How to Become a School Administrator and Jumpstart your Career
School administrators are the guiding force in the education sector. They create policy, manage improvement, and facilitate their teams and their students to excel. There are quite a few reasons to take this career path if you’re a person with the right skill set, but it won’t be easy.
There are several steps and multiple years to get through to reach administration, but along the way, you’ll gather the relevant and essential skills to be great at what you do.
If you want to learn how to become a school administrator, you’re in the right place. We’re going to go over what the role involves, what some of the benefits are, and the steps to reaching your goals.
Why Become a School Administrator?
School administrators have a hard job, but it can be particularly rewarding for the right person. These roles involve working with every stakeholder of the organization, from students to parents, teachers, and other administrators to move the institution forward.
Principals or superintendents work to foster growth and improvement among the educators they work with and they do this using a wide variety of skills. This both requires and creates administrators who are flexible, multi-faceted, and driven.
The median pay for principals from K-12 was almost six figures in 2021, projected to increase in the coming years, so the financial incentive is there, too. But the role is much more than simply a salary. Administration in schools shapes policy; they direct the trajectory of education, and they support the future of the next generation in doing so.
This is why it’s such a sought-after position for those with a vision for the future, and yet so often these roles are taken by people who sit on their position and abuse its power. This is why, now, more than ever, good, honest administrators need to push into these positions and make the necessary changes.
To join a force of good people working towards a brighter future, you’re going to need a lot of skill and experience, and we’ll go over those requirements in detail shortly. First, let’s take a look at some of the important things a school administrator does.
The Roles and Responsibilities of a School Administrator
As the name suggests (and as you probably already know, if you’re reading up on how to become one), a school administrator is the overseer of admin tasks in schools. That much seems obvious, but what exactly does it mean in terms of roles and responsibilities, and day-to-day working life?
That ultimately depends on the size of the school you’d be working at, and the specific role you’ll be taking. It’s not just the amount of work, but also that scope that changes as the school gets bigger, so it’s useful to know your target institution, or at least its size, before making your mind up entirely.
Typically, though, administrators manage the budgets, spending, and are commonly responsible for the logistical components of running a school. Here’s a short list of tasks that are likely to be handed to any school administrator:
In terms of their responsibilities to the school, administrators will be required to monitor, maintain, and improve the way the school functions as a unit, in accordance with the vision of the organization. They may be responsible for conducting their own research, managing interventions, and managing the hiring and evaluation of staff, too. The ongoing relationships with the parents and students both are good examples of primary responsibilities of school administrators too.
Ultimately a school administrator takes on a range of responsibilities and must show the corresponding skillset to be in with a chance of taking the role. For this, they’ll need some appropriate education and experience.
The Best School Administration Degree and Required Skills
The general requirements are worth mentioning first, as they apply to most roles in most cases. For almost any school administrator position, you’ll need to have:
It’s worth mentioning that some state regulations might require you to have a Master’s degree to qualify, and on top of these criteria, you’ll need some particular skills to be good at the job or even to be allowed in, in the first place.
But you don’t want to just get in, you want to be good at your job!
Good administrators need to be good judges of character. More than that, they need to be fair, and reasonable and work well to maintain these qualities under pressure. They must be organized, good at devising systems, technically literate, and have strong attention to detail. At the same time, you’ll need to be able to handle the wider scope of things, and see how your decisions affect the future of the institution and its members.
Previous experience is a huge bonus, and teaching degrees can’t hurt, but there are also specificschool administration degrees that can help. Let’s take a look at the path you can take to get into this position.
How to Become a School Administrator
Becoming a school administrator from scratch takes time. If you don’t have a degree, that’s already 3 or 4 years, and this will probably only land you a teaching job, to begin with. From there, the classic pathway is to work through the school, up to a principal position.
These years of experience can lead you toward a master’s degree in educational administration, which will be the strongest leverage you’ll get in terms of suitable degrees. A master’s like this can be completed in one or two years and can set you up for several positions.
So, the steps you can take to reach school administrator could be condensed into:
Depending on where you are along this pathway, the route is going to take a different number of years to complete, but there should be no end to the journey; a significant part of being an administrator is about continuous improvement and a commitment to growth. Times will change, and it will be your job to adjust and adapt to these changes.
So, a school administrator is not simply an educator. They pave the way for future generations of students and faculty to work together for a better state of education. This is done through hard work, naturally, but also a diverse set of skills and experience that combine communication, leadership, vision, and attention to detail.
With so many administrative responsibilities, it’s a good idea to simplify the process where possible. CuraCubby is a great tool for administrators to organize elements of their work such as registrations, payments, invoicing, tracking attendance, and managing communication. The app offers a complete solution to operations, commerce, and finance, and can take a lot of the complexity out of what is becoming an increasingly difficult job.