What is a College Athletic Director Salary?

What is the average athletic director salary? College athletic directors are an important part of the clockwork that makes college sports function smoothly. For those interested in this career path, there is a wealth of information out there regarding typical salaries and job duties of this position. There is quite a range from elementary school athletic director to NCAA athletic director salaries. Typically a college athletic director will need to have a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree or more. There are many pay factors considered when determining the total pay of an athletic director. Want to learn more about the average base salaries of athletic directors? Follow along for the athletic director scoop.

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Basic Job Description

Before taking a look at potential salaries of an athletic director, it’s a good idea to understand the role played by this professional. In short, an athletic director is the manager of all things sporting that involve their employing college or university. An athletic director manages the various sports programs and all of their associated administrative necessities. An athletic director needs to:

  • be a great communicator
  • be able to work with a wide range of people
  • manage a wide range of individual concern areas

All things considered, a collegiate athletic director truly is a high-responsibility position. Its potential rewards are also great. While this position also typically entails a rich array of side benefits and bonuses, its base pay rate is of the greatest interest to most. This base pay rate, however, does fluctuate greatly from one employing school to the next. The total pay can be much different than the base salary. Much of that is based on the finances and renown of that school’s athletic program. To give the best idea for potential athletic director salary rates here, we can look to a number of different resources.

PayScale Figures

PayScale is a highly respected resource in the world of pay rates and compensation research with which we can glean some great information regarding the salaries of today’s athletic directors. According to PayScale’s research, the median yearly pay for an athletic director right now is $89,243. The position’s associated compensation is cited to greatly depend on work experience. Typically the pay of athletic directors increase with experience. In addition, the research company reports average monetary bonuses in the position ranging from $0 to $34,521 and a very high satisfaction rate among those employed in the role.

BLS Figures

What is the college athletic director salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? The BLS cites today’s athletic directors are garnering an average base salary of about $96, 910 per year or $46.59 per working hour. However, it is important to note that the BLS groups this occupation with a number of others into a job group known as “Postsecondary Education Administrators.” While this is an accurate grouping arrangement by the BLS, this can lead to some slight skewing of the representation of the pay rates of the individual jobs found within that category, including the athletic director base salary. Regardless, this is another piece of information which can be paired with others in order to determine a general idea of the position’s typical pay rate.

Above-Average Earning Capacity

How much does an athletic director make? In some cases, collegiate athletic directors make exceptionally more than what is considered average or typical of the profession. A 2013 report on this very subject was published by Business Insider with some very eye-catching athletic administration salary figures for some in the position. At that time, some of the highest salaries in the field went to the NCAA athletic director positions at the University of Florida, Louisville, and Vanderbilt with each of these directors making a yearly average salary of $1,233,250, $1,411,915, and $3,239,678 respectively. Other impressive earnings just below these figures are also highlighted by the report, and to this day, major players in this role make as much and sometimes even more than reported in the publication.


Athletic directors indeed play a pivotal role in keeping all of the various sports activities of a particular school up and running efficiently. Student athletes count on the athletic director to keep their sports schedules running smoothly. As such, they have the potential to earn some handsome compensation in return with the average salary, potential additional pay, and possible overtime pay. If the role of athletic director is more than you’re interested in, you might consider an assistant athletic director position. In conclusion, those looking for further information can visit the website of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, a great resource on all things related to collegiate athletic direction today.

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