What is an Institutional Research Coordinator?
An Institutional Research Coordinator (IRC) is a person who organizes and directs the statistical and demographic research activities of an organization. "Institutional" refers to an organization, such as an office or company. The term "coordinator" describes their role in ensuring that projects are carried out smoothly and successfully.
The IRC's work may focus on strategic planning, program evaluation, capacity–building, policy analysis, impact assessment, or other aspects of organizational development. They typically have a graduate degree in institutional research, public policy, sociology, social work, or a related field.
Skills an IRC needs include excellent communication and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to work independently. They must also be able to manage their time effectively and work well under pressure. The average salary for an institutional research coordinator is $60,000 per year.
If you are interested in a career as an IRC, it is important to have a strong understanding of research methods and statistical analysis. You should also be comfortable working with computers and various software programs. It is also helpful to have experience in project management.
The job of an IRC can be both challenging and rewarding. If you are passionate about helping organizations improve their effectiveness, then this could be the perfect career for you.
What Does an Institutional Research Coordinator Do?
The job description of an institutional research coordinator varies by organization, but typically involves some or all of the following tasks:
- identify issues that need to be addressed by the organization through data analysis and organizational assessment. This often leads to improvement projects aimed at helping the organization function more effectively.
- file data requests with government agencies on behalf of senior leaders within their organization. This can be time-consuming because it usually requires multiple rounds of communication between the IRC and the agency before a response is received.
- work closely with key stakeholders and draft policy briefs that summarize the findings and implications of data analysis. For example, IRCs in public policy often work with elected and appointed officials and write reports that help them make informed policy decisions.
- manage projects from start to finish, which includes working with team members to determine the project's scope and objectives. The IRC is responsible for guiding the project throughout its entire cycle.
- develop clear timelines for completing projects so that they can be followed closely by other members of the team. This ensures transparency since everyone involved in the project knows what work needs to be completed when it should be finished, and who is accountable for meeting certain milestones along the way.
- write a report summarizing findings from a study or organization assessment. This requires excellent communication skills, as well as the ability to summarize complex data in a way that is easy to understand for non-technical readers.
- coordinate with team members to ensure that projects are completed according to their timeframe. This often involves setting up meetings, brainstorming ideas, or sending status updates in order to make sure all tasks are completed on time.
- assist in the production of reports and other research-related products. For example, an IRC may choose a particular font type for a report cover based on what they think will be the easiest for people to read.
These responsibilities often require making judgment calls about how much time should be spent on each task, which can be challenging because it requires careful consideration of deadlines and available resources.
How To Become an Institutional Research Coordinator
While it is possible to become an IRC without a college degree, many universities offer degrees in public policy or other related fields. These programs often include courses that provide students with the skills and knowledge they need for this type of work. Courses common to degrees in public policy include:
- research methods
- political science courses that provide insight into government functions and organizations
- computer science courses that help students learn how to effectively use software programs like the Microsoft Office Suite
Social media marketing is an example of a field that has become increasingly popular with IRCs, who are often asked to help develop social media profiles on behalf of their organization. This job typically involves creating content (e.g., blog posts or tweets) that appeals to members of various target audiences (e.g., donors, potential employees, prospective students). It also requires the ability to identify trends related to these audiences so strategies can be developed to best reach them online.
What Degree Should I Get to Become an Institutional Research Coordinator?
For many job seekers, earning a four-year degree in public policy is the most direct path to this career. This option typically requires taking courses in areas related to research methods and statistics. Students may also have the opportunity to gain experience through internships at local government agencies or nonprofits.
Alternative Degrees for Institutional Research Coordinators :
Aspiring IRCs should also consider completing undergraduate degrees that are closely related to their desired career. For example, an individual who plans on working as an IRC in higher education might benefit from majoring in business while pursuing their bachelor's degree. This option would help them acquire skills valuable to this type of job but it does not provide students with direct knowledge about how colleges and universities function. After graduating from college, students who majored in business can go on to earn a master's degree or another postgraduate degree, such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
The MBA is an excellent option for individuals interested in working as IRCs because it provides them with a solid foundation of business-related knowledge that will help them better understand the workings of their organization. This degree often takes two years to complete and combines courses related to accounting, marketing, economics, and management. Another alternative degree option for prospective IRCs is a master's degree in public policy. Like bachelor's degrees awarded in this field, these programs typically require applicants to take courses related to research methods, statistics, and computer science. Graduate students may also be required to take courses related to ethics, organizational behavior, and public finance.
As far as job skills are concerned, IRCs typically possess knowledge of research methods and statistics. They must also be skilled at reading and analyzing data provided by surveys or software programs like the Microsoft Office Suite. Individuals in this career field should also have strong oral and written communication abilities because they often present their findings to upper-level management or groups of stakeholders.
Essential Institutional Research Coordinator Skills for Your resume and Career
To get a job in this field, job seekers need to have solid research skills. As an Institutional Research Coordinator, you are in charge of creating data-driven reports that provide valuable information about your organization. For this reason, it is essential for potential employees to show hiring managers they have the necessary skills by including them on their resumes.
