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Top Transitions from Teaching to Administration

If you are interested in expanding your professional reach beyond the classroom, you might be a good candidate for becoming a school administrator. School administrators play important roles in creating safe and positive environments for teachers and students, and they ensure that all of the elements of a school function smoothly.

An online master’s degree in education with an emphasis on administration can help teachers transition into leadership roles. The following positions require a graduate degree and licensing, and they are common for teachers who wish to advance to administrative positions.


Most principals begin their careers in the classroom and remain just as devoted to the wellbeing of children as their teachers. Principals want to make a difference in the lives of students and have chosen to do so in an administrative position instead of as a classroom teacher. Principals have a vision for the entire school and can engage with staff and students to help realize that vision. Principals fill exciting and varied roles, and each day is different; they visit classrooms, provide feedback for teachers, meet with school counselors, engage with families and hire new teachers. Most importantly, principals are invaluable in creating the overall culture of the school. Principals can be fun and accessible, and they often have high expectations for both students and staff.

School Superintendent

The school superintendent is the highest-level administrator in a school district, usually hired by the district board of directors. Superintendents hire senior staff and ensure that schools adhere to education standards. They often have training in business and management as well as an understanding of educational law. Additionally, when government agencies become involved, the superintendent serves as the contact between the school district and the agency. Together with the board of directors, the school superintendent develops the curricula for the entire school district. He or she is also responsible for measuring the effectiveness of curricula and studying student achievement.

Special Education Administrator

Special education administrators are teachers with extensive experience in special education who move into administrative roles. They are responsible for strategic planning, managing the department budget and ensuring the delivery of services mandated for student Individualized Education Programs (IEP). A special education administrator serves as the department head for teachers working with special needs children. Thus, this role requires excellent leadership ability, effective communication and strong management skills — as well as an understanding of special education law.

In general, districts and schools prefer to hire administrators who have both teaching experience and a graduate degree. Earning an online master’s degree in education can open doors to a rewarding career as a school administrator. Becoming a school administrator is a unique way to effect change in the education system and to make a difference in the lives of teachers and students.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program.


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