What is a School Administrator Job?

What is a school administrator job, and how do you enter this growing field so you can advance your career and increase your income potential? Many people may initially think of a school principal when they think about school administration. But it is actually a broad title that encompasses anything from the assistant principal at an elementary school to the dean of students at a university or registrars and student affairs staff.

These detail oriented professionals provide leadership at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. And some have leadership roles assisting students at colleges and universities. School administrator requirements vary depending on the exact job. Day to day issues, personnel issues, and state board requirements influence the position. These professionals earn a higher salary than teachers, but the educational requirements are also greater.

What Does a School Administrator Do?

Individual tasks and the degree of student contact may vary widely depending on the specific job. However, the aim of all school administration jobs is to oversee the operations of educational institutions.

A school administrator job description includes overseeing school operations, managing staff, and also ensuring everyone follows school policies, regulations, and procedures. These school leaders also manage school budgets, develop and implement school improvement plans, and coordinate with parents and other stakeholders. Administrators ensure that school programs and activities are meeting the needs of students and also evaluate teachers performance.

School Administration Jobs Titles

What are some job titles for a graduate with a school administration master’s degree? These administrative positions are some of the best jobs in education.

  • Education Program Manager
  • School System Director
  • Education Coordinator
  • Curriculum Director
  • Educational Administrator / Education Administrator
  • School Principal
  • Educational Consultant
  • Curriculum Developer
  • School Superintendent
  • Education Policy Analyst
  • Postsecondary Education Administrators
  • Education Researcher
  • Dean of Students Dean of Admissions
  • Assistant Principal / Assistant Principals
  • Vice Principal / Vice Principals
  • Provost

Where do School Administrators Work?

There are school administration jobs in public schools, private schools, and charter schools. These roles are in elementary and secondary education. Additionally, colleges and universities also have school administration jobs. These education administrators work in post-secondary education.

K to 12 Education

A school’s administrative duties vary greatly depending on the specific job description. For example, superintendents oversee an entire school district. Principals of elementary, middle, and high schools are in charge of managing everything from teachers and staff to the maintenance of the building to the budget. They also work with parents and students and are in charge of curriculum and schedules. Additionally, some may oversee classroom teaching, liaison with the school district representatives, and create a safe learning environment.

Post Secondary Education

Administrators in universities and colleges who are academic deans or provosts work with the president to manage budgets, faculty appointments, and also academic policies. In student affairs positions, they work closely with students on issues ranging from academics to housing to activities and more.

School administrators who work in registration are responsible for maintaining academic records, scheduling classes, registering students, and also planning graduation ceremonies. In admissions, they review applications of prospective students and also make decisions about admitting them. They may also meet with students about admissions policies and create promotional material. However, the scope of these administrative tasks depends on different factors, including the school’s size.

How Do You Become a School Administrator?

What are the requirements to work in school administration? The requirements vary from state to state and also between school districts. And there are several different positions for graduates. But, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school principals need to have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education or a related field and several years of teaching experience. They may also need to complete a teacher preparation program and be licensed. A principal may first work as an assistant principal.

Administrators at colleges and universities may need a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or post graduate degree. The required education level depends on the school size, job title, and other requirements since they work in several different areas. And some may need work experience as faculty members in higher education. Provosts and deans commonly need doctoral degrees and may work as professors before being appointed as deans.

Do You Need Teaching Experience to Work in School Administration?

No, you do not need teaching experience to be a school administrator. However, many school administrators do have many years of teaching experience. This instructional leadership experience helps administrators better understand the needs of students and the educational system.

Do You Have to Pass a Test to Become a School Administrator?

Yes, each state has different requirements for school administrators. But many states require completing specific tests and certifications to become a school administrator. The PRAXIS Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision exam is used by many states.

The specific test you take to become a school administrator will depend on the regulations in your state and the type of educational institution you want to work in. Generally, school administrators must meet academic and experience requirements and then pass a state-level certification exam. Some states may also require school administrators to pass a background check or drug screen.

What is a Certified School Administrator?

A certified school administrator is a professional educator who has achieved a certain level of mastery in their field. They have undergone rigorous training and testing to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in school leadership.

Certified school administrators are often required by states to be in certain positions within a school system, such as principal or superintendent. Some states require the Praxis test as part of the certification process. 

What Skills do you Need to be a School Administrator?

In addition to the education requirements, school administrators also need other skills and abilities.

  • Knowledge of school regulations, laws, and also procedures.
  • Experience with budgeting, financial management, and personnel management.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Strong organizational and also problem-solving abilities.
  • Attention to detail and an eye for quality.
  • Ability to work under pressure and also manage multiple tasks.
  • Proficiency with computer programs such as Microsoft Office.
  • Leadership and decision-making skills.
  • Knowledge of curriculum and instruction.
  • Understanding of school safety and also security protocols.

What Master’s Degree is Best for a School Administrator?

The most appropriate master’s degree for a School Administrator job title would be a Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Administration or Educational Leadership. This degree is designed to help school administrators develop leadership and management skills to better serve their school and its students. Many degree programs also include curriculum development, instructional leadership, school law, policy development, and budgeting courses.

Prospective school administrators need a graduate degree in education administration or a related field. Below are some additional degree programs and degree levels for this specialty. 

  • Master of Education (MEd or EdM)
  • Education Masters (EdM)
  • Educational Specialist (EdS)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • PhD in Education

What is the Best Graduate Certificate for a School Administrator?

The best graduate certificate for a school administrator would depend on the individual’s current position, desired career path, and educational goals. Some popular options include the Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership, the Certificate in Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership, the Graduate Certificate in School Administration and Supervision, and the Graduate Certificate in Educational Administration.

Job Outlook and Work Environment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts average job growth for principals and above-average job growth for administrators at colleges and universities. Unlike teachers, principals often do not have summers off. Furthermore, they may have several tasks in the summer that could include hiring new teaching and maintenance staff. They may also be required to work some nights for school events and parent-teacher meetings.

College and university administrators may have more regular schedules although those at the highest level, such as deans, may tend to have more irregular hours like many academics. However, summer hours for college and university administrators are reduced.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals 5% (BLS)
School Advisors and Career Counselors 10% (BLS)
Postsecondary Education Administrators 7% (BLS)
Job Outlook in School Administration

What is the Salary of a School Administrator?

The exact salary of a school administrator can vary greatly depending on the size and type of school, as well as the specific job responsibilities and location. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for elementary, middle, and also secondary school administrators is around $98,000. Additionally, government jobs typically have excellent health and retirement benefits.

JobNational Average Salary
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals$98,420 (BLS)
School Advisors and Career Counselors $60,510 (BLS)
Postsecondary Education Administrators$96,910 (BLS)
Salaries for select jobs in School Administration.

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide additional resources for current students and also graduates.

  • The School Superintendents Association (AASA)
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
  • American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA)
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
  • American Foundation of School Administrators (AFSA)

Your Career as a School Administrator

Working as a principal or administrator at the college or university level can be an excellent career for people interested in making a significant impact in the field of education. A school administrator has the opportunity to mentor and inspire teachers and students and positively affect the next generation of students.