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Database Administrators

At a Glance

  • Use software to manage databases
  • Sometimes create original programs
  • Know many different types of operating systems and computers
  • Take courses and self-study to update skills
  • May have flexible schedules
  • Have a bachelor's degree

Career summary

Database administrators create and maintain computer database systems.

Database administrators may also be called database analysts or, depending on job duties, database designers.

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Database administrators use database management systems software. Databases are software systems that contain complex records of information. Software allows them to:

Administrators sometimes develop new databases for clients. They talk to clients to learn about their database needs. They estimate the time and cost required to create the database. They develop a data model for approved projects. This model lists the data elements and how they are used.

Some database administrators do not write the code for databases. They supervise the computer programmers who write the code and monitor their progress. They test how well the databases work and make suggestions for changes. They teach people how to use finished databases.

Database administrators make changes to existing databases. They read documentation about the databases to learn why they are set up as they are. They make the changes or direct programmers to make them. Many plan and set up computer security systems. They write procedures and technical manuals.

Database administrators must be familiar with many types of computers and operating systems. These systems include:

Database technology changes quickly. Administrators attend classes and read magazines to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

Related careers

This career is part of the Information Technology cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to database administrators.

Common work activities

Database administrators perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, database administrators:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Database administrators frequently:

It is important for database administrators to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for database administrators to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Database administrators need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Work with things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a database administrator, you typically need to:

Education after high school

A bachelor's degree is the preferred level of education for this occupation. Many database administrators have their degree in computer science, information science, or management information systems (MIS). A master's in business administration (MBA) paired with computer courses is also a good way to prepare.

Work experience

Some database administrators have related work experience. You can gain experience through computer jobs, learning new skills at each one. Eventually, you have enough knowledge to move into a database administration position.

You should consider participating in an internship while in college. An internship is usually part of a four-year degree program. It offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

Some new administrators receive on-the-job training. The length of training varies by employer. In general, administrators receive up to one year of training. During this period you work under the guidance of experienced database administrators. In large companies, you may also get formal classroom training. You receive greater independence and increased responsibility as you gain knowledge and experience.

Because of the fast changing nature of this field, employers often offer training in the newest computer technologies and applications.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be computer systems specialists. Training lasts from seven to 13 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers prefer applicants who have knowledge of and experience with computer systems. Many employers look for applicants who have a bachelor's degree in computer science or information science. Employers also look for business experience and good communication skills.

Some companies look for people who can use new technologies. In addition to programming or business skills, employers want people who are creative. Some employers look for applicants who can use specific types of hardware and software.

A growing number of database administrators work on a contract or temporary basis. Many work independently or are self-employed as consultants. Companies may hire people with the exact skills they need to carry out a specific project. These projects may last from several months to several years.

Some employers prefer applicants with certification in specific database management applications or operating systems.

Costs to workers

Workers who join a professional organization may have to pay annual dues. Some workers may pay for courses to become certified in specific computer applications or operating systems.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Database administrators (SOC 15-1141)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $29.28 $39.24 $52.42 $61.69 $72.25
Monthly $5,074 $6,800 $9,084 $10,691 $12,521
Yearly $60,910 $81,620 $109,030 $128,300 $150,280
    Bellingham Hourly $25.94 $29.30 $35.79 $51.07 $62.83
Monthly $4,495 $5,078 $6,202 $8,850 $10,888
Yearly $53,958 $60,944 $74,441 $106,225 $130,682
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $29.40 $41.47 $46.00 $50.52 $62.03
Monthly $5,095 $7,187 $7,972 $8,755 $10,750
Yearly $61,154 $86,258 $95,679 $105,101 $129,030
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $26.95 $29.62 $36.03 $53.94 $63.34
Monthly $4,670 $5,133 $6,244 $9,348 $10,977
Yearly $56,058 $61,611 $74,944 $112,194 $131,749
    Longview Hourly $26.39 $28.60 $36.33 $50.95 $59.01
Monthly $4,573 $4,956 $6,296 $8,830 $10,226
Yearly $54,895 $59,477 $75,576 $105,986 $122,737
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $32.15 $34.59 $38.57 $47.85 $64.15
Monthly $5,572 $5,994 $6,684 $8,292 $11,117
Yearly $66,872 $71,945 $80,227 $99,521 $133,421
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $23.56 $27.28 $37.76 $46.34 $52.23
Monthly $4,083 $4,728 $6,544 $8,031 $9,051
Yearly $49,020 $56,739 $78,524 $96,384 $108,639
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $31.06 $41.77 $54.45 $63.33 $74.10
Monthly $5,383 $7,239 $9,436 $10,975 $12,842
Yearly $64,606 $86,899 $113,269 $131,729 $154,127
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $19.57 $27.97 $38.11 $55.44 $69.05
Monthly $3,391 $4,847 $6,604 $9,608 $11,966
Yearly $40,718 $58,173 $79,274 $115,322 $143,635
    Vancouver Hourly $30.64 $38.74 $47.22 $56.51 $62.92
Monthly $5,310 $6,714 $8,183 $9,793 $10,904
Yearly $63,747 $80,582 $98,211 $117,543 $130,860
    Yakima Hourly $29.28 $34.00 $41.76 $52.47 $68.70
Monthly $5,074 $5,892 $7,237 $9,093 $11,906
Yearly $60,905 $70,721 $86,862 $109,125 $142,886
United States Hourly $24.20 $31.83 $43.31 $55.80 $66.50
Monthly $4,194 $5,516 $7,506 $9,670 $11,524
Yearly $50,340 $66,200 $90,070 $116,060 $138,320

Wages vary by the administrator's education and experience. The size and location of the work place also affect wages.

Database administrators usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Many companies also offer a retirement plan.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Database administrators (SOC 15-1141)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 2,076 25.6% 16.1% 252
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 15 13.3% 13.4% 1
    Benton and Franklin Counties 19 26.3% 15.0% 2
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 21 9.5% 11.9% 2
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 97 15.5% 15.2% 9
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 39 15.4% 14.1% 4
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 35 17.1% 14.6% 3
    King County 1,422 33.3% 19.6% 198
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 25 12.0% 13.8% 2
    Pierce County 51 13.7% 15.2% 5
    Snohomish County 201 5.0% 12.4% 14
    Spokane County 83 18.1% 13.9% 8
United States 116,900 9.0% 5.2% 9,700

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will remain strong. Cloud computing systems allow for offsite database management. This industry will see a very large growth in the number of jobs for database administers. The health care industry will also have large growth.

Database administrators with experience in computer security will be in great demand. Job opportunities should be excellent for workers in this industry. Employers report having difficulty locating new workers in this occupation.

Other resources

Association for Computing Machinery (external link)
1601 Broadway, 10th Floor1
New York, NY 10019-7434
Association for Women in Computing - Puget Sound Chapter (external link)
3743 S. 170th Street
Sea-Tac, WA 98188
Computing Research Association (external link)
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036-4632
IEEE Computer Society (external link)
2001 L Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
Information Technology Industry Council (external link)
1101 K Street NW, Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP) (external link)
244 S Randall Road #116
Elgin, IL 60123
Technology Student Association (external link)
1904 Association Drive
Reston, VA 20191-1540
Washington Technology Industry Association (external link)
2200 Alaskan Way, Suite 390
Seattle, WA 98121
Women in Technology International (external link)


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster