Getting an academic advisor job.

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How did you get your start doing academic advisor work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

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Jill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

74 months ago

I am an associate director of an academic student services unit at a large public university and I coordinate the academic advising services for our unit. In my office, all advisors are required to have Master's degrees in higher education administration, student personnel services, student affairs, counseling, or a closely related field. Three of the four advisors in my unit have M.Ed.s in higher ed; the other has a community counseling degree.

My background to this point had me working in various student/academic affairs roles, beginning in residence life (where i mostly worked with first year students) and then transitioning to first-year experience programs, which led me to advising freshmen, and finally working as an advisor and advising administrator.

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Mr. OZ in Boynton Beach, Florida

68 months ago

I think it's ridiculous that u need a "master's" degree to get an academic advising job. You need a master's degree to make $35,000 - $40,000 a year? are u kidding me? I'm a Admissions counselor at a large private school in south Florida and I've been one for over 2 years. I have plenty of "advising" and "counseling" experience and I can't get the job because I don't have my masters?

ugh!

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Keep pluggin away in Pasadena, Texas

68 months ago

I have a masters in social work and am an academic advisor for a social work program. The masters helped a lot, but I also have advising experience in another profession. If this is a job that you really want, keep applying. Networking within the university system can help a lot as well.

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Cris in Atlanta, Georgia

66 months ago

Mr. OZ in Boynton Beach, Florida said: I think it's ridiculous that u need a "master's" degree to get an academic advising job. You need a master's degree to make $35,000 - $40,000 a year? are u kidding me? I'm a Admissions counselor at a large private school in south Florida and I've been one for over 2 years. I have plenty of "advising" and "counseling" experience and I can't get the job because I don't have my masters?

ugh!

I AGREE!!! I have a bachelor's and some schools are ok with that. Its not a job where you really need a Master's...

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Paco in Salt Lake City, Utah

63 months ago

I've been looking for advising jobs for the past 10 months. I'm working on a Master's right now in Academic Advising. I've been working as a teacher for the past five years, but I've gotten no interviews, I think mainly because I don't have that degree yet. From my experience, it is hard to get a job without the higher degree.

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Baltimore09 in Baltimore, Maryland

57 months ago

I started off working my way up in higher ed. In my first position I was an Admin Asst. in the Registrar's Office, then moved on to be a Transfer Credit Evaluator, got my masters at the school I worked at for free and became an Academic Advisor at another institutuion. My degree was a Masters in Education with a focus in teaching K-12. I only got a masters so that I could move on to become an advisor, as I knew this is what I wanted to do. My experience working in higher ed and research about advising trends and populations is what got me the job.

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Nikki Neutron in Grand Prairie, Texas

55 months ago

"A Licensed Nurse Practitioner could probably do just as much as A Registered Nurse, however they don't have the formal educational back ground and training to address key RN issues."

Huh? A Licensed Nurse Practitoner has a Master's degree in Nursing. She/He had to 1st have their:
1. Bachelor's degree in Nursing
2. Licensed as an Registered Nurse
3. Experience as a Registered Nurse
and then return to school to get a master's degree in Nursing.
She/he is in a position to address key "RN issues" more effectively since this is a much higher level of training for a nurse than an Associates or Bachelor's degree.

You must be confusing "Licensed Nurse Practitioner" with "Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)"
An LPN, as opposed to a nurse practioner, only has one year of training and works under the guidance of physicians and Registered Nurses with Associates (ADN) or Bachelor's (BSN) degrees.

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Nikki Neutron in Grand Prairie, Texas

55 months ago

I guess none of these people are competent either due to lack of higher education (and this is just the short list):

Henry Ford, billionaire founder of Ford Motor Company. Did not attend college.

Henry J. Kaiser, multimillionaire & founder of Kaiser Aluminum. Dropped out of high school.

Hyman Golden, co-founder of Snapple. Dropped out of high school

Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, one of the richest people in the world, dyslexic.

Jack Crawford Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Dropped out of college to become a WWII fighter pilot in the Navy.

