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25 of the Highest Paying Higher Education Jobs in 2023

The best Higher Education jobs can pay up to $308,500 per year.

Higher education jobs are positions at postsecondary institutions, such as community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and research universities. There are many different kinds of jobs you can get in higher education, such as being an instructor or professor. Professors in academia perform both teaching and research duties, and they may also do some administrative work, such as chairing a department. You can also find purely administrative and support positions in higher education. Some of these include program directors, researchers, clerical workers, tutors, maintenance and facilities workers, and academic counselors.

The requirements for getting a job in higher education depend in large part on what kind of job you want. If you want to become a professor, you have to meet a number of educational qualifications. Teaching at a college or research university typically requires you to have a Ph.D. in your subject. In addition, you need to demonstrate the pedagogical skills required for developing and implementing your curriculum. Working in academia as a professor also requires you to publish articles and books relevant to your field. For other workers, such as administrators, you usually need a bachelor’s degree and work experience. Many schools recruit administrators from recent graduates, so working for the college as a student can increase your chances.

High Paying Higher Education Jobs

  • Family Medicine Residency Program Director

    The job duties of a family medicine residency program director revolve around planning, overseeing, and administering of a residency program for doctoral students, with an emphasis on family practice. Your responsibilities include developing the program, selecting qualified residents, and ensuring they receive the appropriate level of clinical training and skills development as part of a team of family medicine physicians. As a practicing physician yourself, you may observe the residents during their shifts and critique their work.

  • Vice Chancellor

    A vice chancellor is a prestigious academic role usually present in universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other Commonwealth countries. Some prestigious American universities also adopt the title. Functionally, it’s the same position as a vice president of a university. In this job, your duties typically are interviewing faculty, representing the university in business transactions, helping to improve education, and filing reports to governing agencies.

  • College President

    A college president oversees and directs institutional goals for a college campus or university. These top-level managers are responsible for executing high-impact initiatives to achieve business objectives. As a college president, your duties involve fundraising, supervising staff, and promoting academic standards. You also report to a board of trustees, who guide decision-making for the school.

  • Campus President

    Campus presidents oversee a specific campus of a larger post-secondary organization. For example, they may lead the staff of one region of a nationwide technical school, a satellite campus of a community college, or a specific professional school of a university, such as a nursing school. This role serves many of the same purposes as a college president; you are the academic, operational, fiscal, and administrative leader of the campus. Your responsibilities include making recommendations regarding school policies, establishing the school budget, hiring and training staff, and overseeing expansion projects. Additionally, you are responsible for providing any reports that are requested by the Board of Trustees or by state or federal agencies and acting as the school's liaison to the public.

  • Vice Provost

    As a vice provost, your job duties are to work with the provost to collaborate with the president of the university. You need to collect data from the department heads to help carry out the university’s academic affairs, and are responsible for handling many of the top-level administrative tasks such as allocating budget, deciding what study programs to keep or cut, and determining admission levels for an upcoming semester or year. This career requires extensive qualifications like a master’s degree in your field of study along with business administration experience. You have to demonstrate the skills and ability to run a large institution. A prior career in an administrative or academic role is helpful.

  • Professor of Finance

    A professor of finance works in a college or university setting to educate students about financial fields while also completing and publishing research in peer-reviewed journals. Some finance professors work in business schools while others work in liberal arts institutions, although finance programs are less available in the latter. As a professor of finance, you are responsible for educating students on money and how it affects those students personally and as members of society. Typically, your duties include teaching two to four graduate or undergraduate classes each semester, usually on subjects such as accounting, macro and microeconomics, and financial planning. Outside of the classroom, additional responsibilities include researching varying areas of finance, advising students, sitting on dissertation committees, and more.

  • Economics Professor

    The responsibilities of an economics professor include preparing a curriculum and teaching students topics related to economics in each lecture at a college or university. Topics include microeconomics, macroeconomics, and specializations such as finance, public, labor, and international economics. As an economics professor, your duties include evaluating each student to determine their understanding of the material and developing and grading tests and assignments that reinforce your lessons or lecture. You are expected to conduct research within your field of specialization, publish findings in prestigious journals, and stay updated on the industry by attending events and reading industry news and journals. It’s important to integrate both theory and professional experience into your lessons, which is why researching on a regular basis is essential for a teacher.

