In the past few years, I've become very interested in staying in academia for as long as possible. I really wanted to be a professor, and I still do. Using the internet and meeting with a few professors, I've researched various aspects of life as a professor, including daily schedules, salaries, etc. While trying to get an idea of what a typical professor's salary might look like, I always stumbled upon "Head of Department" salaries, which were considerably greater than other professor salaries. I liked the idea of being paid more, but I always dismissed the idea of becoming a "Head of Department" because I thought that their work was more related to administration than teaching or talking about the field of their department. (One of the main reasons I want to be a professor is the opportunity to be directly involved in the fields I'm passionate about every single day.) However, I recently traveled to a university in my state with the company I am interning at, and I met the head of the department of mechanical engineering. Though that is not my field of interest, I was very glad to have the chance to meet with her. I learned all about her day-to-day life as head of department: I learned that she is quite actively involved in many PhD students' projects, and oversees many research projects. There is also an administrative aspect in her job, but it isn't nearly as overwhelming or burdensome as I thought. Since the visit, I've become very interested in a job like hers.
Is my perception of "Head of Department" skewed? What can I do to be involved in my field like she is in hers?
I would love to learn about and teach my passions for a living.
Side question: How involved are deans of __ in their respective fields?