James Cameron, Oscar-winning director, screenwriter, and producer. Dropped out of college.

Jay Van Andel, billionaire co-founder of Amway. Never attended college.

Jimmy Dean, multimillionaire founder of Jimmy Dean Foods. Dropped out of high school at 16.

John D. Rockefeller Sr., billionaire founder of Standard Oil. Dropped out of high school just two months before graduating, though later took some courses at a local business school.

Joyce C. Hall, founder of Hallmark. Started selling greeting cards at the age of 18. Did not attend college.

Kemmons Wilson, multimillionaire, founder of Holiday Inn. High school dropout.

Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com. Dropped out of college during his second year.

Kirk Kerkorian, billionaire investor, owner of Mandalay Bay and Mirage Resorts, and MGM movie studio. Dropped out eighth-grade.

Larry Ellison, billionaire co-founder of Oracle software company. Dropped out of two different colleges.

Michael Dell, billionaire founder of Dell Computers, which started out of his college dorm room. Dropped out of college.

Michael Rubin, founder of Global Sports. Dropped out of college in his first year.

Micky Jagtiani, billionaire retailer, Landmark International. Dropped out of accounting school.

Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. 4th grade education.

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Nikki Neutron in Grand Prairie, Texas

55 months ago

I have a dual major bachelor's degree (Management/Psychology)with little to show for it.
I worked my butt off to get that degree. Many nights i stayed up till wee hrs of the morning rocking my son on one hand while studying for finals with the other.
What kept me going was the mistaken belief that getting this *expensive* degree will somehow open doors for me. Sadly, every single job offer i received, except for one, did not provide a greater income than what i had before getting my degree.
Nor did this bachelor's "open doors" all over the place like those in "academia" claimed.
I have 16K left in student loans which I've been paying up for the last 10 years. The only highest job offer i have ever received was 40k/yr.
My ex-husband, an aircraft mechanic (blue collar) without a degree makes over 60-75k a year.
My fiancee (blue collar works on phone lines, UVerse and DSL) makes over $90K a year with just a high school diploma.
Every single one of their friends who doesn't have a degree makes over 60k a year.
Every single one of their friends that do have a degree, in the same fields, make the same or less than the other employees.
Some recruiters have told me that leaving work to pursue a degree full-time may have actually worked against me. Lapse in employment and having to start over again.
My son is now 17 years old and wants to study Networking in college but at this time is not interested in a 4 year degree. He much rather pursue a 2 year Associates then get as much work experience and certifications as possible.
He was worried that i would be upset at him not getting a bachelor's and my response was that his way of doing it is actually much smarter than the way i did it. It's less expensive and gaining experience in the field will allow him to assess if in fact he needs a bachelor's and if so what bachelor he needs to get. In addition, right now has zero aspirations of being a boss in management or "climbing the corporate ladder".

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ljones_1978 in Kansas City, Missouri

55 months ago

Yeah, at most universities, you need a masters degree to make 35-40K. In higher ed (professional staff and faculty level), graduate degrees are a dime a dozen and are not compensated for. I recently noticed on the university job board a job posting for an HVAC person (hs diploma +2 years work experience required) that pays 5K more than an admissions councilor would make. If you truly want to work in higher education administration, I would suggest doing what Baltimore09 did. Generally schools will pay for part of an employees tuition (thanks to budget cuts, most schools no longer will cover everything), and you will be building experience in higher ed. Racking up a ton of debt makes no sense when you could literally be making less than before you got a grad degree.

