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Working as an Executive Director

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an executive director. For example, did you know that they make an average of $73.54 an hour? That's $152,966 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -7% and produce -276,700 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Executive Director Do

There are certain skills that many executive directors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed management skills, leadership skills and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be an executive director, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.0% of executive directors included procedures, while 7.3% of resumes included oversight, and 5.5% of resumes included business development. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the executive director job title. But what industry to start with? Most executive directors actually find jobs in the health care and technology industries.

How To Become an Executive Director

If you're interested in becoming an executive director, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 39.8% of executive directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 37.0% of executive directors have master's degrees. Even though most executive directors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an executive director. When we researched the most common majors for an executive director, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on executive director resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an executive director. In fact, many executive director jobs require experience in a role such as director. Meanwhile, many executive directors also have previous career experience in roles such as administrator or program director.

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Average Salary$152,966
Job Growth Rate-7%

Executive Director Jobs

Executive Director Career Paths

Top Careers Before Executive Director

Top Careers After Executive Director

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for an Executive Director

Executive Directors in America make an average salary of $152,966 per year or $74 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $255,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $91,000 per year.
Average Salary
$152,966

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range103k - 236k$156k$156,335
Salary Range101k - 231k$153k$152,888
Salary Range93k - 212k$141k$140,645
Salary Range90k - 204k$136k$136,330
Salary Range89k - 205k$136k$135,886
Salary Range84k - 203k$131k$130,664
$66k
$236k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Executive Director
Executive Director
Seda Council of Governments
Seda Council of Governments
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$110,00010/31/2020
$110,000
Reclaim
Executive Director-Reclaim
Executive Director-Reclaim
Reclaim
Reclaim
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$80,00010/31/2020
$80,000
University of Nebraska Medical Center
Executive Director, Counseling and Psychological Services
Executive Director, Counseling and Psychological Services
University of Nebraska Medical Center
University of Nebraska Medical Center
10/24/2020
10/24/2020
$140,00010/24/2020
$140,000
Executive Director of The Abington Township Public Library
Executive Director of The Abington Township Public Library
International City Management
International City Management
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$90,00010/23/2020
$90,000
University of Pennsylvania
Executive Director of Student Health and Counseling
Executive Director of Student Health and Counseling
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$126,84110/23/2020
$126,841
See More Recent Salaries

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Executive Director Demographics

Gender

female

50.3%

male

45.1%

unknown

4.6%

Ethnicity

White

69.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.0%

Black or African American

9.3%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.2%

French

13.5%

German

5.4%
See More Demographics

Executive Director Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

39.8%

Masters

37.0%

Doctorate

7.6%

Top Colleges for Executive Directors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition and fees
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

Tuition and fees
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY

Tuition and fees
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA

Tuition and fees
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC

Tuition and fees
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

9. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA

Tuition and fees
$52,930
Enrollment
5,030

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA

Tuition and fees
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming An Executive Director

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For an Executive Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.0% of executive directors listed procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as management skills and leadership skills are important as well.

Best States For an Executive Director

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an executive director. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Executive directors make the most in New York with an average salary of $135,354. Whereas in New Jersey and Delaware, they would average $134,044 and $128,990, respectively. While executive directors would only make an average of $127,304 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Executive Director Jobs:
1,546
Highest 10% Earn:
$233,000
Location Quotient:
1.48
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Jersey

Total Executive Director Jobs:
725
Highest 10% Earn:
$231,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Executive Director Jobs:
85
Highest 10% Earn:
$224,000
Location Quotient:
1.21
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Executive Director Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an executive director. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless executive director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write an Executive Director Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless executive director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Executive Director Employers

1. Morgan Stanley
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$119,629
Executive Directors Hired: 
507+
2. JPMorgan Chase
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$75,304
Executive Directors Hired: 
501+
3. American Red Cross
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$34,842
Executive Directors Hired: 
177+
4. UBS Americas
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$96,295
Executive Directors Hired: 
168+
5. Brookdale Senior Living
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$33,616
Executive Directors Hired: 
168+
6. American Cancer Society
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$44,354
Executive Directors Hired: 
152+

Executive Director Videos

Recently Added Executive Director Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020