Academic advisor jobs are readily available for the qualified. You must do much more than plan your classes. It’s essential to work that takes time, effort, and building relationships.
An excellent academic advisor helps students grow and change as they move through higher education. In many ways, an academic advisor acts as a mentor by assisting students in succeeding, setting goals for them, and helping them reach those goals.
Below, we’ll talk about some of the most common reasons why people decide to become academic advisors and give you the essential information you can use to set yourself up for success if this sounds like a career for you.
Why should you become an academic adviser?
Academic advising is one of the most popular jobs in higher education. It can be very rewarding and fulfilling for people who want to help others reach their fullest potential. Besides wanting to help others grow and develop, there are many practical reasons why people choose this line of work:
Every college, whether a community college, a state university or a private college, has at least one academic advisor. So, people who want to become academic advisors can choose to work in either a small, private college or a large, public university.
Pay and Benefits
On average, academic advisors make about $48,000 per year. Even though this may not seem like a very high salary, it doesn’t consider many of the other perks that advisors get (and other university employees).
Many colleges and universities pay their workers’ tuition, which can help them move up in their careers or follow their interests. Others have given this benefit to their employees’ children, which can be worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to more traditional benefits like health insurance and retirement benefits, all of these benefits usually come with a job as an academic advisor.
As an academic advisor, it’s also important to know that there are many things you can do to raise your base salary. You can increase your salary by getting more experience in your field, getting a higher degree (like a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration), learning new skills, or moving to a different part of the country.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Also, there are many ways for a professional to advance in academic advising. For example, someone with a lot of experience in the area can eventually become the director of academic advising by working their way up the ranks.
In a college or university, the advising department is run by a director of academic advising. The director’s job is to ensure that the department gives students everything they need to reach their full potential. As a result of taking on more responsibility, professionals can also expect their pay to go up. As of 2019, the average salary for an academic advising director is $75,247 per year. However, the range is usually between $60,000 and $90,000 per year, depending on several factors.
Academic Advisor Job Description
Even though the same tasks of an academic advisor may change depending on the age range of the students, guiding students down the right educational path is always the most important thing. Academic advisors talk to students one-on-one and in groups to determine their interests, skills, and possible careers.
They help students reach their goals and make decisions by assisting them in making connections and finding mentors. Even though academic advisors are not considered counselors, they often talk with and ask questions of their students to help them figure out possible career and study paths.
Academic advisors help students figure out what classes to take and what they need to do to finish their programs. They help students figure out what they want to do with their lives and plan their careers. They also look at placement and other standardized test scores, transcripts, and course prerequisites to see if a student is eligible for specific programs or classes.
Academic advisors are often students’ primary point of contact and a big part of their job is making sure they get information about:
- Important dates and deadlines
- Policies and procedures of an institution
- Course changes
- The cost of tuition and school supplies
- Facilities maintenance
- Plans for the whole school
- Transfer requirements
- State and federal requirements
Most academic advisors keep a schedule so students can drop in or make an appointment to discuss these critical topics. Also, academic advisors can refer students to specialized staff for counseling for mental and emotional health, help with money, and programs to study abroad.
They often help with figuring out how credits will transfer from one school to another, doing degree audits and figuring out what they mean, and communicating problems with academic probation. They must keep accurate records of their work, including everything they do with students.
As advisors, they may act as a link between the school and outside groups. They will show prospective students what the school is like and work to build good relationships with other advisors, colleges, and departments.
Advisors may go to events, like college fairs, to talk to students and their parents about enrolling in school. They might meet with potential students to find out their interests and skills and talk about programs and opportunities at their school. These talks will help the school and the student decide if they are a good fit for each other.
An academic advisor’s main job is to help students reach their personal, educational, and professional goals. To achieve this overall goal, the following tasks must be done every day:
- Tracking academic progress to help students finish their degree requirements on time and well
- Also, making educational plans and helping to carry them out
- Helping students sign up for classes to make sure they are on track to meet their requirements
- Getting to know students so you can figure out what they need personally and in school
- Keeping up with the rules and policies of the institution and enforcing the rules when necessary
Skills That Academic Advisors Need
Almost all colleges and universities need academic advisors, but institutions look for specific experiences and skills in candidates to see if they are a good fit for the job. And even though each job description at a college or university is different, most of the qualifications are still the same.
