How to Become a College Academic Advisor

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by

Becoming an academic advisor means devoting your career to helping young people fulfill their potential. High schools, community colleges, and universities all over the country employ academic advisors to help their students navigate decisions regarding their education. Few professions are more noble and necessary. As such, academic advising should appeal to anyone with a true passion for helping students get the most out of their education. Want to know more about How to Become a College Academic Advisor, what degree do you need to be an academic advisor, college academic advisor salary & career path for academic advisor.Interested in learning about the latest findings on college academic advisor jobs- BSN? Get ready! Find out all the information you need right here on Collegelearners so you don’t have to go looking again. Find all the specifics you need, such as college academic advisor salary, how to become a college advisor for high school students, I hate being an academic advisor to academic advisor certification, academic advisor career ladder.Visit collegelearners.com for more information on how to become a college advisor for high school students & academic advisor education requirements.

What Degree Do You Need to Be an Academic Advisor

What Does A College Academic Advisor Do?academic advisor

Do you want to see college students thrive and help them to succeed, but you don’t want to be a professor? All colleges offer some form of academic advising, and these advisors want to help you succeed. From counseling to planning schedules, they do it all. Academic advisors help ensure that college students complete class requirements in a timely manner so they can graduate college on time. They also:
  • Make students aware of resources available to them and act as a liaison between students and these resources
  • Help students explore different majors to figure out what they want to study
  • Counsel students who have a hard time adjusting to college
  • Create academic plans catered to each individual student
  • Organize orientation sessions for prospective students
  • Help students plan for post-college life

Academic Advisor Education Requirementsacademic advisor

The path of academic advising differs from many other careers. No one set path exists. The requirements differ in each state and also from university to university. To start off as an academic advisor, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree. However, there is no undergraduate major preference. Academic advisors’ backgrounds exist in many different studies including psychology, English, history, anthropology, communication studies and more.In order to climb up the ladder of academic advising, you will need a master’s degree. But again, it does not matter what you get your master’s degree in. Many academic advisors receive higher education in a higher education major, or go for counseling or administration degrees. But any master’s degree will do, either an M.A. or M.S. Whatever you want to continue studying, you can pursue that master’s degree and apply it towards your future in academic advising.You’ll also need to know the ins and outs of the discipline in which you advise students. If you plan to advise students within a college of liberal arts, you’ll deal with a lot of students that don’t know what exactly in liberal arts they want to do, so they’ll need a lot of help with major exploration. If you plan to advise engineering or nursing students, they’ll have a lot of questions about getting ahead in STEM careers, and you need to also have lots of knowledge about these disciplines.A lot of academic advisors have experience working in higher education in some capacity, whether that includes previously being a professor or working in administration at a university. Academic advising is a competitive field, so having previous experience in higher education will definitely give you a leg up on the competition when you go to apply for the position. While working on your undergraduate degree, consider shadowing an academic advisor to see first-hand what goes into the job. You could also act as a peer mentor for other undergraduate students. Both a shadowing experience and peer mentoring count as experience in the field, and you can talk about these in an interview.

What Should You Know About Becoming An Academic Advisoracademic advisor

1. What is my expected income?

As per most jobs in education, don’t expect to rake in lots of cash. Educators and advisors do their jobs because they love what they do, not because they make a lot of money. On average, academic advisors makes about $45,477 yearly. Salaries typically range from $40,854 to $50,605. A number of factors go into how much you make as an academic advisor, including level of education and the size of the university.

2. How much will I work?

Similar to most factors of academic advising, this varies from university to university. However, at most universities, you’ll work a 40-hour work week, Monday to Friday, year-round. This includes summers and other breaks from school. Even though college may not be in session, you’ll still work since students need advising at all times throughout the year.

3. What will my work environment be like?

Because of FERPA, which protects the privacy of students, academic advisors will always have their own individual offices. They will never work in a cubical setting because FERPA requires them to provide students with a space where they can confidentially share information if needed. The work environment is also very fast-paced. Although you will work in an individual office and not directly with your team of advisors, you will constantly interact with different students, especially during class registration and the first week of each semester.

4. What do I need to know about the future of academic advising?

Academic advising grows as the number of enrolled students grows. Universities also pour more money and resources into academic advising as more research indicates that students are more likely to graduate if they meet with advisors to help keep them on track. “Academic advising is the heart of the College of Liberal Arts,” Temple University Academic Advisor Xiomara Gonzalez said. “It’s what keeps everything going.” There is also a professional association of academic advisors (NACADA), and this continues to grow in size.

