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Salary Pecking Order

Salary Pecking Order
March 13, 2006

This isn't a great year for salaries of mid-level administrators.

Data being released today by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources show that the median base salary for administrators in these positions is up 3.3 percent over last year. That increase is slightly behind the rate of inflation, and trails the average increases in salaries for faculty members and other administrators.

The data are perhaps most interesting for showing that not all mid-level administrators have mid-level salaries. Among all institutions, the highest paid position was staff physician ($127,270 median), followed by staff lawyer ($96,326). But while the data across all institutions would suggest a paucity of six-figure salaries in the mid-level ranks, that's not actually the case.

The medians across all institutions hide the many six-figure salaries in athletics departments at doctoral institutions. (Sports officials' pay is much more modest in other sectors.) At doctoral institutions, the medians for five athletic positions are in the six figures: head football coach ($185,000), head men's basketball coach ($157,500), head women's basketball coach ($108,000), offensive coordinator for football ($101,097) and defensive coordinator for football ($101,000).

How do those salaries compare to other mid-level administrative positions? The head football coach's salary (and we stress here that these figures do not cover endorsement contracts and other benefits that in many cases dwarf the salaries) would cover the salaries at doctoral institutions of three counseling psychologists or four academic advisers or three reference librarians or four accountants or three help desk managers. (A table comparing medians for a number of positions, by different sectors of higher education, appears at the bottom of this article.)

By sector, median salary increases across positions were higher at private than at public institutions (3.4 percent to 3.1 percent), and they were higher at community colleges (3.7 percent) and baccalaureate institutions (3.3 percent) than at doctoral and master's institutions (3.2 percent for both). Within specialty areas, accounting and finance salaries grew at the fastest rate while student service positions grew at the slowest rate, as the following table indicates.

Median Salary Increases by Job Category and Sector, 2005-6

Category All Public Private
General administration 3.3% 3.2% 3.5%
Accounting and finance 3.5% 3.5% 3.5%
Information systems 3.3% 3.1% 3.4%
Physical plant/security 3.3% 3.2% 3.3%
Extracurricular activities 3.2% 3.0% 3.3%
External affairs 3.3% 3.3% 3.3%
Student services 3.0% 3.0% 3.2%
Engineering/research 3.1% 3.0% 3.5%
Medical 3.4% 3.4% 3.3%

The following table provides breakdowns on specific positions, by sector, in categories organized by CUPA-HR. In some categories for some sectors, there are not enough people in a position for the association to provide meaningful data.

Median Salaries for Mid-Level Administrators, by Sector, 2005-6

Job All Doctoral Master's 4-Year 2-Year
General administration          
--Reference librarian $48,073 $50,723 $45,853 $43,212 $59,397
--Reference specialist   32,202  32,036  35,718  29,171   31,636
--Catalog librarian   47,037  50,121  45,012  45,100   52,009
--Public info specialist   40,946  42,806  37,000  35,000   43,107
--Contract & grant specialist   43,627  43,384  44,256  47,574  46,665
--Museum curator   45,000  45,126  39,911  49,382  50,562
--Staff lawyer   96,326  97,257  81,913  71,400  92,030
--Coordinator of disability svcs   47,170  53,567  44,793  44,297  44,970
--EEO/affirmative action specialist   52,000  54,036  48,727  54,408  58,789
--Employee relations analyst   44,454  44,454  45,581  n/a  55,153
--Personnel analyst   43,014  44,949  35,401  36,899  41,943
--Benefits specialist   37,951  38,396  35,764  35,744  40,262
Accounting & finance          
--Accountant   37,767  37,753  36,436  36,250  39,025
--Auditor   49,084  51,464  48,974  57,700  47,446
--Budget analyst   44,274  44,274  43,818  41,309  43,229
--Department business manager (small)   49,434  49,928  47,452  40,516  41,522
--Department business manager (large)   65,316  65,368  53,560  46,304  46,706
Information systems          
--Programmer
analyst
  49,850  49,850  45,489  44,386  50,396
--Programmer analyst, supervisor   68,520  68,446  62,078  63,140  67,100
--Systems programmer   49,263  49,648  47,558  50,368  43,010
--Systems programmer, supervisor   72,106  72,283  58,000  71,932  75,343
--Database administrator   57,915  59,773  56,146  52,782  58,538
--Help desk
manager
  48,490  52,810  42,860  39,180  48,810
--Telecomm. manager   52,949  63,996  49,835  43,946  52,405
--Webmaster   47,143  48,222   46,446  43,260  45,448
--E-mail administrator   53,744  54,313  49,102  48,275  45,599
Physical plant & security          
--Police lieutenant   52,226  56,470  45,618  36,500  45,610
--Security guard   25,133  24,690  24,742  25,372  25,784
--Environmental health & safety specialist   49,611  49,667  46,795  46,396  47,733
--Skilled crafts supervisor   46,353  48,234  42,943  48,568  45,616
--Coordinator of construction   59,191  59,269  55,387  60,000  58,692
--Architect   64,115  62,903  61,618  73,162  66,690
Extracurricular activities          
--Head athletic trainer   46,651  63,522  44,142  43,266  41,287
--Intramural coordinator   37,070  40,020  35,675  33,450  36,047
--Head coach -- football   73,707 185,000  72,070  62,499  31,314
--Offensive coordinator -- football   52,142 101,097  43,297  39,000  n/a
--Defensive coordinator -- football   52,010 101,000  45,000  37,015  n/a
--Assistant coach -- football   44,474  85,755  36,695  31,683  n/a
--Head coach -- baseball   48,014  72,975  46,654  41,105  44,799
--Head coach, men's basketball   63,202 157,500  63,347  51,092  45,982
--Assistant coach, men's basketball   46,155  65,652  38,927  29,093  23,372
--Head coach, women's basketball   55,616 108,000  56,968  45,650  45,214
--Assistant coach, women's basketball   40,300  50,000   35,216  27,333  16,500
External affairs          
--Annual giving officer   47,028  54,291  43,353  39,514  47,177
--Alumni relations officer   43,042  48,027  39,956  38,000  44,781
--Coordinator of resource development   40,950  41,886  40,341  41,042  40,584
--Major gifts officer   68,060  70,120  58,625  66,033  71,409
Student services          
--Student activities officer   40,828  41,024  37,187  34,608  43,641
--Academic counselor   36,189  37,153  36,303  34,500  37,074
--Student career counselor   39,355  40,209  39,526  38,006  37,472
--Admissions rep to high schools  32,049  34,100  31,500  29,733   35,581
--Counseling psychologist  53,275  53,275  51,358  56,841  56,091
--Study abroad advisor  36,000  35,934  35,782  36,750  n/a
--Academic support center coordinator   39,563  37,720  40,558  42,468  38,669
--Financial aid counselor  32,807  35,224  32,884  30,546  35,748
--Campus minister  39,737  40,637  38,448  45,000  n/a
Engineering and research          
--Electronics engineer  49,912  49,912  45,414  44,060  n/a
--Research asst. -- physical sciences  36,565  36,504  31,638  35,200  n/a
--Research asst. -- social and behavioral sciences  39,058  39,294  41,045  34,204  n/a
--Lab coordinator  43,335  43,405  40,014  40,930  39,317
--Research field technician  32,657  32,657  37,049  30,768  n/a
Medical          
--Nurse practitioner  70,805  71,062  57,358  62,308  48,590
--Staff nurse  65,616  65,616  39,747  41,136  46,744
--Staff physician 127,270 117,721 114,855 129,000  n/a

Executive summaries of the salary report and information about ordering the full report are available on the association's Web site.

 

 

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