“Academic advisors need to be able to listen, teach, mentor, plan, and organize,” says Giblin. They must be able to pay attention to details and break down significant, complicated rules and policies into pieces that are easy to understand.
One of the most important parts of the job is ensuring students stay on track to reach their goals, and each of these skills is important. An excellent academic advisor knows when things need to be done, keeps track of how things are going, and helps each student they work with finish their degree requirements. Giblin says, “You need to be able to help students and hold them accountable simultaneously.”
Academic advisors must also be great at communicating and building relationships with students. These professionals must be able to talk to the people they’re helping in a way that shows empathy and intuition to build trust. Academic advisors often become mentors for their students. Because of this, it is essential to be able to make students feel comfortable enough to ask for help when they need it.
Academic advisors have to go to school
To be successful as an academic advisor, you need to know certain things and have a lot of hands-on experience. Some colleges and universities hire people with a bachelor’s degree for this job, but many others only hire people with a master’s degree. People with master’s degrees also have more chances of getting jobs and being promoted.
The Master of Education (MEd) in Higher Education Administration program at Northeastern University gives people the theoretical background and real-world experience they need to succeed in higher education leadership roles, such as academic advising. Senior leaders helped create and shape Northeastern’s MEd program to ensure it gives you the skills and hands-on experiences you need to get your teaching career off the ground.
Experts in the field also say that if you think academic advising is the right path for you, you should work with as many students as possible. This is important because it shows your future employers that you care about helping students and that you can enforce rules and procedures when necessary.
How to Become an Academic Advisor
Academic advising is one of the many things you can do in the world of higher education that lets you work closely with students in a meaningful way.
To get ready for this job, you should first learn what an academic advisor does, get a good education, and get the skills and experience you’ll need to be successful. Earning a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration can help you advance your career if you want to become an academic advisor.
Now that you know what an academic advisor does, you can start thinking about what you want to do in the future. You can do better if you know how to go about this line of work. Follow these steps to become a college counselor:
1. Figure out where you’d like to work.
Before you go to school to become an academic advisor, you must decide if you want to work with college or high school students. Even though the qualifications for both college and high school academic advisors are the same, knowing which kind of advisor you want to be can help you focus your studies and work experience on the path you want to take. For example, if you want to be a high school academic advisor, you might decide to get experience at a high school instead of a college.
2. Get your Bachelor’s.
It would be best if you had at least a bachelor’s degree to become an academic advisor. Get a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, like education or counseling.
3. Gain relevant experience
Even though many bachelor’s degree jobs don’t require a specific field, they often need students with advising experience to do a better job as an academic advisor. You could work at your college’s advising or admissions office while you’re there. This lets you get work experience while still in school, which will help you get your first job when you graduate.
If you decide to get your master’s degree, many graduate programs offer on-the-job training through internships and relevant field experience at local schools. With this experience, you can work with students and help them in the same way you would as a full-time academic advisor.
4. Get licensed
You may sometimes need a license to teach to become an academic advisor. A counseling license from your state is also required for many jobs. The National Board for Certified Counselors has a credential test that can help you get licensed if you need to. You may also have to pass a background check, and criminal record check from your state.
5. Get an advanced degree.
Consider getting your master’s degree to increase your chances of getting a promotion or a pay raise. Some colleges want you to have a master’s degree, but not all of them do. Think about how this advanced degree will help your career. Having this advanced degree may help you stand out from other job applicants, help you improve your skills, and keep your knowledge in this field up to date.
What’s the difference between a counselor and a person who helps with schoolwork?
Academic advisors help students plan for school or their future careers, while counselors specialize in counseling. School counselors usually work in elementary or middle schools, where they offer both academic and emotional help.
Academic advisors, on the other hand, help students plan their academic futures and make sure they have the skills and qualifications they need to do well in their chosen field. So, academic advisors don’t usually spend much time on the counseling part of their jobs. They may send a student to a counselor, though, if that student has special needs.
Also, you have a different set of responsibilities with your counselor and your academic advisor, but the ones you have with your academic advisor are more important. For example, counselors give authoritative advice, but academic advisors expect you to not only seek their advice but also make your own decisions while focusing on your studies and academic goals.