Explore your career as an education administrator

December 05, 2017 · 4 min read · By ASU Online
Few professions offer as holistic a working experience in education as an education administrator. Learn more about this career and how to get an online M.Ed. degree.

Successful businesses are, in part, due to the quality of their leadership. This is also true in the education realm, as administrators are responsible for overseeing all aspects of learning initiatives at the core of young children’s education and growth. Does this type of career path sound interesting to you? Do you want to explore management roles within the early childhood education industry? If so, a career in education administration may be right for you.

As an education administrator, you could work with children, parents and the staff to foster a holistic learning environment. You ensure staff comply with state and federal child care laws, serve as the point of contact for all employees and parents, promote the school to boost enrollments, act as problem-solver and mediator when behavioral issues arise, process paperwork and manage the budget.

With a combination of business responsibilities and working with young children, it’s important for education administrators to have an educational background that fully prepares them for the responsibilities of the position.

Beyond experience working with young children, having a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction (early childhood education) can be advantageous when applying for education administrator positions. The online Master of Education program at ASU Online focuses on equipping students with the specialized skills and advanced knowledge to excel in both teaching and building programs for young children. This ASU Online program is part of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, which is full of industry-leading faculty with experience in all facets of early childhood education. Professors educate students on a wide range of subjects, including early childhood pedagogy, community collaboration, technology administration and much more.

Administrator talks with staff member in office,
An education administrator talks with a staff member in his office.

A typical day for an education administrator

Overseeing the entire operation of a preschool or child care center makes for a busy day regardless of specific tasks. While day-to-day responsibilities can vary, most of your time can be spent interacting with the children, their parents, teachers and additional staff.

How involved you are with planning academic and non-academic activities depend on your personal management style, but it will most likely be your responsibility to direct and coordinate all the daily activities happening throughout your facility. However, your overarching responsibility is to provide a safe and productive environment for your students.

Additional duties include going over budgets, policies and programs while responding to questions from parents or prospective families. You are also responsible for overseeing your staff and the daily schedule.


A closer look at the professional landscape of education administrators

Education administrator is a category that included several potential job titles, including:

  • Child care center administrator.
  • Head Start director.
  • Preschool director.

These roles have similar responsibilities and usually require both a master’s degree and teaching experience. In which states are many education administrators employed? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top states for employment are California, Maryland, Illinois, Minnesota and New York. Naturally, many are concentrated in more metropolitan areas, as there are typically more organizations and employment opportunities in these geographic locations.

The bureau reported that the average salary for an education administrator is $52,000, and job growth from 2014 to 2024 is on par with the average for all professions at 7 percent. This is due in part to the continued focus on early childhood education, which has led to an increase in demand for preschools and child care centers.

Becoming an education administrator

To be considered a viable candidate for education administrator positions, it can be important to have previous experience teaching at the preschool level. It’s common, although not necessarily required, for education administrators to have a master’s degree similar to the Master of Education in curriculum and instruction. Additionally, you may also be required to attain a state-mandated license to be a preschool director.

In conjunction with the right level of education, there are certain skills you may want to develop to help support your success as an education administrator. These include both those related to business management and those connected to working with people.

Strong interpersonal skills, good communication, excellent problem-solving ability and strength as a leader all influence how you interact and work with others, including your faculty and your students’ parents. Utilizing these skills can help make your institution a productive and fun working environment where faculty are able to focus on the children's learning while having fun themselves. Patience also comes in handy when working with young children and their parents.

On the business side, it’s important to have strong management skills. Budgetary management, operations management, decision-making and organization also affect a preschool or child care center’s operations.


Learn more about your potential career as an education administrator

Deciding to go a step above teaching in your career in early childhood education gives you the opportunity to manage the environment where young children get their first taste of learning. It combines children and education with business and management — a tall order of skills and responsibilities. No matter which career in early childhood education feels right to you, you can learn more about expanding your qualifications through the online Master of Education in curriculum and instruction (early childhood education) program from Arizona State University.


Administrator looks at tablet with faculty.
An education administrator looks at a tablet with fellow faculty members. 


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