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Become A School Administrator

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Working As A School Administrator

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Developing and Building Teams
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Make Decisions

  • $69,000

    Average Salary

What Does A School Administrator Do

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage all school operations, including daily school activities. They coordinate curricula, oversee teachers and other school staff, and provide a safe and productive learning environment for students.

Duties

Elementary, middle, and high school principals typically do the following:

  • Manage school activities and staff, including teachers and support personnel
  • Establish and oversee class schedules
  • Develop, implement, and maintain curriculum standards
  • Counsel and discipline students
  • Observe teachers and classroom activities
  • Assist teachers in managing students’ behavior
  • Evaluate teachers’ performance
  • Meet with parents and teachers to discuss students’ progress and behavior
  • Assess and prepare reports on test scores and other student achievement data
  • Organize professional development programs and workshops for staff
  • Manage the school’s budget, order school supplies, and schedule maintenance
  • Establish and coordinate security procedures for students, staff, and visitors

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage the overall operation of schools, including building maintenance and cafeteria services. They set and oversee academic goals and ensure that teachers have the necessary equipment and resources. In public schools, principals also implement standards and programs set by the school district, state, and/or federal regulations. They evaluate and prepare reports on their school’s performance based on these standards by assessing student achievement and teacher performance. Principals may establish and oversee additional programs in their school, such as counseling, special education programs, and before- and after-school childcare programs.

Principals serve as the public face of their school. They meet with superintendents, legislators, and members of the community to request or explain funding for their schools. They also address the concerns of parents and members of the community.

The duties of principals vary by the size of the school and district. In larger schools and districts, principals have additional resources and staff to help them achieve goals. For example, large school districts often have instructional coordinators who help with data analysis and with teachers’ professional development. Principals also may have staff who oversee the hiring process of all school personnel, including teachers, custodians, and cafeteria workers. Principals in small school districts may need to assume these and other duties themselves.

Many schools have assistant principals who help principals with school administration. Principals typically assign specific administrative duties to their assistant principals. In some school districts, assistant principals are hired to handle a specific subject area, such as literacy or math. Assistants may be assigned to handle student safety, provide student academic counseling, or enforce disciplinary or attendance rules. They may also coordinate buses or supervise building and grounds maintenance.

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How To Become A School Administrator

Most schools require elementary, middle, and high school principals to have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership. Most principals also have work experience as teachers.

Education

Principals typically need a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. These master’s degree programs prepare future principals to manage staff, prepare and manage budgets, set goals, and work with parents and the community. To enter the master’s degree programs, candidates typically need a bachelor’s degree in education, school counseling, or a related field.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Principals typically need several years of work experience as a teacher. For more information on how to become a teacher, see the profiles on kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states require public school principals to be licensed as school administrators. Licensure requirements vary by state, but most require a master’s degree. Some states have alternative programs for candidates who do not have a master’s degree in education administration or leadership. Most states also require candidates to pass an exam and a background check.

Principals in private schools are not required to have a state-issued license.

Advancement

An assistant principal can advance to become a principal. Some principals advance to become superintendents, which may require completion of additional education. Others become instructional coordinators.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Principals must communicate effectively with students, teachers, and parents. For example, when dealing with student disciplinary or academic issues, they consult with and listen to parents and teachers to understand the problem.

Critical-thinking skills. Principals analyze student test results and testing procedures to determine if improvements are needed. They must assess the available options and choose the best means to help students achieve better results.

Decisionmaking skills. Because principals are responsible for students, staff members, and the overall operation of the school, they consider many factors when making decisions.

Interpersonal skills. Because principals work with teachers, parents, and superintendents, they must be able to develop positive working relationships with them.

Leadership skills. Principals set educational goals and establish policies and procedures for the school. They need to be able to motivate teachers and other staff to achieve set goals.

Problem-solving skills. Teachers, students, and other staff members report problems to the principal. Principals need to be able to analyze problems, and develop and implement appropriate solutions.

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School Administrator Jobs

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
School Principal 4.3 years
Vice Principal 3.9 years
School Director 3.7 years
Administrator 3.4 years
School Supervisor 2.8 years
School Coordinator 2.4 years
Top Careers Before School Administrator
Teacher 28.5%
Principal 5.5%
Internship 4.0%
Instructor 3.8%
Assistant 2.9%
Manager 2.6%
Director 2.5%
Top Careers After School Administrator
Teacher 14.5%
Principal 8.5%
Director 4.5%
Instructor 3.9%
Consultant 3.5%
Volunteer 3.3%
Cashier 2.9%
Coach 2.9%
Owner 2.6%

Do you work as a School Administrator?