3 Key Skills You Need To Become An Academic Advisoracademic advisor

1. Creativity

While academic advising may not seem like the most creative job, you will definitely need to use your brain to think up solutions that don’t always go by the book. “Each student’s academic path is different, so you need to be able to put the puzzle pieces together for every student,” Temple Academic Advisor Beth Lawson said. You’ll need creativity to design a plan for every individual student that comes to your office.

2. Listening/Empathy

In academic advising, you have to actively listen to every minute detail of what an overwhelmed or indifferent student tells you. You need to meet them where they are and take away the expectations of where they should be. For example, if a student is graduating a year late, listen to how they’re feeling and come up with a plan for how to move forward. “You really have to hear what someone is saying and be present with them to determine what’s going on,” Villanova University Director of Academic Advising Linda Boettcher said. “Be attuned to everything they say.” Put yourself in the student’s shoes and really listen to them.

3. Sense of humor

Academic advisors meet with students from all different backgrounds and in many different stages of life. “It’s important to be able to connect with every student that you meet with,” Gonzalez said. You want students to trust you and what you’re telling them regarding their academic requirements. A good sense of humor will connect you with people in all situations in life, but definitely when trying to connect with college students..How to Become an Academic Advisor | Northeastern University

Career Path for Academic Advisor

Academic advisors assist students with maintaining their grades and achieving their goals. The position generally requires knowledge of university policy and relevant laws, as well as the ability to create rapport with students and communicate with other university employees.
Degree LevelBachelor’s degree or Master’s degree
Degree FieldVarious; advisors from all degree fields are needed to assist students with their educational needs.
Key SkillsOrganization, effective written and oral communication, interpersonal skills, willingness to learn campus policies and educational laws
Median Salary (2020)$42,125*
Source: *PayScale.com

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor’s Degree

Many employers require at least a bachelor’s degree for prospective academic advisors. Those who hold a bachelor’s degree may work with students from a related academic field. For example, an academic advisor with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics might find work in a mathematics department. Some entry-level positions do not require further education, although advanced positions are more likely to require a graduate degree.

Step 2: Develop Work Experience

Those looking to become academic advisors may benefit from experience in other positions, such as departmental academic assistant or staff assistant, in campus settings to develop computer, organizational, and communication skills. Familiarity with campus policies, as well as educational laws, can also be necessary for prospective academic advisors.

Step 3: Pursue a Graduate Degree

Students can find a number of possible concentration areas at the graduate level. Degree programs in guidance and counseling, higher education or related fields can provide opportunities for an initial job search, as well as pursuing career advancement.Similar to other university administrators, those interested in academic advising may rise from staff positions as they develop their abilities through further education. Related degree programs, such as the Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, might offer coursework in higher education management, the history of higher education and educational finance.

Step 4: Find a Job

Prospective academic advisors may pursue careers at community colleges, technical institutions, and universities. As academic advisors develop their skills through work experience and continued education, they may also help develop academic programs or conduct research. Professional conferences, such as those offered by the National Academic Advising Association, can also help advisors maintain their ability to serve students and stay current with developments in the field.Academic advisors assist students with maintaining their grades and achieving their goals. They need at least a bachelor’s degree, but may find jobs easier with experience and a graduate degree.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqX7S19KRHQ

Academic Advisor Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.
  1. University of Pennsylvania School Info School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Program Info: Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with University of Pennsylvania Research University of Pennsylvania’s Programs & Degrees
  2. Vanderbilt University School Info School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
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What is an Academic Advisor? – Top Education Degrees
  1. University of Florida School Info School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
        • College Student Counseling
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
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  2. Boston University School Info School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
        • College Student Counseling
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • International and Comparative Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with Boston University. Research Boston University’s Programs
  3. University of Georgia School Info School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with University of Georgia. Research University of Georgia’s Programs
  4. University of Louisville School Info School locations:
    • Kentucky (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at University of Louisville include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Certificate
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with University of Louisville. Research University of Louisville’s Degree Programs
  1. Michigan State University School Info School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Coursework
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with Michigan State University. Research Michigan State University’s Programs & Degrees
  2. Marquette University School Info School locations:
    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at Marquette University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with Marquette University. Research Marquette University’s Programs
  3. New York University School Info School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Non-Degree: Certificate
    • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master’s Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Curriculum and Instruction
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • ESL Teaching
      • Library Science and Related Professions
      • Philosophical Foundations of Education
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
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  4. The University of Alabama School Info School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Program Info Areas of study you may find at The University of Alabama include:
    • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
    • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master’s Certificate
    • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Education
      • Counseling and Guidance
      • Educational Administration and Supervision
      • Educational Evaluation and Research
      • ESL Teaching
      • Library Science and Related Professions
      • Special Education
      • Teacher Education for Specific Levels and Methods
      • Teacher Education for Specific Subject Areas
    Get Started with The University of Alabama

