Elementary And Secondary School Administrators picture    Elementary And Secondary School Administrators image

Elementary and Secondary School Administrators

Elementary and secondary school administrators oversee the daily activities in schools and provide instructional leadership. They're also known as principals. They establish educational standards and goals and set the policies and procedures that are necessary to achieve them. Elementary and secondary school administrators create academic programs, observe the educational progress of students and provide motivation to teachers and other school personnel.

Students meeting local and state academic requirements is a major objective of school principals. Part of the job includes preparing budgets and overseeing record keeping. They also oversee teachers, support staff, counselors, librarians and other personnel.

When the school has inadequate resources, school principals become advocates for school repairs and other issues. Due to the tightening of school budgets, some principals are involved with fundraising activities with the community and local businesses.

Some principals, with the assistance from community organizations, have developed programs to deal with drug and alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and crime. During the summer, principals typically spend some time with tasks such as making plans for the next year, managing summer school and supervising building improvements and repairs.


  • Deal with parents and the community
  • Collaborate with teachers to set and maintain curriculum standards
  • Hire and evaluate teachers and other personnel
  • Set performance goals
  • Answer staffs' questions about procedures
  • Observe teaching methods in classrooms
  • Develop budgets
  • Examine learning materials
  • Prepare reports

Job Characteristics

Many elementary and secondary school administrators find working with students very rewarding. However, dealing with difficult children can be challenging. In addition, elementary and secondary school principals may have to attend after-school functions.

Due to spending time interacting with teachers, students and parents, good communication, interpersonal and motivational skills are important for the occupation. Having a solid foundation in leadership principles and practices is beneficial.

Employment Outlook

Employment of elementary and secondary school education administrators has been projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 9 percent from 2008 to 2018 which is about as fast as average for all occupations. Employment opportunities may vary by regions of the country.

In 2008 the median annual wage for elementary and secondary school administrators was $83,880. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $124,250. The salary of education administrators often depends on several factors such as the location and enrollment level of the school or the school district.

School principals may move up into superintendent jobs. Superintendents have opportunities to take jobs in larger school districts or in the state or federal government.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Typically, public school principals begin their careers as teachers. Some teachers go directly into a principal job, however some teachers first become assistant principals or acquire experience in administrative positions at the school or district level.

Usually, a master's degree in education administration or educational leadership is required for a school principal job. A number of school principals have earned a doctorate or a specialized degree in education administration. In private schools, the majority of principals have achieved a master's or a doctoral degree, however some private school principals have only a bachelor's degree.

Education administration degree programs typically provide courses in school leadership, school law, school finance and budgeting, research design and data analysis, curriculum development and evaluation, community relations and other subjects.

In most states principals are required to be licensed as school administrators. License requirements vary by state, however a master's degree or some other type of graduate level training is required by nearly all the states. In some states it's necessary for candidates for licensure to pass a test. In some states administrators must take continuing education courses in order to keep their license. Principals that work in private schools are not subject to state licensure requirements.


Major Employers

The major employers are public schools and private schools.

Schools for Elementary And Secondary School Administrators are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Elementary and Secondary School Administrators

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Elementary and Secondary School Administrators jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 6,650 $86,450
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 5,820 $115,680
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 5,310 $86,170
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell 4,570 $95,310
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 2,880 $101,120
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 2,870 $77,380
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 2,520 $116,920
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 2,400 $97,000
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 2,360 $114,330
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 2,330 $90,790

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to school administrators

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Elementary and Secondary School Administrators

To find out more about building a career as School Administrators, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Elementary and Secondary School Administrators

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Education 215,700 98% $83,910
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Elementary and Secondary School Administrators.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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