Director of Administration Job Description and Career Path

In Kent State’s MPA program, you’ll learn the specific expertise to oversee a public or nonprofit organization’s administrative needs.

Director of Administration Job Description and Career Path

If you enjoy leading others, improving systems, overcoming complex challenges and helping shape the direction of a business or organization, you might be a good candidate for the role of director of administration.

This position is sometimes also known as an operations director,1 administrative director or director of administrative services. Because several different titles exist for the same or similar positions, it can be hard to find a clear “director of administration” job description, but the name itself gives a good general impression of what the job means.

What Is a Director of Administration?

A director of administration oversees the organizational aspects of a business or organization, giving them authority over the organization’s administration managers, who are responsible for the administrative functions within individual departments.2 Managers in a variety of different fields often report directly to the director of administration.3 Because this position supervises and supports an entire team of managers and administrators, it requires outstanding interpersonal and leadership skills.4

What Does a Director of Administration Do?

A director of administration divides their time between managerial and administrative responsibilities.5 This is a multifaceted position with tasks that fall into several different categories including:

  • Human resources (hiring, training, payroll, managing benefits)
  • Facilities management (inventory control, day-to-day operations)
  • Administrative duties

A director of administration job description likely includes but is not limited to the following administrative tasks, depending on the organization’s specific needs:1,4

  • Improving management systems
  • Developing business plans
  • Monitoring budgets
  • Supervising team managers
  • Requesting audits
  • Analyzing financial information
  • Making the business run more efficiently
  • Coordinating different departments
  • Tracking customer orders, shipping, records and confidential documents
  • Maintaining employee records

Director of Administration Salary

Because director of administration roles vary greatly from industry to industry, it’s difficult to determine exactly what the average salary is for a director of administration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for administrative managers in 2015 was $86,110,6 and because directors hold more seniority and responsibility than managers, they generally receive greater compensation.

How to Become a Director of Administration

Director roles are generally among the most senior positions at a company or organization, and the position of director of administration is no different. If you’ve been working in administrative services for years, becoming a director of administration is an obvious and outstanding next step. But even if you are early in your career, planning in advance can help you achieve your goals:

Get an undergraduate degree in a related field Business administration is the most relevant choice, but it’s far from your only option. It can be helpful to pursue a dual degree in concentrations such as human resources, finance, accounting, business administration or marketing.5 You should also make a point to study project management, business writing and other skills you’ll need to succeed as an administration professional.

Gain experience in administration A director of administration oversees management in different areas of the business, so you should be familiar with how those different areas operate. The best way to do that is through firsthand experience. While you are still a student, explore opportunities for internships and mentorships. After you graduate, jump into entry-level work, and try to excel whenever you get a chance to demonstrate your leadership skills, eye for detail and personable, easy-to-work-with attitude.5

Earn a master’s degree in public administration While a master’s degree isn’t necessarily required, a good public administration degree from a strong and accredited program will further develop the skills needed to be a leader and help you master your understanding of administration.5 This is an outstanding complement to what you learn working in the field.

Pursue certification.4 Demonstrate your mastery of your field by completing professional certifications, including Certified Facility Manager (CFM) or Facility Management Professional (FMP) designations.5

Apply for management positions and seek opportunities for continued growth.5 Gaining increasing responsibility will strengthen your resume and establish your leadership skills. You may want to move to a bigger company with more opportunities for greater responsibility and compensation. By continuing to network and work your way up, you’ll make yourself an attractive candidate for the higher-ranking positions like director of administration.

The online Master of Public Administration program at Kent State University can help prepare you for advancement in an administrative career, especially if you are working or seek to work in the public sector. In Kent State’s MPA program, you’ll hone your leadership skills and learn the specific expertise to oversee a public or nonprofit organization’s administrative needs.


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