What Careers Are Available in School Administration and Supervision?

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

What Does a School Administration and Supervision Professional Do?

School administration and supervision professionals include elementary and secondary school principals or assistant principals and postsecondary administrators. These professionals oversee teaching staff, create school schedules, set school policies and standards for staff and students to follow, and assess the performance of the school's staff. The essential focus of their job is to ensure that their school operates smoothly and provides a quality education for the students. Find out more about jobs in this field with the table below:

Elementary and Secondary School Administrators Postsecondary Administrators
Degree Required Master's degree Master's degree
Experience Required 5+ years in related field 5+ years in related field
Licensure/Certification Required Licensure required None
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 6%* 9%*
Median Salary (2015) $90,410* $88,580*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are Some Career Options in School Administration and Supervision?

Administrators and supervisors at the elementary, middle and high school levels include superintendents, principals, vice principals and directors. You might need to be elected to superintendent or school board director positions, which are responsible for all of the public schools within a district. In a superintendent role, you'll act as an adviser to the state's education board to influence academic policy. As a school board director, you'll work with other directors and board members to provide direction and improvements to public schools.

Working in a single school, you could become a principal or vice principal. As a principal, you'd be in charge of hiring new teachers, allocating funds, promoting community involvement and liaising with the school board and superintendent. In a vice principal position, you'd interact more with the students by developing curricular and recreational programs, administering disciplinary actions and ensuring adequate supplies are available.

If you'd like to work at a college or university, some administration positions include admissions, department or student affairs directors, school deans or executive positions, such as provost, chancellor or president. You could be responsible for the budget, policies and personnel of an institution, campus, school or department. In an executive position, you'd supervise the academic programs, teaching staff and business and community affiliations. If you'd rather work personally with students and faculty, a director position allows you to ensure a positive academic environment by providing advising, advocating and mentoring services to students and instructors.

What Are the Requirements for These Jobs?

To be a principal or assistant principal, you need at least a master's degree. To increase your employment potential, you could pursue a Doctor of Education or a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration. All states require that you obtain a teaching certification or a school administration license to supervise a public school. In order to qualify for licensure, you might need teaching or administrative experience in addition to your education. Superintendents and directors also usually require advanced education, but don't need additional licensure.

At the postsecondary level, you'll typically need a Master's degree for any administration or supervisory position. Gaining experience through volunteer or paid work at the school during your graduate program and entering a teaching position upon graduation could prepare you for advancement into a director, dean or executive position. Licensure is not required at the university level.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment for postsecondary education administrators was expected to increase 9% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov), while administrators at the primary and secondary level were expected to see a 6% increase in employment. Due to increasing student enrollment, primarily at the college level, and a shift in school functions to the local level in public schools, the BLS projected that employment would fluctuate for administrative jobs. The majority of jobs were expected in underserved areas that offered less compensation for the positions.

As of May 2015, the BLS estimated the median annual salary for elementary and secondary school administrators was $90,410. The states paying the highest wages included New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, California, and Alaska, with each paying over $109,000 on average. Postsecondary administration and supervisory salaries often fluctuate based on the size of a school. The BLS stated that the median salary as of May 2015 at this level was $88,580, with the highest wages in Delaware, New Jersey, and Hawaii.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Preschool directors and instructional coordinators perform many tasks that are comparable to the work of school administration professionals. Preschool directors perform many of the same duties as a principal or assistant principal. They hire and oversee teaching staff, ensure staff follow the school guidelines, and address any disciplinary concerns with students. Some of the key differences are that they only need a bachelor's degree, and they do not work under the supervision of the department of education. They may also register students.

Instructional coordinators do work for the department of education, and they need a master's degree. Their focus is on determining what materials will be used and establishing the curriculum guidelines for each subject at every grade level. School administrators must ensure that their teaching staff have those guidelines and follow them in class.

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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