Education Administrator: Salary and Career Outlook

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Education administrators work behind the scenes in leadership roles to improve educational systems. Many experienced teachers possess the skills and experience necessary to pursue these positions. Education administrators deliver a positive impact on curriculum design, student behavior plans, and staff evaluations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median pay of $98,490 for elementary, middle, and high school principals.

Aspiring professionals must earn master’s degrees and obtain administrator certifications to become education administrators. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median pay of $98,490 for elementary, middle, and high school principals.

This page explores the salary prospects for education administrators across the country. Keep reading for details about the states, metropolitan areas, and industries that offer the highest salaries and employment figures.

What Does an Education Administrator Do?

Education administrators lead employees in school buildings and in district offices. In schools, administrators hold positions like principal, assistant principal, dean of students, and athletic director. At the district level, administrators work as superintendents; assistant superintendents; and directors of elementary, secondary, and special education.

Individuals can become school administrators by completing a graduate-level education administration program, participating in an internship, and applying for licensure. Administrators can perform many tasks related to financial management, student outcomes, and human resources.

Education administrators can positively impact education at every level. Follow the links below to learn more about educational administrator skills, roles, and responsibilities.

Read More About Education Administrators A Day in the Life of an Education Administrator

How Much Can You Earn as an Education Administrator?

Educational professionals can increase their salaries and leadership opportunities by becoming administrators. Education administrators earn an average annual salary of $69,250 as of August 2021. However, this general figure encompasses all administrative roles and skill levels.

Education administrator salary figures vary by experience, education, and region. Continue reading for salary data and other considerations for aspiring administrators.

Education Administrator

Average Annual Salary, 2021


$69,250


Source: PayScale

Education Administrator Salary by Experience

Industry experience plays a significant role in education administrator salary expectations. Just as teachers earn higher wages through classroom experience, administrators can also increase salaries by gaining management experience.

The following information explores education administrator salary figures by experience. The salary figures below are based on limited responses and vary by region.

Annual Salaries by Experience for Education Administrators, 2021

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary
Entry-Level (<1 year) $49,950
Early Career (1-4 years) $60,450
Midcareer (5-9 years) $65,740
Late Career (10-19 years) $78,750
Experienced (20+ years) $92,260
Source: PayScale

Education Administrator Salary by Education

To obtain licensure, an administrator candidate must complete a graduate program with specialized coursework in school administration. Professionals can choose from several master’s or doctoral degree options. Some of the most popular administration degree specializations include educational leadership, school administration, and principalship.

The following information includes wage estimates for some of the most popular education administration degrees. These salary figures represent the income of educational professionals who hold these degrees, not solely education administrators.

Average Salaries by Education, 2021

Education Level Average Annual Wage
Master of Education (M.Ed.), Educational Leadership Degree $64,000
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Educational Leadership Degree $77,000
Master of Education (M.Ed.), School Administration Degree $84,000
Source: PayScale

Discover Which Education Path Is Right for You

Education Administrator Salary by Location

Education administrator salaries depend on school district location. Urban areas with larger student bodies employ more administrators for behavior management and curriculum guidance. These districts also offer competitive wages to attract the most qualified candidates.

The following metropolitan areas offer especially lucrative salaries for their high-demand education administration jobs. However, these high salaries may correspond to cities with higher costs of living.

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Education Administrators, 2018

Metropolitan Area Number of Education Administrators Employed Annual Mean Wage
Modesto, CA 410 $144,140
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 1,020 $139,720
Trenton, NJ 480 $136,710
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 21,790 $135,180
Danbury, CT 170 $132,340
Source: BLS

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut offer the highest education administration salaries in the country. However, it is important to consider these states’ cost of living figures. For example, Washington offers competitive pay with lower living expenses compared to other states in the table below.

Top-Paying States for Education Administrators, 2018

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
New York 20,670 $127,970
New Jersey 9,050 $127,570
Connecticut 3,940 $127,390
California 22,950 $124,500
Washington 5,330 $117,190
Source: BLS

Career Outlook for Education Administration Professionals

The BLS projects 4% employment growth in elementary, middle, and high school principal positions from 2019-2029 — as fast as the average growth for all occupations. In the same time frame, BLS projects a 6% employment growth for instructional coordinators.

Education administration career outlook figures vary by location. Regional factors like population density and immigration rates affect school districts and their staffing needs. Keep reading to find the top employing states and the regions with the greatest projected growth rates for education administrators.

