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Canada’s Best Jobs 2014: Post-Secondary School Administrator

Head of the class

post-secondary school administrator

Deszo Horvath, dean of the Schulich School of Business at York University, seen here in a file photo. (Tara Walton/Toronto Star/Getty)

Median Salary: $81,224
Change in salary (2007–2013): +6%
Total employees: 14,700

University and college deans, trade school directors, and faculty heads help establish the academic direction in their respective departments and allocate budgets. The category includes other senior roles, such as admissions directors and registrars.

How to qualify: A long career in academia helps. Faculty deans are typically professors who carry out a five-year term before returning to teaching, though some move on to other administrative roles, such as provost. Likewise, trade school directors require significant work experience in their fields. Leadership skills are often the deciding factor when it comes to awarding these positions.

Money: Post-secondary budgets are constantly under pressure, but positions in the upper echelons of academia can still be lucrative. Faculty deans, associate deans, registrars, and trade school directors can earn more than $100,000. The heads of universities and colleges can earn more than $200,000.

Outlook: Because deans serve for only a few years, there is a fair amount of turnover at this level. But aspiring candidates usually need to be working in academia to take advantage of the frequent movement.

What it’s like: Ron Owston, dean of the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, was initially surprised at how much time he spent on human resource issues, such as dealing with the concerns of faculty members and mapping out the academic year so professors can handle their course loads. “People might think of a dean sitting in his office just drinking coffee and enjoying perks,” he says. “There’s a lot of time spent on issues that people don’t really see.” Diplomacy and listening to others is a big part of the job, too. “If you don’t respect that as a dean, that’s when you’ll run into problems.”

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