  • Law Professor

    A law professor creates coursework for law students. Typically, as a law professor, you specialize in a certain area of law, like family law, tax law, property law, or criminal law. When not teaching, your duties and responsibilities vary greatly. Academic law professors research and write casebooks, which are legal textbooks that compile past cases, often centered around a specific topic. In other areas, you may continue to practice law, file amicus briefs, run legal aid clinics, or write books related to your area of expertise.

  • Accounting Professor

    Accounting professors are responsible for the education of students who hope to become accountants after graduation from university. As an accounting professor, you must prepare a curriculum based on the syllabus for each particular course you teach. You prepare and give lectures, host office hours for students with questions, and evaluate student learning using tests and quizzes. You may also have to serve on faculty committees for your university. In addition to teaching, you do research in your degree field.

  • Vice President of Academic Affairs

    A vice president of academic affairs oversees the establishment of guidelines for all educational programs for a college or university. They identify the needs of faculty and staff, as well as ensure that proper hiring practices are followed. Other duties include evaluating student needs and allocating budget funds. The VP coordinates with the deans and department chairs as necessary. Qualifications for this career include an advanced degree and experience in academic administration.

  • Director of Graduate Medical Education

    As a director of graduate medical education, you are responsible for the administration of the graduate medical education (GME) program at a medical school. Your responsibilities include overseeing the GME plan to address curriculum deficiencies and ensuring all aspects of the program follow university requirements and are compliant with medical industry regulations. You also develop strategies to increase faculty effectiveness. You are responsible for evaluating the program, tracking program performance, and implementing strategies to better the GME program.

  • Adjunct Lecturer

    An adjunct lecturer is a college professor hired on a contractual basis. An adjunct professor position is a perfect entry-level job if you want to teach at the college level. Your job duties include giving classroom lectures, preparing presentations, and answering questions from students. Unlike a full-time professor, you do not conduct research or publish writings for the university. You may teach multiple classes, but many adjunct professors are brought on to teach a single course. The qualifications needed for a career as an adjunct lecturer include a master’s degree in the field you wish to teach. If you hope to move into a full-time professor position, you likely need a doctorate. You also need strong communication skills and the ability to speak in front of large groups of people.

  • Chief Learning Officer

    A Chief Learning Officer, or CLO, is responsible for guiding and directing corporate learning goals and developing directions and policies related to those goals. It is a leadership position, and you work closely with a Chief Technology Officer and Chief Information Officer. As a CLO, you develop training mandates, create a clear path of leadership succession, and integrate new learning development officers into the corporate hierarchy. You also oversee the development and adaptation of new technology across the corporation. A CLO’s other responsibilities include communicating with investors to educate them on the importance of corporate strategies, such as return on investment policies and other policies related to training and aligning employees with company guidelines for efficiency and productivity.

  • Biology Professor

    A biology professor works at a college or university. Their duties are to teach biological science in both the lecture and lab setting. They help students learn by administering tests, assignments, and larger projects. A biology professor may also instruct students in specialized courses, like microbiology and biochemistry. Many schools expect professors to continue to perform research in their chosen field.

  • Mathematics Professor

    As a mathematics professor, you teach college students at a university or junior college. Your responsibilities can include instructing students in a review of high school math. Duties may also include teaching applied mathematics or general math to students pursuing non-math-related careers. You develop lesson plans, create presentations, teach classes of students, assign and grade classwork and homework, and administer tests and exams. You may teach the same course repeatedly, instruct in different levels of mathematics each quarter or semester, or teach multiple mathematics classes concurrently. Once you achieve tenure in your professor role, you also supervise graduate students in the field.

  • Computer Science Professor

    A computer science professor teaches at a technical college or university. You create and teach courses in computer science (CS) or related programming or technology subjects. In this career, you prepare the syllabus for each class, deliver lectures and instructions, and use exams and quizzes to assess the performance of students. In many computer science classes, your responsibilities include allowing students to practice the subject matter in a computer lab. You facilitate this practice and offer guidance during lab sessions. In addition to your teaching duties, you sometimes give academic or career advice to students in CS degree programs.