Academic Advisor Job Requirements and Salary Info

Becoming an academic advisor means devoting your career to helping young people fulfill their potential. High schools, community colleges, and universities all over the country employ academic advisors to help their students navigate decisions regarding their education. Few professions are more noble and necessary. As such, academic advising should appeal to anyone with a true passion for helping students get the most out of their education.Advising | Towson UniversityAcademic advisors help students plan their years of academia as well as prepare for life after graduation. Academic advisors are crucial in guiding students through the logistics of credits, applications, tests, schedules, and other assistance programs.

Academic advisor job description

Though the specific duties of an academic advisor may vary with the age range of the student population, guiding students on the correct academic path is at the forefront of all levels. Academic advisors meet with students individually and in groups to assess interests, skills, and potential careers. They offer networking and mentoring support to foster academic goals and decisions. Though not considered a counseling position, academic advisors often discuss and ask questions of their students to help determine possible career and study paths.Academic advisors provide insight to students on what courses to take and the graduation requirements of their specific programs. They help students with career planning and coordinate orientations for new and transfer students. They also review placement and other standardized test scores, transcripts, and course prerequisites to help determine whether a student is eligible to join certain programs or classes.Academic advisors are often a main point of contact for students and the work frequently involves ensuring timely communications to students regarding:
  • Important dates and deadlines
  • Registration
  • Institutional policies and procedures
  • Course changes
  • Costs of tuition and instructional materials
  • Facilities maintenance
  • School-wide initiatives
  • Transfer requirements
  • State and federal mandates
Academic advisors usually maintain a schedule that allows students to drop in or make an appointment to discuss these important topics. In addition, academic advisors may refer students to specialized staff for such issues as psychological/emotional counseling, financial assistance, and study-abroad programs.Academic advisors often help with the logistics of evaluating and determining how credits will transfer between schools, performing and interpreting degree audits, and communicating academic probation challenges. They have to maintain accurate records of their work, including all interactions with students.Academic advisors may serve as a liaison for the school. They will represent the school to prospective students while fostering good relationships with other advisors, colleges, and departments. Advisors may attend events, such as college fairs, to discuss enrollment opportunities with students and parents. They may meet with prospective students to gauge their interests and abilities, as well as discuss programs and opportunities available at their institution. These discussions will help determine whether the institution and the student would make a good match.

Who makes a good academic advisor?

Someone who:
  • Is highly intuitive and empathetic
  • Has excellent interpersonal skills
  • Is a problem-solver
  • Is passionate about connecting with students
  • Is patient and resourceful
  • Is organized with great attention to details
  • Is service-oriented
  • Is skilled with computers
  • Has a sense of humor
  • Is thoughtful about interacting with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Has excellent oral and written communication skills

Academic Advisors in-depth

The road to becoming an academic advisor can depend on which type of working environment you decide to pursue: high school, community college, or university.

High school academic advisors

High school academic advisors guide teen students to graduation and acceptance to an institution of higher learning. They help students determine fields of interest and ensure student understanding of graduation requirements. Information on college majors and vocational programs will be shared and displayed. Students often require assistance in college and financial aid applications and preparation for exams like the SAT or ACT, as well as any college entrance exams.Other students will need help planning for a career after high school graduation. Advisors will help in choosing a career, internship, or apprenticeship, as well as completing job applications, creating resumes, and developing interview skills.Career workshops are often run by academic advisors giving information, inspiration, and opportunities to students in future career choices.

Postsecondary academic advisors

At the community college level, academic advisors work with students of many age groups, from teenagers all the way to the middle-aged and retirees. Academic advising at this level includes helping students find and enroll in the right classes, transfer to a university to complete their bachelor’s degree, or seek jobs and career opportunities.People who become university academic advisors have a variety of options of where to work, from small private schools to large public universities. In addition to helping students choose the right courses and ultimately pick the right major, university academic advisors offer counseling on nearly every aspect of a student’s social and professional life.At this level, most advisors are sought out by the student to handle academic situations like majors and course selection. Postsecondary academic advisors also provide support through struggles such as managing priorities, testing and class anxiety, and helping to foster independence. It’s important for academic advisors to supply a supportive environment and make meaningful connections.

