Education is the means by which society bestows its skills, knowledge and culture to new generations. On February 24, 2009, during his first State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined the importance of this transmission of ideas and values:

"In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity--it is a prerequisite. And yet, we have one of the highest high school dropout rates of any industrialized nation. And half of the students who begin college never finish. This is a prescription for economic decline."

The primary goal of education management and administration is the creation of new human capital through effective academic, vocational, and social training.

The most commonly recognized educational institutions are elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities. From kindergarten through a student's senior year of high school, the principal is the symbol of the school administration. Most school principals hold a master's or doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Ed.D.) in education administration or educational leadership, in addition to years of experience in both teaching and in administrative roles. Some private institutions which employ principals holding only a bachelor's degree, but this has become increasingly rare and such candidates generally possess significant experience in the education field. A principal's primary responsibilities include the setting of curriculums, the hiring of teachers, setting (and achieving) goals and the maintenance of the overall academic tone of their institution. Generally, both a principal's pay and job security are directly tied to the academic performance of the student body under his or her care.

Private and public colleges and universities also employ a large number of administrative managers. At for-profit institutions especially, managers with strong business skills are invaluable. Results-oriented, profit-motivated businesspeople can avoid the notoriously sycophantic elements of education administration.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a limited but growing number of jobs available outside of the traditional education structure, including (but not limited to); business educational programs, correctional institutions, museums, and job training and community service organizations.

Education Management and Administration Career Opportunities

Related Careers: Education Managers and Administrators

The field of education administration is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations, but excellent job opportunities are expected for qualified administrators as existing positions are vacated by retirement, industry change, and termination.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 445,400 working education administrators in 2008. There is an expected 8% growth rate over the next 10 years, anticipating the creation of 37,000 new jobs for a total of 482,500 positions by 2018.

Education administrators will experience an 8% occupational growth rate from 2008 to 2018, about the same as the 8.2% predicted expansion of the entire civilian workforce over the same time period.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Despite an average growth rate, career prospects are extremely good. Education administration is a high-stress career with an aging, well-pensioned workforce; a large number of retirements are expected in the next ten years. According to the Occupational Information Network, a project of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, there will be over 170,000 positions available to qualified education administrators from 2008 to 2018. That figure includes the BLS's predicted new jobs, AND existing positions vacated by retirement, career change, early termination, etc.

The advanced educational requirements of the field discourage many from pursuing it, and the pay is often less than that of other career paths with similar education and experience requirements.

Education Management and Administration Earnings

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the earnings of education administrators varied greatly by employer and employee education and experience.

According to the BLS, preschool and childcare administrators made an annual median of $39,940 in 2008. Elementary and high school administrators averaged $83,880, and post-secondary (college and university) administrators made $80,670.

Earnings for education administrators varied widely by education level in 2008.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Management and Administration Educational Benefits

Education administrators are generally required to have extensive post-secondary education, often at the master's or doctoral level.

Because of laws that require teachers to constantly continue their education, pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in conjunction with full time employment is not only possible, but common.

To pursue a career in education administration in America's public school system, a master's or doctorate degree in education administration or management is often mandatory. A vast majority of private institutions also require administrators to possess relevant graduate degrees. Teaching professionals are required by law to engage in continued education in order to maintain education licenses.

Education Administration is an exclusive field and vast majority of promotions are made from within. A newcomer to the career path will start at the bottom and work their way up the administrative chain of command by displaying leadership, ingenuity, and responsibility.

Education administration can be a very rewarding career path. Through their work, educators and education administrators positively impact the lives of others. Educators and education administrators also frequently receive generous health benefits, 4 to 5 weeks of vacation each year, solid pension plans, and assistance defraying the costs of further education for themselves and their families.

Education Management and Administration Programs Online

Degrees Possible: Master's and Doctoral Degrees

There are a number of graduate degrees available online in the field of education administration. This is largely because of the requirements placed on educators to continuously further their own education. Online programs are not only offered by online colleges and universities, but also well known traditional institutions. Because of this, finding accredited institutions offering online programs is not difficult, but always double-check. State laws are quite specific about their requirements of educators and the institution's advisor should have that information on hand.

When looking for an online program, make sure that certification is available upon completion. This is doubly important for teachers because they will want their credit hours to count toward their required continuing education. If in doubt, do not be afraid to contact an advisor and ask questions about the program, the certifications made available and the internship opportunities included in it.

Education Management and Administration Skills and Abilities

As in most management and leadership positions, an education administrator must be able to wear many hats. Education administrators must command the respect and trust of subordinates and superiors and be equipped to assume responsibility for any problem that may arise. Administrators must be willing to work long hours, make unpopular decisions and remain accessible to students, teachers, parents and other administrators.

In addition to monitoring curriculums, supervising the hiring process, managing workplace politics, continuing their own education and keeping up with paperwork, an education administrator must remain visible to the larger school community. The administrator's presence in the classroom, cafeteria, and at extracurricular events heightens rapport with students, teachers and parents.

Education Management and Administration Qualifications and Advancement

Completion of a master's or doctoral program alone will not necessarily provide sufficient qualification. For many positions, classroom teaching experience is also necessary.

Requirements for entry-level positions with private, religious and for-profit education providers are generally not as stringent as requirements in public education.  A bachelor's degree and strong work experience may qualify candidates for many such positions.