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Top 5 Jobs in Administration

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Question:
I am a teacher and have been thinking about earning a master's degree in administration. I know I want to eventually move out of the classroom, but I don't think that I want to be a principal. Can you tell me about some other administration jobs? Thanks, Julie

Answer:
Dear Julie,

After years of teaching, many educators reach a point where they feel ready to advance their careers and step outside of the classroom, but want to stay in the field of education. Moving into a job in administration can be a very smooth transition after spending years as a teacher. Teachers already somewhat know what it takes to make a school run and are often familiar with the different systems within a school. Administrative positions are also attractive because the salary is often much more lucrative than a teacher's salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary and secondary school administrators earned a median annual wage of $85,220 annually in 2008.

1. Department Head

A department head might be a perfect position for someone who feels very passionate about one particular subject or has much experience teaching just one subject. The former teacher turned department head would have much expertise to offer the teachers who are under her direction since she has previously walked in their shoes. Additionally, knowing the program and curriculum very well right off the bat gives a department head a great advantage. Keep in mind that department heads are typically only present in middle or high schools so if you hope to work in an elementary school, this may not be the position for you.

2. Assistant Principal
I know you stated that you weren't sure a principal job was for you, but perhaps an assistant principal is something to consider. Many of the duties of an assistant principal are similar to the principal's, however, as an assistant principal you have a mentor (your principal) to guide you through your job. Many assistant principals spend a few years in this position and then go on to become principal. They often feel much more confident becoming principal after years of practice as the assistant principal. You can look at it as a little bit like student teaching, only in administration, and with a much higher salary.

3. Director of Business and Finance or Director of Development
Do you consider math to be your strength? Perhaps you would be best at a job in the business or development office. These positions are a very important part of a school's success. They often involve managing the different components of a school's budget, setting up and organizing fundraisers, or seeking outside sources like grants or donors to help the development of a school. A director of business or development must have strong organizational and communication skills.

4. Dean of Students
Some teachers have very strong classroom management skills, in which case might be successful transitioning to a job as the dean of students. While the job description of a dean of students can vary depending on the institution, they are often the primary administrator called upon to deal with discipline or truancy problems inside of a school.

5. Curriculum & Instruction Specialist
A curriculum and instruction specialist can be responsible for a number of tasks within a school. They often provide professional development or perform model lessons for the teachers, can conduct classroom observations and give feedback to educators, may be asked to attend parent meetings about curriculum, and frequently revise or write curriculum in several different academic areas. If working closely with the teachers sounds appealing to you, a job as a curriculum and instruction specialist may be ideal for you.

With the wide range of positions in administration, it is likely that you will find a career that is right for you. Best of luck!

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