Education and Certification Requirements

  • Education: Bachelor’s or master’s degree
  • Typical study time: 4-6 years
To become an academic advisor, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. Academic advisors with a master’s degree have a greater chance for promotions and an increase in salary. It’s especially helpful to have a degree in a field highly relevant to the job, such as education or counseling. Many employers want to hire people with an advanced degree in a field like education leadership.Other academic areas prepare people particularly well to become academic advisors. People with degrees in disciplines like psychology, counseling, social work, marketing, student development, higher education leadership, and career development tend to find many academic advisor positions are open to them.Many job openings do not stipulate a particular degree discipline, but do require the candidate to have prior advising experience. Prospective advisors are encouraged to seek work in the admissions or advising office of their college while completing their education. Doing so can provide valuable on-the-job experience that can help them obtain their first post-graduation job as an academic advisor.

College Academic Advisor Salary

Salaries for academic advisors can vary based on state of employment, education, certification, additional skills, and experience in the profession or related field. Advisors at major universities typically earn much higher salaries than their counterparts at community colleges and public high schools.According to ZipRecruiter.com, average base salaries for academic advisors by state varies from $35,423 to $49,790.According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary of academic advisors, including those with years of experience, is $50,050. The lowest 10 percent earn $33,610 and the highest 10 percent earn $94,690.Here is a snapshot of average academic advisor salaries:
  • ZipRecruiter.com: $45,490
  • Indeed.com: $42,548
  • Glassdoor.com: $48,367
  • Salary.com: $46,888
  • Payscale.com: $43,353
Advisors also are eligible for benefits and all school holidays. Often they have  extended holiday vacations or reduced hours during the summer months.What's the difference: academic advisor and admissions counselor?

College Academic Advisor Jobs

Employment Projections

Employment of academic advisors is projected to grow 8% from 2018 to 2028. Overall enrollment growth is expected in both high schools and postsecondary institutions. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds continue to seek postsecondary education to accomplish career goals. Academic advisors play an important role in navigating the education system and will continue to be hired to guide the increased population of students.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros:
  • Creating relationships with faculty, staff, and students
  • Assisting students to realize and meet career potentials — being a real-world problem-solver
  • There’s a lot of variety — no two days are ever the same
  • Helping others find independence
  • Intellectual academic environment
  • Witnessing individual growth and success
Cons:
  • Staying current on ever-changing curricula and career opportunities
  • Stresses of enrollment practices
  • Very large workload
  • Maintenance of a schedule to allow drop-in appointments
  • Managing record-keeping and paperwork

Professional Development for Academic Advisors

Continuing education

Many academic advisors continue to take courses throughout their careers to improve their skills and keep their knowledge up-to-date. NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, offers professional development, including annual conferences, awards, scholarships, grants, online courses, e-tutorials, and an emerging-leaders program.

Professional Associations

  • NACADA
  • American College Personnel Association (ACPA)
  • Student Affairs Professionals for Higher Education (NASPA)
  • Academic Impressions
  • American Counseling Association
  • National Career Development Association

Jobs Available To Academic Advisors Beyond Advising

With additional education or certification, academic advisors may become teachers, librarians, instructional coordinators, assistant principals, principals, or an educational administrator at a college or university.Teacher: Academic advisors can easily become teachers if they obtain the proper credentials and have a strong educational background in the subject they plan to teach. A bachelor’s degree is required, although a master’s is preferred.Librarian: A master’s degree in library science (MLS) is generally required for employment. Some states also require librarians to pass a standardized test.Instructional coordinator: Academic advisors are well positioned to become instructional coordinators. Instructional coordinators generally need to complete a master’s degree related to education or curriculum and instruction, and they may be required to have a teaching or education administrator license.School principal: A master’s degree in education leadership is excellent preparation to become a school principal. Academic advisors wishing to become a school principal should seriously consider obtaining such a degree. Most states also require public school principals to be licensed as school administrators.Education administrator: Depending upon the position, either a bachelor’s or master’s degree may be required. For a higher-level position such as dean or president, a master’s degree in educational leadership may be a requirement.

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