While individual job descriptions may vary, school administrators share some common responsibilities: managing budgets and facilities, maintaining records, handling personnel, setting academic policies, and overseeing curriculum, to name a few. Qualified and well-prepared administrators play important roles in public, private, and parochial schools at all levels, from PreK through 12th grade.
Some of the career options include:
As the leader of the school, the principal manages the operations, sets the tone for the learning environment and school culture, manages staff, and serves as the liaison to the district administration and the community served by the school. Ultimately, decisions involving curriculum, testing, evaluating, budgets, and safety, as well as student and staff morale, and more fall to the office of the principal.
An effective principal is a good communicator who can collaborate with faculty, staff, parents, and the community to build the culture and learning environment in which all students can excel.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for elementary, middle, and high school principals are projected to grow by 4% between 2018 and 2028, and the 2018 median annual salary is $95,310.
Assistant principals not only coordinate with the school principal, supporting the principal’s duties and responsibilities, but they also typically handle disciplinary issues. They may have more hands-on responsibilities for school management and student activities than the principal. The assistant principal may be the more visible administrator to students and teachers, often visiting classrooms and walking the hallways. Details like ordering and approving equipment and supplies, maintaining a school’s technology infrastructure and assets, and handling special projects often appear in their job description.
PayScale places the average salary of an assistant principal at $72,000 per year, with salaries ranging from $53,000 to $101,000 (January 2020).
According to Sports Management Degree Guide, an athletic director is “an administrator who oversees athletic programs, typically at a university or college, although sometimes larger high schools may also have an athletic director on staff. As an administrator, an AD does not generally work directly with student athletes but is responsible for supervising all the details related to smoothly functioning athletic departments.”
The AD works with coaches and is usually responsible for personnel decisions, overseeing not only the financial and legal matters, but also the overall success of the school’s athletic department.
The average salary, according to PayScale is $60,000 per year, with top earners making $100,000. (January 2020).
Lead teachers are experienced educators with excellent teaching and leadership skills. They often function as mentors for newer teachers, helping with classroom management, curriculum, and professional development. Depending on the school, lead teachers spend time observing other classrooms and may be involved in selecting educational resources and classroom materials for their departments.
The position of lead teacher is not distinct from teachers in general; however, the more experience a teacher has, the higher the salary. Median annual salaries for elementary teachers in 2018 was $57,980 and for secondary teachers it was $60,320.
Dean of Students
This position is commonly found in colleges and universities, and larger secondary or high schools. Generally, the dean of students, or dean of student affairs, is responsible for social programs and student-support programs. As a repository of school information, the dean fields student questions of all types. This is also a liaison position between administration and students, and the dean does not usually become involved with academic issues.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the mean annual salary of elementary and secondary school administrators as $98,750 (May 2018).
Curriculum developers, planners, coordinators, specialists and instructional coordinators are all different job titles for very similar jobs. These administrative professionals focus on the topics and materials that teachers use in the classroom. They work with teachers to determine which books and materials to use and may also be responsible for ensuring that school curricula are in line with state standards. Some curriculum developers are also classroom teachers.
The job growth for instructional coordinators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to be 6% between 2018 and 2028. The median salary in 2018 was $64,450 per year.
Becoming an Educational Administrator
Most of these positions require an advanced degree, and a specialized program focused on preparing you for educational administrative positions is a great fit.
Emporia State University offers a 100% online program for those seeking a Master of Science in Educational Administration with building-level licensure designed to prepare school leaders who will manage today’s schools from PreK-12 grade levels. The degree program can be completed in as little as a year.
Learn more about Emporia State University’s online Master of Science in Educational Administration program.
Best Master’s Degrees: What Careers Are Available with a Master’s in Educational Leadership?
Study.com: What Can You Do with a Master’s in Educational Administration
U.S. News & World Report: Online Educational Leadership Degree: An Overview
Teacher Certification Degree: School Administrator Career Guide
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School
Sports Management Degrees: Job Profile: Athletic Director