Academic advisors have a variety of tasks and responsibilities. They work in high schools to help students figure out their strengths, weaknesses, and personal interests. Then, they help them set up their class schedules to take the classes they need to get ready for technical school or college. Academic advisors guide students toward a career or field of interest. They help them with the process of researching, choosing, and applying to universities, colleges, or technical schools. They also help students get ready for college entrance exams, including the SAT or ACT. Academic advisors offer general advice to help students complete high school successfully.
Academic advisors also work at technical schools, community colleges, and universities. When a student applies to a college or technical school, one of the first people they meet is an academic advisor. Academic advisors must understand the school’s available academic programs. Then they help the student choose appropriate goals and pick a major.
Students get help from an academic advisor to create a class schedule that fits their individual needs. The academic advisor is responsible for properly guiding the student, while providing honest, thoughtful, and knowledgeable advice. If you have a passion for helping people, and enjoy working in an educational setting, you may want to explore a career in academic advising.
Why Become An Academic Advisor
As an academic advisor, you will be required to have an excellent understanding of the academic programs that are offered at the school where you work. If you work in a high school, you will also need to know about, or be prepared to research, the admission procedures and academic programs offered at available technical schools, community colleges and universities.
You must have the ability to learn about a student’s personal and career goals, and then assist them while they make important decisions about school. Academic advisors help all types of students, and often speak to their parents. The most important piece of an academic advisor’s job is to get to know students, understand what they need, and be available to help them make good decisions about their school career.
Academic Advisor Work Environment
Academic advisors work in an office environment within high schools, universities, colleges, technical schools, and community colleges. Academic advisors typically work full-time, all through the year, to meet with students. The job of an academic advisor can be intense and challenging, as many students may not be sure what they want to focus on in school. It is the responsibility of the academic advisor to patiently listen, assist, and guide the student in the direction that makes the most sense for them.
Academic Advisor Salary
The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics does not list salary information for an academic advisor; however, it does provide salary data for the profession of career counselor. These professions are similar and have many overlapping responsibilities. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, in May 2015, the median annual wage for a career counselor was $53,660. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,280, while the earnings for the top 10 percent reached more than $87,640.
Academic Advisor Career Outlook
Again, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics provides career outlook data for career counselors. According to their data, the profession of career counselor has a predicted growth of 8% from 2014 to 2024. Due to the increasing number of high school, college, and university enrollments, employment opportunities for academic advisors are expected to grow. As enrollment expands within technical schools, community colleges, and universities, the demand for professional academic advisors will continue to grow.
Academic Advisor Degree
If you wish to pursue a career as an academic advisor, you will need to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a teaching or educational major or educational counseling major. It is also important to have practical, education-based work experience. Work experience can be gained through shadowing or interning with an academic advisor or guidance counselor.