Thinking about becoming a school administrator? Much like becoming a teacher, school administrators are individuals who care about the success of their students, schools, and community. If the educational administration of a school is well-organized, effectiveness and collaboration will have the opportunity to shine in all aspects of the school, from the environment to staff satisfaction. While becoming a school administrator is by no means an easy task, for the right person, it can prove to be an incredibly fulfilling career path.
It is the responsibility of education administrators to organize, manage, and set actionable goals for both public and private schools. School administrators will work with students, teachers, staff, superintendents, and even political figures to adequately manage all of the school's agendas and resources. In most cases, before becoming an educational administrator, previous teaching experience is required. In addition, administrative roles like the head dean frequently do not receive school year breaks, as they spend the summer preparing for the coming school year.1
If becoming an educational administrator is a career path you'd like to explore more, keep scrolling to review the requirements.
School Administrator Responsibilities
Want to become a school administrator? First, we recommend familiarizing what school administration is and the responsibilities that come with this career path in education. The administrative position covers several jobs within the school system. From school principals to student affairs administration, the career path you choose to pursue dramatically influences the overall job responsibilities.
However, there are some school administrator responsibilities that nearly all positions share. When working in a supervisory role, you will likely work in a school setting. Though administrators do not work as teachers, they do support students, assist staff, communicate with parents, develop school curriculum, and more. Because a school administrator deals with several people daily, the candidate must be a great communicator. Compassion, interpersonal communication, educational leadership, and knowledge of school policies are all crucial skills that public and private school administrators alike may find helpful in their role.
No matter what educational institution one finds themselves in, schooling is an intricate system, and it typically takes a well-organized, motivated individual to drive beneficial changes within it. Knowledge of the school administration and system, and how it works is often why the elected administrative candidates are oftentime those who have years of prior teaching experience as well as a postgraduate degree.
School Administrator Requirements
After deciding to look into the career path of educational administration, the next step is to find out what the school administrator requirements are. Though specifications may vary depending on the job you're applying for, there are basic requirements that all administrators need to accomplish before being considered.
Common Job Requirements
Though job requirements vary depending on the role of the person in the administrative position, here are some of the most common school administrator requirements.2
- Setting and enforcing school budgets
- Assisting students
- Managing staff
- Hiring faculty and staff
- Maintaining academic records
- Improving curriculum
- Implementing new technology advances
- Handling day to day issues
- Overseeing the entire school district
- Developing academic properties
- Review student applications
- Developing financial aid programs
- Managing academic transcripts
- Planning commencement ceremonies
Common Schooling Requirements
To work as an administrator at an educational institution, most jobs require all applicants to have a master's degree. Aside from a degree, it is also necessary for administrators to complete a teaching certification program that allows them to become educational administrators in their state. To achieve this certification, the program must be approved by the state board of education where the administrator will work. It is also recommended that each administrator has extensive teaching experience. While it is possible to become an administrator without teaching experience, it is not common.
To become an administrator in your state, first review this process:
Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
While you may earn a bachelor's degree in nearly any field, before teaching, you'll need to obtain a certification in education. Earning a bachelor's degree is a four-year process, during which you must also complete the necessary teaching requirements to become licensed in the state you are working.
The grade and subject that you plan on teaching will determine the teaching requirements that need to be met during the completion of your bachelor's degree. For example, if you are interested in becoming a high school teacher or administrator, much of your curriculum will be concentrated on what you'll need to know to teach at that grade level.
Remember, before becoming a school administrator, it is recommended that you have multiple years of teaching experience, as the knowledge gained is both valuable and necessary for professional development and to prepare you for the position of a school administrator.
Get your State Teaching License
Once you have your bachelors degree, you must decide which state you want to teach in. Depending on the state you choose, specific requirements will need to be met to become a teacher. Find out what your state's teaching requirements are and what steps to take to obtain a state teaching license. In most cases, you will be required to complete tests in your area of the desired study.
Gain Extensive Teaching Experience
While each state varies, most states require you to gain at least three years of teaching experience before you can be considered a potential candidate for a school administrator. While gaining teaching experience, it is crucial that you become familiar with the duties of a school administrator. Get to know your school's leadership team, participate in school organizations, and identify current issues/drawbacks in your school's system that could be better solved by the administrative team. Understanding your school's administrative process is an integral part of successfully landing a career as a school administrator.
Complete a Master’s Degree in Education Administration and Earn a Credential in Administrative Services
Choose to complete your master's degree in education administration on campus or through an online program for extra flexibility. Master's degrees frequently take two years to complete, and often a teaching license is required to enroll. Once done completing a graduate program and obtaining a master’s degree, it’s important that you earn a credential in administrative services. Credential programs like Alliant International University’s Administrative Services Credential Program are offered online. All Classes and coursework can be completed virtually, allowing for flexibility with your schedule.
Complete Your State's School Administrators License Test
As with a teaching license, the education requirements for a professional administrator license vary by state. First, you'll want to make sure that you successfully pass all competency exams required, meet curriculum standards, and complete all education requirements. In several states, the completion of a mentorship program may also be needed to gain experience working as a school administrator.3
Apply and Interview for Various Open Administrative Positions
You have your bachelor's degree, teaching license, teaching experience, master's degree, and school administrative license, now all that is left to do is apply for open administrative positions. Though you may enjoy the school you currently work in, it could take years for an executive position to open up. To advance your career faster and open doors to endless opportunities, when applying for administrative positions, you may want to apply to multiple schools.
Work in Your New Field and Gain Experience
Everyone has room for improvement. While you may not be perfect your first week or month on the job, with time, you'll be able to better manage all of your new administrative roles and responsibilities. Each day you work in your new field, you must aspire to learn and grow.
Essential Skills Needed to Become a School Administrator
Build Positive Relationships
No matter which education facility you find yourself at, schools tend to have a slightly stressful atmosphere. The ability to build positive relationships with students, parents, and staff and defuse stressful situations is a great way to foster school unity and order in times of crisis.
Know When to Ask for Help
The school administrator is often seen as someone who has all of the answers. However, there is a lot of teamwork that goes on behind the scenes. Knowing when (and who) to ask for help or having a mentor whom you can call for advice is an essential part of becoming a great school administrator.
Listen to your school. The students, staff, and parents at your school can be the best form of feedback when it comes to monitoring your success. Listening to those around you can sometimes help you identify problems before they've even started. Knowing what is going on at your school, and using feedback to improve the overall satisfaction of your faculty and students will help you administer to the best of your ability.
On paper, the day-to-day job requirements of a school administrator might seem a bit overwhelming. While many challenges come along with the career, there are even more rewarding moments. By following the requirements listed throughout this article, you'll ensure that you're fully prepared to begin your career as a successful school administrator.
Alliant International University's Administrative Services Credential Program is an excellent next step in your pursuit of an education focusing on an administrative career. In this certificate program, offered by Alliant’s California School of Education (CSOE), we help prepare the teachers of today to become the school principals, superintendents, administrators, and educational leaders of tomorrow. If you are an experienced educator looking to enter a management and leadership role in your educational institution, our Administrative Credential Program is a great choice for you!
- “School Administrator Career Guide,” Teacher Certification Degrees, accessed November 24, 2021, https://www.teachercertificationdegrees.com/careers/school-administrato….
- “School Administrator Job Description, Career and Salary: Resilient Educator,” ResilientEducator.com, accessed November 24, 2021, https://resilienteducator.com/teaching-careers/educational-supervisor/.
- “Teaching CERTIFICATION.COM Making the Process Easy...,” Principal Certification | Administrative Certification, accessed November 24, 2021, https://www.teaching-certification.com/principal-certification.html.