Careers in Elementary School Administration

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in elementary school administration. Read on to learn more about career options, along with salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Principal Licensure degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Elementary School Administrator?

An elementary school administrator plays a leadership role in an elementary school. They are responsible for both the educational and business-related aspects of running a school, including staff supervision, budget management, student discipline and security protocol implementation. They also have a hand in the development of curriculum standards, and they monitor teacher and student performance in order to make sure that the elementary school is meeting its academic goals. Possible job titles for elementary school administrators include principal, assistant principal, director and superintendent, among others.

The table below outlines the general requirements for these career options.

Degree Required Master's degree
Education Field of Study Education Administration, Education Leadership
Key Skills Management, counseling, mentoring, evaluation
Licensure License required in most states
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all education administrators, primary and secondary schools)*
Median Salary (2015) $90,400 (for all education administrators, primary and secondary schools)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would My Duties Be As an Elementary School Administrator?

Your responsibilities depend on whether you're a principal, assistant principal, headmaster or school district superintendent. As a public school principal or a private school headmaster, it's your job to manage the daily operations of your school, including managing personnel, budgets and student enrollment. Other business functions of principals and superintendents might include training teachers, adhering to state regulations and developing school policy. You might be involved in collecting and analyzing demographic data to boost enrollment. You might also write and publish promotional materials.

As an elementary school administrator, you also have pedagogical responsibilities. You could be in charge of observing and evaluating teachers, setting instructional goals, evaluating learning materials and creating mission statements. You might also supervise counselors, support staff, coaches and maintenance employees. Lastly, you'd act as a liaison to the community. You could attend parent conferences, develop community programs or facilitate partnerships with local organizations.

Nearly all states require public school principals to be licensed. Requirements for licensure differ by state, but most require a relevant graduate degree and teaching experience. Some states may ask you to sit for a licensing test, while others might require you to complete an in-service residency at a school.

What Training Do I Need?

For most administrative positions, you need at least a master's degree in education administration; however, some schools prefer applicants with a doctoral degree in education administration and policy. Many programs allow you to specialize in elementary school administration. Master's degree programs typically take 2-3 years to complete and culminate in a comprehensive exam or thesis, while doctoral degree programs take 4-6 years to finish and involve writing a dissertation.

In a graduate program, you acquire the business, administrative and pedagogical skills needed to succeed as an elementary school administrator. Your coursework might cover school law, effective leadership, supervision, educational theory and curriculum implementation. Other areas of study could include educational ethics, multiculturalism, statistics, school finance and public relations. Many schools also facilitate, or even require, internships.

What Are My Job Prospects?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that jobs for primary and secondary school administrators is expected to increase 6% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). An increase in enrollment, coupled with retirements, were projected contributing factors to job growth in this profession.

What Will I Be Paid?

In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for education administrators in elementary and secondary schools was $94,410. Top earning administrators took home more than $131,310, while the lowest-paid earned $59,100 or less, according to the same report. The BLS also indicated that the top paying states for education administrators were New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Alaska and California.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You might also want to consider becoming an instructional coordinator. In this position, you would develop and implement innovative curriculum standards and teaching strategies in order to improve the performance of a school. You may offer this service for elementary schools, middle schools or high schools. Instructional coordinators need a master's degrees and previous experience in the field of education. Alternatively, if you would rather work directly with students, you could get a job as an elementary school teacher, where you would instruct students in classroom environments and help with supervision in other settings, such as the cafeteria or the playground. To be a teacher, you need to hold a bachelor's degree and pass a licensure exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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