Every learning institution, from preschool to the graduate school level, needs at least one strong leader who will shape the teaching that happens within the school’s walls and motivate the staff and students toward a bright future.

These leaders are education administrators, most of whom begin their careers as teachers and prepare for advancement into educational leadership by completing a degree at the graduate school level. Principals, vice principals and school district administrators lead the way in public schools, and must earn a master’s degree in education administration or educational leadership. In public schools, some principals and central office administrators have a doctorate in education administration. In private schools, some principals and assistant principals hold only a bachelor’s degree, but the majority of principals have a master’s or doctoral degree.

Educational requirements for administrators of preschools and child care centers vary with the setting of the program and the state where they are employed. Academic deans and chairpersons at colleges and universities will have already earned a master’s or doctoral degree in preparation for a professorship in their departments.

Educational leaders lay the groundwork for their career with rigorous academic studies, beginning with a bachelor’s degree followed by the mandatory master’s degree, and often culminating in a doctorate degree in education. Some of the most common undergraduate majors pursued by future graduate students in educational leadership programs are:

  • Education
  • Counseling
  • Accounting
  • Statistics

Educational Leadership Career Opportunities

While educational leadership opportunities will grow at the same pace as most other occupations, more positions vacated by retirement, termination and industry change will positively impact that prediction. The educational administration field is tough and with the changing education landscape, many expect the job to become more challenging.

In a 2008 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 445,400 employed education administrators. With the predicted 8% growth rate, there will be a total of 482,500 positions by 2018 – a growth of 37,000 new jobs.

The BLS's estimate is bolstered by the Occupational Information Network, a project of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, with a combined estimate of over 170,000 positions available between 2008 and 2018. This estimate took into account the high-stress career expectations, as well as the aging, well-pensioned workforce who may be retiring soon., there will be over 170,000 positions available to qualified education administrators from 2008 to 2018.

This particular career path requires advanced education, as high as a doctorate, which may discourage some from pursuing it. Additionally, the salary can be less than what others make with a similar degree level. As with a lot of those in the education industry, the desire to see students succeed is a driving force that must be present in order for the professional to remain passionate and on top of their field.

Educational Leadership Earnings

The BLS reports that earnings could vary widely depending on education level, experience attained as well as the actual school district where the professional works.

Preschool and childcare administrators earned an ANNUAL MEDIAN salary of $39,940. Elementary and high school administrators earned an ANNUAL MEDIAN salary of $83,880. Post-secondary administrators earned an AVERAGE of $80,670.

Educational Leadership EarningsSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Leadership Educational Benefits

Teaching degrees that focus on educational leadership at the graduate school level include courses in school leadership, school finance and budgeting, school law, research design and data analysis, politics in education, community relations, curriculum development and evaluation, and counseling.

Although requirements vary by state, most states require principals to be licensed as school administrators. Nearly all states require a master’s degree or some other graduate-level training.

Educational Leadership Programs Online

A growing number of advanced degrees in educational leadership are offered through accredited online institutions as well as traditional colleges and universities. Many prospective educational leadership students are working professionals seeking to enhance their credentials in order to qualify for another career within the education industry. For these individuals, online educational leadership programs may be ideal.

The best online educational leadership programs gives students a high-quality education similar to one offered at a local ground school, in a more flexible format that may better suit working professionals.

Graduate school decisions should not be made lightly. In order to obtain the best education you can, at a price that you can afford, do your research when choosing an educational leadership degree program at the master’s level. Review this website thoroughly and ask your admissions the questions that can make or break your decision.

  • Is the education school accredited?
  • Will your credits transfer to another education program?
  • Have you found any reviews of this program specifically and this school in general?
  • Does this particular degree qualify me for the career I desire?
  • What are some employment and earnings data for graduates of this program?
  • Do you have any career placement resources for graduate students in your program?
  • What are the semester hour requirements in your master’s degree program?
  • Does this online teaching program meet the licensing requirements of every state?

Educational Leadership Skills and Abilities

To be considered for educational administrator positions, workers must prove themselves in their current roles first. Leadership, determination, confidence, and innovation are all qualities that employers value.

The ability to make sound decisions and to organize work efficiently is also essential to an educational leadership role. Because much of an administrator’s job involves working with other people, he or she must have strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Knowledge of leadership practices, attained through experience and formal education, is important as well.

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