Education Supervisor Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
What are the pros and cons of a career in education supervision? Get real job descriptions, career prospect information and salary info to see if becoming an education supervisor is right for you.
View available schools

The Pros and Cons of a Career as an Education Supervisor

Educational supervisors may often be referred to as school administrators and work as principals or assistant principals, though other jobs opportunities include postsecondary administrators and superintendents. Find out the pros and cons of becoming an educational supervisor to decide if it's the right career for you.

PROS of a Being an Educational Supervisor
Can work in various geographical settings*
Generous retirement and health plans*
Extended vacations*
Opportunity to positively impact the education of many students

CONS of Being an Educational Supervisor
Requires additional education and training beyond a bachelor's degree*
Licensing often requires the completion of internship hours and an examination*
Long work hours during the school year*
Increased accountability demands may lead to high levels of stress*

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

Job Description

Education supervisors can work in all levels of schooling. Most commonly, education supervisors work as principals or assistant principals in elementary and secondary schools. These professionals are charged with leading the school to meet accountability standards set by local, state and national government agencies. Principals and assistant principals supervise teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff, such as secretaries, bookkeepers and custodial workers. Their responsibilities can also include budgeting, designing or implementing curriculum or programs, planning school events and evaluating teachers.

Superintendents oversee school principals and work collaboratively with other district administrative personnel. They often work closely with school boards and may interact with elected officials. The duties of postsecondary administrators can vary depending on which branch of a university they work for. These can include positions that academic-based, such as research, or more geared toward the business end, like admissions.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for elementary, middle and high school principals were expected to increase six percent from 2012-2022. The projected growth varies by state and region. The anticipated employment outlook for postsecondary administrators is expected to be higher, around 15% for the same time period. In May 2013, the BLS reported that postsecondary administrators earned a median wage of $87,410 annually while primary and secondary administrators earned $88,380.

What Are the Requirements?

Education

According to the BLS, most education supervisors will need to complete master's degree.

Licensure

Licensing may require passing an administrator's exam and the completion of a certain amount of internship hours. Specific requirements depend largely upon the education supervisor's state of residence and his/her employer's guidelines.

Skills

Education supervisors need to be self-disciplined and skilled in working with others. The following skills may be helpful in this career:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Innovative and creative problem solving
  • Ability to work with team members
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Desire to improve the educational experience of students

What Employers Are Looking for

Following are some education supervisor job postings to give you an idea of the skills and experience employers were looking for in March 2012:

  • A public school system in Ohio is looking for an elementary principal. Applicants must have a valid Ohio Principal's Certificate, the minimum of a master's degree and at least three years of successful teaching experience. Preferably, applicants should also have two years' experience in some supervisory position. Additionally, desirable candidates should possess excellent leadership skills and possess knowledge related to effective instructional programs and strategies.
  • A public middle school near Colorado is seeking a licensed middle school principal with a master's degree and at least five years of teaching and/or administrative experience. Required skills include extensive curriculum knowledge, excellent oral communication and interpersonal skills.
  • An elementary school in Massachusetts is looking for a motivated instructional leader. Applicants should have a desire to help prepare elementary students to become productive citizens and lifelong learners. To be considered, applicants much submit three recommendation letters and possess proper certification.
  • A high school in Virginia is seeking a principal to provide both instructional and administrative leadership. Qualified applicants must possess a professional educator's license with an administration endorsement. Applicants should be prepared to submit college transcripts, administrative certificate and three recommendation letters.

How to Stand Out in the Field

The education supervisor career field can be fairly competitive, especially in smaller towns and cities with fewer schools. Education administrators can stand out among other applicants by exceeding general education requirements. Because of the growing Spanish-speaking population, proficiency in Spanish may be beneficial. Advanced educational training, such as a doctoral degree in educational administration, can also help.

Other Careers to Consider

School Counselor

If you want to work closely with students and teachers to solve problems affecting the learning process, you may want to pursue a career in school counseling. School counselors typically need a master's degree in educational counseling and a state-issued school counselor's license. In May 2011, the BLS reported that school counselors earned a median annual salary of about $54,000. The BLS reported that school counselors were expected to see an employment growth of 19% from 2010-2020.

Instructional Coordinator

If you are more interested in curriculum development and implementation, rather than in the day-to-day operations of a school, you may want to pursue a career as an instructional coordinator or curriculum specialist. These professionals typically need at least a master's degree in an educational field and either a teaching or administrative license. The BLS states that jobs for instructional coordinators are expected to increase by 20% from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS indicated that instructional coordinators earned a median annual salary of more than $59,000.

Teaching

If you would rather work directly with children each day, then you may want to consider teaching as opposed to educational supervision. There are several paths to becoming a teacher, but all require a bachelor's degree. Teachers can choose specialty areas, such as English as a second language, gifted education and special education. The BLS indicates that employment outlook varies by grade-level. Elementary teachers are expected to see an employment increase of 17% from 2010-2020, while high school teachers will only see 7% growth in that period. In May 2010, the BLS reported that high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $54,000, while elementary school teachers earned $53,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. 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
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
      • PhD in Education - Educational Leadership
      • Ed.D. - Instructional Leadership
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • M.Ed. - General Education
      • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
      • Master of Education in Educational Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Corporate Wellness
    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
    5. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

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

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    7. University of the Southwest

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSEd: Educational Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

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

Featured Schools

American University

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

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?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
  • Education Specialist - Instructional Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management - Private Sector Higher Education Leadership

Are you a US citizen?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership

What is your highest level of education completed?

University of the Southwest

  • MSEd: Educational Admin

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology

What is your highest level of education completed?