Why Get a Master of Education in Student Affairs

A master in student affairs is an ideal degree for those who hope to earn higher pay and score promotions in the student affairs office of a college or university. This master degree program is especially suited to those who aspire to become a director of student affairs, overseeing college campus duties like referring students to counseling and community services, overseeing student clubs and managing student activities.

This degree falls under the broader category of a master of education, but is specialized to prepare students for the unique duties that go with the student affairs director position. The program will focus on many issues affecting today’s college campuses, including dealing with diversity, promoting student groups’ ability to make social change and resolving group conflicts in ways that improve conditions for all students.

The degree program also imparts an understanding of student development, the history of student affairs work, how to organize student functions, how to stage interventions when required and other related skills.

Education Requirements

A master degree program requires the applicant to have a bachelor degree. Most colleges also have entrance exams and other tests that must be passed. What constitutes a passing exam score will depend on the institution.

Career Options: What You Can Do With a Master of Education in Student Affairs

This credential qualifies you to be a director of student affairs. Openings are typically found at educational institutions ranging from Ivy League universities all the way to community colleges. Some large trade schools or other private institutions may also hire student affairs directors.

It is also possible to get a non-director position in the student affairs office of a post-secondary school with this degree. While such positions are unlikely to be the end goal for a master holder, they may be required in order to gain work experience in the field. Many employers demand such work experience before they will hire someone as a director. Even those who do not require related experience will be more likely to hire someone who has some.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Master of Education in Student Affairs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts student affairs directors in its broader category of post-secondary education administrators, so it does not break out separate statistics for the specialty. Job growth for post-secondary education administrators is projected at 19 percent through 2020, which is about average compared to the entire job market. The median pay is $83,710 per year.

One interesting thing noted in the BLS overview is that some employers want administrators to have between one and five years of prior work experience in a related field. Because of this, those who get a master in student affairs may have to take a lesser position for a time in order to gain that work experience.

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