Careers in Education Administration

When people think of educational careers, they think of teachers. Not so often does the administration come to mind. However, people in educational administration careers play an integral role in every students education from preschool to university.

What is educational administration?

Those in educational administration do a lot behind the scenes to make sure the school is running smoothly. They direct teachers and offer guidance and managerial support. They are also the ones who make sure curriculums are up-to-date and provide all students with the tools they need to succeed in the future.

As the educational needs of students change, with the boom in online classes, new areas of study, and even expansive preschool curriculums, the need for qualified educational administrators continues to grow. And by extension, you can expect to see new positions in educational administration appearing over the next decade. Now is a great time to pursue a degree in education administration, but what does the career path look like?

Education administration career path

Most careers in educational administration start at the principal or vice principal level. There are a lot of ways to work your way to the school principal position. The most traditional route would be to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts, preferably in education administration, online or at night while teaching during the day. Once you have gained your master’s and passed the state teacher certification test, you will be qualified for a school principal position at an elementary, middle, or high school. An excellent pit stop to make along the way is to work as an assistant or vice principal while pursuing your degree.

With a few years of administrative experience under your belt, you’ll be ready to pursue a career as a district-wide administration specialist. After working on the district level, you’ll have unlimited career options in your grasp. From dean to provost, all the way up to university president, this career path can lead to endless possibilities in the education field.

Top jobs in education administration

To get your sails set in the right direction, here are some of the top education administration careers.

Assistant Principal

At the start of your search for administrative jobs in education, assistant principal positions are a great place to begin. Assistant principals, also known as vice principals, work alongside the school’s principal to uphold the principal's vision and standards for the elementary, middle, or high school. They work with students, teachers, and members of faculty and the community to make sure the school is running smoothly, and they act as a representative of the school to the community and district.

Assistant principals may also be responsible for handling disciplinary issues with students and meeting with parents to discuss any difficulties a student may be having. Along with a Master’s of Fine Arts degree and the correct licensure, having a few years of vice principal experience under your belt will equip you to move up to principal with ease. An assistant principal’s salary can vary based on a number of factors, including state and grades levels offered at the school. However, according to Payscale.com, the average salary for a high school assistant principal is around $84,000.

Education Administrator

If you’re looking for a job in education that doesn’t have to take place in a school, becoming an education administrator may be the perfect fit for you. Educational administrators are in charge of handling the day-to-day management of schools for students of all ages. That means daycares, preschool, elementary, middle, high school, as well as colleges and universities. However, educational administrators can also be employed at other facilities, including museums, aquariums, and other educational institutions. Educational administrators are responsible for hiring and supervising teachers, creating policies and codes of conduct, and planning academic calendars. On the university level, they can be in charge of setting standards for admission as well as overseeing college services such as financial aid, housing, and admissions. According to Payscale, the average salary for an education administrator is around $71,000 per year.

School District Superintendent

School district superintendents have a similar job as school principals but on a wider scale. Superintendents are in charge of multiple schools in one area. They set budgets and academic goals and behavior standards for students. School district superintendents are typically selected by the district’s school board, but this varies by state. According to Salary.com, superintendents make a median salary of $154,000.

School District Administrator

School district administrators are like the CEO of a school system. They are in charge of managing and supervising district staff, setting budgets, raising funds, and making sure the students in the district are receiving top-notch educations. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a school district administrator is around $114,000.

School Principal

An educational leadership master’s is typically necessary to become the principal at an elementary, middle, or high school, and licensure is required to hold this role at a public school. A great way to get into this field is to start as an assistant or vice principal and work your way up. Principals are in charge of making sure the school runs smoothly. This includes ensuring the safety of the students, upholding the values and academic standards of the school, and representing the school to the community. Additionally, depending on the school, the principal may play a lead role in disciplining students. According to Salary.com, school principals make a median salary of $102,220, but pay can vary depending on a variety of factors including state.

Dean

The role of dean varies from campus to campus, but typically, a dean is in charge of a certain academic group on a college campus. There can be a dean of the English department, a dean of admissions, and a dean of social sciences all on one campus. Their jobs are to make sure their branch of the university is running smoothly. They are in charge of managing faculty, representing the area of study, and ensuring a top-notch education for students. Additionally, a dean may be in charge of fundraising campaigns for their branch. A dean’s salary can vary greatly, but according to Payscale the average pay is around $91,000 a year.

Provost

A provost holds a senior academic administrative role at a university in the US. In other countries, including the UK and Australia, this role might be called a pro-vice-chancellor or deputy vice-chancellor. The origins of the word provost trace it back to the definition of “keeper of the prison.” However, that is no longer in the job description. A provost sets the academic priorities for the university. They work closely with deans, teachers, and other members of faculty to withhold an upstanding education for all students. It is up to them to recruit, maintain, and support a diverse group of professors that can provide a well-rounded educational experience to students. According to Payscale, provosts make an average salary of around $143,000 a year.

Preschool Director

If early childhood education is your expertise, becoming a preschool director might be a great next step in your career. Preschool directors manage the day-to-day operations of a preschool, including hiring and supporting teachers, handling problems with parents and students, planning events, and upholding standards set by the law. According to Payscale preschool directors make around $40,000 a year on average.

Chief Academic Officer

A great step between principal and superintendent is to become a chief academic officer. Chief academic officers work in K-12 schools as well as universities to ensure that academic standards and regulations set by superintendents and other administrators are being met. They help manage educational staff and make sure everything is in place to provide the best education to students. According to Payscale, cheif acedemic officers earn around $124,000 a year on average.

Choosing to advance your career in education administration can be a big choice. However, if education is your passion, there is no better way to make a difference in your community and the lives of students. We hope this article has given you a better idea of what you can achieve in education administration. The sky is the limit!

Nedda
Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.