As communities grow, so does the demand for assistant principals, principals, and other administrators to manage staff, supervise departments, and develop curricula. The leadership positions often require graduate degrees and specialized certification, but have the advantage of higher earnings potential than other faculty positions such as teachers, librarians, and coaches. And the job outlook for these school leaders is strong — 8 percent growth between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Employment Projections for School Administrators

There were 251,300 principals working in the United States in 2016, according to the BLS, and that number is projected to increase. The median pay for principals in 2017 was $94,390 per year, according to the same report. The average pay for school administrators (private and charter schools included) in 2018 was $64,022 according to online salary resource PayScale. School district growth generally follows population growth, meaning states with fast-growing populations such as Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Nevada stand to see a significant number of new administrators hired over the next several years.

In a 2018 report, the BLS noted, “There are a limited number of principal positions available per school. If student enrollment increases, more schools will open, which could increase demand. Conversely, stagnant or decreasing student enrollment may reduce the demand for principals.”

“Employment growth of school principals will also depend on state and local budgets,” the report continued. “Budget constraints may delay the building or opening of new schools. In addition, some school districts may consolidate and close some schools within their districts, thereby limiting employment growth. However, if there is a budget surplus, school districts may open more schools which could lead to an employment growth.”

For anyone interested in educational administration programs, the timing is excellent, according to All Education Schools, an online education job resource.

“Large numbers of current education administrators are likely to retire within the next decade, leaving a favorable job environment for prospective leaders,” the article said. “Administrators may enjoy a better outlook than almost all other careers.”

Career Options in School Administration

Principals are responsible for managing major administrative tasks within their school while supervising teacher and student needs. On any given day, a principal may be tasked with hiring staff, mapping out academic calendars, overseeing budgets, or resolving parental or student conflicts. Assistant principals conduct similar work but with less executive authority than principals. Large schools may have principals assigned to specific grades and several assistant principals.

At the district level, administrators oversee areas such as curriculum, human resources, transportation, technology, and more. These district-level leaders report to one of several assistant superintendents who themselves report to a superintendent at the top of the administrative chain.

Barry University offers an online master’s program in educational leadership that students can complete in as little as one year. The program is designed to give you the skills and knowledge for a rewarding career in school administration.

Learn more about Barry University’s online MS in Educational Leadership program.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

PayScale: School Administrator Salary Is a School Administrator Career for You?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals – Job Outlook