What is an Executive Director

An Executive Director is a managing director of a corporation or organization, a member of a board of directors who granst his/her or her authority to act on their behalf.

Executives are visionaries, responsible for designing the mission of the company or enterprise, coming up with a plan to execute it, and motivating employees to achieve top performance. They create the organizational strategies that allow for a continuous improvement of productivity and make comprehensive business plans to increase revenue.

They supervise the heads of departments and oversee the daily operations. They monitor revenue reports and develop and regulate corporate culture.

The mind of an executive director is forever set on time- and cost-efficiency. They regularly report to the board and receive suggestions on eventual changes to make, but the decision to follow these or not is up to the executive.

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 $69.03 an hour? That's $143,574 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 writing skills, interpersonal skills and organizational skills.

Learn more about what an Executive Director does

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 63.1% of executive directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 21.6% 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 associate degree degrees or doctoral 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
$143,574
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
-7%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
87,964
Job Openings
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Executive Director Career Paths

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Average Salary for an Executive Director

Executive Directors in America make an average salary of $143,574 per year or $69 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $263,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $78,000 per year.
Average Salary
$143,574
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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.

Learn How To Write an Executive Director Resume

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

View Executive Director Resume Examples And Templates

Executive Director Demographics

Executive Director Gender Statistics

female

50.3 %

male

45.1 %

unknown

4.6 %

Executive Director Ethnicity Statistics

White

75.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

9.7 %

Black or African American

7.5 %

Executive Director Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

51.3 %

French

13.5 %

German

5.4 %
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Executive Director Education

Executive Director Majors

25.2 %

Executive Director Degrees

Bachelors

63.1 %

Masters

21.6 %

Associate

8.2 %

Top Colleges for Executive Directors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

9. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,930
Enrollment
5,030

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
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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, 13.3% of executive directors listed procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as writing skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

12 Executive Director RESUME EXAMPLES

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, Hawaii, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Executive directors make the most in New York with an average salary of $137,931. Whereas in Hawaii and Connecticut, they would average $137,591 and $126,050, respectively. While executive directors would only make an average of $125,809 in New Jersey, 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. Connecticut

Total Executive Director Jobs:
539
Highest 10% Earn:
$219,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
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:
1,448
Highest 10% Earn:
$218,000
Location Quotient:
1.4
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. Delaware

Total Executive Director Jobs:
191
Highest 10% Earn:
$211,000
Location Quotient:
1.17
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
Full List Of Best States For Executive Directors

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Top Executive Director Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ executive directors and discovered their number of executive director opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Morgan Stanley was the best, especially with an average salary of $214,964. JPMorgan Chase & Co. follows up with an average salary of $226,211, and then comes UBS with an average of $216,904. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an executive director. The employers include American Heart Association, Novartis, and Cleveland Clinic

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Executive Director FAQs

How long does it take to become an executive director?

It takes 8 to 12 years in your career field to become executive director, including education. It can easily take as long as 24 years to rise to this level, and the role takes more than just time to achieve. To be an executive director, one must work hard and stand out from the crowd.

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Is director higher than CEO?

No, director is not higher than CEO. There is a Board of Directors, and the CEO is the head of that board, with more duties and responsibilities. "Director" is a general title that can mean different things, generally someone who works at the top management tier.

A director sitting on a board may not be a direct employee of the company. The CEO is an employee, acting as the company's top manager and final decision-maker, with numerous responsibilities dealing with organizational issues and day-to-day operations.

In larger corporations, the CEO is hired by the board of directors, and the CEO must report to shareholders and justify decisions.

No single director has power over the CEO, but when working together, a board can vote to bring changes, including firing the CEO. In that sense, the directors working together do have some higher powers over a CEO.

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What is the difference between director and executive director?

The differences between director and executive director are related to responsibilities and involvement with the organization. A director does not need to be an employee of the firm. It could be an investor or advisor who influences decisions by sitting on the board of directors.

They are the leader of the board and is a salaried employee of an organization. The executive director is the company's top manager and final decision maker, with numerous responsibilities dealing with day-to-day operations.

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What is the difference between executive director and CEO?

The difference between an executive director and CEO is leadership titles used to describe the same role in different organizations.

For example, it is more common to see Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in corporations, whereas in non-profits, It is the highest-ranking leadership position in both organizations, with the same goal of guiding the company's vision.

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What is the role of an executive director?

The role of an executive director is to build, maintain and motivate an organization through vision, fundraising, decision making, and planning. The executive director is appointed by the board of directors to manage the day-to-day operations of a non-profit organization.

An executive director must have strong leadership and management skills. They are tasked with being the visionary force working with the board of directors to implement strategies and accomplish mission goals.

The executive director has the budget and administrative functions and also is fundraising and building relationships. Excellent communication is needed to manage and inspire employees and generate a presence in the community and attract partners.

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Updated August 18, 2021