  • Adjunct Professor

    An adjunct professor works for a college or university, teaching students about a particular subject. As an adjunct professor, you are a part-time instructor in your subject area. You may choose to work for multiple colleges or pursue a full-time career in your field to supplement your income or to gain more experience. Your job duties include developing curriculum, preparing lesson plans, teaching students in a classroom or online, evaluating student work, and posting grades. You may also assist with research in your chosen field, collaborating with full-time professors and research assistants. After working as an adjunct professor for several years, you may seek a full-time, tenure-track position.

  • Chemistry Professor

    A chemistry professor is a teacher at a college that instructs students in the science of chemistry. In this career, your duties include creating class curriculum, collaborating with other faculty members, administering tests, presenting lectures, supervising lab time, and recording grades, as well as participating in college community activities. You teach chemistry knowledge, how to properly conduct research, and other related skills. As a chemistry professor, you are also responsible for continuing research at the university, sharing knowledge, publishing work, and advancing the field of chemistry. The necessary qualifications for this career revolve around your education and research experience.

  • Teaching Artist

    Teaching artists are both professional working artists and educators. As a teaching artist, you refine your artistic skills by creating new pieces for visual artists, dramatizing new shows for performing artists, and learning new methods of your craft. You utilize your passion for art to teach others about what it means to be an artist. You inspire others to tap into their own love of the arts and express themselves through artistic means. Positions are available at schools, museums, studios, galleries, theaters, community centers, and in other creative outlets.

  • Certified Activities Director

    As a professional who has taken the extra certification steps to become a Certified Activities Director, you will work with a specific population such as the elderly, disabled, or children in camps and other educational programs. Careers in this area are most frequently available in long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, senior residence facilities, and daycare centers. You will develop activities—in accordance with other staff members—geared toward enhancing the population’s life at the core level, as well as teaching participants something new by planning arts and educational classes, helping them recover by scheduling therapeutic sessions or providing entertainment by inviting local artists, authors, and speakers to the facility.

  • Adjunct Faculty

    An adjunct faculty member is a non-tenure track faculty member at an institution of higher education, working on a short-term and often renewable contract. They typically have the same educational credentials as full-time professors, which include a master's degree or doctorate. In this career, you may instruct at community colleges or four-year universities at both the graduate or undergraduate level. Your responsibilities include designing course curriculum, selecting reading materials, lecturing to students, administering tests and assignments, and grading coursework. Some adjunct professors may become full-time associate professors or tenure-track professors, depending on the availability in your department.

  • Photography Instructor

    A photography instructor works at a school, with an organization, or privately to provide instruction in all aspects of photography. As a photography instructor, you use your knowledge of camera equipment, both digital and film, to teach students how to shoot high-quality photos of all kinds. Your responsibilities include instilling a thorough understanding of digital photography, from cameras to editing software. Other duties involve instructing students on the art of developing film photographs, exposure techniques, lens choice, and other technical aspects of taking pictures. You also travel to various locations with students to shoot photos in different styles and settings.

  • Dean of Education

    As a dean of education, your job is to oversee both the students and academic faculty of your college or university. This is a senior position within the school administration, usually placed above most or all other deans. You usually report directly to a chancellor. Deans of education help manage academic plans, make hiring decisions, develop school policies, help manage the admissions process, and otherwise help keep the school running. Fulfilling the responsibilities and duties of a dean of education requires leadership skills, interpersonal skills, the ability to manage budgets, and the flexibility to take on any other position as necessary.

  • Spanish Professor

    As a Spanish professor, you teach students to read, write, and speak the language. Most college and university-level classes also focus on learning more about the history of the Spanish language and the area of the world that it hails from. For each course, your duties and responsibilities vary but may include facilitating, moderating, and initiating classroom discussions, evaluating, planning, and revising curricula, and assisting other professors in the department. You also determine the course materials and content as well as the methods that you use to teach your students. Performing research is also a necessary component of pursuing this career, especially if you work at a university seeking tenure track.

  • Provost

    A provost is the chief academic officer at a college, university, or other higher education institution. As a provost, you are on the same level as the vice president of the college in terms of the academic hierarchy. Your job duties include setting strategic goals for the school, hiring staff and faculty, participating in academic councils and committees, doing business with external partners, managing budgets, and advocating for the student body. Your responsibilities include allocating funding to the various departments at your school and guiding the academic vision of the institution.