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Top Transitions From Teaching to Administration

From the Classroom to the Principal’s Office

Many teachers began their careers dreaming of making a difference in their students’ lives. After some time teaching, however, some feel they can make a bigger difference by assuming an administrative role. While most people think of administrators as principals or superintendents, there are other roles available to those looking to make the transition. Usually, the first step to becoming a school administrator is additional education. This could include professional development workshops, but many educational administration roles require a master’s degree in education. The following are some options for teachers hoping to become administrators.

Traditional Progression

For many teachers, the path to becoming a school administrator begins in the classroom, usually followed by earning a graduate degree in education while continuing to teach; teachers can accomplish this more easily today by earning a degree online instead of attending a brick-and-mortar institution. Following graduation, teachers commonly become vice principals, then principals, and possibly superintendents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for education administrators was $92,940 in 2015, which is higher than the median for classroom educators, offering an incentive for teachers who want to advance their careers. For many, however, the motivation is intrinsic; being an administrator gives a teacher the chance to work beyond his or her own classroom. Instead of working with only his or her own students, the teacher gets to help many more students achieve their goals.

Alternative Progression

For some teachers, becoming a school administrator does not mean becoming a principal or a superintendent. Shaping student learning as a curriculum administrator or testing coordinator is another option. These professionals help direct schools’ progress. Other administrative positions include teacher education coordination. Instead of teaching a classroom full of students, these professionals manage training and development for other educators. Many school districts also employ administrators charged with monitoring student performance or assisting online students who need additional guidance. Earning a master’s degree in education online can enhance teachers’ passions and help them find outlets in administration.

For teachers, classrooms are blank slates that shape young lives. For administrators, that slate includes entire buildings or districts. The steps to becoming a school administrator are straightforward, and they can make an important difference in an educator’s career. Earning an online master’s degree in education is a good first step; experience as a department head or as a teacher leader can be invaluable as well.

Learn more about the Columbus State online M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership degree program.


BLS Occupational Statistics: 11-9032 Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School

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