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Princess30350

55 months ago

[ completely agree with you on that !!!!!!!! I worked my butt off as well to get my BA in management what has that done for me. When I got out of high school in 90, I was making 60k NO DEGREE!!! then, I moved to ATL where I couldnt get a job working at Burger King without a degree. I think they hype up degrees to much there. I was working as a trader in MA .... they had NO Idea what the heck that was there !!!!!! anyways,,, moved backed to Boston now I have been out of the field to long.... I work part time not making nearly half of 60k. yah yah yah finally got the BA and have not received on job, and i probably have more work experience than anyone. I have been working in corp since 16 now 40!
I am pursuing a degree in higher education b/c I want to become an academic advisor.... no experience in higher ed. can't even get an interview... what the heck!!!!!! Now I have been told that is not enough so I am pursuing a degree addition... M.S. in Academic Advising.. Now what are they going to tell me.??? this is an never ending battle.... Do you think with these master degree could I receive one interview. What do you think? Not to mention I have a 3.9 GPA but no higher education exp. How do I sell myself.. I am stressed. any advice?
Princess

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Princess30350

54 months ago

I am going to Kansas State in the fall. I belive that is the best way to go while trying to get experience in the field. It is way less than 80k!!! Try 17,000.00 and they are endosed by NACADA... I don't understand why you wouldn't want to do this online. That is the best way. I would think this would be great for you????? Kansas is the only university I know that has a masters/certificate in academic advising. Well, all I can say is nobody couldn't say you don't know what your doing with a M.S. in the field!! even with lack of experience. I live in Boston,MA where there are ton of university and college. I can't get a job for anything in the world! I am thinking about taking a co-op in the fall. I did my masters online,which was the best move I could of made. I can move anywhere and take school with me. I am not 30+ years old sitting in a classroom. I have too much on my plate..... Your call..... let me know how I can help... Join NACADA ... I just did.

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Princess30350

54 months ago

where do you go to college at?

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maciel.ja@hotmail.com in Riverside, California

54 months ago

Well, I have a PhD in Marital and Family Counseling and am close to being licensed as an LMFT (I have over 6 years of clinical counseling under my belt!) I also have a minor in clinical mediation and organizational systems and professional relations (organizational psychology). My dissertation directly dealt with Mexican immigrant adolescents of high school age and how they make decisions about higher education (a very important topic for community colleges looking to recruit at local high schools and connect with minority students). I've published on topics such as culture, gender, and immigrant couples' cultural experience. My undergraduate degree was in elementary school teaching and I have two years of teaching experience in Southern California. I've applied to approximately 10 academic advising/counselor jobs and I haven't even been invited for an interview. This is completely and utterly unacceptable. I am so frustrated with this!! Any advice/insight???

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Lauren in Grand Rapids, Michigan

53 months ago

Western Michigan University has a masters program for counseling in higher education and is a public university, so it is not too expensive. And the admissions process is very simple.

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Renee in Mobile, Alabama

51 months ago

I currently work in a University Advising Center. Officially I am not an Advisor, however if I am not in the office, students will refuse to speak with the actual Advisors and come back later to speak with me. I started out as an Administrative Assistant and simply took the time and made the effort to learn the ins and outs of advising. The rest was common sense. I am one of the best at advising at the University because I care about the students and make an effort, its just that simple. I am constantly finding mistakes made by Admissions and the Registrars office that potentially could cost the students thousands of dollars and additional time in school. I am straight forward with them about what is in their best interest and what is a waste of money. AND I am not afraid to tell them when they have gotten in over their head and need to reevaluate their goals. There was an earlier post about a dual degree...had this student come and spoken with me...I would have discouraged them from going this route and explained that the extra time and money spent on that degree was not necessary. A double major would have accomplished the same objective, at half the cost.

I work with individuals with Ph.D.'s, M.A.'s, and B.A.'s...and the funny part is that the students come to me for their advising! The one person in the office without a degree. I am currently working on a B.A., simply because I love going to school and free tuition is one of the benefits of working at the University. I have been told that once I complete my degree that I will be promoted (in title) to an Advisor. So my advice to anyone trying to break into this area for the first time is to try from the bottom up. Seventy-five percent of our staff began in different positions other than Advisors within our office and then were promoted as they gain experience.