For example, if you use SAS or SPSS programs frequently in your work, include projects that demonstrate your ability to manipulate data using these types of programs. It is also possible for applicants to highlight their research abilities by describing how they used Microsoft Excel spreadsheets when organizing experimental data during class projects or lab experiments at college. If performing statistical analysis was a component of these projects, be sure to mention it because it shows employers how familiar you are with the most common programs used for this purpose.
In addition to highlighting research abilities, those interested in working as IRCs should also include other skills that will help them excel at their job on their resumes. For instance, many employers place a lot of value on verbal communication and presentation skills because these people often have to present findings to groups of stakeholders. In order to be successful in this field, it is essential for individuals to possess strong communication abilities so they can convey important information about their organization or department clearly and persuasively. This means it is a good idea for applicants to describe any experiences they have had giving talks, leading meetings, or teaching others about a specific topic. Those who work well under pressure and meet tight deadlines might also want to include this information on their resumes because it highlights some of the key qualities IRCs need to possess in order to be successful.
To get an idea about what other skills are important for this job, take a look at the list below:
- Knowledge of content management systems (CMS)
- Strong speaking and presentation skills
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite programs, including Excel spreadsheets
- Ability to analyze data provided by surveys or software programs
- Basic computer skills, including knowledge of basic HTML coding
- Excellent writing abilities
- Familiarity with statistical analysis software, such as SAS or SPSS
- Ability to work independently
- Data visualization skills
The following are examples of Institutional Research Coordinator jobs:
- Director of Institutional Effectiveness at University of Maine
- Education Policy Analyst at the North Carolina State Legislature
- Institutional Researcher at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Expert Institutional Research Coordinator Tips and Best Practices for Your Resume and Career
To set yourself apart from other applicants in this field, here are some strategies you can use when creating your resume or LinkedIn profile :
Customize Your Resume
Once you get to college, make sure to take advantage of opportunities to gain research skills. If you have experience working with a content management system (CMS), for example, be sure to list this on your resume. The more specific skills and abilities you can list, the better.
Highlight Research Abilities
When describing past experiences on your resume, make sure to focus on the research abilities you have developed. For instance, if you have experience performing statistical analysis or data visualization, be sure to mention this.
Utilize Keywords In Your Resume
Employers often use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) when reviewing resumes, so it is important to use keywords that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Make a list of keywords related to institutional research and include them in your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Use Professional Headshots on Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Having a professional headshot on your resume and LinkedIn profile can help you stand out from the competition. Make sure your headshot is high quality and that you are dressed in professional attire.
Stay Up-to-Date with Industry News
Read industry news and stay up-to-date on changes happening in the field of institutional research. This will help you better understand what employers are looking for and what skills they value.
Connect with Professionals in Your Field
Connect with professionals in your field on LinkedIn and follow their blogs and other social media platforms. Doing so will give you access to valuable insights and advice that will help you in your career.
By following the tips and best practices above, you can set yourself up for success as an Institutional Research Coordinator.
Career Paths for Institutional Research Coordinators:
There are a few different paths an IRC can take in order to enter the workforce. They can start out as entry-level employees and work their way up the ranks over time. Another option is to pursue a career in consulting. In this line of work, IRCs would be hired by organizations to help them conduct research and then develop actionable plans based on findings. A third option is to become a business analyst. In this role, IRCs would be responsible for formulating reports and using data to inform strategic decisions within an organization. Finally, many IRCs choose to become professors in the field of institutional research. This allows them to share their expertise and knowledge with the next generation of professionals.
No matter which path you choose, having a degree in institutional research will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in this field.
Institutional Research Coordinator Salaries
The average salary for an Institutional Research Coordinator is $64,637 per year. This makes it one of the most well-compensated entry-level positions.
Institutional Research Coordinator Salaries by State
Individuals who want to become IRCs can expect to make the highest salaries in Washington D.C., where they typically earn around $74,000 per year. They also do very well in New York and California, as those are the next top-paying states for this position. In those two states, IRCs tend to make between $63,000 and $66,000 per year.
What's Great About Being an Institutional Research Coordinator?
The work is collaborative and requires great communication skills. It is also immensely rewarding since IRCs help organizations better themselves through research. Plus, advancement opportunities are plentiful. This position rarely leads to other careers within the same company; instead, individuals move on to more advanced positions once they have gained experience in the field. Some examples would be data analysts or business managers.
Institutional Research Coordinator Salary by Education Level
Individuals who do not have a degree in institutional research can still find plenty of opportunities to work as IRCs. Those with associate's degrees typically earn salaries between $47,000 and $48,000 per year. Bachelor's degree holders may expect to make around $57,282 per year on average. Finally, those with master's degrees typically make another $4,000 annually at most ($58,474 is the average salary). These figures are based on the total number of survey respondents (36), so they reflect an accurate estimate for each education level.
There are many educational paths that lead to success as an Institutional Research Coordinator. Earning your bachelor's degree in institutional research will give you the skills and knowledge you need to conduct research, analyze data, and develop actionable plans. With this degree, you can work in a variety of settings, including colleges and universities, private businesses, or government agencies. Alternatively, if you already have a degree in another field, consider pursuing a certification in institutional research. This will give you the specialized training you need to excel in this career.
No matter what path you take, be sure to connect with professionals in your field and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices. By doing so, you'll be well on your way to becoming an Institutional Research Coordinator!