Academic Chair

Provide administrative leadership to an academic department.
picture of Academic Chair

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$47,000 – $165,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Academic Chairs do?

An Academic Chair heads up a department at a university. This position is usually occupied by a Professor, and is awarded for many years of service or a history of achievement, like if you’ve gained international recognition for your work. So if you have a long history of giving lectures at other schools, writing extensively about art education, and have plans for further work in your field, then you have a good shot at making Academic Chair.

To be elected to the position of Academic Chair, you must be nominated by the Dean, or someone on the academic board. It’s not like high school where you can decide to run for Treasurer and then vote for yourself. Once you do have that chair, you’ll be the head of your entire academic department; your new duties include ensuring the department runs smoothly, that there are enough Professors for student course demands, and that the curriculum is constantly being pushed and improved.

This is an important role, and will be a whole job unto itself, plunked right on top of your already busy schedule. I bet you never thought you would end up needing organizational and clerical skills for your career back when you were studying art in college, huh?


Should I be an Academic Chair?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Chairperson, Division Chair, Fine Arts Chair

    How to become an Academic Chair

    Most Academic Chairs have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaz9y&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2823%25%29|master%27s+%2855%25%29|doctorate+%2822%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,55
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