School Administration

School administrators manage and work to improve a school or school district. You'll probably need a graduate degree to qualify for a position in school administration. To learn more about academic requirements and career opportunities, continue reading.

Is School Administration for Me?

Career Overview

If you currently work in education as a teacher, you may be interested in working in school administration. Education professionals at the administrative level operate school districts or individual schools to make sure they run smoothly and meet academic standards. As a school administrator, you can work at many different levels.

Career Options

Preschool and day-care centers employ directors and supervisors as the education administrators. You might become a school principal if you want to oversee secondary, middle or elementary schools. Principals work in private or public schools with other administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members to develop and maintain high standards of education by reviewing teaching methods and budgeting for the school's needs. Assistant principals help principals by aiding in school administration and handling disciplinary action. Principals and other school administrators must earn licensure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

You could also consider working at a school district as an administrator. This job may involve overseeing specific areas of study in a public school, such as English or math, and striving to assess and improve the curriculum and teaching methods.

At the postsecondary level, colleges and universities rely on such positions as deans, provosts and chairpersons to help run the institutions and monitor the faculties and students. Regardless of the school administration level you aspire to, you'll benefit from having interpersonal and organizational skills.

Employment Information

According to the BLS, the demand for education administrators, including elementary, middle and high school principals, was expected to grow six percent from 2012-2022, which is slower than the average. On the other hand, positions for both postsecondary administrators and preschool/day-care directors were projected to grow at faster than average rates of 15% for the former and 17% for the latter.

As of May 2013, the median salary for elementary and secondary school education administrators was $88,380, while postsecondary education administrators earned a median of $87,410 per year. School administrators at the day-care and preschool level earned a median salary of $44,890.

How Can I Become a School Administrator?


To become a school administrator, you'll need to have at least a master's degree in educational leadership, school administration or a similar field. Most schools require applicants to be a licensed teacher and have at least two years of teaching experience before they can enroll in a master's or more advanced degree program in school administration. A background in teaching ensures that principals and administrators know about the needs of teachers, students and classrooms so they can provide a solid program of study.

You can select from master's, post-master's and doctoral degree programs in education leadership, education administration or school administration to prepare for a job in school administration. Graduate certificates are also available and can be the first step towards completing a master's degree, although alone they're unlikely to lead to a career in school administration.

Completing a degree program in school administration will help you learn how to deal with the problems specific to educational facilities. You'll become familiar with methods for managing classrooms, improving instruction methods and implementing technology into classrooms. Other classes cover topics such as human behavior, business administration, organizational psychology, policy writing and budgeting. Some classes explore the laws regarding school policies and the legal implications of certain situations.

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