In education, the focus is typically on teachers and how they can impact the lives of students. But educational administration also plays a key role in the quality of education provided by schools, school districts, colleges and universities.
Quality leadership is needed in education. While classroom educators focus on what is happening day-to-day with students, education leaders take a wider view. They look at the overall direction of a school or school system, from the quality of teachers to the content of curriculum.
Earning a master’s degree in educational administration and leadership is an important first step to taking on these leadership roles. In many cases, teachers who wish to have a larger impact on education will enter such programs.
Different schools offer distinct types of educational administration programs. Specialization is often a key aspect. The University of South Dakota offers an example of two key areas of specialization: adult and higher education and the Pre-K through 12 principal concentrations.
Adult and Higher Education
Leadership in the world of postsecondary education is complex and challenging. Those who wish to attain these positions will need at least a master’s degree in educational administration. Quality leaders in the field are in demand – the federal government (bls.gov) projects a 10 percent increase in postsecondary administrators by 2026.
The job duties vary depending on the specific job. For example, an administrator might oversee specific areas such as student affairs, admissions, finance or the registrar’s office. They may also oversee the recruiting of faculty as well as academics and faculty research.
No matter the particulars of the job, a school administrator has one goal: creating a positive academic environment in which both educators and students can excel.
Principals at the Pre-K through 12th grade level face a different set of challenges than those at the college level.
If they oversee a single school, principals must manage what is often a very tight education budget. They also oversee every aspect of a school. This includes areas such as school curricula, the recruiting and hiring of teachers, overseeing a school staff’s daily activities, and ensuring that students have a safe environment.
Other, overlooked areas that a principal oversees are building maintenance and food services. Many school buildings are older and in need of constant repair, possessing the ability to work with community members and talk about how to upgrade their buildings is essential to providing a safe environment for students. From a food service standpoint, being able to provide and maintain a healthy food service venue for teachers and students is necessary.
Job demand is high in this area as the population grows, the number of schools expand and the need for more principals increases. The federal government (bls.gov) projects an 8 percent increase in the field by 2026.
Leadership in education is more important than ever. Students leave academic institutions and enter a global economy where competition is fiercer than it has ever been for the best jobs. Educational administrators take on the challenging but rewarding task of preparing students to succeed in that world.