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Christine in Columbus, Ohio

48 months ago

Renne, I love what you said about starting from the bottom up. I'm one of the people who think it's crazy that you have to have your masters to become an academic advisor. I have my B.S. in Education and Human Ecology. I have a chance right now to get my masters in College Student Personnel, but I'm scared that I will still have a hard time finding a job in advising. I'm trying to decide right now if I want to pursue this any longer or just go get a certificate and become a medical assistant? I know that doesn't pay nearly what I would make in advising, but right now I have no job, and I don't want to be in the same boat after getting my masters. At least I know I'll find a job in the medical field.

I have a friend who started college the same time as me, dropped out after the first year and started working. She is now a supervisor and making almost $40,000 a year. After 2 more years getting my masters, and if I'm lucking to get a job right away, I still won't make that much. I don't know what to do. I wish I could just become an academic advisor without needing my masters. I don't care about moving up to another postion. I would be happy just being in advising.

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Baltimore09 in Baltimore, Maryland

44 months ago

For those of you without the masters degree, again why not try getting your foot in the door of a college or university. Start at an entry level position. A benefit of working at a college is you get to go to school for free, so you could potentially finish your masters in 2 years and then leave.

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Fernando in Eugene, Oregon

44 months ago

maciel.ja@hotmail.com in Riverside, California said: Well, I have a PhD in Marital and Family Counseling and am close to being licensed as an LMFT (I have over 6 years of clinical counseling under my belt!) I also have a minor in clinical mediation and organizational systems and professional relations (organizational psychology). My dissertation directly dealt with Mexican immigrant adolescents of high school age and how they make decisions about higher education (a very important topic for community colleges looking to recruit at local high schools and connect with minority students). I've published on topics such as culture, gender, and immigrant couples' cultural experience. My undergraduate degree was in elementary school teaching and I have two years of teaching experience in Southern California. I've applied to approximately 10 academic advising/counselor jobs and I haven't even been invited for an interview. This is completely and utterly unacceptable. I am so frustrated with this!! Any advice/insight???

Well, I don't know what jobs you're applying for, so I can't say what might be happening. I'm a soon (July) to be PhD, and made it through the phone int. to a finalist visit. I have lots of teaching experience, but I've also done academic advising during an annual orientation seminar the school runs for incoming freshmen and transfers. It was clear to me from the interview that they were basically looking for someone with a commitment to advising -- that is, somebody who knows what the job would be about and still wants to do it for various reasons. They also want good presenters to deal with various outreach stuff. Mostly, I think you have to fit with the culture. I know they really want you to focus on ADVISING, so I sublimated the publication issues, etc. I wouldn't really get into that unless they bring it up first -- just my two cents.

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chelsea in Normal, Illinois

41 months ago

Princess30350 said: [ completely agree with you on that !!!!!!!! I worked my butt off as well to get my BA in management what has that done for me. When I got out of high school in 90, I was making 60k NO DEGREE!!! then, I moved to ATL where I couldnt get a job working at Burger King without a degree. I think they hype up degrees to much there. I was working as a trader in MA .... they had NO Idea what the heck that was there !!!!!! anyways,,, moved backed to Boston now I have been out of the field to long.... I work part time not making nearly half of 60k. yah yah yah finally got the BA and have not received on job, and i probably have more work experience than anyone. I have been working in corp since 16 now 40!
I am pursuing a degree in higher education b/c I want to become an academic advisor.... no experience in higher ed. can't even get an interview... what the heck!!!!!! Now I have been told that is not enough so I am pursuing a degree addition... M.S. in Academic Advising.. Now what are they going to tell me.??? this is an never ending battle.... Do you think with these master degree could I receive one interview. What do you think? Not to mention I have a 3.9 GPA but no higher education exp. How do I sell myself.. I am stressed. any advice?
Princess

You need to do an internship or practicum in academic advising while you are still in school. The practicum will be unpaid but you NEED the experience. Even if it is just for a few months or one semester. Once that is on your resume the calls will start coming in.

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Sarah in Glen Allen, Virginia

41 months ago

I am currently getting my Masters in Community and College Counseling. Any suggestions on how I can improve my chances of getting a job as an academic advisor when I gradate in about 2 years (I'm going part-time while working)?

