Department Head Job Description [Updated for 2024]

department head job description

In today’s corporate landscape, the role of department heads has never been more crucial.

As businesses evolve and grow, the demand for skilled leaders who can strategize, manage, and steer their respective departments towards success amplifies.

But let’s delve deeper: What exactly is expected from a department head?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the nuances of this role,
  • A hiring manager defining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply curious about the intricacies of department leadership,

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, we present a customizable department head job description template, designed for seamless posting on job boards or career sites.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Department Head Duties and Responsibilities

Department Heads are responsible for managing the overall operations in their respective departments.

They are tasked with overseeing departmental staff, setting and implementing strategic department goals, and ensuring the efficiency of their department’s operations.

Department Heads carry out a variety of duties and responsibilities that may include:

  • Developing and implementing strategic plans to meet departmental objectives
  • Leading and managing the department staff, including hiring, training, and performance evaluations
  • Overseeing and ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of departmental operations
  • Managing the departmental budget and ensuring that resources are used effectively
  • Meeting with other department heads and senior management to discuss and coordinate strategies
  • Ensuring compliance with company policies and industry regulations
  • Resolving departmental conflicts and addressing staff concerns
  • Reporting to senior management on department performance and making recommendations for improvements
  • Keeping updated with industry trends and developments that may impact the department
  • Ensuring a positive work environment and promoting a culture of teamwork within the department


Department Head Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are looking for a dynamic and experienced Department Head to lead and oversee the work of employees in our department.

The ideal candidate should be a strategic thinker, an excellent communicator, and a seasoned leader with a strong track record in departmental management.

The Department Head’s responsibilities include formulating overall strategy, managing people and establishing departmental policies.

The goal is to ensure that all department operations run smoothly and effectively towards meeting the company’s objectives.



  • Set departmental goals, objectives, and budgets.
  • Implement and maintain procedures/office administrative systems.
  • Ensure smooth and adequate flow of information within the company to facilitate other business operations.
  • Manage staff, preparing work schedules and assigning specific duties.
  • Establish and monitor performance reporting systems.
  • Monitor and evaluate team performance.
  • Ensure regulatory, compliance and legal rules are followed.
  • Manage budget to ensure sustainability and profitability.
  • Plan and implement departmental changes to drive improvement.
  • Represent the department in meetings and in dealing with the senior management.



  • Proven experience as a Department Head or similar leadership role.
  • Knowledge of industry regulations and departmental procedures.
  • Strong ability in using MS Office and department-specific software.
  • Excellent organizational and leadership skills.
  • Outstanding communication abilities.
  • Ability to develop strategic plans and implement them with strong change management skills.
  • Strong understanding of financial management.
  • BSc/BA degree in Business Administration or relevant field; MSc/MA is a plus.



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Department Head
  • Work Environment: Office setting. Some travel may be required for industry conferences or meetings.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Chief Executive Officer or Managing Director.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: Competitive pay scale based on experience and qualifications.
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Department Head Do?

A Department Head typically works in an academic or corporate setting and is responsible for managing and leading a specific department within the organization.

They have overall responsibility for the performance of their department and its employees, ensuring they meet the organization’s goals and objectives.

Department Heads oversee the hiring, training, and performance evaluations of staff members within their department.

They are also responsible for assigning tasks and projects to employees and ensuring these are completed on time and up to standard.

In an academic context, Department Heads are responsible for the development and implementation of curricula, ensuring that it aligns with the institution’s standards and objectives.

They may also teach classes, conduct research, and publish scholarly papers and books.

In a corporate context, they are involved in strategic planning, budgeting, and resource allocation within their department.

They often work with other department heads and executives to ensure the overall success of the organization.

In both settings, Department Heads serve as a point of communication between their department and other departments, as well as upper management.

They must be strong leaders, effective communicators, and have a deep understanding of their department’s function and objectives.


Department Head Qualifications and Skills

A Department Head should have the skills and qualifications that are appropriate for the specific role, including:

  • Effective leadership skills to guide and motivate team members toward achieving departmental goals and objectives.
  • Excellent communication skills to clearly express ideas, instructions, and feedback to team members, as well as to liaise with other department heads and senior management.
  • Strategic planning abilities to develop and implement plans that align with the organization’s goals and objectives.
  • Problem-solving skills to identify and resolve departmental issues that may affect performance and productivity.
  • Financial acumen to manage the department’s budget, optimize resource allocation, and make cost-effective decisions.
  • Decision-making skills to make informed choices that can impact the department or the organization as a whole.
  • Ability to multitask and manage time effectively to meet deadlines and ensure smooth operations within the department.
  • Proficiency in using technology and software relevant to the department’s operations.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to foster a positive work environment, encourage teamwork, and manage conflict effectively.


