With schools across the country facing numerous challenges—including large class sizes, family hardship, poverty, lack of technology and budget cuts—there may have never been a greater need for dedicated educational leaders to help solve these challenges and better prepare our students for the future.
While national high school graduation rates are at an all-time high, several states’ graduation rates are still less than 70 percent. Many strategies—such as leveraging attendance data and paying close attention to early warning indicators—have been suggested to solve problems like graduation rates in our schools. However, skilled educators and leaders are needed to successfully implement and test these and other strategies.

According to O*Net OnLine, a U.S. Department of Labor website, 63% of education administrators hold a master’s degree—and most schools require a graduate degree to be considered for administrative roles. By earning a master’s degree in educational leadership, professionals in academia can put themselves in an excellent position to obtain these roles and make a positive impact at the city, district and state-wide levels.

Careers with a master’s in educational leadership

Confident Schoolteacher looking ahead

Assistant/Vice Principal

Sometimes known as a vice principal, the assistant principal role is one of the first leadership positions teachers typically obtain after deciding to transition out of the classroom and into an administrative role. Assistant principal responsibilities vary by district and whether the job is at an elementary, middle or high school. However, duties may include developing curriculum standards, arranging transportation, hiring and training teachers, supervising grounds and disciplining students.


After assistant principal, the next step on the school administration ladder is the principal. Aspiring educational administrators who are currently teaching are on the right path: Nearly all principals start their education career in the classroom. Principals are often expected to provide strategic direction for the school, analyze data to monitor student achievement, evaluate teacher performance, assess teaching methods and more.

Curriculum professional

Some educational leaders wish to play a more specialized role when it comes to helping students and teachers succeed. Curriculum professionals often develop teaching methods and analyze student achievement data to determine which methods are working and how to improve curricula in a school or district. They may also test new learning technology and work directly with teachers to train them on these technologies. Curriculum professional job titles include Curriculum Specialist, Curriculum Director, Curriculum Developer and Education Specialist.


Superintendents, who are typically hired by district school boards, are the CEOs of a school district. Superintendents often have extensive experience in instructional leadership and are required to have a master’s degree. As they are responsible for making important decisions that affect everyone in the district, superintendents must be adept at listening, communicating and weighing the pros and cons of each decision. Superintendent duties include overseeing education standards and student achievement, managing school budgets, handling staff disciplinary issues and implementing state and federal statutes and programs.

Careers outside the school system

Many teachers want to transition outside of the educational sector and use their talents in a different area—and there are plenty of opportunities for them to do so. Professionals who earn a master’s degree in educational leadership will gain knowledge and skills that prepare them for positions in government, non-profit organizations and businesses. These education professionals often pursue roles in areas including:

  • Corporate training
  • Workplace teaching
  • Business and organizational development
  • Business consulting
  • Non-profit training and development

Master’s in educational leadership compensation

Compensation for education administrators varies greatly depending on position, state and level of experience. However, given the advanced skills, experience and education required for these roles, administrators are generally well-compensated compared to teachers. For instance, in West Virginia, one of the lowest-paying states for teachers, superintendents earn an average salary of $88,588 while teachers earn an average salary of $45,701.

The estimated average national salaries for education administrator job titles are as follows:

Educational leaders who pursue careers outside the school system are also well-compensated. While the median salary for corporate trainers is $54,593, leadership positions such as Training Director pay as much as $150,000 depending on location and experience. Following are the estimated average national salaries for similar leadership positions in the private sector:

Teachers and business professionals across the country are often interested in becoming education administrators or corporate trainers, but may be wary of the cost and time commitment required to earn a master’s degree. Lynn University prides itself on providing excellent academics at an affordable rate, and the 100% online Master of Education in Educational Leadership can be completed in as little as one year.

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