What Are the Top Jobs in Education Administration?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in education administration. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary information and education requirements. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Education Administrator?

An education administrator supervises the activities of faculty and staff in public and private elementary, middle and high schools and in postsecondary institutions. Administrators often work as principals, superintendents, or deans, depending on what level of education they work within. Principals in the elementary and high school environment typically manage the staff, set the school budget, help create the academic calendar, and deal with any major disciplinary problems. At the postsecondary level, you may work as a university president, who would have many of the same responsibilities as a principal, or as a dean managing students. The table below offers a brief comparison of positions available at the elementary/secondary and the college/university levels.

Elementary/Secondary Administration Postsecondary Administration
Degree Required Master's degree or higher Doctoral degree
Education Field of Study Classroom subject (e.g. science or history)
Education administration
Classroom subject
Licensure/Certification Principals required to have state-issued license None
Key Responsibilities Manage budgets; oversee staff development; meet with students and parents; advise, support and evaluate teachers; hire staff Oversee academic standards; manage budgets; consider student applications; determine class schedules; hire staff; monitor data
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for elementary and secondary school principals)* 9% (for postsecondary education administrators)*
Median Salary (2015) $90,410 (for elementary and secondary school administrators)* $88,580 (for postsecondary education administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Top Education Administration Jobs Can I Obtain?

Education administrators manage daily operations in various educational institutions. There are several top education administration positions to choose from, including principals, school district superintendents, college presidents, school district administrators and chief academic officers.

Principals are the top administrators of elementary, junior high, and high schools. They work with teachers and other administrators to establish educational standards. Principals observe the teaching techniques of their staff and prepare performance appraisals. School superintendents and university presidents devise and develop academic policies and procedures, as well as overseeing all operations. They're responsible for budget planning, generating financial reports, and recruiting and hiring personnel.

School district administrators direct school programs and manage public educational institutions within their areas. They also help to develop and improve the teaching methods of instructors. Chief academic officers assist college presidents with budgeting, designating faculty members, and developing policies and programs. They also supervise the activities of academic deans.

What Are the Educational Requirements?

Top education professionals such as principals, academic deans and school district administrators are often teachers first, and many have obtained bachelor's degrees in the various subjects they were trained to teach. As they obtain postgraduate degrees, they're able to advance into administrative positions.

In order to work as an education administrator, you'll be required to have at least a master's degree in education administration or educational leadership. College deans are usually former professors, and as such, they must have master's or doctoral degrees. Professionals who go on to become school superintendents or college presidents must acquire doctoral degrees, usually in education administration, or in the subjects they taught when they were teachers.

Master's degree programs in educational leadership for pre-kindergarten through grade 12 often explore school law, staff personnel administration, pupil personnel services, research and statistics, school economics and finance, school business management and student assessment.

Master's degree programs in educational administration offer courses such as school administration readings, educational leadership, supervision in public schools, educational administration theory, and elementary and secondary school administration. A doctoral program may include courses such as the practice and research of teaching, models of curriculum development, curriculum policy analysis, evaluation and implementation of curriculum, and models of instruction and learning.

How Do I Become Licensed?

Public school principals must be licensed, according to the laws of their individual states. Almost every state requires that principals have at least a master's degree, and some states require continuing education for administrators. Licensing applicants must successfully pass an examination, and then undergo on-the-job training with an experienced advisor. Private school principals and education administrators in private colleges and universities aren't required to be licensed.

How Much Money Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that education administrators who worked in elementary and secondary schools earned a median annual salary of $90,410 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary for those who worked in colleges and universities was $88,580 in 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As most administrators have master's degrees or beyond in education or a related field, individuals with a similar educational background could also find work as teachers. At the elementary and high school level, only a bachelor's degree is required, while teachers at the postsecondary level likely possess a master's or Ph.D. in order to teach at the university level. An educator looking to work with students individually could also pursue a career as a school and career counselor. This job, which requires a master's degree, involves providing guidance for students as they navigate personal issues and scholastic decisions.

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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