different cultures and diverse backgrounds. Sometimes, they manage multicultural centers on campus.

Postsecondary education administrators can be provosts or academic deans. Provosts, also called chief academic officers, help college presidents develop academic policies, participate in making faculty appointments and tenure decisions, and manage budgets. Academic deans direct and coordinate the activities of the individual colleges or schools. For example, in a large university, a dean may oversee the law school.

Education administrators’ duties depend on the size of their college or university. Small schools often have smaller staffs who take on many different responsibilities, but larger schools may have different offices for each of these functions. For example, at a small college, the Office of Student Life may oversee student athletics and other activities, whereas a large university may have an Athletics Department.

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How To Become A Department Chairperson

Although a bachelor’s degree may be acceptable for some entry-level positions, a master’s or higher degree is often required. Employers often want candidates who have experience working in the field, particularly for occupations such as registrars and academic deans. 

Education

Educational requirements vary for different positions. A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient, but a master’s degree or Ph.D. is generally required. Degrees can be in a variety of disciplines, such as social work, accounting, or marketing.

Provosts and deans often must have a Ph.D. Some provosts and deans begin their career as professors and later move into administration. These administrators have doctorates in the field in which they taught. Other provosts and deans have a Ph.D. in higher education or a related field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Employers typically prefer to hire candidates who have several years of experience in a college administrative setting. Some postsecondary education administrators work in the registrar’s office or as a resident assistant while in college to gain the necessary experience. For other positions, such as those in admissions and student affairs, experience may or may not be necessary.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Postsecondary education administrators often need to be adept at working with computers so they can create and maintain databases and use computer programs to manage student and school records.

Interpersonal skills. Postsecondary education administrators need to build good relationships with colleagues, students, and parents. Those in admissions and student affairs need to be outgoing so they can encourage prospective students to apply to the school and existing students to participate in cocurricular activities.

Organizational skills. Administrators need to be organized so they can manage records, prioritize tasks, and coordinate the activities with their staff.

Problem-solving skills. Administrators often need to respond to difficult situations, develop creative solutions to problems, and react calmly when problems arise.

Advancement

Education administrators with advanced degrees can be promoted to higher level positions within their department or the college. Some become college presidents, an occupation which is discussed in the profile on top executives.

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Department Chairperson Demographics

Gender

Female

53.1%

Male

43.4%

Unknown

3.5%
Ethnicity

White

61.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

12.8%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.2%

French

13.2%

German

6.3%

Mandarin

5.3%

Chinese

4.7%

Russian

3.7%

Italian

3.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Arabic

2.6%

Korean

2.1%

Greek

2.1%

Cantonese

2.1%

Urdu

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Dakota

1.6%

Tagalog

1.1%

Japanese

1.1%

Swedish

0.5%

Cherokee

0.5%

Lakota

0.5%
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Department Chairperson Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.1%

Walden University

8.5%

Capella University

8.3%

Nova Southeastern University

7.8%

Grand Canyon University

7.4%

Lamar University

4.8%

George Mason University

4.6%

Liberty University

4.4%

Georgia State University

3.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.5%

Florida State University

3.5%

University of Houston

3.3%

Sam Houston State University

3.3%

University of South Florida

3.1%

George Washington University

3.1%

Arizona State University

3.1%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.1%

Northcentral University

3.1%

University of North Texas

2.8%

University of Southern Mississippi

2.8%
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Majors

Educational Leadership

18.2%

Education

14.0%

Business

12.7%

Elementary Education

7.6%

English

7.6%

General Education, Specific Areas

5.5%

Curriculum And Instruction

4.6%

Special Education

4.2%

Management

3.5%

History

2.8%

Psychology

2.3%

Law

2.1%

Nursing

2.0%

Medicine

2.0%

Educational Technology

1.9%

School Counseling

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

Mathematics

1.8%

Fine Arts

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.7%
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Degrees

Masters

44.8%

Other

16.4%

Doctorate

16.3%

Bachelors

16.1%

Certificate

4.1%

Associate

1.9%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.3%
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Real Department Chairperson Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Department Chair, Neuro-Oncology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Tampa, FL Jun 01, 2014 $421,200
Chair, Department of Neurology Creighton University Omaha, NE Oct 25, 2010 $350,000
Professor & Department Chair University of Florida Gainesville, FL Oct 07, 2011 $225,000
Professor and Department Chair University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jan 08, 2016 $210,000
Chair of Department of Chemical and Paper Engineering Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI Jan 08, 2016 $161,285
Professor and Department Chair The Ohio University Athens, OH Jan 13, 2014 $155,000
Professor and Department Chair Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA Jul 25, 2011 $140,000
Department Chair Syracuse University Syracuse, NY Jul 01, 2013 $122,000
Department Chair and Professor of English Chapman University Orange, CA May 31, 2011 $110,000
Assistant Chair-Voice Department Berklee College of Music Boston, MA Aug 03, 2015 $110,000
Department Chair Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL Jul 01, 2013 $110,000
Chairman, Department of Business Administration South Carolina State University Orangeburg, SC Jul 13, 2016 $108,500 -
$115,000
Fashion Design Department Chair College for Creative Studies Detroit, MI Oct 01, 2015 $105,000 -
$145,000
Chair, Motion Media Design Department Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. Savannah, GA Feb 23, 2015 $102,523 -
$107,232
Chair, Motion Media Design Department Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. Savannah, GA Mar 09, 2015 $102,523 -
$107,232
Chair, Motion Media Design Department Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. Savannah, GA Feb 23, 2015 $100,776 -
$107,232
Chair, Motion Media Design Department Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. Savannah, GA Mar 23, 2011 $100,600
Department Chair, Business Administration South Carolina State University Orangeburg, SC Sep 01, 2014 $100,000 -
$115,000
Professor & Department Chair University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, AR Jul 01, 2010 $99,000
Chair, Motion Media Design Department Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. Savannah, GA Feb 23, 2013 $92,290 -
$99,621
Chair of The Audio Arts and Acoustics Department Columbia College Chicago Chicago, IL Jan 06, 2016 $90,000
Math Department Chairperson Mdyhs Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2014 $77,753
Language Department Chair Peddie School Hightstown, NJ Mar 23, 2016 $77,090
Department Chair/Professor of Illustration Savannah College of Art and Design, Inc. Savannah, GA Jul 01, 2012 $72,030 -
$88,856
Department Chair Education Management Corporation LLC Indianapolis, IN Mar 28, 2014 $70,000
Language Department Chair The Peddie School Hightstown, NJ Sep 01, 2014 $69,263
Chair of The Piano Department International School of Music, LLC Bethesda, MD Apr 09, 2015 $65,936
Department Chair Holy Spirit Preparatory Atlanta, GA Feb 13, 2011 $65,430

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Top Skills for A Department Chairperson

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  1. Curriculum
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Department Chair
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Researched and developed state-authorized curriculum.
  • Designed professional development opportunities for effective classroom management, implementation of technology, planning data-based instruction and differentiated instruction.
  • Called, emailed, and text messaged students who were absent more than two days in a row Business Department Chair/Instructor.
  • Used adult learning methods to implement and facilitate protocols into professional development meetings resulting in 100% engagement and participation.
  • Served on Committee to promote mathematics and science department collaboration.

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Top 10 Best States for Department Chairpeople

  1. New Jersey
  2. California
  3. Alaska
  4. Delaware
  5. Michigan
  6. Texas
  7. New York
  8. Wisconsin
  9. South Dakota
  10. North Dakota
  • (46 jobs)
  • (154 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (152 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)

Top Department Chairperson Employers

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Jobs From Top Department Chairperson Employers

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