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Nature of the Work
(D.O.T. 075.117-010, -018, -030; 090.117 except - 034, .167; 091.107; 092.167; 094.117-010, .167-014; 096.167; 097.167; 099.117 except -022, .167-034; 100.117-010; 169.267-022; 239.137-010)
* Most jobs require experience in a related occupation, such as teacher or admissions counselor, and a master's or doctoral degree.
* Competition will be keen for jobs in higher education, but will be much less intense for jobs at the elementary and secondary school level.
Smooth operation of an educational institution requires competent administrators. Education administrators provide direction, leadership, and day-to-day management of educational activities in schools, colleges and universities, businesses, correctional institutions, museums, and job training and community service organizations. (College presidents and school superintendents are covered in the Handbook statement on general managers and top executives.) Education administrators set educational standards and goals and establish the policies and procedures to carry them out. They develop academic programs; monitor students' educational progress; train and motivate teachers and other staff; manage guidance and other student services; administer recordkeeping; prepare budgets; handle relations with parents, prospective and current students, employers, and the community; and perform many other duties.
Education administrators also supervise managers, support staff, teachers, counselors, librarians, coaches, and others. In an organization such as a small daycare center, one administrator may handle all these functions. In universities or large school systems, responsibilities are divided among many administrators, each with a specific function.
Those who manage elementary and secondary schools are called principals. They set the academic tone, hire teachers and other staff, help them improve their skills, and evaluate them. Principals confer with staffadvising, explaining, or answering procedural questions. They visit classrooms, observe teaching methods, review instructional objectives, and examine learning materials. They actively work with teachers to develop and maintain high curriculum standards, develop mission statements, and set performance goals and objectives. Principals must ensure they use clear, objective guidelines for teacher appraisals, since pay is often based on performance ratings.
Principals also meet and interact with other administrators, students, parents, and representatives of community organizations. Decision-making authority has shifted from school district central offices to individual schools. Thus, parents, teachers, and other members of the community play an important role in setting school policies and goals. Principals must pay attention to the concerns of these groups when making administrative decisions.
Budgets and reports on various subjects, including finances and attendance, are prepared by principals, who also oversee the requisitioning and allocation of supplies. As school budgets become tighter, many principals are more involved in public relations and fund raising to secure financial support for their schools from local businesses and the community.
Principals must take an active role to ensure that students meet national academic standards. Many principals develop school/ business partnerships and school-to-work transition programs for students. Increasingly, principals must be sensitive to the needs of the rising number of non-English speaking and culturally diverse students. Growing enrollments, which are leading to overcrowding at many existing schools, are also a cause for concern. When addressing problems of inadequate available resources, administrators serve as advocates to build new schools or repair existing ones.
Schools continue to be involved with students' emotional welfare as well as their academic achievement. As a result, principals face responsibilities outside the academic realm. For example, in response to the growing number of dual-income and single-parent families and teenage parents, schools have established before- and after-school child-care programs or family resource centers, which also may offer parenting classes and social service referrals. With the help of community organizations, some principals have established programs to combat the increase in crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexually transmitted disease among students.
Assistant principals aid the principal in the overall administration of the school. Some assistant principals hold this position for several years to prepare for advancement to principal; others are career assistant principals. Depending on the number of students, the number of assistant principals a school employs may vary. They are responsible for programming student classes, ordering textbooks and supplies, and coordinating transportation, custodial, cafeteria, and other support services. They usually handle discipline, attendance, social and recreational programs, and health and safety. They also may counsel students on personal, educational, or vocational matters. With site-based management, assistant principals play a greater role in developing curriculum, evaluating teachers, and school-community relations, responsibilities previously assumed solely by the principal.
Administrators in school district central offices manage public schools under their jurisdiction. This group includes those who direct subject area programs such as English, music, vocational education, special education, and mathematics. They plan, evaluate, standardize, and improve curriculums and teaching techniques, and help teachers improve their skills and learn about new methods and materials. They oversee career counseling programs, and testing which measures students' abilities and helps place them in appropriate classes. Central office administrators also include directors of programs such as guidance, school psychology, athletics, curriculum and instruction, and professional development. With site-based management, principals and assistant principals, along with teachers and other staff, have primary responsibility for many of these programs in their individual schools.
