Every K-12 student interacts with an education administrator, whether it’s a principal, assistant principal or superintendent. These professionals also work in colleges and universities, where they may have titles such as provost or dean, and in preschool and childcare facilities, where they may be known as directors.
Depending on the specific position and employer, an education administrator’s daily duties can range from developing curriculum to planning budgets and disciplining students. Administrators typically work during the summers and other times when students and teachers are on break.
These educational professionals are in demand, with federal statistics projecting 10% employment growth for elementary, middle and high school principals from 2010 to 2020.
Nationwide, education administrators in elementary and secondary schools earned an average annual wage of almost $91,000 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Regional market conditions affect employment opportunities and salary potential for education administrators, as do a candidate’s experience and education.
At the K-12 level, administrators often have a master’s degree in educational administration or educational leadership, plus several years of teaching and/or leadership experience.
A license also is a requirement in many states.
Principals oversee their school’s finances, meet with teachers and parents, ensure facilities are secure and safe, and manage all levels of staff. They make sure academic standards are in place and that teachers, staff and students have what they need in order to be successful.
Principals may report to an area director or a school superintendent.
One or more assistant principals may work alongside a principal, and those professionals often are responsible for supervising matters relating to student discipline. That means that assistant principals generally spend more time face-to-face with youngsters.
At the postsecondary level, education administrators may have responsibility for areas such as academics, admissions and student affairs. A master’s degree typically is a minimum educational requirement for these positions, although some employers may call for candidates to have a doctoral degree.
With increasing college enrollments, jobs for postsecondary education administrators are forecast to jump by 19% nationwide this decade, the BLS reported. In 2012, the average annual salary for education administrators at the college level was more than $99,300.
In general, the job of an education administrator can be fast-paced, requiring individuals to have excellent problem-solving, organizational and critical-thinking skills, and strong communication abilities.
The rewards can be significant, with administrators having the opportunity to improve schools and influence students as they progress toward their educational and career goals.