How Can I Become a School Supervisor?

Research what it takes to become a school supervisor. Learn about career options along with degree requirements, responsibilities, and career growth to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a School Supervisor?

A school supervisor serves as the administrator of an educational institution. They may be in charge of a daycare center, preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, college or university. In general, they are responsible for both academic and non-academic aspects of institutional operations, ranging from curriculum development and budget management to safety and security. Ultimately, their goal is to help the institution support student success, regardless of the educational level.

The chart below has information regarding career outlook, education objectives, and job duties.

Preschool and Childcare Director Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals Postsecondary Administration
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Master's degree Master's or doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Early childhood education, child development Education, school counseling, education administration Education, education administration, school counseling
Training or Certification Child Development Associate (CDA) certification or National Child Care Association administrator credentials Licensure or certification typically required Prior administrative or teaching experience at the college level
Key Responsibilities Supervise teachers and workers, train staff, create educational programs Manage and maintain school operation, coordinate curricula, oversee staff and students, make sure schools meet state academic standards Prepare students for college admissions, review applications, review student data
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%* 6%* 9%*
Median Annual Wage (2015) $45,670* $90,410* $88,580*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

School Supervisor Job Duties

School supervisors -- sometimes referred to as education administrators -- are employed by daycare centers, preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities. Common job duties include setting up academic programs, hiring and managing staff, monitoring student progress, meeting with students' parents and balancing school budgets. School supervisors may work as principals, vice principals, preschool directors, school administrators or college department chairpersons.

Get Your Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most school supervisors have prior teaching experience (www.bls.gov). The BLS also notes that most supervisors in public schools -- including principals and school district administrators -- are expected to hold a master's degree in educational leadership or education administration. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for public preschool directors and supervisors.

As an aspiring director or supervisor of a preschool, you might consider pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. In this type of program, you'll take courses like playtime activities, planning an early childhood program and child development. You'll need to complete a student teaching experience in order to earn your degree.

If you'd like to work as a principal, vice principal or school administrator, you could enroll in an educational administration master's program. Some schools allow you to pursue a master's degree in elementary or secondary school administration. You may need to earn a teaching license before enrolling in a master's program.

Do I Need to be Licensed?

The BLS notes that most school supervisors and education administrators have prior teaching experience. In order to teach in many public schools, instructors need to be licensed. Teaching licensure requirements vary by state; however, you'll usually need to earn a bachelor's degree, complete a student teaching experience and take a state-administered exam in order to be licensed.

Principals often need to earn school administrator licensure; this type of licensure usually requires completion of a master's degree program as well as an exam. Some colleges offer principal licensure programs that prepare aspiring principals for licensure in accordance with a specific state's requirements.

According to the BLS, public and private preschool or day care center directors may need to be licensed as well. Licensure requirements may include some college-level coursework, a bachelor's degree or professional certification, like the National Administrator credential offered by the National Child Care Association.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working in an administrative position, you might be interested in working directly with students. As a preschool teacher, you would help students under the age of five learn fundamental concepts and develop social skills. For this job, you need to have an associate's degree. As an elementary school teacher, you would help students build basic reading and math skills in order to support their future academic success. At the high school level, you would likely specialize in teaching a particular subject, like history or biology. Elementary and high school teachers need a bachelor's degree and a license to work in a public school.

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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