A career in education can be both personally fulfilling and professionally rewarding – a noble pursuit that often comes with job security, as there will always be a need for dedicated and compassionate educators to guide future generations of learners. It’s also a growth industry, as the field of education is projected to grow by as much as 10% through 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with 920,500 new jobs projected to be added nationwide in the next decade. 

Read on to learn more about the highest paying jobs in education.

What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Education? 

One reason education is growing is because there are multiple career opportunities for professionals of all experience levels. 

Like any industry, the highest paying jobs often go to the professionals with more education and experience – more academic credentials. It’s worth noting that salaries in the field of education are often impacted by state and local budgets, as educators are often public sector employees. 

But what are typically the highest paying jobs in education? And what kind of degree will you need to help you secure the job you want?

First, for comparison purposes, the following are the 2021 annual median teacher salaries according to the BLS:

  • Preschool teachers: $30,210
  • Elementary school teachers: $61,350
  • Middle school teachers: $61,320
  • High school teachers: $61,820
  • Postsecondary professors: $79,640

For this blog, let’s set aside the roles of teachers and college professors, as earnings in those positions can be impacted by numerous factors, including education, licensure, union representation, tenure, location, and more.

Here are some high-paying careers in education you might aspire to.

Annual Median Pay: $98,420

Overseeing the day-to-day operations of an elementary, middle, or high school is a massive responsibility, and to be successful as a principal you must be able to manage staff, curriculums, and the concerns of parents and the community – as well as serve the needs of students. The BLS reports that principals earned a median annual wage of $98,420 in 2021, and employment of principals is expected to grow by 8%, about as fast as average, through 2030.

What Do Principals Do?

Any of us who can recall our K–12 school years likely has an idea of a principal’s responsibilities, but the job is always evolving. The introduction of new learning technologies and local regulations can greatly impact a school’s mission and a principal’s responsibilities. Typically, according to the BLS, the work of a school principal involves:

  • Managing school activities and staff, including teachers and support personnel
  • Establishing and overseeing class schedules
  • Developing, implementing, and maintaining curriculum standards
  • Counseling and disciplining students
  • Observing teachers and evaluating their performance
  • Meeting with parents and teachers to discuss student progress and behavior
  • Assessing and preparing reports on test scores and other student achievement data
  • Organizing professional development programs and workshops for staff
  • Managing the school’s budget, ordering school supplies, and scheduling maintenance
  • Establishing and coordinating security procedures for students, staff, and visitors

What Degree Is Needed to Become a Principal?

To become a principal, you’ll likely need a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration, according to the BLS. Further, you’ll need several years of experience in schools and the classroom, and you may need to be licensed, depending on where you live. However, if you’re the principal of a private school, you may not need a state-issued license.

College Dean/Postsecondary Education Administrator
Annual Median Pay: $96,910

College deans, as well as provosts and chief academic officers, fall under what the BLS classifies as postsecondary education administrators. These leaders are responsible for the day-to-day workings of individual departments within a university. Postsecondary education administrators can also work in admissions, student affairs, or the registrar’s office. 

The BLS reports that the median pay for postsecondary education administrators was $96,910 per year in 2021, and the number of people hired for those positions will grow by 8% in the U.S. through 2030.

What Do College Deans Do?

The role of a university dean may vary depending on the size and location of the school, but the job responsibilities typically involve:

  • Helping college presidents develop academic policies
  • Participating in making faculty appointments and tenure decisions 
  • Managing budgets
  • Overseeing faculty research 
  • Coordinating activities of the individual colleges or schools (such as a large university that has a separate dean for the business, law, and medical schools)

What Degree Is Needed to Become a College Dean?

To become an administrator in education, you’ll obviously need a strong educational background. College deans may hold a master’s degree in education, while others may also have a doctorate. A Master of Arts in Education, which will immerse you in topics that include instructional methods, curriculum design, culturally relevant pedagogy and principles of leadership, among others, can give you the academic foundation needed to pursue your goal of becoming a college dean. After graduation, you will first need several of years of experience in a college administrative setting, according to the BLS.

Instructional Coordinator
Annual Median Pay: $63,740

Instructional coordinators may not be visible in the classroom, but they are among the most impactful professionals in the education sector because they develop school curriculum and teaching standards. Some instructional coordinators specialize in a single subject or grade level, while others take on a larger workload – all of them working under the direction and regulations established by school boards and state and local governments.

The BLS reports the annual median pay for instructional coordinators was $63,470 in 2021, and employment in the field is projected to grow 10% – adding 20,400 new openings annually – through 2030.

What Do Instructional Coordinators Do?

