Guide to Graduate Programs in Educational Administration

What is Educational Administration?

Principals, assistant principals, deans, and chairpersons all help to determine whether an institution fulfills its educational mandate. They are largely responsible for the overall management of their facilities and are frequently in charge of many diverse and unrelated tasks. Perhaps most importantly, they set academic standards for their establishments by selecting, evaluating, and improving their faculty. A quality educational administration degree program foresees each of these tasks and provides accurate instruction and support.

Some of the job tasks associated with educational administrators include:

  • Coordinating activities within a school/school system
  • Selecting and evaluating standardized tests
  • Designing the curriculum
  • Overseeing athletic programs
  • Creating and enforce disciplinary measures
  • Connecting with parents, faculty, and students

Organizational and managerial skills are required to effectively juggle these responsibilities. A successful educational administrator needs to know how to survey demographic needs and plan for them accordingly. He needs to be knowledgeable of the latest trends in curriculum development and aware of the myriad state/school district laws. A rigorous educational administration degree prepares the administrator for all these scenarios and more.

Degree Programs in Educational Administration

A bachelor's degree is the absolute minimum requirement for a career in education administration. Today, school administrator positions almost universally require some form of graduate degree. A master's degree in education administration is the most common degree in the field. Many school systems also insist that you have a certain amount of prior teaching experience.

Online Degrees in Education Administration

Online degree programs in educational administration are increasingly popular among education professionals who wish to boost their careers without giving up income or advancement opportunities in their current jobs. Advanced education administration degrees online are particularly useful for current teachers who want to further their education without getting off the tenure track.

The policies and practices of online degree programs may vary greatly. Some programs are largely dependent on occasional on-site visitation. Some may be conducted entirely online. Others may require you to visit distance-learning facilities where live classroom instruction is viewable via satellite.

Master's Degrees in Education Administration

Typical courses for a master's degree in education administration include:

  • Administration/Personnel Supervision
  • Administrative Theory (leadership)
  • Public Policy and Law
  • Ethics
  • Financial Management
  • Public Relations
  • Curriculum Planning and Development
  • Multicultural Topics
  • Research in Education Topics

As with any other graduate program, practical experience plays a key role in your role as an education administrator. Internships and fieldwork may play key roles in your educational administration program. You may be asked to monitor or work with a small group of students in a classroom setting. You may even be required to evaluate an entire system's curriculum. This degree often requires that you complete a master's thesis before exiting the program.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Education Administration?

Education administrators held about 445,400 jobs in 2008, and employment of education administrators is expected to grow by about 8 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 81 percent of all educational administrators in 2008 worked in public or private educational institutions. Most of the rest worked in child day care centers. With expected retirements and increasing enrollments on the horizon, the job prospects for educational administrators are deemed to be excellent. Professionals with advanced educational administration degrees make excellent candidates for these positions.

Education administrators can attract other potential high-level opportunities with their advanced degrees. Some educational administration graduates hold positions as:

  • community education directors
  • business managers
  • school system superintendents
  • curriculum coordinators
  • administrators at post-secondary schools

Many graduates also serve as leaders on local school boards and in government organizations.

Certification and Licensure

Most states require their school principals to obtain licenses as school administrators. However, this licensure varies greatly from state to state. The Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium has developed a series of national standards for various school officials. Many states now use these national standards to evaluate the conditions of their licensure requirements. Some states may require their administrators to continue taking "refresher courses" in order to keep their licenses. Be sure to investigate your state's specific requirements for licensure/certification before choosing an online degree program.

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