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a in Bronxville, New York

41 months ago

maciel.ja@hotmail.com in Riverside, California said: Well, I have a PhD in Marital and Family Counseling and am close to being licensed as an LMFT (I have over 6 years of clinical counseling under my belt!) I also have a minor in clinical mediation and organizational systems and professional relations (organizational psychology). My dissertation directly dealt with Mexican immigrant adolescents of high school age and how they make decisions about higher education (a very important topic for community colleges looking to recruit at local high schools and connect with minority students). I've published on topics such as culture, gender, and immigrant couples' cultural experience. My undergraduate degree was in elementary school teaching and I have two years of teaching experience in Southern California. I've applied to approximately 10 academic advising/counselor jobs and I haven't even been invited for an interview. This is completely and utterly unacceptable. I am so frustrated with this!! Any advice/insight???

Simple. You're overqualified. They're afraid you're not REALLY interested and/or not going to stick around long enough to make it worthwhile. Next time you apply, leave off the Phd, and see what happens.

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Bummed in Madison, Wisconsin

41 months ago

Hello all, I have no hope left. I just earned my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with a focus on Higher, Post-Secondary and Continuing Education. I have been applying for student services positions since 2008 and have not found any leads. I have had in-person and phone interviews by various types of institutions which include 4-year, technical, private, as well as for-profits. It may be my interviewing skills, but it also may be the fact that I have little experience advising that is the determining factor. I look great on paper, but perhaps I do not present my case well? Either way, I've decided to stop looking for Advising positions and just find a job so I can have benefits and a salary. I wouldn't go for a Master's degree until you are already in the higher education field. Good luck to everyone!

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Tony in Las Vegas, Nevada

40 months ago

Bummed in Madison -You need to join higher education groups

People its not what you know, it's who you know- so network network

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C.C. Carter in Southfield, Michigan

38 months ago

Let's Be Honest... in New York, New York said: For that past 10-15 years Higher Education has revitalized the professional staff requirements of administrators, in an effort to ensure that these individuals are buying into the mission, and vision, and institutional goals of the college/universities.

Having a Master's degree is proof of "professional competency" in any field, and is a ticket for upward mobility if you want to move up to Coordiantor of an Advising department, even Assistant/Director of an advising department in some cases.

The degree differentiates your competency level from that of a generalist advisor, counselor, etc.

A Licensed Nurse Practitioner could probably do just as much as A Registered Nurse, however they don't have the formal educational back ground and training to address key RN issues.

Just an FYI, a Licensed Nurse Practitioner is higher than a RN. They are able to do eveything a doctor can except surgery. They see their own patients and can write presciptions. I think you have a Licensed Nurse Practitioner confused with a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

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vv true in Los Angeles, California

38 months ago

HI...i have been a high school counselor for the past 5 years and would like to know if i would be a good canidate to be hired for a advisor at a univeristy? would i need college experience first? perhaps a career advisor?

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older in Winston Salem, North Carolina

37 months ago

Hi all,

I am an older student, 53 looking to break into Academic Advising. Would my age be a barrier to finding a position?

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Gary in Brooklyn, New York

37 months ago

older in Winston Salem, North Carolina said: Hi all,

I am an older student, 53 looking to break into Academic Advising. Would my age be a barrier to finding a position?

I don't think so. You can use the fact that you have life experience to your advantage.

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uuiiee in Corvallis, Oregon

37 months ago

Tell it!

Mr. OZ in Boynton Beach, Florida said: I think it's ridiculous that u need a "master's" degree to get an academic advising job. You need a master's degree to make $35,000 - $40,000 a year? are u kidding me? I'm a Admissions counselor at a large private school in south Florida and I've been one for over 2 years. I have plenty of "advising" and "counseling" experience and I can't get the job because I don't have my masters?

ugh!

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older in Winston Salem, North Carolina

37 months ago

Gary in Brooklyn, New York said: I don't think so. You can use the fact that you have life experience to your advantage.

Thank you so much for your comments! I have been told in a nice way that as an older female student, we tend to "mother" students. I do not agree.

