What Does a School Administrator Do? (With Salary)
Updated 23 January 2023
Working as a school administrator can be a meaningful and rewarding career. Administrators work in different educational institutions, such as preschools, daycare centres, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities. Learning about the different duties and responsibilities of a school administrator can help you decide if it's a career you want to pursue. In this article, we explain what a school administrator does, provide a step-by-step guide to becoming one, list their qualities, describe the benefits of the role and provide information on the average salary.
What does a school administrator do?
Learning the answer to 'what does a school administrator do' is important when you're looking to enter this field. A school administrator is an education professional who provides leadership to ensure a school runs smoothly. They work with staff, parents, students and members of the public. Their daily responsibilities vary depending on the type and size of the institution they are working. To be aware of all aspects that affect the smooth running of the school, they keep in close contact with their team of staff members.
Depending on the size and type of educational institution they work for, here are some responsibilities that may be part of a school administrator's job :
Overseeing financial matters
A school administrator works closely with the finances of a school. In smaller institutions, they may work with a bookkeeper. Larger institutions may require them to oversee a full financial team. Some of their financial responsibilities may include:
establishing and adhering to budgets
planning and kick-starting fundraising initiatives as needed to help the school achieve its goals
connecting and liaising with corporate sponsors for specific school enhancement projects
determining staff salaries and annual increases
overseeing the debtor department to track school fee income
The school administrator oversees the interviewing and recruiting of new staff members with the help of board members and other senior staff. The administrator may facilitate new staff member orientation. Disciplining and d ismissing staff when needed is also part of a school administrator's job. Other staff management functions may include:
drawing up staff contracts of employment
conducting ongoing staff assessments
mediating staff conflict resolution when disagreements arise
To run a school successfully, a school administrator focuses on supporting their teaching staff and meeting their needs. By supporting the teachers, they create a healthy learning environment for the students. Good school administrators may support their teaching staff by:
providing resources for the teachers, such as teaching aids and technology
creating a sense of collaboration and support among staff
placing teachers in classes of the age groups they are best suited to
providing ongoing training opportunities for professional development
listening to teachers' needs and suggestions
advising staff on difficult school-related problems
providing time for teachers to build relationships with students
Working closely with students
School administrators work closely with the students in their schools. They counsel students and are available to help them through challenges. S chool administrators mentor students elected to leadership positions and inspire students to make the most of their talents and opportunities. The administrator also takes on the role of disciplinarian.
Implementing education programs
A school administrator may oversee the creation and implementation of education programs. They may also create new curricula. They are also likely to evaluate courses and maintain a high-quality standard of education in the institution.
Ensuring that the school complies with state and national authorities is within the responsibilities of a school administrator. They oversee a school's compliance with any governing bodies that the school belongs to. Compliance is important for a school to meet the educational and developmental goals of their students and look after their safety and health.
Handling all aspects of a school's logistics falls to the school administrator. They can set up the school schedule and year planner. Part of their job is maintaining the school's records and reports. Other logistics they oversee may include:
School administrators oversee the maintenance of the school's buildings, grounds and other facilities. They work with the ground staff to ensure all amenities are in good working order. School administrators hire contractors for repair work or maintenance jobs when necessary.
This includes planning various activities and meetings for the benefit of the school. These can include fundraisers, sports days, concerts, family days and other events that would benefit the school directly. At other times, schools may run charity events to raise money for charities.
Overseeing new building projects
The school administrator supervises any new building projects that the school undertakes. They keep the building project on budget and sign off on payments due. If a staff member leads the project, the school administrator works closely with them to oversee and advise.
Managing public relations
The school administrator represents the school to the public. In a smaller school, they may fulfil the role of a public relations officer in attracting new students to the school. They speak at events as a representative of the school.
Guiding school vision
School administrators are strategic thinkers that play a major part in shaping the vision of an institute of learning. They work in consultation with other school stakeholders to establish the mission and ethos of the school. The school administrator implements projects that guide the school toward reaching values, goals and objections.
How to become a school administrator
To become a school administrator, you can follow these steps:
1. Earn a degree
To become a school administrator usually requires a master's degree in education or administration. Teachers who would like to become administrators may add an administration certification to their teaching qualification. As part of this degree, you may learn skills such as:
management of finances
management of human resources
2. Gain teaching experience
Many educational institutions appoint administrative professionals with two or three years of teaching experience. You may have opportunities to work as a classroom or teacher assistant while still a student. Teaching experience allows you to gain valuable insight into how a school runs and the dynamics of leading a school's teaching staff.
3. Get your teaching licence
Check the requirements set out by the local regulatory authorities. To register with your local teacher regulatory authority, check their prerequisites and show that you meet the teaching standards by going through an assessment. Teaching licences are renewable after a time set by local authorities.
4. Apply for positions
Once you have a qualification, gained experience and have your license, you can start looking for school administrator position openings in the area your license applies to. Network with teaching colleagues or check job websites for advertised positions and look for those that would be a good fit for you.
Related: How to Become a School Principal
Qualities of a school administrator
Working as a school administrator takes a specific personality type, skills and passion for education. Temperament is important, as leading an academic institution requires a stable, steadfast approach. Successful school administrators are usually assertive, energetic and enthusiastic.
They are optimistic and confident in their abilities to lead and guide. Great school administrators are naturally motivational and encourage those around them whenever opportunities arise. Often extroverted, they are well-spoken. They have an exceptional ability to communicate well and are often creative people. Here are the leading qualities of a good school administrator:
excellent planning skills
sound judgment and decision-making
strong public relation skills to work with parents, students, the public and regulatory bodies
conflict management skills
outstanding organisational ability
top-notch communication skills, verbal and written
fine attention to detail
compassion, empathy and genuine care
sociable with a high emotional intelligence
well-developed diplomatic skills
working well independently and within a team
previous classroom or school experience
knowing and understanding school policies
protecting the children in your care from harm
Benefits of working as a school administrator
As a school administrator, you are in a unique position of influence. Your input can shape the lives of the students and staff under your care. Being a school administrator comes with benefits such as:
working in a learning-focused environment
having opportunities to lead
enjoying work-related travel opportunities
working in a creative environment
having job stability
having high salary potential
A school administrator's average salary
On average, a school administrator earns $115,990 per year. They work in an office environment, with paperwork and meetings making up a large part of their day. The work hours are regular daytime, although compulsory meetings and school events may take place after hours.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
Explore more articles
- How to Become an Educational Psychologist: A Career Guide
- What Does a Facilities Coordinator Do? (With Qualifications)
- 30 Types of Outdoor Jobs (with Salary Information)
- Farm Manager Responsibilities (With Job Requirements)
- How to Become a Clinical Nurse: A Career Guide with FAQs
- 17 Interesting Nutrition Careers to Pursue (With Salaries)
- 20 Tips on How To Earn Money From Home
- What Does a Car Assessor Do? (Plus Required Qualifications)
- 10 Careers in Horticulture: Average Salaries and Primary Duties
- Midwife Responsibilities (Including Roles and Skills)
- What Does an Engineer Do? (Plus 12 Types of Engineers)
- Permanent Employment: Definition and Its Advantages