Inside School Administrator Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Shades Of Grey...
The most surprising thing to me about administration is the way that almost nothing falls into a black/white scenario. Many different things fall into a "grey" area and need judgment calls." (Educator; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Education at Brenau University in Georgia; completed Master degree in 2006

"Educational Careers Are Not Just For Teachers Any More...
I was surprised that private education was such a large business. I went to a public university and was amazed not only at the large differences between the two, but how lucrative private education has become." (National Admissions Representative; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Social Science at California University Of Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"I was very surprised to discover the low level of skills that many high-school dropouts have. Many that come for GED preparation read at a middle school level, and most have math and writing skills below that. I was also surprised to discover how poorly motivated almost all of the students are. They want to get a GED, but most really do not have the staying power to finish." (GED Program Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied History at Michigan State University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Lack Of Parental Support...
I am surprised how much the profession has changed and the attitude of the parents. I still love being with the children but need more support from the parents." (Elementary School Administrator; 2012)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at New York University in New York in 1974

Best & Worst Things About This Career

School Business Administrator: "The best part of the position, besides the salary, is the opportunity it affords me to work on my own, make important decisions that make a difference in a child's education and being respected by my colleagues. There are many aspects of my work that I feel people would consider the "worse parts of the job" but I look at each task as a learning experience. Wherever you go, you need to take the good with the bad. There are times when I make decisions that affect people in a negative way. For example, recently I was tasked with providing a cost analysis for outsourcing our Technology Department. After reviewing the analysis, the Superintendent decided to move forward with the outsourcing and three people lost their jobs. It was a tough decision but you cannot take things personally when it comes to business and running a fiscally responsible operation." (2010)

Department Head For Physical Education And Health, Physical Education Teacher: "The best part of my job is working with kids. Most of the kids truly enjoy physical education. After sitting at a desk most of the day, the kids really enjoy getting up and moving around. I also enjoy interacting with my colleagues both discussing things related to teaching and also out personal life. This is a very social job. My least favorite part of the job is writing observations of teachers. They can be tedious." (2010)

Director Of Alumni Relations And Special Events: "The best part of my job is working with students. They make the job fun and give me creative ideas. I also have a great passion for planning events, so I really enjoy being able to create fun and exciting events for the students, faculty, and greater community. Because I work at a high school, the worst part of my job is having to be at work so early in the morning. That being said, I get a lot of time off." (2010)

Career Background

School Administrator

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Stay Strong...
If you want to go into school administration, you have to have thick skin and not take things personally. People will question every move you make." (Educator; 2014)

"Private Schools And You...
If you want to be successful in the growing aspects of private education, makes you keep yourself up to date not just on education practices, but sales practices as well. You will be amazed on how much they might overlap." (National Admissions Representative; 2013)

"Get A Wide Range Of Admin Experience...
If you decide to pursue a career as a school business administrator, it is wise to obtain the appropriate college degrees when you are young. I returned to college as an adult with children and it was very tough for me. I believe that a good school business administrator should be one who has gotten experience in all the positions she supervises. The person should have hands-on experience in accounting, payroll, human resources and management." (School Business Administrator; 2010)

"Go To A Public College...
Try working with kids throughout your college career to make sure you can handle kids all day. Seek out people considered "the best in the business" and do your student teaching with them. Don't waste your money on an expensive private school for your degree. Spend your money on great experiences that will enhance your teaching. Get as many different perspectives on teaching as you can and then find what works best for you. Love what you do or find something else." (Department Head For Physical Education And Health, Physical Education Teacher; 2010)

Intern!!! Interning builds your resume and while the job might not pay much (if anything) you will get such valuable experiences working hard and closely with someone who has a lot of experience in the field you are pursuing. Also, be sure to network and keep good contacts with everybody you meet. You never know who might be able to help you land a job in the future. Finally, make sure you volunteer to help with lots of different things to get some hand on experience." (Director Of Alumni Relations And Special Events; 2010)