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Renee in Mobile, Alabama

37 months ago

elanahadiel in Mexico, Mexico said: Baltimore09, could you give some examples of potential entry level positions that would lead toward becoming an academic advisor? I'm currently working as a missionary in Mexico City, but am hoping to return to Texas in August or September (yes, I know it's the most awkward time of year for finding work at a university, but it's when my program ends), and would like to pursue work as an academic advisor. I currently have a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology, which I obtained in 4 years at Texas A&M, after starting as a Genetics major...

To best get your foot in the door of an advising position you need to find a job within the advising department. Depending on the size of the institution the advisors maybe under the direction of the Dean's Office or another department. You would need to find some type of position that placed you in direct contact with the advisors and the students. (Secretary, Assistant, Records Specialist...etc...) Afterwards, make your interest known and play your cards right.

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D in Western WI in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

33 months ago

Bummed in Madison, Wisconsin said: Hello all, I have no hope left. I just earned my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with a focus on Higher, Post-Secondary and Continuing Education. I have been applying for student services positions since 2008 and have not found any leads. I have had in-person and phone interviews by various types of institutions which include 4-year, technical, private, as well as for-profits. It may be my interviewing skills, but it also may be the fact that I have little experience advising that is the determining factor. I look great on paper, but perhaps I do not present my case well? Either way, I've decided to stop looking for Advising positions and just find a job so I can have benefits and a salary. I wouldn't go for a Master's degree until you are already in the higher education field. Good luck to everyone!

I don't know why some jobs aren't on the 2 state jobs websites, but I saw positions at UW Stout in Memonomie in my local paper and they're listed on higheredjobs.com. GOOD LUCK!

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Renee in Mobile, Alabama

33 months ago

Most four year institutions want Academic Advisors that have experience in their particular University. You may have all the "paper and theory knowledge" of advising, but if you don't have hands-on experience dealing with their campus, their systems, their processes, their policies and procedures it makes the training time of a new advisor too costly. I highly recommend trying to get a position in either an Admissions or Registrars office and move into advising from there.

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Renee in Mobile, Alabama

33 months ago

vv true in Los Angeles, California said: HI...i have been a high school counselor for the past 5 years and would like to know if i would be a good canidate to be hired for a advisor at a univeristy? would i need college experience first? perhaps a career advisor?

I know that my particular University would not hire a high school counselor as an academic advisor...the student's we see straight from high school are too under prepared, therefore our opinion is tainted regarding about the education and advice they are currently getting from high school personnel.

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vvtrue in Riverside, California

33 months ago

Thank you for your input. i know there are some pretty bad school counselors out there...my emphasis is stong in college advising. too bad others ruin it for the rest.

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Lindzfaia in Dublin, Ohio

32 months ago

I'm a bit late commenting on this thread, but thought I'd give it a shot anyways. I'm wanting to work in higher education. I'd really like to get into advising, but don't mind other student oriented positions either (I.e first year experience, admissions, international student coordinator, etc). I've been applying for everything I'm qualified for at all the local schools here, even for-profit ones, just to get my foot in the door and work my way up. However, I haven't received any calls for interviews and I've been sending out resumes for over a year. I have a BA in social sciences and over 6 years administrative support (including experience working abroad). I also have experience in tutoring and volunteering for English conversation partnerships with international students.

At any rate, I've been considering getting my Master's degree. I really would like to do it online to avoid having to quit work and pay extra child care fees. I've come across a few programs offered through traditional universities and was wondering if anyone had taken this route and been successful in transitioning into higher education. I'm especially curious about Kansas State's Master's in academic advising. It seems really good, but at the same time I'm worried it's too narrow and it doesn't have an internship or practicum component.

Any advice or recommendations?

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D in Western WI in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

32 months ago

@Lindzfaia

I could have written your post!!
Two hurdles: One you really need a masters to get right into the field. Otherwise, you have to enter through a staff support/campus tour guide type position (usually all FT and low pay) PLUS get your masters before you can get into an advising position.

