What You Should Know about Student Affairs Graduate Programs

Student affairs graduate programs provide advanced training for those who hope to advance their careers working in the campus-resources area of a college or university. If you’re already a student affairs professional, you need to think about taking your education beyond the bachelor’s degree level if you hope to earn promotions and higher pay.

A student affairs professional might work in the residential department of a university, manage extracurricular programs or administer fundraising programs. This is a field that often requires a graduate-level degree because it is highly specialized and constantly changing. There are many student affairs graduate programs throughout the country, each of them focusing on different areas of the industry.

Education Requirements

To maximize their career potential in the student affairs industry, students need a bachelor degree and a master degree, which would lay the groundwork for earning a doctorate.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the student affairs field is the fact that candidates often come from a wide variety of backgrounds. People who want to eventually work in financial aid and scholarship resources might have a bachelor’s degree in accounting but a graduate degree in student affairs. A person who wants to work in residential life might have a bachelor’s degree in human resources management or even art.

Career Options: What You Can Do with a Student Affairs Graduate Degree

Student affairs professionals with a graduate-level education can find work in the financial aid, academic advising and residential life departments of a college or university. Other career opportunities include working with student activities, orientation, career placement services and campus recreation programs.

Student affairs positions provide candidates with a unique opportunity to work with students outside of the classroom while still having a big impact on their lives. Many people credit their college mentors or advisers with helping them find the path that they were searching for their entire lives.

Candidates who are interested in this degree program should be passionate about students and learning, and feel comfortable on a campus environment. Graduates from this program are able to move up through the ranks and can even end up in administration, working as the vice president of student affairs. At the same time, a graduate of one of these programs can work for years as a program coordinator and have a long, fulfilling and rewarding career working with young adults.

What to Consider if you Pursue Student Affairs Graduate Programs

As a student affairs position often requires a graduate degree, those who work in this field can expect the salary to be a bit higher than if they simply had a bachelor’s-level education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average student affairs administrator makes about $83,000 per year. However, this salary can vary widely depending on the university or which department you work in within the university.

This field is expected to grow approximately 19 percent during the course of the next decade, which puts it on track with the average growth rate that many other career fields are seeing across the country. That means it’s a good time to consider a career in student affairs.

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