What Defines a Student Affairs Professional?

What is a student affairs professional? This seems like an easy question yet I haven’t found a definitive answer. When I see questions such as “do student affairs professionals need a Master’s degree?”, I wonder even further as to what folks are referring to as professionals. In a typical student affairs organization, there are different classifications of jobs that make up the organization. For example, in UCSB Student Affairs Division, there are more than 30 units and within these units are folks assigned to different roles. For example, in student health service, we have physicians, medical assistants, administrative assistants, business officers, and store room staff. We also have an IT unit consisting of technology professionals as well administrative staff. In our Disabled Student Services office, we have advisors, adaptive technology staff, and again, administrative staff.

Given the sample of roles in our division mentioned above, I have to think that not everyone in the division needs Masters degree to do their jobs. However, I must ask, “if student affairs professionals do need Master’s degree, what qualifies one to be a student affairs professional?” That a staff works in a student affairs organization, does that qualify them to be considered “student affairs professional”, are there particular roles within student affairs organizations that are “professionals”,  or does one need some educational credential to be considered one?

What do you think?

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