School Administrator Job Description

The school administrator job description has several components. These administrators may obtain an online degree or a standard degree from a brick and mortar university. School administrators serve the state government or federal government, or they may work for local school boards. Principals are school administrators who are in charge of individual schools.

Education Requirements to Become a School Administrator

The educational requirements to become a school administrator vary. For the most part, teaching experience is combined with the training an individual receives in school administration. Many school administrators have a background in college courses that relate to education, business, sociology and economics.

In the majority of cases, school administrators need a master degree in leadership or educational administration. This is combined with no less than two years teaching experience.

While not all principals possess a master degree, a good majority of them have already worked as assistant principals for a few years. They also take courses in school administration prior to advancing. Some of the principals in urban schools are required to obtain doctorates.

A school district superintendent is usually required to complete a graduate study in educational administration. The doctoral level is typically preferred.

It is mandatory that principals and superintendents meet particular certification requirements. Each state sets forth its own requirements.

What You Can Do with a Degree in School Administration

A degree in school administration gives one the ability to pursue a career as a:

  • School principal
  • Superintendent
  • State administrator
  • Federal administrator

Elementary, middle and high school principals are responsible for:

  • Creating their school’s budget
  • Managing their school’s day-to-day activities
  • Ensuring that their school’s policies are carried out
  • Preserving their school’s physical appearance
  • Representing their schools
  • Maintaining contact with the parents, students and neighbors of their schools
  • Leading the teachers and other school staff
  • Setting goals and objectives for their school
  • Determining whether their school meets the aforementioned goals

Superintendents are responsible for:


  • Administering the policies on curriculum management and hiring (for example, choosing the textbooks for their district)
  • Carrying out the decisions made by the board related to the expansion of facilities and budgets

A school superintendent heads a district that is made up of several schools. This job can be small or large. Superintendents who manage smaller districts will work closely with each of their schools; whereas those responsible for numerous schools generally have contact through their assistant superintendents.

Federal administrators are responsible for:


  • Developing programs and academic standards
  • Allocating funds to schools

State administrators are responsible for:


  • Interpreting state policies governing issues related to school lunches, student transportation and teaching standards.
  • Running large education departments and supervising numerous staff members

School administrators usually work full-time. They also work during the summer months when the rest of the school is on break.

What to Consider if You Pursue a Degree in School Administration

The outlook for employment is fair. Elementary, middle and high school principal jobs are expected to grow by 10 percent between 2010 through 2020. That is an employment change of approximate 23,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the average annual salary for an elementary, middle and high school principal is nearly $87,000.

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