Department Head Experience Requirements

Department Heads generally have at least 5-10 years of relevant experience in their field, often starting in entry-level positions and working their way up through various roles within the department.

The experience requirement can vary greatly depending on the industry and size of the organization.

In smaller companies or startups, a department head may only require 3-5 years of experience, while in larger corporations, a decade or more of experience could be needed.

Additionally, a Department Head is typically expected to have significant leadership experience.

This could be in the form of managing a team, supervising projects, or leading initiatives within the company.

Candidates may also need to have experience with strategic planning, budgeting, and performance evaluation, as these are all key responsibilities of a Department Head.

Continued professional development is also important for Department Heads.

Many successful candidates have advanced degrees in their field, or have completed additional training or certifications related to their industry or to management skills.

In certain sectors, such as education or healthcare, a Department Head may also need to have specific professional licenses or certifications.

Finally, experience with change management and conflict resolution can be beneficial, as a Department Head often needs to navigate complex situations and make difficult decisions.

Experience in a customer-facing role can also be valuable, as it can help the Department Head understand the needs and perspectives of the people they serve.


Department Head Education and Training Requirements

A Department Head typically possesses a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the department they will be overseeing.

For instance, a head of a marketing department will likely have a degree in marketing, business administration, or a related field.

However, many organizations prefer candidates with a master’s degree or even a PhD, particularly for departments that deal with specialized or complex areas.

Advanced degrees not only provide deeper knowledge in the field but also demonstrate a candidate’s dedication to the industry.

A Department Head should also have significant experience in the field, often requiring a minimum of several years in a management or supervisory role.

This experience helps ensure they understand the industry, the role, and the challenges they may face.

Many Department Heads also pursue additional professional certifications in their respective fields, as this could make them more competitive and demonstrate a commitment to staying current with the latest trends and best practices.

Moreover, Department Heads are often required to attend regular training sessions, workshops, or seminars to enhance their leadership skills, industry knowledge, and to stay updated on any changes in the field.

Finally, the ability to communicate effectively, make decisions, and lead a team are essential skills for a Department Head, which can be developed through both practical experience and targeted leadership training programs.


Department Head Salary Expectations

The average salary for a Department Head is approximately $104,980 (USD) per year.

However, actual earnings can vary widely depending on the specific industry, level of experience, educational background, and the geographical location of the job.


Department Head Job Description FAQs

What is the role of a Department Head?

A Department Head is responsible for overseeing the operation of a specific department or area of a business.

They manage a team of individuals, set goals, implement policies, and ensure the department is working efficiently and effectively towards meeting the company’s objectives.


What are the essential skills a Department Head should possess?

A Department Head should possess strong leadership skills to guide their team towards achieving departmental goals.

They need excellent communication and interpersonal skills to liaise with staff, management, and stakeholders.

They should also have strategic thinking and decision-making abilities, along with problem-solving and organizational skills.


Do Department Heads need a specific degree?

While the educational requirements can vary depending on the nature of the department, most Department Heads hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a relevant field.

For example, a Department Head in finance would typically need a degree in finance, economics, or a related field.

Many organizations also prefer individuals with a Master’s degree or an MBA.


What should you look for in a Department Head’s resume?

A Department Head’s resume should showcase their relevant education, industry experience, and demonstrated leadership skills.

Look for evidence of strategic planning, decision-making, and team management.

It’s also beneficial to identify any accomplishments that indicate their ability to drive performance and achieve departmental goals.


What qualities make a good Department Head?

A good Department Head is someone who motivates and inspires their team, leading by example.

They must be adaptable and resilient, capable of making informed decisions even under pressure.

They should be focused on continuous improvement, always looking for ways to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Lastly, a good Department Head must have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively at all levels within the organization.


Is it challenging to hire Department Heads?

Hiring a Department Head can be challenging as the role requires a unique blend of skills and experience.

It is crucial to find someone who not only has the necessary technical knowledge but also possesses strong leadership qualities and the ability to guide and motivate a team.

Therefore, the hiring process might take longer than for other roles, but it ensures that the right candidate is selected for the role.



There you have it.

Today, we’ve pulled back the curtain on the intricacies of being a Department Head.


It’s not just about managing a team.

It’s about orchestrating success, one strategic decision at a time.

With our handy Department Head job description template and real-life examples, you’re poised for progression.

But why halt your journey here?

Dig deeper with our job description generator. It’s your stepping-stone to meticulously crafted job listings or refining your resume to its ultimate form.


Every decision you make contributes to the grand scheme.

Let’s orchestrate that success. Together.

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