In colleges and universities, academic deans, deans of faculty, provosts, and university deans assist presidents and develop budgets and academic policies and programs. They direct and coordinate activities of deans of individual colleges and chairpersons of academic departments.
College or university department heads or chairpersons are in charge of departments such as English, biological science, or mathematics. In addition to teaching, they coordinate schedules of classes and teaching assignments; propose budgets; recruit, interview, and hire applicants for teaching positions; evaluate faculty members; encourage faculty development; and perform other administrative duties. In overseeing their departments, chairpersons must consider and balance the concerns of faculty, administrators, and students.
Higher education administrators also provide student services. Vice presidents of student affairs or student life, deans of students, and directors of student services may direct and coordinate admissions, foreign student services, health and counseling services, career services, financial aid, and housing and residential life, as well as social, recreational, and related programs. In small colleges, they may counsel students. Registrars are custodians of students' records. They register students, prepare student transcripts, evaluate academic records, assess and collect tuition and fees, plan and implement commencement, oversee the preparation of college catalogs and schedules of classes, and analyze enrollment and demographic statistics. Directors of admissions manage the process of recruiting, evaluating, and admitting students, and work closely with financial aid directors, who oversee scholarship, fellowship, and loan programs. Registrars and admissions officers must adapt to technological innovations in student information systems. For example, for those whose institutions present informationsuch as college catalogs and scheduleson the Internet, knowledge of on-line resources, imaging, and other computer skills is important. Directors of student activities plan and arrange social, cultural, and recreational activities, assist student-run organizations, and may orient new students. Athletic directors plan and direct intramural and intercollegiate athletic activities, including publicity for athletic events, preparation of budgets, and supervision of coaches.
Education administrators hold management positions with significant responsibility. Coordinating and interacting with faculty, parents, and students can be fast-paced and stimulating, but also stressful and demanding. Some jobs include travel. Principals and assistant principals whose main duty often is discipline may find working with difficult students frustrating, but challenging. The number of school-age children is rising, and some school systems have hired assistant principals when a school's population increased significantly. In other school systems, principals may manage larger student bodies, which can also be stressful.
Most education administrators work more than 40 hours a week, including many nights and weekends when they oversee school activities. Many administrators work 10 or 11 months a year while others work year round.
Education administrators held about 386,000 jobs in 1996. About 9 out of 10 were in educational servicesin elementary, secondary, and technical schools and colleges and universities. The rest worked in child daycare centers, religious organizations, job training centers, State departments of education, and businesses and other organizations that provide training for their employees.
Most education administrators begin their careers in related occupations, and prepare for a job in education administration by completing a master's or doctoral degree. Because of the diversity of duties and levels of responsibility, their educational backgrounds and experience vary considerably. Principals, assistant principals, central office administrators, and academic deans usually have held teaching positions before moving into administration. Some teachers move directly into principal positions; others first become assistant principals, or gain experience in other central office administrative jobs at either the school or district level in positions such as department head, curriculum specialist, or subject matter advisor. In some cases, administrators move up from related staff jobs such as recruiter, guidance counselor, librarian, residence hall director, or financial aid or admissions counselor.
To be considered for education administrator positions, workers must first prove themselves in their current jobs. In evaluating candidates, supervisors look for determination, confidence, innovativeness, motivation, leadership, and managerial attributes, such as ability to make sound decisions and organize and coordinate work efficiently. Since much of an administrator's job involves interacting with others, from students to parents to teachers, they must have strong interpersonal skills and be effective communicators and motivators. Knowledge of management principles and practices, gained through work experience and formal education, is important.
In most public schools, principals, assistant principals, and school administrators in central offices need a master's degree in education administration or educational supervision. Some principals and central office administrators have a doctorate or specialized degree in education administration. Most States require principals to be licensed as school administrators. Requirements for licensure vary by State. National standards for school leaders, including principals and supervisors, were recently developed by the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium. States may use these national standards as guidelines for licensure requirements, or for activities such as mentoring, professional development, or accreditation of training programs. In private schools, which are not subject to State certification requirements, some principals and assistant principals hold only a bachelor's degree; however, the majority have a master's or doctoral degree.
