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.

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.

Learn More About How To Become an Executive Director

Executive Director Career Paths

Average Salary for an Executive Director

Executive Directors in America make an average salary of $127,956 per year or $62 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $213,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $76,000 per year.
Average Executive Director Salary
$127,956 Yearly
$61.52 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

How To Become an Executive Director
How To Become an Executive Director Career Overview

States With The Most Executive Director Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active executive director jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where executive directors earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Executive Director Jobs By State

Executive Director Education

Executive Director Majors

25.2 %

Executive Director Degrees


63.1 %


21.6 %


8.2 %

Top Colleges for Executive Directors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

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, 9.8% of executive directors listed oversight on their resume, but soft skills such as writing skills and interpersonal skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Executive Director Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Executive Director templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Executive Director resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume
Executive Director Resume

Executive Director Demographics

Executive Director Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among executive directors, 53.0% of them are women, while 47.0% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among executive directors is White, which makes up 75.5% of all executive directors.

  • The most common foreign language among executive directors is Spanish at 51.3%.

Work Experience Programs For Executive Directors

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Introduction to Accenture Program

Company: Accenture UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Wealth Management Program

Company: Goodbody

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Human Rights Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Workplace Preparation Program

Company: ANZ

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Software Development Program

Company: Standard Bank

Cost: Free

Duration: 4.5-5.5 hours

Business and Human Rights Program

Company: Clifford Chance

Cost: Free

Duration: 7.5-8.5 hours

StartUps for Smarter Cities Program

Company: Sydney School of Entrepreneurship

Cost: Free

Duration: 7-9 hours

Developer Program

Company: Accenture Nordics

Cost: Free

Duration: 2-3 hours

Asset Management Program

Company: JPMorgan Chase

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6.5 hours

Law and Professional Development Program

Company: Clyde & Co

Cost: Free

Duration: 4.5 hours

Online Courses For Executive Director That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  
Strategic Planning Basics for Human Resources

Learn to collaborate with your organizational leaders on the development and implementation of a strategic plan...

Ultimate HR Generalist and Human Resource Management Course

Hands-on HR Certification: All HR Management topics. Employee Life Cycle, HR Functions, Payroll, Recruitment, Engagement...

Customer Service & Support For Customer Service Executives

Learn Customer Service Skills & Provide Excellent Customer Support, Customer Experience & How To Manage Upset Customers...

Show More Executive Director Courses
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time

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, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Executive directors make the most in New York with an average salary of $145,940. Whereas in California and Connecticut, they would average $129,291 and $126,816, respectively. While executive directors would only make an average of $126,558 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:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. New Jersey

Total Executive Director Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Delaware

Total Executive Director Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Executive Directors

How Do Executive Director Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo


Executive DirectorSeptember 2020


Zippia Official LogoExecutive DirectorSeptember 2020

What do you like the most about working as Executive Director?

Working with teams, creating and sustaining service delivery systems, variety of tasks and projects, making it happen. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Cannot have true friends at work because you are at the top, board members if they don't get your work but insist on being involved, overdemanding funders. Show More

Working as an Executive Director? Share your experience anonymously.
Do you work as an Executive Director?
Rate how you like work as Executive Director. It's anonymous and will only take a minute.

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 $139,712. JPMorgan Chase & Co. follows up with an average salary of $216,862, and then comes American Red Cross with an average of $140,931. 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 Astellas Pharma, Novartis, and UBS

Most Common Employers For Executive Director

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Nomura Securities$224,313$107.8489
2JPMorgan Chase & Co.$216,862$104.26586
3J.P. Morgan$210,584$101.2466
9American Red Cross$140,931$67.76207
10Morgan Stanley$139,712$67.17685

Executive Director Videos

Becoming an 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Search For Executive Director Jobs