Educational Leadership and Administration Programs

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What is Education Administration?

Education administration is the area of study and employment that deals with the management and supervision of teachers in educational settings. Individuals in this field typically have extensive teaching experience and have chosen to further their involvement in the process of administration through study and eventual employment.

Individuals in the field are responsible for the implementation and maintaining of policy, working with teachers toward common goals, managing expectations of parents and employers, and working within the established parameters of budgets and goals as established by the school, board of education or the state.

Top Degrees in Educational Administration & Leadership

With a plethora of educational leadership and administration degree programs to choose among, where do you start when looking for the best online degree for you?  The answer is a personal choice and not a universal one, thus you must create a priority list for you.

Questions to help you build a priority list can be found on our college admissions guide to help you to determine what is most important to you and find a college degree program that best fits your career aspirations.  Your priority list is far more important that starting with a top 10 list of best colleges published by a media conglomerate intent on selling more magazine subscriptions or a website pushing 0% APR credit cards.

With your priority list in hand, the path towards making a great decision about a school administrator will come into focus.  Your college degree options include the following paths:

Certificate in Educational Leadership & Administration

An online certificate in education administration is a tool used by graduate students to upskill and take advantage of learning opportunities to advance their careers.  Certificate programs in education administration are hyper-focused, shorter term educational tools lasting 1-2 years depending on the number of credits taken at a given time.

Online certificates provide requisite knowledge and marketable skills to administrators and licensed teachers.  The goal is to help educators upskill and expand career opportunities in education.  Qualifying for a graduate certificate from an accredited  university will require you to meet all prior requirements established by the school.

Bachelor Degree in Educational Leadership & Administration

Online Bachelor’s degrees Education Administration are conferred as a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science in Education (BSED), or Bachelor of Science (BS) depending on the curricular design of the program and accreditation standards.

Bachelor degrees will take full-time students 4-years to complete that blend liberal arts courses such as math, speech communication, English composition, and philosophy with core education classes.

Core curriculum in school administration include classes such as educational philosophy, organizational development, psychology, learning theory, principles of education, educational philosophy, curricular design, and relevant instructional modalities.  Some schools offer student teaching opportunities in a classroom while others require students to split time between a classroom and shadowing administrators in an approved school.

Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership & Administration

An online master’s degree in education is often a 1-2 year program of full time matriculation after successfully meeting all lower level course requirements.   Master’s degrees in educational administration can be conferred as a Master’s of Science (MS), Master’s of Arts (MA), or a Master’s of Education (MEd).

Master’s degree programs in education equip students and working professionals for leadership positions in education and prepare them to become proficient in community relations, behavior management, financial management, school law, curriculum development, and educational leadership through a variety of case studies and real-world applications.

Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership & Administration

Doctorate degree programs in education are conferred as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Education Specialist (EdS), or Doctor of Education (EdD). Doctoral programs can take 3-6 years to complete after meeting all lower-level degree requirements and the time spent to complete the dissertation project.

In most doctorate-level programs in educational administration, students will elect an area of specialty that can include tracks in curriculum& instruction, elementary education, middle grades education, secondary education, educational leadership, or special education.

The doctorate programs prepare students for advanced opportunities in higher education, primary education, leadership opportunities, administrative positions, or research opportunities in public or private institutions.

Education Administration Requirements and Licensure

Education administration degrees are offered at the master's level. The degree is available to educators who wish to pursue a career in administration, typically with schools (public or private), school districts, and postsecondary educational institutions.

The role of an education administrator is to interact with teachers, subordinates, parents and students; to evaluate student progress and the curriculum offered; outline goals and affect policy.

Those who seek jobs with public institutions will be required to obtain licensing and/or certification from the state. Requirements for licensing and certification will vary from state to state, but nearly all will require a minimum of a master's degree to be considered for licensure.

Private institutions, not beholden to state requirements for employment, may not require licensing or certification but will typically have an equivalent minimum education and/or experience requirement.  A curriculum in education administration may include:

Employment in Education Leadership

Individuals seeking placement in the administrative levels of a school or system will need to be astute and proactive. Occupations within school administrations are tiered, and as such moving up in the hierarchy requires the demonstration of certain skills, including loyalty, discipline, inventiveness and flexibility.

Job opportunities for education administrators are on the rise as the responsibilities for the role increases over time. But it is important to note that the field is competitive with a limited number of available jobs at any given time. Promotion is usually achieved through lateral movement to a larger system or through openings left vacant due to promotion or retirement.

Education Leadership Jobs

Most educational administrators were at one time teachers and thus have experience within the system. The level of experience and education will vary greatly among administrators, and the more experienced administrators tend to have higher levels of pay and are more quickly promoted.

This is not to say that individuals should not pursue a career in education administration early, but rather that, as mentioned above, jobs are competitive, and that finding a position may take some time.  Jobs available to those seeking a master's degree in educational administration include:

  • Assistant Principal
  • School Principal
  • Director of Admissions
  • Associate Principal
  • Superintendent
  • Dean
  • Director

Educational Administration Salary

The average salary for a high school principal is approximately $97,000 per year with the top 10% earning $135,770 a year and the bottom ten percent earning $59,910 a year on average.   Wage variance can be traced back to the institution type, different fields of study, work experience, and educational levels.  The BLS estimates a job growth of 8% during the coming decade which translates to some 83,800 job openings during the coming reporting period.

Top Job Titles of an Education Administrator

When considering a future in the education administration and leadership field, it is important to understand jobs in the sector.  We have culled a short list of titles of school administrators that you may find when looking for jobs.  While job duties may vary from school to school, you will be armed with the knowledge of what job titles apply to the administration field.  A list of the top job titles for education administrators include:

  • Superintendent
  • Assistant Principal
  • Principal
  • School Administrator
  • Middle School Principal
  • School Superintendent
  • Athletic Director
  • Elementary Principal
  • High School Principal
  • Special Education Director

Top Job Duties of an Education Administrator

In a recent survey by the United States Department of Labor, a group of educational administrators from around the country provided insights into their profession.  One of the key findings of the survey was the job duties of education administrators.

With the varied job duties from district to district, the responses varied widely.  However, the most common job responsibilities help prospective students understand a typical day as an administrator.  A list of the top job duties of an education administrator include:

  1. Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining teaching and classified staff members
  2. Enforcing discipline and attendance rules across the district
  3. Collaborating with teaching staff to develop and manage curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals across the school district
  4. Conferring with staff and parents to communicate about educational policies, policies, behavioral, and learning matters
  5. Observing classroom management, teaching methods, and learning materials to evaluate developmentally appropriate curricula and teaching techniques

States with the Highest Employment of Education Administrators

  • Texas           24,970
  • California    20,120
  • New York    19,260
  • Illinois         12,100
  • Ohio              9,740

Top Paying States of Education Administrators

  1. Connecticut   $127,110
  2. New Jersey    $125,760
  3. New York       $120,810
  4. California       $114,270
  5. Delaware        $108,800

List of Education Administrator Resources

Individuals interested in education administration may also be interested in urban education and leadership, elementary and middle school administration, business administration.  For more information about a career in teaching, check out The Single Most Comprehensive Guide to a Teaching Career post on our blog.

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Career Summary: Educational leadership and administration Major




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