Education Administrator

Change in Projected Employment


+4% from 2019-2029


Source: BLS

Best Locations for Education Administration Jobs

Education administrators work in schools, district offices, and learning centers across the country. Yet, some regions experience more growth and greater demand for educational professionals. States with large populations and many school districts employ more administrators and commonly offer more competitive salaries.

School districts that serve low-income communities may also need more education administrators to coordinate supplemental funding. These administrators work on budget requests and grants.

Top States

The states with the best education administration career outlook projections offer abundant employment opportunities and high salaries. Texas needs administrators to work in rural areas, suburbs, and cities, while California and New York need administrators to serve large student bodies in densely populated urban centers.

Top-Employing States for Education Administrators, 2018
Top-Employing States Number of Education Administrators Employed Annual Mean Wage
Texas 28,310 $85,680
California 22,950 $124,500
New York 20,670 $127,970
Illinois 12,610 $103,880
Ohio 9,820 $86,500
Source: BLS
States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Education Administrators, 2018-28
State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
New Hampshire 28.6% 10
New York 25.1% 270
Utah 22.9% 50
Florida 20.6% 160
Oregon 20% 40
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
New York 25.1% 270
Texas 18.9% 230
Maryland 12.5% 220
Illinois 8.6% 170
Florida 20.6% 160
Source: Projections Central

Top Cities

Major metropolitan areas attract top education administrators by offering lucrative salaries and diverse job opportunities. Districts with large student bodies need to fill specific positions, so administrators can often choose niche roles catered to their specialties and interests.

However, with major cities’ expensive living costs, high salaries may not immediately improve financial situations. Administrator candidates should carefully consider their goals and expectations for their future employment when exploring different locations.

The following figures include employment data and the average wages for education administration careers in metropolitan areas.

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Education Administrators, 2018
Metropolitan Area Number of Education Administrators Employed Annual Mean Wage
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 21,790 $135,180
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 9,320 $108,120
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 7,520 $88,750
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 7,440 $127,560
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 6,100 $88,930
Source: BLS
What Can You Do With a Master’s in Higher Education Administration?

Best Industries for Education Administrators

Education professionals who hold graduate-level degrees and administrator licenses can also pursue work outside of school districts. These individuals apply their skills in local government, nonprofit, along with business sector administration and human resources jobs.

The following industries offer the most competitive wages and the highest employment rates for education administrators.

Top-Paying Industries for Education Administrators, 2018

Top-Paying Industries Employment Annual Mean Wage
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (BLS Designation) 1,450 $109,570
Grantmaking and Giving Services 8 $107,960
Management of Companies and Enterprises 70 $100,760
Elementary and Secondary Schools 257,440 $98,880
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (BLS Designation) 800 $93,960
Source: BLS

Employment by Industry for Education Administrators, 2018

Industries With Highest Employment Employment Annual Mean Wage
Elementary and Secondary Schools 257,440 $98,880
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (BLS Designation) 1,450 $109,570
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (BLS Designation) 800 $93,960
Educational Support Services 770 $93,790
Religious Organizations 420 $82,600
Source: BLS

Upward Mobility for Education Administrators

Educational administrators can transfer their skills to many other fields. Some possible roles include:

  • Principal: School principals lead teachers, staff, and other education administrators in all aspects of education. Their duties include teacher evaluation, curriculum implementation, and budget development. Principals earn an average annual salary of $87,220 as of August 2021.
  • Superintendent: Superintendents are the school districts’ head administrators. Their duties include collaborating with school boards, hiring principals, and implementing educational policies. Superintendents earn an average annual salary of $120,090 as of August 2021.
  • Director of Finance and Administration: Finance directors oversee the daily financial and administrative activities of school districts and companies. Their duties include approving budgets, maintaining accounting systems, and coordinating audits. These directors earn an average annual salary of $89,730 as of August 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is education administration?

    Education administration encompasses a school or district’s managerial and leadership functions. Education administrators act in several positions, including instructional coordinators, athletic directors, and principals.

  • How much does someone in education administration make?

    PayScale reports an average annual salary of $69,250 for education administrators at elementary and secondary institutions as of August 2021.

  • What are the highest paying jobs in education administration?

    School principal, director of finance, and district superintendent rank among the highest-paying jobs in education administration.

  • What skills do you need to be an education administrator?

    Education administrators need skills in staff leadership, strategic planning, and budget management.


Featured Image: andresr / E+ / Getty Images

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