Find out how you can prepare for a career in educational administration, including the degrees and licenses you'll need to oversee schools from the pre-kindergarten to college levels. Read about job growth and potential earnings for educational administrators here, and make an informed decision about your career.
Educational administrators oversee the daily operation of schools, postsecondary institutions or other related facilities. As school principals, directors, department heads and other administrators, they're responsible for overseeing the instructional and operational activities of teachers and other building or support personnel. Key qualities for aspiring administrators include a love of learning, an interest in students and strong leadership and organizational skills.
Based upon information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of elementary, middle and high school principals was expected to grow by just 6% nationwide between 2012 and 2022, a slower-than-average rate when compared to all other occupations. By comparison, openings for postsecondary administrators, such as those who oversee admissions, records and student affairs, were projected to increase by 15%, or faster than average, from 2012-2022. At 17%, opportunities for childcare center and preschool directors were also expected to increase by a faster-than-average rate during the same 10-year period.
As reported by the BLS in May 2013, the average annual salary for an elementary or high school principal was $90,670, while administrators at the postsecondary level earned an average of $100,600 a year. As of May 2013, childcare and preschool directors had an average annual income of $52,010. Educational administrators often enjoy benefits in addition to their annual salary, including a month to five weeks of vacation per year, health and pension packages and free or discounted tuition for employees and their family members (www.bls.gov).
You can begin preparing for a career as an educational administrator by acquiring experience as a teacher, professor or other related professional. A graduate degree in a relevant area is the usual minimum requirement for obtaining an administrative position. For example, you could pursue a Master of Arts in Education Administration, Master of Education Administration or Doctor of Education in Administration program. Many education administrators in elementary, middle and high schools enter the field as vice-principals before undertaking the role of a principal or other similar leadership position.
In addition to meeting formal education requirements, you may need a certification in educational administration to work as a principal or other high-level supervisor. As licensing requirements can vary according to the position and state, check with your state education department in advance to make sure that you're meeting all of the criteria. While a postsecondary degree or state license may not be necessary to work as a childcare center or preschool director, several states do require a preschool or childcare credential to legally work in these capacities.