Although some teachers work their way up through the teaching system to
become principals or assistant principals, many of the people who do this
work have master's degrees in education administration.
Master's programs generally take two years to complete. You'll need
a bachelor's degree in education first. In some cases, you'll also need
experience teaching or in administration.
Some institutions offer shorter programs that grant certificates or diplomas
in education administration. But you still need an undergraduate degree in
Education administration students learn about problems, challenges and
opportunities in education. They learn about leadership, students' and teachers'
rights, and roles and responsibilities within the institution. They learn
how to form curricula, policies and educational goals. They also learn about
Typical courses include philosophy of education, sociology of education,
history of education, educational finance, politics of education and curriculum
Do you have the right stuff to become an administrator? "You have to have
managerial skills, organizational skills and good interpersonal skills," says
Jon Young. He is the head of an education administrational foundations and
"You have to help teachers, build a team and have a vision for the school."
High school students should take all the courses that will prepare them
for a general education degree. Contact your local colleges to find out
what the prerequisites are.
Communication is necessary for education administrators, so classes
in English might help you. Also, administrators are often responsible
for budgeting, so you may want to focus on algebra and other math.
Young says that volunteer work also helps. "We look to see what
type of experiences people have," he says. "We want to see that people have
worked with children in volunteer situations, if they worked at summer camps
or in some similar activity."
Aside from tuition, students must pay for textbooks, which can be expensive.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Education
Special Ed Connection
A site for people working in the field
University Council for Educational Administration
A consortium of research universities in Canada and the U.S.