Read about leadership in urban education, including the degree programs that can help you prepare for an administrative position at a city elementary or high school. Find information about job growth, salary potential and training for urban education leaders here.
Leadership for urban education, also called urban education leadership, is a special field of study that can help you acquire the background and skills you need to become a school administrator in a city school. Program emphasis is on educational leadership and issues specific to city schools, such as community development, language barriers, multiculturalism and parental involvement. You'll also study curriculum and instruction, budgeting and personnel management. You might also learn how to establish after-school or breakfast programs for students of single-parent households or families where both parents work full time.
A career in urban education administration has the potential to be both demanding and rewarding and typically requires a graduate degree in a relevant field of study. Prior experience as a teacher is usually required as well, and you may need to 'work your way up,' proving yourself in your current position before advancing to an administrative role.
As a graduate of an urban education program with teaching experience, you may be qualified for a position as an assistant principal or principal at a city school. After obtaining some building-level administrative experience, you might be ready to assume the responsibilities of a superintendent.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of education administrators in general, such as elementary, middle and high school principals, is expected to increase by 6% between 2012-2022, which is slower than the national average for all occupations. As of May 2013, elementary, middle and secondary school administrators earned a median annual salary of $88,380 (www.bls.gov).
The first step to becoming an educational administrator is to earn your bachelor's degree and obtain your teaching license. Master's degree programs in educational leadership can usually be completed in two years of full-time study and may culminate in a Master of Education (M.Ed.) and licensure as a school principal. Requirements include a thesis or master's project. Once you've earned a master's degree in general education administration, you might also consider a graduate certificate in urban education.
Doctoral admission requirements include completion of a master's degree and prior leadership experience. Many programs lead to a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Education. Online superintendent certification programs may also be available. In addition to studying urban education and environments, you may pursue topics in education finance and policy, literacy, instructional leadership and organizational theory. You might also participate in field experiences and internships; most programs require a research-based dissertation.
In addition to a formal education, you'll also need excellent communication, interpersonal and leadership skills to excel in this field. Many states require school administrators, particularly principals, to have an administrator's license. Licensing requirements vary by state, but often require you to pass a test and attain certain education and experience levels.