How to Become a County Administrator

County administration is an essential part of local government. County administrators are highly regarded professionals that organize the functions and activities of all county departments.

What does a county administrator do?

County administrators direct and coordinate all administrative activities and services of county government organizations. They carry out the policies and procedures developed by the Board of Supervisors and direct the overall operations of the organization. They delegate administrative tasks to specific departments and agencies and make sure that all departments are performing efficiently and effectively. They develop the procedures and schedules for departments, agencies, and offices. They also respond in a timely manner to requests made by the county board. County administrators are also involved with the development and management of polices, guidelines, and budgets. They also interview, hire, train, and evaluate employees and plan, coordinate, and direct work activities. Many county administrators perform research activities to develop and evaluate new service delivery methods. They also often prepare administrative and financial reports.

What kind of training does a county administrator need?

County administrators must have at least a bachelor degree in public administration, business, accounting or other related field and at least 5 years of work experience. Many county administrators have a master degree. Aspiring county administrators typically complete courses in business administration, public administration, finance, accounting, and public policy. Many county administrators begin their careers in entry-level positions and advance to administrative positions as they gain the essential skills and experience. County administrators often complete continuing education throughout their careers to keep their skills up to date and stay abreast on policy and procedure changes.

What are the prospects for a career as a county administrator?

Employment of county administrators is expected to experience little or no change from 2008 to 2018 (1).

Job prospects are expected to be fair with strong competition due to the high pay and prestige associated with the position. County administrators with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job prospects. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace county administrators that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.

How much do county administrators make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for county administrators is $53,000; average annual county administrator salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a county administrator is a great choice for people with a strong interest in public administration with sufficient work experience in the field. County administrators must have solid knowledge of the laws, regulations, policies, and procedures of their county government organization. Self-confidence, flexibility, analytical thinking, good reasoning ability, good leadership skills, and sound business judgment are essential characteristics. County administrators must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to explain a variety of policies and procedures to other professionals and the general public. They must also be able to work under stress and pressure.

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