Is a Career in Higher Education Right For You?

If you’re currently doing some soul searching to figure out what career might be a good fit for you, a career in higher education may be the answer.

Working in higher education is rewarding because you would be part of an institution that has a higher mission to educate and empower others who are hoping to make a better future for themselves and the world at large. You may think that becoming a professor is the only option in higher education, but there are many job roles at an institute of higher learning.

Universities, although many are non-profit, function very much like businesses. They need people with varying experience and backgrounds to fill different job positions. Here are a few jobs to consider.

Admissions Representative

Every college will have a department focused on outreach and admissions. Without admissions, it’d be hard to recruit new students. Being an admissions representative means having the ability to connect with people, speaking eloquently about the benefits of attending your college, and promoting the school overall.

In these roles, you will get to meet and talk with a wide variety of people. You’d serve as a link to college for potential students and families. This would be a great job to get at your college alma mater since you chose to attend that school yourself and would be a great ambassador for its good qualities.

Student Advisor/Counsellor

There are many opportunities to serve as a resource for the most important people on campus – the students. Students usually don’t realize they need support. Many are away from home for the first time or they are the first in their family to attend college. They go through a transition period and some can benefit from the support of counsellors and advisors.

Consider roles such as residential advisers, academic student advisers, career counsellors, and personal counsellors. Some jobs may require advanced degrees and some may only require a bachelor’s degree. Be assured that these roles are vital for the student body’s health and wellness.


If you love to teach and instruct others, consider becoming a professor on campus. Professors will usually have both teaching and research roles. Academia can be very rewarding as you can lead groundbreaking research.

It is also rewarding to pass on your knowledge to students. You may think that you require years of study to get an advanced degree, but today there are options of getting an online degree in teaching. Some online universities offer doctoral degrees as well, which you can complete remotely, conveniently, and in a timely manner.


If sports are something you are passionate about, consider working for a school with an athletic department and programs. Those with large athletic departments have a full array of staffing needs, from marketing to support staff, to coaching. With a background in playing or coaching, consider getting a job as a coach.

It can be very rewarding to serve as both a coach and mentor to college students. If you like to write and liaison with media, consider working in the media relations department where you can report on game outcomes and athletes, and attend games.

Alumni Relations

Consider working in alumni relations, the department that plans and implements alumni and donor events. They ensure that alumni remain connected to the college and focus on fundraising events. Alumni relations specialists help to create networking opportunities for students and alumni. They help to create a tight-knit community of past, current, and even future university members.

Whether in an administrative or academic role, working in higher education offers numerous benefits. You would be part of something bigger and have the opportunity to truly believe in what you are doing. Consider working in higher education, as it may be the path to a fulfilling life and career.

Special thanks to Eileen O’Shanassy for providing us with this article. Eileen is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking, and you can find her on Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other subject guides.