Academic deans and chairpersons usually have a doctorate in their specialty. Most have held a professorship in their department before advancing. Admissions, student affairs, and financial aid directors and registrars sometimes start in related staff jobs with bachelor's degreesany field usually is acceptableand obtain advanced degrees in college student affairs or higher education administration. A Ph.D. or Ed.D. usually is necessary for top student affairs positions. Computer literacy and a background in mathematics or statistics may be assets in admissions, records, and financial work.
Advanced degrees in higher education administration, educational supervision, and college student affairs are offered in many colleges and universities. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits programs. Education administration degree programs include courses in school management, school law, school finance and budgeting, curriculum development and evaluation, research design and data analysis, community relations, politics in education, counseling, and leadership. Educational supervision degree programs include courses in supervision of instruction and curriculum, human relations, curriculum development, research, and advanced pedagogy courses.
Education administrators advance by moving up an administrative ladder or transferring to larger schools or systems. They also may become superintendent of a school system or president of an educational institution.
Substantial competition is expected for prestigious jobs as higher education administrators. Many faculty and other staff meet the education and experience requirements for these jobs, and seek promotion. However, the number of openings is relatively small; only the most highly qualified are selected. Candidates who have the most formal education and who are willing to relocate should have the best job prospects.
On the other hand, it is becoming more difficult to attract candidates for principal, vice principal, and administration jobs at the elementary and secondary school levelcompetition for these jobs is declining. Many teachers no longer have an incentive to move into these positions since the pay is not significantly higher and does not compensate for the added workload and responsibility of the position. Also, site-based management has given teachers more decision-making responsibility in recent years, possibly satisfying their desire to move into administration.
Employment of education administrators is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations over the 1996-2006 period. However, most job openings will result from the need to replace administrators who retire or transfer to other occupations.
School enrollments at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level are all expected to grow over the projection period. Rather than opening new schools, many existing school populations will expand, spurring demand for assistant principals to help with the increased workload. Employment of education administrators will also grow as more services are provided to students and as efforts to improve the quality of education continue.
However, budget constraints are expected to moderate growth in this profession. At the postsecondary level, some institutions have been reducing administrative staffs to contain costs. Some colleges are consolidating administrative jobs and contracting with other providers for some administrative functions.
Salaries of education administrators vary according to position, level of responsibility and experience, and the size and location of the institution. Generally, principals employed in public schools earn higher salaries than those in private schools.
According to a survey of public schools, conducted by the Educational Research Service, average salaries for principals and assistant principals in the 1996-97 school year were as follows:
Principals: Elementary school $62,900 Junior high/middle school 66,900 Senior high school 72,400 Assistant principals: Elementary school $52,300 Junior high/middle school 56,500 Senior high school 59,700 Directors, managers, coordinators, and supervisors of instructional services 70,800
In 1995-96, according to the College and University Personnel Association, median annual salaries for selected administrators in higher education were as follows:
Academic deans: Medicine $201,200 Law 141,400 Engineering 112,800 Arts and sciences 82,500 Business 81,700 Education 80,000 Social sciences 61,800 Mathematics 59,900 Student services directors: Admissions and registrar $50,700 Student financial aid 45,400 Student activities 34,500
Education administrators apply organizational and leadership skills to provide services to individuals. Workers in related occupations include health services administrators, social service agency administrators, recreation and park managers, museum directors, library directors, and professional and membership organization executives. Since principals and assistant principals generally have extensive teaching experience, their backgrounds are similar to those of teachers and many school counselors.
For information on elementary and secondary school principals, assistant principals, and central office administrators, contact:
American Federation of School Administrators, 1729 21st St. NW., Washington, DC 20009.
American Association of School Administrators, 1801 North Moore St., Arlington, VA 22209.
For information on elementary school principals and assistant principals, contact:
The National Association of Elementary School Principals, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314-3483.
For information on secondary school principals and assistant principals, contact:
The National Association of Secondary School Principals, 1904 Association Dr., Reston, VA 20191.
For information on college student affairs administrators, contact:
National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW., Suite 418, Washington, DC 20009-5728.
For information on collegiate registrars and admissions officers, contact:
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, One Dupont Circle NW., Suite 330, Washington, DC 20036-1171.
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