Academic Advisor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Academic Advisor, or College Advisor, is responsible for working with students in high schools, colleges and universities to help them meet the requirements to graduate and earn their desired degree. Their duties include helping students pick a potential career path, recommending courses for students to take and staying updated on course requirements.

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Academic Advisor Duties and Responsibilities

An Academic Advisor’s duty is primarily to students who attend the high school, college or university where they are employed. The advisor needs to have a thorough understanding of the various degree programs and the necessary classes for those programs. Students will seek the help of advisors as they plan for their future careers. Academic Advisors also help students who are transferring from other schools and make sure that they go through orientation and get their credits transferred. 

Here’s a sample list of academic advisor duties and responsibilities:

  • Meet with students regularly to review degree progress and graduation requirements
  • Review placement tests and certifications with students to ensure they are fulfilling requirements and are placed in the proper classes or programs
  • Keep up with registration deadlines and help make sure students register on time
  • Assist students with any changes in their course of study
  • Attend college fairs to meet with potential students
  • Review career goals with students and help them follow the proper track to reach their goals
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Academic Advisor Job Description Examples

What does an Academic Advisor do?

Academic Advisors are typically employed by high schools or colleges to provide guidance to students and help them successfully graduate from the institution. They work closely with students to gauge their academic interests to help them pick courses and academic programs that are well suited for them. The Academic Advisor’s job is to build a course schedule for students and track their progress throughout their academic career to ensure they’re on track to graduate. Some Academic Advisors travel to job and college fairs to meet potential students and build strong relationships with employers and other institutions.

Academic Advisor Skills and Qualifications

Qualified applicants have these skills and qualifications in order to assess whether they have the necessary skills to be a good candidate for the position. You’ll want to include education and experience requirements, as well as desirable interpersonal skills and character traits.

A successful Academic Advisor candidate will show these skills and qualifications, which are necessary to fulfill the duties explained in the job description:

  • A bachelor’s degree or master’s degree
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • 2-3 years of advising experience
  • Knowledge and understanding of education and degree requirements for students wanting to graduate
  • Superb communication skills 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, especially with students
  • Understanding of the skills and education necessary for students to enter various professions 

Academic Advisor Salary Expectations

An Academic Advisor makes an average of $42,393 per year. Salary expectations depend on the candidate’s level of education and experience.  Typically advising positions that require higher education and more experience will pay more. Tenure for an Academic Advisor takes up to 3 years.

Academic Advisor Education and Training Requirements

Education and training requirements for Academic Advisors vary depending on their specific position and the type of institution they work for. An Academic Advisor at a university usually holds a master’s degree and has several years of experience in advising. Academic Advisors at community colleges and high schools can hold advising positions with only a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Undergraduate degrees in marketing, psychology, social work, counseling and other similar subjects prepare a person well for advising. Many Academic Advisors will begin their position with a bachelor’s degree and later earn a master’s degree for an opportunity to advance.

Academic Advisor Experience Requirements

A good candidate for your business’s available position will have the level of experience you need. If you are interested in finding a candidate who won’t need a lot of training or who might be able to act as a trainer or supervisor for others, you’ll need to specify the need for three to five or more years of experience. For entry-level positions, candidates might only need one or two years of experience. If you’re okay with providing a lot of training, you can put “no experience necessary” in the experience requirement section of the job description. 

Job Description Samples for Similar Positions

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Frequently asked questions about Academic Advisors


What are the qualities of a good Academic Advisor?

Strong Academic Advisors are dedicated to the wellbeing and success of their students. Common characteristics of a good Academic Advisor include:

  • Highly knowledgeable about the career path and degree programs their students are pursuing
  • Effective communication skills to regularly reach out to students and learn their academic needs and goals
  • Organizational and time management skills to build a productive class schedule for students, sign them up for courses on time and help them effectively balance their course loads
  • Positive and encouraging attitude to motivate students to succeed and advance in their educational careers


What is the difference between an Academic Advisor and a Guidance Counselor?

A Guidance Counselor works with students and sometimes staff and faculty members to advise them on their personal and academic lifestyles. They handle social, behavioral and educational issues students or instructors may be facing. Most Guidance Counselors have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Similar to Academic Advisors, Guidance Counselors may also help students with their career and educational goals.

Academic Advisors mainly handle issues that are academic-related, like problems with class schedules, tough course loads or earning enough credits to graduate on time.


Why is it important to hire a strong Academic Advisor?

Academic Advisors work to make sure students feel supported and cared for by members of their institution. Academic Advisors often dedicate time to helping students find roles well-suited for their skills, abilities and preferences. A strong Academic Advisor at a university can help boost enrollment and graduation rates, which can attract more students to that institution. 


Do Academic Advisors have different responsibilities in various industries?

Most Academic Advisors work in the education industry and all hold similar responsibilities. There are some Academic Advisors who work in high schools helping students grasp an idea of what career to pursue. They helps students find the best trade school, university or other academic institution to gain the necessary qualifications to work in their desired field. 

Other Academic Advisors work in colleges to help freshman meet their general education requirements and provide guidance on selecting the best major for the student’s skills and goals. 

Some Academic Advisors work in a college’s department and specialize in a certain major. They usually have a degree in the major they’re advising for. This helps them give in-depth guidance and advice on career paths within specific majors. 

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