Import saidI work in undergraduate admissions at a state university in south florida.
I'll put it this way:
It's a cool to say u work for university of XYZ, but money may be limited.
My university is hiring academic advisors and student affairs officers with a masters degree required starting at $38k/ year./
$38K is nothing to be upset about, when you consider that in my fourth year of teaching and with a masters, I make $36K.
I'm considering getting aggressive about applying for student affairs or residence hall director positions next year. Colleges are great places to work and there is a strong history of support for GLBT individuals. There is also an entire institution and its culture supporting you -- access to the recreation center, the seminars and guest lectures, arts and music, the library, clubs and organizations, and of course tuition breaks.
Currently I work in the public schools and although I really love what I do and the people I work with, the chances of me successfully navigating coming out, and having the freedom to be myself in the workplace, are really not so good considering the climate right now in schools. I know it's more possible in the right community, such as in the northeast or in large cities, but its tremendously stressful when you don't know if a parent or student will make your life miserable and when there aren't district policies or state laws that will back you. Work/live in an overly religious area and you end up worrying all the time. That's my situation now and I'm intent on getting through the year successfully and then move on if I can find a position elsewhere that fits me. I would return to K-12 teaching if the climate improves one day for GLBT teachers. I just think that's a good five or ten years off.
Student affairs is something I've considered before, but last year I wasn't able to be present for the two major interview sessions in Chicago, so it's much harder to find a position without attending those.
bostonxfit saidI'm in student affairs. You don't need to get a degree in higher education administration. In fact, getting that degree may be detrimental to a career change if you decide to leave student affairs. I have my MA in counseling psychology and it worked well for me when I applied for the job that I'm in now. But be forewarned: higher education is very political and if you're anything like me in that you don't like authority for its own sake and you don't like playing games to get ahead, you're not going to like it. If you want to get ahead in higher education, you have to learn to please those above you. I hate doing that, so now I'm looking at going back to school for health sciences. I'm never working for a college in this capacity again.
There seem to be some university departments that are very cut-and-dried in that they look for the particular degree (college student personnel or similar.) Others are eclectic and welcome a variety of talented people. Probably I wouldn't want to work for the first type.
Everywhere is like that man, with regard to the politics and the having to please the board members, supervisors, managers, and stakeholders above you. It's true in non-profits, it's true in public schools, it's true in corporations, it's true in government, it's even true in retail and in health care (nurses are among the most bullied of all professionals).
If the rest of the environment and its benefits pleases you and nurtures you, stick with what you've got or find a different college to work for. There are good bosses and bad bosses. It takes time and some research and some intuition to read the situation and make the right decision about saying yes or no to the job. After enough interviews or jobs, you start to get better at reading the situation. Has there been lots of turnover? Do your peers in the position seem stressed or overly reserved and uncomfortable speaking openly? Those are signs that it is not a place you want to work.
It's not a perfect way of determining if it's a good place to work, but I would look to see if they have a committee structure (at least that way you know that there is a formal channel for input) and about their retention rate.