How to Advance (Advancement)
Education administrators advance through promotion to higher level administrative positions or by transferring to comparable positions at larger schools or systems. They also may become superintendents of school systems or presidents of educational institutions.
Education administrators held about 445,400 jobs in 2008. Of these, about 58,900 were held by preschool or child care administrators, about 230,600 by elementary or secondary school administrators, and 124,600 by postsecondary administrators. The great majority—more than 81 percent—worked in public or private educational institutions. Most of the remainder worked in child day care centers.
Employment is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job opportunities should be excellent due to a large number of expected retirements and fewer applicants for some positions.
Employment of education administrators is expected to grow by about 8 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Expected growth is primarily the result of growth in enrollments of school-aged children. Enrollment of students in elementary and secondary schools is expected to grow relatively slowly over the next decade, limiting the growth of principals and other administrators in these schools. However, the number of administrative positions will continue to increase as more administrative responsibilities are placed on individual schools, particularly with regard to monitoring student achievement. Preschool and child care center administrators are expected to experience substantial growth because of increasing enrollments in formal child care programs as fewer young children are cared for in private homes. In addition, as more States implement or expand public preschool programs, more preschool directors will be needed.
The number of students at the postsecondary level is projected to grow more rapidly than other student populations. Many of these schools cater to working adults who might not ordinarily participate in postsecondary education. Such schools allow students to earn a degree, receive job-specific training, or update their skills in a convenient manner, such as through part-time programs or distance learning. As the number of these schools continues to grow, more administrators will be needed to oversee them.
Job opportunities should be excellent due to a large number of expected retirements and fewer applicants for some positions. Principals and assistant principals should have excellent job prospects because a sharp increase in responsibilities in recent years has made the job more stressful and has discouraged some teachers from taking positions in administration. Principals are now being held more accountable for the performance of students and teachers, while at the same time they are required to adhere to a growing number of government regulations. In addition, overcrowded classrooms, safety issues, budgetary concerns, and teacher shortages in some areas are creating additional stress for administrators. Many teachers feel that the increase in pay for becoming an administrator is not high enough to compensate for the greater responsibilities.
Opportunities may vary by region of the country. Enrollments are expected to increase the fastest in the West and South, where the population is growing faster, and to decline or remain stable in the Northeast and the Midwest. School administrators also are in greater demand in rural and urban areas, where pay is generally lower than in the suburbs.
Fewer applicants are expected for nonacademic administrative jobs, such as director of admissions or director of student affairs. Furthermore, many people are discouraged from seeking administrator jobs by the requirement that they have a master’s or doctoral degree in education administration—as well as by the opportunity to earn higher salaries in other occupations.
In May 2008, preschool and child care program administrators had median annual wages of $39,940. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,290 and $54,680. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,910 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $77,150.
In May 2008, elementary and secondary school administrators had median annual wages of $83,880. The middle 50 percent earned between $68,360 and $102,830. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $55,580 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,250.
In May 2008, postsecondary school administrators had median annual wages of $80,670. The middle 50 percent earned between $58,940 and $113,860. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,050 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $160,500.
Salaries of education administrators depend on several factors, including the location and enrollment level of the school or school district.
Benefits for education administrators are generally very good. Many get 4 or 5 weeks of vacation every year and have generous health and pension packages. Many colleges and universities offer free tuition to employees and their families.
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