Department Chair

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Department Chair job description involves overseeing a specific field of study or academic department within a school or university. The Department Chair is responsible for managing faculty, organizing curriculum, creating schedules, and ensuring the department is meeting educational standards. They set goals and objectives for the department, facilitate communication between faculty and administration, and provide feedback to improve student learning outcomes.

Department Chairs are expected to have excellent leadership and communication skills, as they serve as advocates for both faculty members and students. They must stay up-to-date with changes in their field and adapt their department’s curriculum and policies accordingly. Additionally, Department Chairs may be responsible for budget management and fundraising initiatives to ensure their department has the resources it needs to succeed.

Overall, a Department Chair plays a vital role in maintaining educational excellence and shaping future generations of professionals in their field.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads and manages a department in an educational institution
  • Plans and coordinates curriculum design and implementation
  • Provides guidance and support to fellow teachers
  • Conducts teacher evaluations and professional development
  • Oversees department budget and resources
  • Collaborates with other department chairs and school administrators
  • Communicates with parents and the community on department matters
  • Promotes student achievement and academic excellence
  • Maintains accreditation standards and ensures compliance with policies and regulations

Experience and Education Requirements

To be a Department Chair in Education, you usually need a Master's or Doctorate degree in Education or a related field. Experience as a teacher or professor is also important, and many Department Chairs have worked in the education industry for several years before being promoted to this leadership position. In addition, Department Chairs need good communication skills to work with teachers, administrators, and students. They should also have strong organizational skills since they oversee many teachers and programs in their department. Finally, some schools and districts may require Department Chairs to have certain certifications or licenses, depending on the subject matter. Overall, a combination of higher education and experience as an educator is key to becoming a successful Department Chair in Education.

Salary Range

The salary range for a Department Chair in the Education industry starts at around $60,000 and can go up to $150,000 or more, depending on experience, qualifications, and location. In the United States, the average salary for a Department Chair is $95,038 per year, according to Glassdoor. However, this can vary depending on the type of institution, with public universities typically paying less than private ones. In other countries, such as Canada and the UK, salaries range from CAD 63,000 to CAD 154,000 and £42,000 to £82,000, respectively. Experienced Department Chairs with doctoral degrees and a proven track record can command higher salaries. Department Chair salary range is a key consideration for those pursuing a career in education leadership.


  • Glassdoor:,16.htm
  • PayScale:

Career Outlook

A department chair in the education industry oversees a particular department in a college or university. The career outlook for a department chair is mostly steady as there is no significant change expected in the number of job openings in the next five years. However, some experts predict that there could be a slight increase in demand due to the retirement of many department chairs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of postsecondary education administrators, which includes department chairs, is anticipated to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.


  • Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  • EdSurge:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Department Chair do in the Education industry?

A: The Department Chair is responsible for overseeing a specific academic department, managing its budget and curriculum, supporting the professional development of faculty, and ensuring academic excellence.

Q: What qualifications do I need to become a Department Chair?

A: A Doctorate or Master’s degree in the relevant field of study is required, along with extensive teaching and administrative experience.

Q: What are the key responsibilities of a Department Chair?

A: The chair must provide leadership, direction and guidance to the department, manage faculty workload and evaluations, manage budget and resources, and ensure compliance with institutional policies and procedures.

Q: Is a Department Chair in charge of hiring faculty?

A: The Department Chair generally has the authority to recommend new hires, but ultimately the final decision is made by the Dean or other higher authority.

Q: How much does a Department Chair earn?

A: Salaries vary depending on the institution and location, but generally Department Chairs earn significantly more than the average faculty member due to the additional responsibilities and workload.

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