Educational Leadership Degree

A master’s degree in educational leadership can open doors to a variety of positions outside the classroom in the educational field. Most educational leadership majors were teachers at one point and decided to move into administration because they wanted to use their skills in helping teachers rather than instructing students directly. However, many educational leaders also regularly teach classes to keep their skills honed in the classroom.

What Type of Degree Do Educational Administrators Have?

Many colleges of education offer a master’s degree in educational leadership and some offer doctoral programs in this field. A master’s is considered the entry-level degree for an educational leadership position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Classes for master’s degrees in educational leadership focus on broad issues in education and management skills. They may also include information on school law and legal issues surrounding the instruction of students.

A typical master’s programs in educational leadership include at least 27 semester hours or nine classes of coursework as well as capstone projects or internships. Educational leadership students may be asked to serve a few hours a day as an assistant principal at school while still working in the classroom as a teacher. Most school systems require administrators to have completed at least one year of classroom instruction before moving into an administrative role.

How Much Do Educational Leaders Make?

A master’s degree in educational leadership can help you secure a job as an assistant principal or principal at an elementary, middle, or high school. The median annual wage for these positions is $86,970, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the actual pay earned depends on several factors including location, level of education, years of service, and position. Principals of larger schools tend to earn more than those at smaller schools, and some administrators are paid more money to work in needs-based schools in urban or rural areas.

What is the Job Outlook for Educational Leaders?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for educational leaders are expected to grow by 10% between 2010 and 2020. The growth of school systems in general will create many job openings, as well as the need to improve under-performing schools.

Are There Other Requirements for Educational Leaders?

States have varying requirements for teacher and administrator certification. In some states, teachers can be promoted as administrators without a degree or any certification, especially in very small schools. These teachers may be titled as “department heads” and may not receive any more money for their extra duties.

However, it is far more common for states to have a requirement for educational administrators to pass a certification examination and have a license before becoming employed. The educational leadership certification is usually different from that of teachers. Certification as a teacher means that the individual has passed a knowledge-based test and met other criteria to qualify him or her to teach certain subjects in a classroom. Most educational administrators obtain teacher certification first then study for the educational leadership examination. This test most often consists of questions about knowledge based on leadership and management rather than academic facts.

Once an educational leader has passed the certification examination, he or she must renew that certification periodically. In some states this means taking a new test, while in others it simply means showing that you have been employed for a period of time in a school system. In other states, you can renew your certificate as long as you have no ethics violations and have completed the proper number of hours of continuing education training required.

Are All Educational Leaders Principals?

While many people equate an educational leadership position with a principal’s job, this is not always the case. Many administrators and educational leaders work as instructional support specialists such as curriculum directors or technology coordinators, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As school systems become more diversified, educational leaders are also necessary to implement special programs such as dual-language education or special education coordinators. Those who spend several years as an administrator and gain a higher degree such as a doctorate may want to apply for jobs as school system superintendents.

Becoming an educational leader means spending time in a classroom to learn the realities of teaching. However, once you have spent several years as a classroom teacher, you may feel it is time to move on and develop your skills by inspiring and working in other areas such as administration or management. In order to accomplish this goal, a good first step is to seek a degree that allows you to apply for administrative positions such as a master’s or doctorate in educational leadership.

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