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Master's in School Administration: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become an education administrator. Learn about education, job outlook, and salaries to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is A Master's Program in School Administration?

Master's program in school administration is designed to prepare individuals for a career as a principal or vice principal. These programs focus on administrative principles and strategies. School administrators are responsible for overseeing the curriculum used in their schools, and evaluating the performance of the school's teachers. They also oversee student discipline and meet with parents and teachers to address behavioral issues or learning issues. They may advance into school board administration with experience. According to O*Net, as of 2019, 63% of school administrators had a master's degree, while 21% had a post-master's certificate. Only 9% had a bachelor's degree as their highest level of completed education. With a master's degree it is also possible to pursue a career in postsecondary administration.

Preschool Administrators Elementary and Secondary Administrators Postsecondary Administrators
Degree Required Master's degree Master's degree Master's degree
Licensure Required Typically required in most states Typically required in most states Typically required in most states
Job Growth (2018-2028) 7%* 4%* 7%*
Average Salary (2018) $53,990* $98,750* $111,210*

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Will a Master's Program in School Administration Teach Me?

This degree's main focus is to prepare you for an administrative position in an educational setting. Many of these programs are offered with alternative learning options for working professionals, such as nighttime on-campus classes or as totally online programs.

Some of the skills you will learn in this program are communication, managerial leadership, problem-solving, planning and organization. Subjects taught throughout the program may include:

  • Laws regarding schools
  • Principles of supervision
  • Administration assessment
  • Theory of curriculum
  • Policy implementation
  • School reform
  • Finance

What are the Program Requirements?

Requirements may vary according to program, but most require that you have a current teacher's license and classroom experience. Other requirements include undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation and an admission essay. If you work in a private school and don't have a teacher's license, a letter of employment verification from your school's principal may be required.

Is Licensure Required?

Yes, most states require school administrators to be licensed. Each state has their own requirements, but many require a master's degree or other type of graduate-level coursework for administrators. Often, states require post-licensure coursework to be taken in areas such as current technology and learning trends to keep licensing current.

Where Can I Work?

Every school needs administration personnel to carry out daily duties, financial decisions and supervise staff. Vice-principals, principals, department chairs and deans are often highly regarded positions and typically require the knowledge you will have learned through a master's degree in school administration. Other career options available include provost, superintendent, registrar, director of admissions and department administrator.

What Will My Duties Be?

Depending on the school setting, your duties may vary. Generally, principals, deans and other administrative personnel main task is to supervise teachers. You may meet with parents, students and community personnel to discuss student progress. You may place orders for textbooks, supplies and furniture. You often counsel teachers, students and parents when issues arise and mediate problems. You may be in charge of the recruitment and hiring of new teachers and administrative personnel.

What is the Outlook for this Career Field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Employment Statistics (BLS), employment of school administrators for elementary, middle and high schools would grow roughly 4 percent between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). This increase in positions was due in part to retirements and people leaving the profession. School administration is often a highly stressful field, and it is often difficult to find people willing to take these positions and stay in the profession.

What is the Average Salary?

Education administrator salaries often vary according to the type of school in which they work. Elementary school and high school administrators made an average salary of $98,750 in 2018, according to data released by the BLS. Those who worked at colleges and universities averaged $73,680 a year, while administrators working with young children in preschools or daycare facilities earned an annual salary of $53,990.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instructional coordinators, teachers, and school librarians all perform some tasks that are similar to the work school administrators do. Instructional coordinators need a master's degree, and they focus on determining what materials will be used in the curriculum in their school district. They do this for each subject at each grade level. They may also assess the effectiveness of the materials and curriculum guidelines and revise them as needed. This is similar to the work of school administrators because they also assess the curriculum's effectiveness. Teachers work with school administrators to address issues such as behavioral problems, issues with the curriculum, or the needs of students with learning disabilities. School librarians may also be involved in addressing behavioral issues with students, and they collaborate with school administration to determine materials that they need to stock that support the curriculum.