Secondly, online Higher Ed degrees, (I've looked into them for the last couple of years) really want students to be in some type of a position on campus or be able to make an arrangement with a local univ. or tech college to really be able to apply what they are learning. Of all the programs I'v

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lindzfaia in Dublin, Ohio

32 months ago

D in Western WI in Eau Claire, Wisconsin said: @Lindzfaia

I could have written your post!!
Two hurdles: One you really need a masters to get right into the field. Otherwise, you have to enter through a staff support/campus tour guide type position (usually all FT and low pay) PLUS get your masters before you can get into an advising position.

Secondly, online Higher Ed degrees, (I've looked into them for the last couple of years) really want students to be in some type of a position on campus or be able to make an arrangement with a local univ. or tech college to really be able to apply what they are learning. Of all the programs I'v

@D in Western Wisconsin: It appears you're text was cut off. I'd love to hear the ending of what you had to say! Also, I have been speaking with a local community college about an internship possibility for these online programs... they seem pretty receptive. I'm still curious about more information though. I had one advisor at a university outright tell me to just get a job first then do a Master's. (If only it were that simple.) I really have been applying for low pay jobs to get my foot in the door, I'm just getting absolutely no bites!

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Jay in Virginia Beach, Virginia

29 months ago

I am in a masters program for counseling, but I am thinking about switching to higher education degree with a concentration in student affairs. What exactly is the difference besides actually getting licensed to counsel (which I don't care to do). I know being an LPC has better job prospects, but in regards to academic advising and coordinating, is one better than the other?

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cmae1186 in Wilmington, Delaware

29 months ago

I feel everyone's pain! I too have been trying in vain to get my foot in the door at my local University/Alma Mater. I've applied for jobs in Development, Student Life, Admissions and I'm getting ready to throw my hat into the ring for what seems like a dream job advising in the School of Music. I haven't gotten a single call. I have a bachelor's degree in Communication and while I don't necessarily have any relevant work experience, I've been at the same job over 3 years and I've been out of college just over 3.5 years. I've really been trying to do my reading as far as background goes in academic advisement, academic recruitment, and marketing at the higher education level. I just don't know what to do to actually get someone to call me in! Anyone have ANY tips? I looked into that Kansas State degree and it sounds perfect for what I'd like to do... and that seems a little suspicious somehow. I would like to know if anyone's ever taken it and been taken seriously. I'm not really familiar with Kansas State as an institution.

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D in Western WI in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

29 months ago

Renee - really good, practical, in-the-field comments. THANK YOU.
Lindz - don't know why I didn't get an email notice about your comment, have lost my train of thought but I think I was going to mention the half dozen online Higher ED and similar MA programs I've looked into: UW LaCrosse (SAA in HE), Upper Iowa U (MHEA), Northeastern U (MEd w/ HEA concentr.), UW Milwaukee (MS in Admin Leadership w/ HEA concentr.),(Sam Houston State U (MA in HEA). Some require the GRE be taken and some don't. All require some ability to access a higher ed setting for internship/paid experience. The time to completion varies from 12 mos. (39 cr, 3 cr over 8 wks) to 3 years. SHSU was the cheapest at around $15K and the most expensive was in the low $20's. Some programs require limited on-campus time, like maybe 2 weeks a summer while others are 100% online. Enrollment windows vary from rolling (very flexible) to only once or twice a year. Look at all the programs very carefully because if you want to get into the tech college system (much better pay in WI) some programs have coursework in that area and others surprisingly didn't have a course or course component in program budgets. Also, some are geared for career advancement into institutional admin and other for direct student contact combined with program (not institutional) admin.

I'm wondering if cmae is referring to the KS State U Academic Advising Grad Cert. I'd love to hear from anyone with first hand info about it.

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cmae1186 in Wilmington, Delaware

29 months ago

That is what I was referring to, yes :)

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Joe Gagill in Monticello, New York

29 months ago

I'm a great Salesperson.

I saw an opening for an Admissions Representative for a local community college. I only have a bachelor degree though.

