How Much Does a Director of Academics Make? (Plus Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 2022

Directors of academics are professionals who work in school administrations or other organizations where they create and implement a curriculum. Although they most often work in schools, directors of academics can find diverse career opportunities in other types of organizations. If you're interested in educational administration or educational programming, you consider becoming a director of academics. In this article, we explain what a director of academics is, what they do, what skills they have, how much they make and where they can earn high salaries.

What is a director of academics?

A director of academics is someone who leads academic operations, usually at a school. They may also hold the title of academic coordinators, directors of education, academic directors or education directors, among other titles. They might work with only one school, especially if it's a private school, or they might direct the curriculum of an entire school district. Directors of academics may also work with organizations like museums or nonprofits if they run educational programs like classes or educational camps for children.

Related: 18 Careers in Education Management (With Duties and Salaries)

What does a director of academics do?

Directors of academics work closely with the administration of their workplace to develop or update curriculum and organize teaching methods. This can include researching educational technology and methods for instruction and making recommendations to schools on which ones they may benefit from the most. For example, if a school holds its classes remotely or in a hybrid form, a director of academics may be the person recommending the software, applications and other technology to help make this teaching style successful.

They often collaborate with faculty, staff and parents to create a comprehensive curriculum. Some directors of academics may also work directly with students by acting as an advisor to them. Being able to interact with the students at their school or in their district can be very useful in their work, as they can get a better understanding of their academic needs. Here are a few other responsibilities a director of academics might have:

  • Processing grades

  • Assessing incoming students

  • Evaluating student performance

  • Training teachers

  • Supporting staff

  • Writing educational materials

  • Creating new teaching techniques

  • Selecting textbooks

  • Making budget recommendations

  • Scheduling professional development programs

  • Evaluating test materials

What skills do directors of academics use?

Directors of academics need a wide range of skills related to both teaching and administration. Here are explanations of some of the skills that can help make a director of academics successful in their work:

Administrative skills

A large part of being a director of academics involves having a diverse collection of experience and skills related to administrative work. This can include planning projects, organizing tasks, delegating to other staff, and being familiar with educational regulations and standards. Some directors of academics work in an office managed by another member of school staff, while others may also perform office management duties.

Communication

Directors of academics interact with many kinds of people every day, both in and outside the school or organization where they work. It's important for them to be skilled in verbal and written communication that allows them to interact effectively with a diverse range of people. Communication skills are also important because directors often collaborate with others and make recommendations to school administrators.

Leadership

Directors of academics usually lead their own teams along and collaborate with staff, faculty and administrative employees. They may also frequently lead teams of colleagues during projects. To perform these duties effectively, it helps for directors of academics to be skilled at managing and coordinating other people. It's also good if they can engage and inspire the people they lead.

Related: 10 Effective Leadership Skills To Lead a Team

Teaching skills

Although directors of academics may not teach in a classroom, having teaching skills can still be valuable. These skills can include knowing how to interact with students and parents, planning lessons and being flexible. It's common for directors of academics to have teaching experience where they may have learned those skills already, but for those who haven't, it may be helpful to observe classes as much as possible. This experience can also help directors understand the perspective of teachers and students, giving them insight into how to best support them.

Curriculum planning skills

One of the primary responsibilities for directors of academics is planning and implementing curriculum. This is a process that requires having knowledge of many areas, such as educational standards, various subject matters, current course content and available educational and instructional resources. Curriculum planning also involves collaboration with many people, such as other administrators and teachers. If you want to be a director of academics, it's a good idea to pursue any training or experience that could help improve your curriculum planning skills.

Problem-solving skills

Whether they oversee an entire school district, a small private school or a museum, it's likely a director of academics could face unique challenges. These challenges might involve school regulations, educational standards and the opinions of parents. It's important for directors of academics to have skills related to problem-solving, particularly creative problem-solving, so they can navigate these kinds of situations.

Interpersonal skills

Since directors of academics work with so many people, including staff, students and parents, it's helpful for them to have strong interpersonal skills. They might use these skills when they meet with parents to discuss their child's academic progress, give recommendations for improvement or help to form a plan to support the student. Interpersonal skills like empathy and active listening can make these meetings more successful.

Technological proficiency

Directors of academics frequently work with software, applications and online educational resources, making technological proficiency very helpful. They can use technology to organize the many plans and projects they manage and to collaborate with staff and administration. It's also common for directors to research and recommend new educational technology to their school, which can be easier to achieve if they're already familiar with the current technology in use.

How much does a director of academics make?

On average, directors of academics make $80,883 per year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the related field of postsecondary education administrators may see an 8% growth between 2020 and 2030. This is about as fast as average among all occupations.

Related: Popular Careers in Education You Can Pursue

8 high paying cities for a director of academics

Here are eight high paying cities for directors of academics. For the most up-to-date Indeed salaries, please click on the links below:

  1. San Antonio, TX: $63,393 per year

  2. Houston, TX: $66,560 per year

  3. Chicago, IL: $70,536 per year

  4. Denver, CO: $77,860 per year

  5. San Diego, CA: $80,942 per year

  6. Brooklyn, NY: $83,579 per year

  7. Miami, FL: $107,581 per year

  8. New York, NY: $111,849 per year

How to become a director of academics

Here are four steps that can help you understand how to become a director of academics:

1. Earn your bachelor's degree

The minimum required education to become a director of academics is a bachelor's degree. Common degrees for directors of education include education, educational administration, educational leadership and curriculum development. They may also pursue teaching degrees like elementary education or special education. Relevant degrees outside the immediate educational field can include human resources, management and business administration.

2. Obtain teaching credentials

Certification requirements for directors of academics depends on the state, so make sure to research what credentials you might need. An educator's license or teaching certificate are both common requirements. You may have to pass multiple qualifying exams and apply for a license with your state. Many directors of academics already hold teaching credentials if they started out as an educator, in which case they only need to ensure they have an updated license or certificate.

Related: How To Become an Education Administrator in 6 Steps

3. Gain work experience

One of the most important items you can have on your resume when applying for a director of academics job is relevant work experience. Schools often prefer to hire directors who have experience working in schools as staff, faculty or administration. It's common for directors of academics to have taught in a classroom for years before pursuing the director position. Experience working is highly valuable for leading a school's academic operations, as it gives the director an understanding of what can most benefit teachers and students.

4. Earn a master's degree

Although a graduate-level degree isn't always necessary to become a director of academics, it can be extremely helpful in expanding your job possibilities, as some schools might require a graduate degree for their director of academics. It's a good idea to pursue a degree that gives you further specialization in education and has an emphasis on management or leadership. Some potential graduate degrees include educational leadership, educational administration and curriculum development.

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