Education administrators are professionals who help run schools and school districts. Some oversee all aspects of a school while others may be in charge of a specific component within a system, such as curriculum development. In general, though, a career in educational leadership includes the following duties:
- Creating school policies regarding curriculum, scheduling and discipline
- Meeting with students, parents and teachers to discuss academic progress
- Evaluating the performance of teachers and support staff and making hiring decisions
- Overseeing annual budgets and authorizing purchases
Actual duties may vary depending on a person's job title, and a career in education administration may have someone working in the one of the following occupations:
- Principals oversee teachers and students in a specific school building or at a certain grade level.
- Superintendents are responsible for educational systems that may include multiple buildings, programs and auxiliary services.
- Instructional coordinators develop curriculum and create a plan for its implementation within a school system.
How to become an education administrator
For most people, the path to becoming an education administrator starts with a teaching degree. While not required for some administrator positions, many schools prefer to hire those who have experience in the classroom. As a result, the typical steps to becoming an education administrator look something like this:
- Earn a teaching degree. If you want to become a school principal, you need to be a teacher first. A career in educational leadership starts in the classroom, and an undergraduate degree in education is required for state certification in most instances.
- Work as a teacher. There is no minimum requirement for teaching years before becoming an education administrator, but you'll likely want to spend a few years working in this capacity.
- Earn an education administrator degree. A master's degree is the minimum education needed to move into administrative positions. As part of the education administrator degree requirements, you'll learn how to manage staff, create budgets and work with parents. An educational leadership degree program may offer online courses to make it easy for those enrolled to keep a teaching job during the day and study at night.
- Obtain state certification. Principals working in public schools may have to obtain a state licensure and submit to a background check. Superintendents and instructional coordinators may have different requirements mandated by their state or district.
Skills and abilities needed for an education administrator career
For a successful career in education administration, you should have the following skills and abilities in addition to the right degree.
- Judgment and Decision Making: One of the most important skills an education administrator must possess is the ability to weigh options and make decisions that will provide the most benefit to all students and a school system.
- Active Listening: Education administrators receive feedback from a number of sources, including students, staff, parents and colleagues. They must be able to listen attentively and ask appropriate questions to fully understand concerns being raised.
- Speaking: A career in education leadership could have you speaking in meetings, assemblies and one-on-one with others. Being able to convey information clearly and concisely is an essential skill.
- Problem Sensitivity: Good education administrators proactively identify potential problems and address them quickly.
- Written Expression: Whether they are crafting emails, newsletters or reports, education administrators need to be able to express themselves clearly using proper grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.
Education administrator salary and career outlook
All jobs vary in how much they pay or how much they are expected to be in demand in the coming years. Things like experience, education level, and location make it hard to know exactly what to expect, but in general, here's an idea of what educational administrator salary and job growth numbers look like:
|Career||Total Employment||Annual Mean Wage||Projected Job Growth Rate|
|Education Administrators, All Other||41,000||$89,570||10.4%|
|Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School||263,120||$98,750||7.8%|
|Education Administrators, Postsecondary||143,430||$111,210||10%|
|Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program||50,650||$53,990||10.6%|