Program Specialist for Higher Education

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Program Specialist for Higher Education is responsible for coordinating and managing various educational programs that assist students in reaching their academic goals. They work in higher education institutions such as colleges and universities to ensure that educational programs align with students' career aspirations and needs, and the institution’s standards. Program Specialists work closely with faculty members, administrators, and students to design, implement, and evaluate educational programs to ensure their effectiveness. They also oversee the budget for their programs, track student progress, and communicate with stakeholders regularly to ensure the program meets institutional goals.

The job of a Program Specialist for Higher Education requires excellent communication, organization, and leadership skills. The ideal candidate must have a Master's degree in Education, instructional design, or a related field, as well as experience in curriculum development and program management. They must also be passionate about education and possess a deep understanding of the education industry, including the latest trends and technologies. If you are interested in a Program Specialist for Higher Education job description, this is an exciting and challenging career path that requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn and adapt.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop and implement programs that support academic success for college students.
  • Collaborate with faculty and staff to identify student needs and create programs to meet those needs.
  • Provide training and resources to faculty and staff on how to support student success.
  • Lead workshops and other events aimed at building students' skills and knowledge.
  • Develop and distribute resources such as handouts, websites, and e-learning modules.
  • Use data to evaluate the effectiveness of programs, identify areas for improvement, and make recommendations for changes.
  • Communicate with students and other stakeholders to promote programs and resources.
  • Stay up-to-date on trends and best practices in higher education to continually improve programs.
  • Advocate for students and work with colleagues to create a supportive learning environment.
  • Manage budgets and resources to ensure efficient and effective use of funds.

Experience and Education Requirements

If you want to be a Program Specialist for Higher Education, you usually need a bachelor's degree or higher in education-related fields like curriculum development or educational leadership. Many schools may also require a master's degree in educational administration or a relevant field. A few years of experience working in higher education institutions in areas such as student affairs, admissions, or academic advising would be preferred. Knowledge of regulations and policies specific to higher education, as well as excellent communication and organizational skills are key. Some schools may also require you to hold certifications such as Certified Higher Education Professional or Certified Educational Planner to qualify for the position.

Salary Range

Program Specialist for Higher Education salary range in the United States can vary based on factors such as location, education level, and experience. On average, the salary range for this position ranges from $44,000 to $85,000 per year. In California, the average program specialist for higher education salary ranges from $57,000 to $93,000 per year based on level of education and experience. In the United Kingdom, the average salary for program specialists in higher education ranges from £25,000 to £39,000 per year. It's important to note that salary ranges can also vary within institutions and based on specific job roles. 





Career Outlook

The career outlook for a Program Specialist for Higher Education is looking promising over the next five years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of postsecondary education administrators, which includes Program Specialists, is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Additionally, the increasing demand for higher education and the changes in regulations and policies are driving the need for specialized professionals in this field. 

A Program Specialist for Higher Education plays an important role in managing programs and initiatives that promote student success, such as academic advising, career services, and student engagement. They also work with faculty and staff to develop and implement policies and procedures that align with the institution's mission and goals. 

In conclusion, if you are passionate about higher education and have a knack for program management, becoming a Program Specialist in this field could be a fulfilling and lucrative career path with many opportunities for growth and advancement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a program specialist for higher education do?

A: A program specialist for higher education is responsible for managing and designing academic programs, overseeing admissions, creating schedules, managing budgets, and providing support to students and faculty.

Q: What qualifications are required to become a program specialist for higher education?

A: Typically, a bachelor's degree in education, social sciences, or a related field is required, and some positions may require a master's degree. Relevant experience in program administration or academic counseling is also desirable.

Q: What skills are necessary to succeed as a program specialist for higher education?

A: Strong organizational and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with students, faculty, and staff are essential. Attention to detail, the ability to multitask, and proficiency in technology are also important.

Q: What are the typical working hours for a program specialist for higher education?

A: Generally, program specialists work full-time during regular business hours, but some may have to work evenings or weekends, depending on the needs of their institution.

Q: What is the job outlook for a program specialist for higher education?

A: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to the increasing number of students enrolling in colleges and universities.

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