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Discover Potential Careers in Educational Leadership and Administration

Working in education can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience, and many people from around the world find that this career allows them to feel great about helping others on a daily basis. However, it is important to understand that there are plenty of education careers that go beyond the classroom.

Teachers are an integral part of the education system, but they do not work alone. There are countless different positions in educational leadership and administration, and this guide explains how the right education can secure you one of these appealing opportunities.

Quick Facts: Education Industry
Median Pay:   $88,965 per year | $43 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Master's degree
Work Experience:   5 years or more
Number of Jobs, 2014:   415,000

Education Occupations:

  • Education administrators, elementary and secondary school$89,540
  • Education administrators, postsecondary$88,390

School Principal

In terms of leadership positions in the field of education, perhaps nothing is more obvious than that of a school principal. Principals are the administrative heads of their respective schools, and they can work in elementary, middle or high schools depending on their experience and their personal preferences.

Currently, more than 231,500 principals work in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they earn an average salary of $87,760 each year. Becoming a school principal certainly doesn't happen overnight, and many of the best principal positions are reserved for those with experience in teaching.

Generally, candidates for this kind of position should have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and often additionally a master's degree in a subject like education management, leadership or administration. This degree takes an average of 18 months to complete, but students have the option of attending classes on a college campus or completing all of their work and exams right from the comfort of home, their office or any location with a secure Internet connection.

College Admissions Staff

Although many educational administrators work in elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, there is also a big demand for these trained professionals at the college and university level. As admittance into college degree programs becomes more and more competitive, one of the most in-demand careers is that of college admissions staff.

These individuals are often referred to as the gatekeepers of higher education, and their job includes reading admission essays written by applicants, meeting with prospective students and their parents and deciding who should be admitted into various college degree programs. In order to understand the college process, it is vital that anyone working in college admissions has graduated with a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

In many cases, employers will also request that applicants have a master's degree or even a doctorate. The advanced degrees, however, will earn college admissions staff an average annual salary of $86,490, according to the BLS. In addition, the BLS predicts more than 15 percent growth over the next decade for postsecondary education administrative professionals as a whole.


One of the top administrative positions in the entire field of education is that of the superintendent. Either working as the head of a county's education system or even the entire state's education system, a superintendent oversees a variety of elements that work together to give students the education they deserve.

Some of the things that a superintendent might do include managing the district's budget, meeting with the State Board of Education, hiring new personnel or teaching staff and attending community relations events and press conferences. While having teaching experience might be an advantage when it comes to interviewing for a position as a superintendent, it is generally not required.

However, superintendents typically do need to be licensed or registered by the state in which they work. One of the requirements for that licensing is often to have a master's degree in education and administration. Fox Business reports that the position of school superintendent is one of the best paid opportunities in education, with Los Angeles paying the highest annual salary of $330,000 to its superintendents.

School Administrators

Even if you aren't interested in a leadership position within the field of education, there are still a number of administrative careers that might be exactly what you are looking for. Your work will still contribute to the improvement of the education system, and what you do each day helps teachers focus on the classroom rather than on administrative duties.

Some administrative staff in public or private schools handle incoming student requests, help existing students transfer to new classes to meet their college requirement needs or communicate directly with parents when problems or concerns arise. In private schools, these individuals might handle regular tuition payments, voucher use or oversee scholarships when and where they exist.

There are no specific degrees mandatory for work as a school administrator, but the best way to prepare is almost certainly with a bachelor's degree in a subject such as education administration. With training and education in courses focusing on organization in education, business management in education, curriculum development and technology in education, graduates will be ready to tackle careers in a wide range of areas of the education field.

It is important to understand that education is a large field, and it goes beyond simply teaching in a classroom. With a degree from a traditional college campus or even an accredited online college, you can prepare for any number of careers in educational administration or leadership.


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