Salary Pecking Order
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
|Accounting and finance||3.5%||3.5%||3.5%|
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
|--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|
|--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|
|Accounting & finance|
|--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|
|--Programmer analyst, supervisor||68,520||68,446||62,078||63,140||67,100|
|--Systems programmer, supervisor||72,106||72,283||58,000||71,932||75,343|
| --Help desk |
|Physical plant & security|
|--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|
|--Head athletic trainer||46,651||63,522||44,142||43,266||41,287|
|--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|
|--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 activities officer||40,828||41,024||37,187||34,608||43,641|
|--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|
|--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|
|Engineering and research|
|--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|
|--Research field technician||32,657||32,657||37,049||30,768||n/a|
Executive summaries of the salary report and information about ordering the full report are available on the association's Web site.