How to Become a Director of Student Services

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Student services are an essential part of all postsecondary institutions that deal with a variety of programs to promote the success and well-being of students. Directors of student services are higher education administrators that direct and organize many different student services programs.


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What does a director of student services do?

Directors of student services strive to meet the needs of all students attending a postsecondary institution. They develop, implement, and evaluate programs, schedule sports and other related events, arrange services, and assist in the development of policies and procedures of student services. Directors of student services direct orientation programs for new students and faculty and staff members. They also often meet with students and faculty to plan and improve activities. They promote student participation in a variety of activities offered by institution such as recreational activities and student groups. In small colleges, directors of student services may provide counseling to students.

What kind of training does a director of student services need?

Directors of student services typically need at least a master degree in college student affairs, higher education administration, or other related field. A bachelor degree combined with sufficient experience may be suitable for some positions. Most directors of student services begin their careers as professors or administrative staff and advanced to higher positions as they gain the essential skills and experience. Prospective directors of student services typically complete courses in higher education administration, education ethics, college student affairs, and education law. Directors of student services must stay up to date with the advancements of postsecondary policies and procedures. They often participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a director of student services?

Employment of directors of student services is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased enrollment of postsecondary students will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with strong competition. Directors of student services with extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace directors of student services that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do directors of student services make?

As of December 2009, directors of student services with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $38,884 and $70,000. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $35,091 and $54,633 (2).

A career as a director of student services is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in coordinating a variety of student related activities and programs for postsecondary institutions. Determination, motivation, organization, innovativeness, and confidence are desirable characteristics. Directors of student services must be able to make effective decisions and coordinate a variety of activities. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of team.

Joshua T Osborne

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