School administrators -- including principals, assistant principals, vice principals, superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors, deans, headmasters -- are educational leaders who work 12 months a year, unlike teachers. Depending on the school and the district, duties of an administrator can include being responsible for day-to-day operation of the school, curriculum development, overseeing budgets, student discipline, hiring and training of teachers, evaluation of student academic achievement, and much more.
What Makes an Educational Leader?
According to The Princeton Review, most beginning administrators have related work experience, usually in teaching or management in an academic environment. It is also common for administrators to have advanced degrees, including doctorates in education or administration.
School administrators at the K-12 level and higher are typically required to hold a master's degree or higher. Helpful skills and experience like problem-solving, interpersonal communication, public speaking, time management, research and critical thinking, and team-building are valuable and will help administrators become great long-term leaders. Building a network of support with other administrators can help new administrators tackle the challenges they face.
As with any leadership role, listening is a valuable skill. School administrators are often the sounding board for all employees they are responsible for, and paying attention and asking questions can help resolve small issues before they become big problems. For more on the skills school administrators should cultivate, Forbes has published a list of eight characteristics of effective school leaders.
How Does the M.Ed. Help?
Ty Jones earned his Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He says that completing his M.Ed. immediately made a major impact on his career.
"It opened up my perspective and gave me a lot more options as it relates to addressing some of the educational needs within my district, state and nation," Jones said.
"The last semester of my degree program, I was going through a Texas Association of School Boards program called Leadership TASB (LTASB) that takes 36 school board members from the state of Texas," he said. "We go through a pretty intense year of curriculum, so that last year was very intense for me. Some of the things I was learning in my coursework, I was able to incorporate within the LTASB program and share varying perspectives with other trustees during our LTASB sessions."
The UTA Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Online
The Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies online program at the University of Texas at Arlington is a non-thesis principal certification program that will help you learn more about your own leadership style. The online delivery method allows you to complete coursework whenever you have available study time, 24x7, so you can meet the demands of work and home while pursuing your advanced degree. Students can complete the program -- 10 seven-week courses for a total of 30 credit hours -- in as few as 16 months.
Courses for this program include:
- Curriculum Design, Implementation & Evaluation.
- Educational Research and Evaluation.
- Leadership in the Instructional Setting.
- Leadership Theory.
- Diversity in Educational Settings.
- Political and Legal Aspects of Education.
- The Principalship.
- Resource Management in Education.
- Internships in both Administration and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.
The UTA M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies online program is approved by the University of Texas System and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and is fully accredited by the State Board for Educator Certification.
Learn more about the UTA's online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.
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