Running schools smoothly and keeping them at the cutting edge takes well-trained professional administrators in specialized positions.
For many teachers, making the move from classroom to office is the next logical step in their careers. Becoming a school principal keeps you involved in the daily lives of students — but with broader goals. In addition to representing the school to the surrounding community, the principal also takes a lead role in supporting student achievement.
As school principal, you will monitor the availability of school supplies and materials, such as textbooks, classroom furniture and lab equipment. This task will require you to write and follow a strict budget for the school building that the district must approve.
In addition, the principal ensures that students have adequate time and space for direct, individualized instruction. Principals oversee the cleanliness and maintenance of their schools, and they act as watchdogs, keeping the school safe and secure from external and internal distractions. This may include advocating for students with special needs or for teachers whose students need extra services. It may also include providing a safe forum for teachers to resolve conflicts with other teachers or with students.
In 2015, the median pay for the approximately 240,000 elementary, middle and high school principals in the United States was $90,410. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that by 2024, demand for principals will increase by 6 percent, which translates to 14,000 openings.
Curriculum or Instruction Coordinator
State standards are the main influences behind most planning and instruction in U. S. public schools. The state — or in some cases, a national committee — determines standards or academic achievement levels for specific grade levels and describes goals designed to keep students competitive and up-to-date in the global market.
You will need a graduate degree in education to become a curriculum or instruction coordinator. Curriculum or instruction coordinators work at the district level, ensuring that the curriculum and materials used in district schools align with the appropriate standards.
However, as a coordinator, or director in some districts, your responsibilities could extend far beyond textbook selection. You will also assume leadership for a variety of responsibilities:
- Analyzing assessment data to determine if the curriculum meets students’ and teachers’ academic needs.
- Evaluating curriculum development programs.
- Working with specialized teachers and counselors to ensure curriculum integration in general education classrooms and special needs accommodations.
- Serving as liaison between the district and the community to ensure that all stakeholders understand the school’s mission.
The median pay for curriculum coordinators in the United States was $62,270 per year in 2015. The BLS reports that, in 2014, there were approximately 151,100 positions, with the addition of 10,500 positions expected by 2024.
Additional Benefits and Opportunities
A graduate with a degree in educational administration will most likely pursue a position in administration, whether at the school- or district level. However, there are other possibilities if one of those positions is not available in your area. A degree in curriculum and instruction can also assist you in securing other positions in education, such as specialized- or college-level teaching.
According to the Houston Chronicle, “Teachers wishing to specialize in a teaching area such as TESOL [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages] or sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics can benefit from a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with the corresponding emphasis.”
While a master’s degree is not always necessary for these positions, it gives candidates an edge over those who hold only bachelor’s degrees. In addition to landing a specialized position, a teacher with a master’s degree will make, on average, about $7,000 more than a teacher with only a bachelor’s degree.
In addition to specialized teaching positions, some colleges invite experienced school teachers, either currently working or retired, to fill in class schedules as adjuncts. One of the primary requirements is a master’s degree in education.
Earning a Master of Science in Education — Educational Administration degree can prepare you for the next step in your career — inside or outside the classroom. At the University of Wisconsin-Superior, you can choose from one of three tracks — Principalship, Director of Instruction, or Director of Special Education and Pupil Services — for a comprehensive program that meets your specific needs and works for your schedule.
Learn more about the UW-Superior online MSE Educational Administration program.