What is an Education Administrator?

What is an education administrator, and how does this profession differ from teaching? Although many administrators start their careers as teachers, some enter the field of education administration with an advanced degree instead of experience. Administrators are responsible for the organization and management of educational programs. Principals, vice principals and headmasters manage the day-to-day operations of K-12 schools. College deans are in charge of specific university schools. Superintendents manage entire school districts. Some administrators may be in charge of hiring teachers, monitoring special programs or even maintaining school infrastructure. Administrators work year-round in schools, colleges or centralized school district offices. Regardless of an administrator’s specific duties, all of these professionals are working for a quality education for their students.

Degrees, Training, and Experience Required

At a public school, administrators are almost always required to have a master’s degree in school administration or educational leadership, and most districts also require teaching experience. Many states require principals to earn a license before working. License requirements may include a master’s degree, passing a test, taking continuing education classes or working with an experience principal. Private schools are less regulated and may look for religious training or work experience instead of formal education. School district administration may only require a related bachelor’s degree; for example, an infrastructure administrator may need a BS in construction management. Colleges look for doctoral degrees and significant professional experience. Some schools and universities want administrators with a master’s in business administration.

How much do Education Administrators make?

Most administrators work full-time during business hours, including summers. Principals may also attend athletic events or parent meetings. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for K-12 principals was $86,970 in 2010, and the median salary for postsecondary administrators was $83,710. The Bureau’s statistics include non-executive administrators such as admissions representatives, registrars and directors of student affairs. College deans can earn as much as half a million dollars per year, depending on the university. Some deans are also given housing and other benefits. Overall pay for all education administrators is influenced by education, experience and location. Administrators with 20 years of experiences, doctoral degrees and employment in urban areas can expect to earn much more than beginning administrators who have a master’s degree and are working in rural districts.

Future Prospects

The need for K-12 administrators is expected to grow approximately 10 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this growth is highly dependent upon region. Some districts are experiencing exponentially increasing enrollment and opening new schools. Other areas are merging schools together, resulting in a lower need for administrators. The demand for postsecondary administrators should grow almost 20 percent by 2020, as more adults enroll in college. Online private educational facilities are expected to need many more employees. Public universities that are dependent on state and local government for funding face the same uncertainty as K-12 school districts. While there are many answers to the question “What is an education administrator?” one thing is clear: Without these highly trained professionals, schools would cease to function.