The requirements they wanted I thought were idiotic. A master's plus must be familiar with some type of college software, etc, etc, etc.

Totally nuts for about 45k.

Wouldn't they want someone that could really bring in the students??? A big time salesperson, not an Academia person.

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D in Western WI in Eau Claire, Wisconsin

29 months ago

Isn't it just ridiculous!?!
VR counselors with the Div of Voc Rehab in WI have to have a Masters in VR or Counseling AND have completed 3,000 hrs post-degree supervised work to have a state license in counseling; all for the pleasure at starting out at about $40K/yr.

OT/PT Assistants with 2 year degrees are in demand and can easily make that much or more in WI.
In higher ed, I agree that recruitment, but not retention, should require some experience in sales/promotion/marketing. And the pay for those front line recruiters, orientation "advisors", etc. is pretty low but can be a stepping stone to academic advising.

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futuregradstudent in Farmington, Michigan

29 months ago

If you are looking for a career change, getting a master's degree in higher education is the best option. Many programs provide graduate assistantships that will pay for a portion of your tuition and housing. You will also learn the theory and gain practice skills in student affairs. I didn't want to return to graduate school, but I realized it was the best decision for me. Now, I work 20 hours per week in an admissions office (my career interest) and take three classes per semester. I will graduate with student loans under $35,000. When I graduate, I hope to get a job in admissions or academic advising.

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Renee in Mobile, Alabama

29 months ago

Let's face it...you don't go into the education field to make money. All Universities are facing cut backs and fierce competition for students. Administration sees faculty as the most vital assest to the University and professional advisors as expendable. If you are looking for a career that pays well...academic advising is not the route to go. You do it because you love it, not for the money.

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asdelpuerto in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

I just made an account to respond specifically to this thread. I did not have the opportunity to read every single response but I reviewed most, so if this reflects another response then apologies for the repetition. Please remember that finding a job, as many career counselors and perhaps academic counselors advise, requires networking. A masters degree is negligible if no one knows you have it. Degrees are there to set you apart when people already know who you are.... not the other way around. Everyone has a masters now, so figure out a way to get to know the people that matter. There's a saying that your earnings are similar to the five closest people/friends in your life. Think about it.... it is who you meet... it is how you network... it is what circle you associate with. If you want to be an academic advisor, find other academic advisors and befriend them. If you don't know them do informational interviewing. Ask friends if they know anyone even close in the field. I want to switch into academic advising from admissions but I would gladly send contact info to anyone with similar interests. Find your allies, find your support, find you mentors..... act like a student, communicate with those who are most influential in your goals....

Just sayin...

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Charm City Fan in Baltimore, Maryland

23 months ago

elanahadiel in Mexico, Mexico said: Baltimore09, could you give some examples of potential entry level positions that would lead toward becoming an academic advisor? I'm currently working as a missionary in Mexico City , but am hoping to return to Texas in August or September (yes, I know it's the most awkward time of year for finding work at a university, but it's when my program ends), and would like to pursue work as an academic advisor. I currently have a dual degree in Psychology and Sociology, which I obtained in 4 years at Texas A&M, after starting as a Genetics major...

I worked in the area of Disability Support Services providing reasonable accommodations to college students with documented disabilitie. One of my responsibilities included academic advising which is how I gained hands on experience providing academic advisor. I moved to a different University where I still work in the same area, however, I remain at the previous college providing part time academic advising. So, to summarize, having an entry level position in another area such as Disability Support Services, a Trio Program, or similar department in student services, might also be able to help you transition into academic advising. I had the chance to collaborate with other advisor which helped me network and gain valuable job experience.

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Steve J A in Los Angeles, California

4 months ago

I first got into academic advising when I was a peer advisor in the psychology department at my undergrad institution. Afterwards, I went on to earn my M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs. During my graduate program, I held several graduate assistantships to help pay for school. One in particular was an academic support counselor position. Together, the masters degree and advising experience helped me get my current academic advising job at UCLA. Best of luck!

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