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Successful schools need both good teachers and strong leaders. Educational administration degree programs help prepare educators to move up in their careers and take on these leadership roles. Students in these programs learn how to oversee the operations of an educational institution, including how to make decisions about budgets, curriculum, technology and staffing.

Overview of Educational Administration Programs

Education administration degree programs help current or future educators build the leadership skills they need to run a school or school district. These education programs focus on how to get positive outcomes for students and ensure a school upholds all ethical and legal standards.

Courses typically found in an educational administration degree program include:

  • Education administration law - This course examines the laws that govern the education field, and how such laws are applied in the day-to-day administration of a school. Topics covered include the rights of students and educators, legal issues that may arise in school districts, federal and state laws that govern education, and trends in education law.
  • Fundamentals of educational administration - This course gives students an in-depth look at theories of educational leadership and the ways these concepts can be applied to real-world situations. Students might look at the challenges facing educational leaders today, organizational behaviors in school districts, or the qualities that make a good school leader.
  • Human resources issues in education - This course explores personnel issues that arise in education. Students generally learn how to recruit and train workers in a school, conduct performance evaluations, solve interpersonal conflicts between employees, and deal with serious issues such as sexual harassment.

In addition to core coursework, students in graduate-level educational administration degree programs may be required to complete a master's thesis, doctoral dissertation or comprehensive examination.

Education Administration: Career Outlook

Educational administration graduates can pursue a number of leadership roles in public and private K-12 schools, charter schools, state education departments and alternative schools. Possible career paths include:

  • Elementary, middle or high school principal - These educators manage the day-to-day operations of a school and solve any administrative issues that arise. Their responsibilities include managing school staff, evaluating and improving teacher classroom performance, disciplining students and creating school budgets. A master's degree is typically required to become a school principal, and most start out as teachers themselves. Demand for elementary, middle and high school principals is expected to grow six percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook. The median annual salary for these professionals was $87,760 in 2012.
  • Instructional coordinators - These professionals ensure that a school's curriculum and teaching methods create the best education outcomes for students. They develop and implement curriculums, help teachers improve performance, review available textbooks and make purchasing recommendations, and evaluate educational technologies in order to choose the products that best fit a school's needs. Instructional coordinators generally possess at least a master's degree. According to the BLS, employment in this field is expected to increase 13 percent between 2012 and 2022, as fast as the average for all occupations. The median annual salary for instructional coordinators was $60,050 in 2012.

Professionals with a degree in educational administration might also find work as athletic directors, assistant school principals, assessment coordinators or education coordinators. In order to work in a public school, administrators are typically required to hold a state-issued license, which may entail additional training and exams.

"Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Management/Elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm
"Instructional Coordinators," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-15 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm

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