Average Yearly Salary
$69,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$38,000
Min 10%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$127,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Cummins
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.6 years
How much does a School Administrator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a School Administrator in the United States is $69,999 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $127,000.

Real School Administrator Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
School Administrator/Supervisor New York City Department of Education New York, NY May 01, 2011 $96,404
School Administrator Leport Educational Institute, Inc. Mission Viejo, CA Sep 30, 2009 $89,000
School Administrator Milky Way Education Center Inc. Clifton, NJ Apr 21, 2011 $88,110
Charter School Administrator River City Education Services, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Jan 14, 2015 $78,473
Assistant Prof, School of Criminal Justice & Public Admin Kean University Union, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $73,011
School Administrator NUR Islamic School of Louisville Louisville, KY Oct 01, 2011 $72,231
Charter School Administrator River City Education Services, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Jun 01, 2015 $71,390
Charter School Administrator River City Education Services, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Oct 02, 2014 $71,390
School Administrator Noble Academy Cleveland Cleveland, OH May 19, 2010 $70,533
School Administrator NUR Islamic School of Louisville Louisville, KY Oct 01, 2011 $70,353
Charter School Administrator Discovery Education Services, Inc. Orlando, FL Oct 02, 2014 $69,790
Charter School Administrator River City Education Services, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Oct 01, 2011 $67,490 -
$74,000
Charter School Administrator River City Education Services, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Jul 01, 2013 $67,070
School Administrator Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $66,847
Pre-School/Child Care Administrator Alaska Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Dillingham, AK Jan 07, 2016 $59,304
School Administrator International Academic Alliance, Inc. New York, NY Jun 01, 2011 $57,622
School Administrator Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $56,349
Elementary & Secondary School Administrators Marion County School District 103 Woodburn, OR Dec 17, 2010 $54,120 -
$60,834
School Administrator State Career School, Inc. Waukegan, IL Sep 01, 2010 $50,274
Assistant School Administrator Crossroads Christian Ctr of The Assemblies of God Daly City, CA Oct 01, 2009 $43,117
Pre-School Administrator Orsid Realty New York, NY Nov 14, 2011 $42,742
School Administrator Montessori Hills Academy, Inc. Chula Vista, CA Sep 21, 2016 $40,363

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Top Skills for A School Administrator

  1. Curriculum Development
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Student Learning
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Participated in curriculum development for ninth grade global studies.
  • Developed and implemented classroom management plan to ensure safety.
  • Conducted regular operational staff meetings and communicated regularly with parents in order to create a cooperative relationship to support student learning.
  • Prepared financial statements for parents, processed payments for tuition and tabulated all funds.
  • Provided extra assistance to students with special needs, such as non-English-speaking students or those with physical and mental disabilities.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for School Administrators

  1. New Jersey
  2. Delaware
  3. California
  4. Connecticut
  5. Minnesota
  6. New York
  7. Alaska
  8. Washington
  9. Oregon
  10. Massachusetts
  • (222 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (2,742 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)
  • (184 jobs)
  • (230 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (135 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)
  • (263 jobs)

School Administrator Demographics

Gender

Female

51.7%

Male

34.6%

Unknown

13.8%
Ethnicity

White

61.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

12.7%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

7.0%

Italian

7.0%

Portuguese

4.7%

Russian

4.7%

Chinese

3.5%

Japanese

3.5%

Mandarin

3.5%

Greek

2.3%

Dakota

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Swedish

1.2%

German

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Amharic

1.2%

Persian

1.2%

Cayuga

1.2%

Korean

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%
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School Administrator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.2%

Liberty University

9.3%

Grand Canyon University

8.8%

Capella University

6.9%

Nova Southeastern University

6.4%

Tennessee Temple University

4.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.4%

Ohio State University

4.4%

East Carolina University

3.9%

Ashford University

3.9%

Temple University

3.9%

George Washington University

3.4%

American InterContinental University

3.4%

Northern Arizona University

3.4%

University of Maryland - University College

3.4%

Wilmington University

2.9%

University of Cincinnati

2.9%

University of Washington

2.9%

Kean University

2.9%

Walden University

2.9%
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Majors

Educational Leadership

22.7%

Education

14.9%

Business

14.8%

Elementary Education

7.0%

Psychology

4.5%

Theology

3.6%

Management

3.4%

English

3.4%

Accounting

2.8%

Special Education

2.7%

Communication

2.6%

Nursing

2.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.3%

School Counseling

2.3%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.0%

Social Work

1.8%

Political Science

1.8%

Early Childhood Education

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Human Resources Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Masters

37.1%

Bachelors

25.4%

Other

16.8%

Doctorate

7.8%

Certificate

5.4%

Associate

5.0%

Diploma

1.7%

License

0.9%
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Top School Administrator Employers

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