Education Director Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a career as an education director? Get real job duties, career prospects and salary info to see if becoming an education director is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming an Education Director

Education directors can work at any educational level to oversee the daily operations of an academic setting, which could include providing teachers with assistance in discipling students, managing the school's budget and meeting with parents. Take time to explore the following pros and cons to decide whether a career as an education director is right for you.

Pros of an Education Administrator Career
Pay is higher than average (median annual wage for all education levels ranged from $88,000-$90,000 in 2014)*
Work in a comfortable setting*
Some postsecondary institutions may hire entry-level candidates possessing a bachelor's degree*
Can be a rewarding profession*

Cons of an Education Administrator Career
Some positions require a master's degree*
Most employers require 4-10 years of work experience as a teacher or administrator*
Work full-time year round*
Stressful work*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Elementary, middle and high school principals typically lead teachers through daily operations by overseeing academic standards, disciplining students, meeting with parents and managing the school's budget and maintenance. Principals are often viewed as the figure heads of the schools they manage. Employment can be found in both public and private schools, and principals typically work year-round in preparation for the next school year.

At the postsecondary level, education administrators oversee and manage the academics, research and student services provided by a college or university. Administrators can work in admission, the registrar's office, student affairs or as an academic dean. Duties vary depending on the size of school and role. For instance, an academic dean is usually responsible for the activities of a specific college or school. Professionals also oversee faculty, develop academic policies and manage budgets. Employment can be found in technical and trade schools, community colleges, universities and colleges. Most professionals work year round, although hours may be reduced during the summer months in some cases.

Job Prospects and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), growth in this field will vary depending on the educational level you choose for your career. Education directors at the elementary and secondary levels can expect employment to increase by six percent from 2012-2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations. However, postsecondary education directors are predicted to experience a 15% increase in employment during that same time frame.

In May 2014, education directors at the elementary and secondary school levels earned a mean annual wage of about $92,000. Those in the bottom ten percent earned roughly $59,000, while the top ten percent earned around $129,000 annually. On the other hand, those working at the postsecondary level earned a mean annual wage of about $102,000 in May 2014. The tenth percentile earned an annual wage of roughly $50,000, and the 90th percentile of postsecondary education administrators earned around $174,000 that same year.

What Are the Requirements?

In most cases, elementary, middle and high school principals are required to possess a master's degree in either education administration or education leadership. It is common for these degree programs to require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as school counseling or education. Work experience as a teacher may also be required by employers. In some states, principals may be required to be licensed school administrators in order to work in the public school system. Private schools may not require a license.

Education directors at the postsecondary level may be able to find entry-level positions with only a bachelor's degree. In addition, some employers may not require a specific major. Still, the best job prospects are reserved for candidates who have either a master's or doctoral (Ph.D.) degree. For instance, the dean of a university may need a Ph.D. in a non-specific field of study. Furthermore, work experience as a professor or administrator is usually required.

What Employers Are Looking For

Necessary skills in this field include strong communication, decision-making, critical-thinking and leadership skills. Strong organizational and people skills are also beneficial. Here are examples of what real employers looked for during May 2012:

  • A postsecondary career training company based in Tennessee advertised for a dean or director of education with at least a bachelor's degree and a minimum of five years of relevant work experience in the management of public school or postsecondary school education; however, candidates with a master's or doctoral degree in education were preferred. Duties included developing academic policies, setting educational standards and working with accrediting agencies as a liaison officer.
  • A private-sector education company sought a candidate for a director of education position in Pennsylvania. Duties included managing academic operations, overseeing faculty, coordinating with the human resources department and participating in curriculum development. While a bachelor's degree was required with 4-7 years of relevant work experience, a master's degree was preferred.
  • A postsecondary school located in Tennessee posted a job listing for a director of education able to work with disabled students. Duties included teaching students in a classroom, managing staff, developing curricula and conducting program evaluations. This position required candidates with 10-15 years of teaching experience, as well as at least five years of experience in a managerial position. Candidates were also required to possess a master's degree in special education administration or education.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Advancement in this field is usually achieved through higher education or work experience. Principals may be able to advance to the roles of superintendents or instructional coordinators, while postsecondary education administrators can advance to the role of department head, college principal or dean. In order to advance, it would be beneficial to meet all licensure and certification requirements established by the state. These requirements vary by state.

Alternative Career Paths

High School Teacher

If you would rather teach than work as a principal, an alternative career as a secondary school teacher could be an option for you. High school teachers work closely with students to prepare them for college or the work force. A bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement, although public schools may require a higher degree. In addition, public schools require teachers to be certified and licensed by the state. You would most likely get summers off from work as well. According to the BLS, employment for high school teachers is expected to increase by seven percent from 2010-2020, which is slower than average. Still, growth in this field is based on enrollment, which is also increasing. In May 2011, the mean annual wage for a high school teacher was around $57,000.

Postsecondary Teacher

Another option for teaching would be to pursue a career as a postsecondary teacher. This career option would enable you to conduct research in your area of specialization, publish your findings and educate students on a flexible schedule. You would need to obtain at least a master's degree, although most schools prefer to hire instructors having a Ph.D. in their field. Employment is expected to increase by 17% from 2010-2020, according to the BLS. In May 2011, non-specific postsecondary teachers earned a mean annual wage greater than $74,000.

Administrative Service Manager

If you are not interested in working in education, you may prefer to work as an administrative service manager. This job would require you to plan, direct and coordinate services for an organization not affiliated with the education. Job duties are similar to those of an education director, such as maintaining facilities and budgets. According to the BLS, employment in this field is expected to grow by 15% from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the mean annual wage for administrative service managers was roughly $87,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Organizational Leadership
      • Doctor of Education in International Education
      • Ed.D. - Educational Leadership
      • PhD in Education - Higher Education Leadership
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Organizational Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Higher Education Leadership
      • M.Ed. - International Education
      • Master of Education in Educational Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Corporate Wellness
      • M.Ed. - Adult Learning and Workforce Education
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Instructional Leadership
      • Education Specialist - Educational Leadership
      • Education Specialist - Leadership in Higher Education
      • Education Specialist - Global Training and Development
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - E-Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Concordia University Portland

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Educational Technology Leadership
      • M.S. - Educational Leadership
      • Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership
      • M.S. - Curriculum & Instruction: Methods & Curriculum
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Private Sector Higher Education Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Education - Leadership in Educational Organizations
      • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Master of Education - Elementary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in Literacy
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
      • Ph.D in Literacy: Literacy
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
      • Master: Higher Education - Student Affairs
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Lewis University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in Organizational Leadership - Higher Education - Student Services
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Educational Leadership: Higher Education - MSEE (Master's)
      • Educational Leadership: K-12 - MSEE (Master's)

Featured Schools

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Organizational Leadership
  • M.Ed. - Organizational Leadership
  • Education Specialist - Instructional Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Concordia University Portland

  • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Educational Technology Leadership
  • M.S. - Educational Leadership
  • Master of Education - Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Private Sector Higher Education Leadership

Are you a US citizen?

American University

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master: Education - Leadership in Educational Organizations
  • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Education - Elementary Education

Are you a US citizen?

Saint John's University

  • Ph.D. in Literacy
  • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
  • Master: Higher Education - Student Affairs
  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)

Which subject are you interested in?