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An education administrator has to have incredible people skills, delegate authority, manage the students everyday progress, plan school fundraisers, prepare budgets, field frustrated staff and parents, and a multitude of other tasks. The job can be extremely time consuming and dip into the time at home with the family.
If you are considering becoming an administrator, find out if there is mentoring program through your school or university. This can involve you following an administrator around for a day or week or work as their intern while you earn college credit.
If not, check out Teachers Count (teacherscount.org) for mentoring programs. Walking in their shoes can give you a much better insight to what is involved with the everyday life of a school administrator.
Job security is always in the front of a person's mind when deciding on an occupation, and the role of education administrator seems to be a job that's increasing in demand. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational handbook, educational administrator jobs are expected to grow 23% from 2002 to 2012. As for salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average salary for a postsecondary education administrator is $75,800 and for all other education administrators is $66,580.
Since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, there has been increased awareness and reduced tolerance in our schools. Some cry foul but others applaud the changes. A school administrator is the person caught in the middle of this debate, but the one who has to be the heavy hand when following the rules set by the school districts. This comes with confrontations from parents, teachers, staff and students. Dealing with these situations can be difficult and emotionally exhausting.
Participating in a conflict resolution class or a mediation/negotiation class may be to your best interest. Psychology and sociology classes can offer an insight to a person's psyche and expected reactions. There are classes offered in conflict resolution, and you can even obtain a certification in conflict resolution, which may prove to be advantageous when added to your regular curriculum.
The time commitment for a education administrator degree, after the pre-requisites are completed, is approximately two years. Additional schooling of two to five years is needed for a master's degree. Online accelerated programs offer quicker graduation times but be sure to check their accreditation with DECT.org and if the districts where you'd like to work recognize the school before starting any program.
Usually, administrators do not teach unless there is a shortage or a teachers strike. They are more the behind-the-scenes person in the school and work to ensure that things run smoothly, fielding questions and concerns, and keeping the halls safe. Some states offer teaching certifications to those who have completed a bachelor's degree in anything; they simply have to complete the teaching certification within a specific time frame. With this certification, teaching is certainly an option but an education administrator can be a very busy and time consuming job, leaving little time to teach.
An administrator will have several hats to wear. These leaders must have good interpersonal skills and often are required to prepare budgets, oversee students progress, manage everyday operations, fundraiser, set policies and standards, and lead institutions in meeting state and national standards. They can work as a day-care administrator to college president and school principal.
Is an administration career path a better route than teaching? This is certainly a matter of personal preference, but it also depends on if you enjoy teaching.
With increased scrutiny on the public schools to perform with less funds while trying to meet national guidelines, the job of administrator can be stressful and frustrating. As an administrator, you don't have the requirements necessary for teaching, but you do have the jobs of keeping the students, staff, and teachers safe.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|