The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that careers in education will grow 7% between 2021 and 2031, with higher-than-average median earnings of $57,220. Children and adults will always need educational support, and strong educational institutions can build better worlds. This means that a job in educational leadership will always offer significant security.
But the hard figures on this job only tell half the story. Education is more than just a career. It’s a calling that can transform lives and change the world. However, a school is only as good as its leadership. As such, colleges and schools demand good teachers. Strong leaders implement policies that support teachers and students, promote diversity and inclusion and ensure an institution supports all learners.
A Master of Arts in Educational Leadership can supercharge your career, equipping you with the skills you need to become an administrator and providing you with a comprehensive lens through which to view education and educational systems. You’ll master the art and science of leadership while prioritizing student needs. You may also earn more money and unlock career doors.
Think this career path might be the one for you? Here are six frequently asked questions about our educational leadership degree program:
1. What is educational leadership?
Educational leadership includes a range of jobs in educational administration. The specific duties vary depending on the type of institution in which you work. This also includes roles in government or nonprofits. For example, you might run the curriculum for an educational nonprofit or help a government design educational standards for local school systems.
If you work in a school or school system, your roles might include:
- Managing teachers and other educational professionals, including hiring, firing, recruiting and training.
- Setting institutional policies and ensuring compliance with those policies.
- Ensuring compliance with state, local and federal regulations, as well as any relevant institutional charters and rules.
- Developing curricula for a school, classroom or level.
- Helping a school manage a major transition, such as to a new curriculum or leadership team.
- Leading a school as a principal, head of school or assistant principal.
- Working with leaders at other schools to support and educate one another.
- Attending seminars to learn about and develop policies that might improve your institution.
- Future planning, including for school expansions, closures and other changes.
2. What are some of the biggest challenges right now in educational leadership?
Emerging data paints a grim picture of the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students, especially the most vulnerable, lost learning and key skills. Others are falling behind socially and emotionally, struggling to adapt to school for the first time or manage a return to school after a year or more away.
Schools must find ways to adapt to and accommodate the challenges students face in a post-pandemic world while preparing for the next potential crisis. Many institutions are increasingly digitizing learning, and getting this right can prove challenging. Some other challenges facing educational leaders include:
- Diversion, equity and inclusion (DEI): How can schools build more ambitious DEI plans that embrace all learners and cater to the largest possible group of students?
- Changing educational norms: As more people look to nontraditional schools, half-day schools, unschooling and online schools, institutions must find a way to adapt to shifting needs.
- Political pressures: Public schools face political pressures. Administrators must manage these challenges while still offering a well-designed curriculum.
3. What does a career path look like for educational leadership?
One of the biggest draws of a degree in educational leadership is that it widens career opportunities rather than limiting them. There is no single leadership path in education. Some common roles include:
- Administration: Principal, vice principal, level coordinator or superintendent
- Politics: Superintendent, educational roles in government
- Nonprofit work: Educational coordinators or advocates for nonprofits
- Founding schools: Starting a new or nontraditional school
- Consulting: Advising educational institutions on best practices
Some people use their educational training to pivot to another role. You might run for school board or local elected office on an educational platform. Or you might start an educational technology company that leans heavily on your expertise and education.
No matter where you hope to go, your options are limited without the right education, especially if you hope to ascend to a leadership position. Any educator hoping to climb the career ladder may benefit from an educational leadership program.
4. What does a typical day look like?
Unlike other degrees, an educational leadership master’s or doctoral program prepares you for various roles rather than a single career path. That means there is no typical day. You chart your course and choose a role that best suits your talents and working preferences. This is one of the biggest draws of this training; it opens doors to different working environments.
You might work in a school office. You could oversee a classroom or visit many classrooms or schools during the day. You could work in a government office or from home as a consultant. You might visit with students and teachers daily as principal, or partner with parents to advocate for their students. Throughout your career, you could even do all of the above. You’ll likely work with students, teachers, parents and other administrators in your day-to-day activities.
5. What makes someone a good fit for a career in educational leadership?
People who make exceptional educational leaders understand the value of a good education and usually have been educators themselves. They know how hard it is to be a teacher and respect the needs of students and parents alike. Some especially important attributes include:
- Servant leadership: You should pursue leadership because you care about students and want to improve the world, not because you want power or to feed your ego.
- Humility and listening skills: Can you accept criticism and feedback? Can you listen to students about their needs? Are you willing to continue learning and evolving for the rest of your career?
- Communication skills: Do you value good, kind and direct communication?
- Management skills: Do you want to see others thrive in a collaborative environment? Do you like the idea of coaching people to realize their full potential? If you don’t have these skills, do you want to work on them?
- Commitment to education: Do you like working in educational institutions? Do you find the art and science of education interesting and compelling?
6. How can I choose the right school for a degree in educational leadership?
Don’t just choose the first school you find. A good educational leadership program is student-centered, offering a rigorous and challenging program in an environment that nurtures you to achieve your full potential. Here are some questions to ask when comparing programs:
- How does the program support adult learners? Will I have access to online learning or night classes?
- How does the program help me prepare for my career? Is there a cohort model through which I can build my professional network?
- Is this program regionally accredited?
- What is the school’s reputation?
- Do education experts teach classes?
- What is the application timeline, and how long will it take me to enroll in school?
- How long will it take me to graduate?
- What is the employment rate after graduation?
- What sort of financial aid support does the school offer?
Whether you’re ready to start today or just exploring options for a brighter tomorrow, our “Educational Leadership Career Planner” can help you plan the next chapter. Download it today!