Instructional coordinators work in a number of academic settings, including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, or educational support services. Some are also government employees. The job of an instructional coordinator typically involves:

  • Developing and implementing curriculums
  • Planning, organizing, and conducting teacher training, conferences, and workshops
  • Analyzing student test data
  • Assessing and discussing the curriculum standards with school staff
  • Reviewing and suggesting textbooks and other educational materials
  • Recommending teaching techniques and the use of different or new technologies
  • Developing procedures for teachers to implement a curriculum
  • Training teachers and other instructional staff in new content or programs
  • Mentoring or coaching teachers to improve their skills

What Degree Is Needed to Become an Instructional Coordinator?

The role of an instructional coordinator requires the ideal combination of experience, education, and soft skills — notably leadership and analytical, decision-making, and communication skills. 

The BLS notes, “Instructional coordinators in public schools are required to have a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction.” If you are a prospective college student planning a career as an instructional coordinator, you should consider beginning your education with a Bachelor of Arts in Instructional Design, followed by a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology. These degree programs offer the foundational knowledge of curriculum design, learning theory, analysis, research, development, and evaluation of instructional programs needed to launch your career.

Preschool/Childcare Facility Director
Annual Median Pay: $47,310

While the role of childcare and preschool facility directors is not as high-paying as that of a college dean or principal, it is a growth sector of the educational field. According to the BLS, the number of childcare directors will grow by 11% – faster than average – through 2030, adding about 5,300 new jobs every year.

The median salary for childcare directors in 2021 was $47,310 per year, according to the agency. However, this can vary depending on where you work. Some childcare centers are independently owned, while others are part of larger, nationwide chains.

What Do Childcare Facility Directors Do?

Childcare directors are both leaders and managers, overseeing both staff and young children in the facility. The job of a childcare director typically involves:

  • Supervising preschool teachers and childcare workers 
  • Hiring and training new staff members
  • Providing professional development opportunities for staff
  • Establishing policies and communicating them to staff and parents
  • Developing educational programs and standards
  • Maintaining instructional excellence
  • Assisting staff in communicating with parents and children
  • Meeting with parents and staff to discuss student progress
  • Preparing budgets and allocating program funds
  • Ensuring facilities are maintained and cleaned according to state regulations

What Degree Is Needed to Become a Childcare Facility Director?

A Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education Administration, such as the one offered at the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC), will immerse you in the essential leadership, administrative, and academic topics – organizational behavior and management, curricula and program administration, and child development, among others – needed to prepare you for a career as a childcare facility director.

Beyond your bachelor’s degree, you will likely need to qualify for state licensure in order to operate a childcare center. Licensing, training, and background check requirements may vary by state.

What Other Careers in Education Should I Consider?

Like many industries, a college degree can greatly enhance your career options, as well as your earnings potential. The average earnings for someone with a bachelor’s degree, for example, is $67,860 per year; with the average master’s degree graduate earning $80,340 per year. 

Here are some additional career options to consider, organized by the degrees that will help prepare you for those roles:

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Child Development
Jobs to Consider:

  • Daycare Provider
  • Tutor
  • Camp Counselor
  • Recreation Worker
  • Teacher Assistant
  • Human Services
  • Parent Educator
  • Early Childhood Education Consultant
  • After-School Program Director
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Special Education Paraprofessional
  • Extension Agent: Family Services 

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies
Jobs to Consider:

  • Teaching Assistant
  • Teaching Aide

Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Jobs to Consider:

  • Daycare Provider
  • Camp Counselor
  • Recreation Worker
  • Teacher Assistant

Degree: Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Leadership
Jobs to Consider:

  • Early Childhood, Child Care Center, or Multisite Administrator
  • Early Head Start, Child Care Center, Preschool, or Education/Executive Director
  • Education Coordinator
  • Early Childhood Care Consultant
  • Parent Educator or Advocate
  • Early Childhood Director

Degree: Master of Arts in Special Education
Jobs to Consider:

  • Assistive Technology Specialist
  • Behavior Interventionist
  • Gifted and Talented Specialist
  • Inclusion Specialist
  • Special Education Specialist
  • Special Education Coordinator
  • Special Education Course Developer
  • Learning Behavior Specialist

How Do I Launch My Career in Education?

Investing in your own education is the key to launching your career in education. If you’re ready to turn your passion for learning and desire to be a role model for children into your lifelong profession, contact an advisor today.


An online degree from the University of Arizona Global Campus does not lead to immediate teacher licensure in any state. If you want to become a classroom teacher, contact your state’s education authorities prior to enrolling at the University of Arizona Global Campus to determine what state-specific requirements you must complete before obtaining your teacher’s license. 

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