Being an educator means helping students in their academic growth, including learning in the classroom and gaining skills for success in life. An education administrator oversees all that goes into this learning and development — and more. With a passion for education and the leadership skills to coordinate it, education administrators have a great responsibility within their school system. Exactly what does an education administrator do on a daily basis? Learn more about the degree you need, daily job responsibilities, and what the career entails.

What Is an Education Administrator?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education administrators span kindergarten through secondary school systems, as well as post-secondary education. They plan, direct, or coordinate the academic, administrative, and auxiliary activities of schools. No matter the purview of education administrators, their primary objective is to act as an advocate and help keep students safe.

What Does an Education Administrator Do?

By ensuring students are safe in the academic environment, education administrators still get to participate in students’ learning. On a daily basis, education administrators help ensure safety and productivity within their institution through logistics, budgets, evaluations, assessments, public relations, and more, says Resilient Educator.

Education administrators consistently review curriculum to meet standards set forth by the state and employ adjustments school-wide. They also evaluate other school programs beyond academics, including athletics, arts, music, theater, and more. Doing so provides students with the most up-to-date programs for a quality, holistic education. 

What Roles Are Similar to Education Administrators?

If you are considering a career as an education administrator, keep your mind (and your job search) open to related roles. In a similar job title, you could still enjoy the responsibilities of an education administrator while potentially exploring additional — or more specific — areas of interest. For instance, as an athletic director, you can oversee athletic functions and contribute to other areas of the school’s education program.

According to O*NET Online, you may see a variety of titles that are close to education administrators. These positions include:

  • Superintendent
  • Elementary, middle school, or high school principal or vice principal
  • Special education director
  • School administrator
  • Athletic director

Job Requirements: How to Become an Education Administrator

Depending on the school system and grade level, job requirements vary. The BLS provides average education and experience requirements for becoming a postsecondary education administrator, specifically, a position within junior colleges, colleges, and universities. On average, postsecondary education administrators have at least a bachelor’s degree; many have a master’s degree or above, such as an EdD or PhD. As provosts and college deans typically have an advanced degree, you may see these individuals with advanced education move into administration. In terms of experience, the BLS reports most education administrators require several years of on-the-job academic and administrative experience.

What Skills Does an Education Administrator Need to Have?

Education administrators need to have a combination of technical skills and soft skills to be successful in their roles. The BLS recommends improving your organizational, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills to start. Further, O*NET Online suggests learning a variety of programs, including:

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Analytical or scientific software
  • Cloud-based data access and sharing software
  • Communications server software
  • Computer-based training software
  • Database user interface and query software
  • Database management system software
  • Desktop publishing software 
  • Enterprise resource planning software 
  • Human resources software
  • Mobile messaging service software 
  • Multimedia educational software
  • Project management software

While this list may look daunting, it is both comprehensive and filled with several software programs you’ve likely used before. If you have ever worked in Microsoft Word, you can consider yourself somewhat knowledgeable with word processing. If you have taken a video call or made a spreadsheet, or used an online calendar, you have a working knowledge upon which to build technical skills.

What Degree Does an Education Administrator Need?

Education administrators need at least a bachelor’s degree and in some cases, an advanced degree such as a master’s degree or doctorate. O*NET Online categorizes the role as “Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed,” indicating a master’s degree, MD, PhD, or JD may be required. 

What Is the Salary for an Education Administrator, Kindergarten – Secondary?

Like most occupations, the salary for education administrators depends on a number of factors, including experience, education, and, most importantly, academic setting. Take a look at the following May 2021 findings from the BLS for education administrators in kindergarten through secondary school settings. For academic administrators in elementary and secondary schools, 268,710 academic administrators were employed in May 2021; the annual mean wage was $102,760. For academic administrators in local government (excluding schools and hospitals), 1,450 were employed with an average salary of $117,720. Academic administrators in educational support services earned a mean salary of $102,610, and 810 were employed at the time of the report. For academic administrators in state government, 620 were employed and earned an average of $103,940 annually. Education administrators within child daycare services earned an average of $52,480, with 570 employed in May of 2021.

What Is the Salary for a Postsecondary Education Administrator?

Salaries for postsecondary education administrators, on the other hand, look quite different from education administrators in kindergarten through secondary school systems. In colleges, universities, and professional schools at local, state, and private levels and institutions, the median annual salary in May 2021 was $98,180, according to the BLS. Education administrators in junior colleges at state, local, and private levels, meanwhile, earned a median salary of $94,120 in May 2021, per the BLS. The lowest 10% of postsecondary education administrators earned less than $59,150, and the highest 10% earned more than $190,770.

What’s the Difference Between an Education Administrator and Principal?

Although sometimes used interchangeably, and even sharing some of the same duties, principals and education administrators are actually quite different in notable ways. According to Climb the Ladder, a site dedicated to professional development, principals typically focus on the operations of one school, while an education administrator has a larger scope to manage. Education administrators oversee larger functions, while principals lead the academic purview of a single school. For instance, education administrators may travel among many schools, ensuring the quality of curriculum, and principals occupy the leadership position of and run one particular school.

Overview: What Is an Education Administrator?

Education administrators are academic professionals who ensure the activities of schools at a given level meet the standards for success within an education system. Responsibilities include coordinating the academic, administrative, and auxiliary functions of schools, such as academics or athletics. To become an education administrator, you must complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and in some cases, an advanced degree. On-the-job training and experience in an academic environment will also help prepare you. 

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