Academic Dean: Education, Salary, and Outlook

college academic dean job description

Most academic deans are responsible for leading specific colleges or departments within large universities. They are responsible for managing all academic and administrative activities within their particular sector. This includes recruiting and hiring faculty, budget management, and the development of curricula. The academic dean is responsible in large part for the department’s academic performance.

It is important to clearly define your path to becoming an academic dean if this is something you want to do in your career. Many schools require academic deans with experience in leadership and administration. Many schools require academic deans to have a master’s or doctoral degree. Although the requirements for academic deans seem daunting, this is a significant role that carries a lot of responsibility. Academic deans generally work full-time, all year.

A glance: Academic Dean

The role of academic deans has been a key part of the education system for many years. Academic deans play a key role in universities and colleges. They are responsible for keeping up to date with changes in education, as well as overseeing the ever-evolving curriculum requirements for each school’s degree programs.

Job description: Academic dean

The academic deans work full-time and are required to be available for the school year, even if they don’t have students in the summer. They maintain close relationships with students and oversee academic progress as well as administrative matters. Even though school is not in session, academic deans have many administrative tasks to attend to. These include monitoring budgets and creating or updating curricula. They also need to oversee strategic planning for the coming months and years. The following are some typical duties for academic deans:

  • Coordinate the activities of advisors and faculty.
  • Academic policies development and maintenance
  • Supervise personnel matters including recruitment school staff and handling disciplinarian issues
  • Collaboration with external agencies, such as those that assess academic success
  • Participation in faculty committees
  • Participating in the planning and evaluation of curriculum
  • Students receiving academic support
  • To ensure academic success, develop and implement strategic plans
  • Management of the school’s budget, and allocation of funds accordingly
  • Provide professional support and conduct evaluations of instructors.

What qualities are required for a great academic dean?

These are the key characteristics of academic deans who have been most successful. These are:

  • Excellent leadership skills and comfort with delegation and managing
  • Knowledge of academic policy and curriculum development
  • Communication skills that are both verbal and written are essential
  • Particularly when it comes down to academic administration, organizational skills are important.
  • Capability to adapt to new technologies and policy requirements
  • Good leaders are comfortable delegating but also have the ability to empower their employees.
  • Impeccable time management skills


Educational requirements for academic deans

In almost all cases, academic deans require a high-level degree. While some schools prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in teaching or education, others prefer to hire someone with a PhD or EdD.

Work experience is as important as education for those who apply to be academic deans. Schools require that candidates have at least three to five years’ experience in administrative positions within colleges or universities, as well experience as a leader, such as as a teacher, or public official.

Certificates for academic deans

The job requirements of an academic dean will vary depending on the school. They may need to continue their education. This might include obtaining additional licenses and certifications such as professional administrator licenses.

Average salaries of academic deans

A variety of factors affect the salary of an academic dean, such as the size and location of the school and the type of institution they work for. shows that academic deans can earn between $57,000 to $161,000 annually, with bonuses as high as $15,000. Academic deans make $91,641 per year. Ziprecruiter has a lower median salary of $48,682 per annum, while Glassdoor lists a range of $70,000 to $135,000 per annum with a median of $95,457.

Career growth potential for academic deans

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tracks and predicts changes in many industries and jobs throughout the United States. Although it doesn’t list academic deans, the BLS does predict an increase in opportunities for post-secondary administrators. BLS predicts that there will be a 7% increase in post-secondary administrator opportunities by 2028.

The pros and cons of being an academic dean

The role of an academic dean is extensive. While there are many responsibilities, the benefits of this position outweigh any stress.


  • Interacting with the majority of the school’s students and employees
  • Through educational and extracurricular programming, we help students to reach their goals.
  • Participating in all aspects of department operations
  • Participating in the selection of faculty members, and creating a team that will help the school reach its academic goals.


  • The academic dean is usually held accountable when the school fails to meet its goals.
  • Scheduling can become hectic and there are many responsibilities and duties.
  • If their department doesn’t adhere to its budget, academic deans are often the ones to blame.
  • Sometimes administrative tasks get backed up. This can force the academic dean into long hours completing reports or other paperwork.

Opportunities for professional development for academic deans

There are many opportunities for academic deans to take part in professional development seminars or workshops. The American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD), for example, offers many opportunities for academic deans, and those who work with them, to improve their job skills. Each year, there are several workshops that are held in different cities throughout the United States.

Continuing education to academic deans

There are many options for academic deans to continue their education in the field through certificate and courses. Many schools offer a variety of certificate programs for academics in their course calendars. Some courses are designed to improve the skills of administrative professionals while others are specifically for those who work in teaching roles. Both of these learning opportunities are beneficial to academic deans.

Associations for academic deans

Many organizations in the United States offer support for academic deans. These include:

  • American Conference of Academic Deans
  • Association of Deans and Directors of University Colleges and Undergraduate Studies
  • American College Personnel Association
  • National Education Association
  • NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
  • American Association of Blacks in Higher Education
  • National Association for Campus Activities

The best of the web – academic advisors

Many blogs and social media accounts are available to assist academic deans in staying informed about changes in American academia. Academic deans might feel more confident planning for the future of their school by staying connected to these and other resources. It can be a great asset to have connections with other academic deans throughout your career.