How do I Become a College Registrar?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A college registrar is a person who is responsible for supervising registration processes and handling student records at a college or university. To become a college registrar, a person usually has to complete high school and attend college himself, earning a master’s or doctoral degree in a related subject. Additionally, a person who wants to get a job as a college registrar may need experience in an academic-related position and demonstrated administrative skills.

A college registrar is responsible for maintaining the registration and matriculation requirements at a college or university.
A college registrar is responsible for maintaining the registration and matriculation requirements at a college or university.

An individual who chooses to become a college registrar handles the registration process for students at a college or university. This may involve processing related requests and providing registration assistance. A person in this field may also handle such things as scheduling classes and maintaining and assessing student academic records. Often, a person in this position also has the job of preparing transcripts, collecting tuition and other school fees, and making sure that a student’s financial and academic requirements are met before graduation. This person may also spend part of his time verifying that students have attended or graduated from the institution.

Although employment requirements may vary from college to college, a person who wants to become a college registrar will usually need a graduate-level degree in order to do so. Usually, those who hold these positions have earned master’s degrees, and some employers may prefer applicants who’ve earned Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees. Common majors for a person interested in this career include education administration or student affairs. An individual may also pursue a degree in education services or a similar field in preparation for this career.

Besides advanced education, many colleges and universities prefer applicants who have experience in academic-related positions. For example, a person may start out working or even interning in a college registration office and then work up to taking on this position. An individual may also pursue this career after working in an educational institution’s financial aid office. In addition to related experience, a person who wants to become a college registrar typically needs good administrative, computer, organizational, and communication skills. Though registration software may help to automate some parts of this job, a person in this position typically needs to be detail-oriented as well.

Often, institutions provide on-the-job training to new registrars. To ensure they are able to perform well in their jobs, people in these positions typically spend a good deal of time staying abreast of policy changes and trends at their institutions. An individual who lands this job may also attend workshops and seminars that help him to learn new processes and streamline procedures.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


@jmc88 - You are absolutely correct. I have worked in small colleges and I know that when a registrar is needed they crave to have someone that has experience or expertise in the job.

Many times it takes a long time to fill the position, simply because not enough people have appropriate experience or knowledge in the job to have numerous people apply for the position.

Sometimes people with no expertise will be hired because they are capable, but they usually only last a short time until they can find someone qualified to serve the position.

I would suggest anyone wanting to become a registrar should look into small colleges as they are really desperate to find people when the position becomes available.


@cardsfan27 - You are absolutely correct and I know that there are programs at major colleges that train people that want to become registrars at a college or may want to have it on their resume in case the position should ever become available in which the college they work for needs someone for a short time.

I know someone that got training to be a registrar simply to be a backup in case the registrar at the college needed to go on maternity leave.

For the most part I think a registrar needs to be highly qualified, but there are a lot of small colleges that are willing to hire capable people as opposed to highly qualified applicants, simply because it is a line of employment that is so obscure that a college may not have anyone qualified apply for the position.


@Izzy78 - That is true, but colleges seem to want to hire people that they feel are capable at the job and not necessarily have the best qualifications.

The registrar at my college was an admissions counselor before they became a registrar and the only experience they had was simply working for the college and knowing the culture of the campus and being around students.

A registrar to me is seen more as a book keeper and someone that maintains records and does not really require a whole lot of expertise.

I know that this greatly disagrees with the article, but I went to two small colleges and this was the case in both and I am sure it is probably different at larger universities.


When I was a student in college my theater professor told me that when he got out of college for his Masters Degree in Theater they hired his as the registrar of the college.

Seeing how much a registrar does I find this to be incredibly odd that they basically gave the job to someone without any experience whatsoever.

I know that to be a registrar they need an organized and reliable person and my professor did fit the description, but one would think that someone should have some expertise in the subject, or at least have had a job as a student worker with a registrar, to at least have some qualifications for the job.

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