Education administrators held about 427,000 jobs in 2002. About 2 in 10 worked for private education institutions, and 6 in 10 worked for State and local governments, mainly in schools, colleges and universities, and departments of education. Less than 5 percent were self-employed. The rest worked in child daycare centers, religious organizations, job training centers, and businesses and other organizations that provided training for their employees.
Employment of education administrators is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012. As education and training take on greater importance in everyone’s lives, the need for people to administer education programs will grow. Job opportunities for many of these positions should also be excellent because a large proportion of education administrators are expected to retire over the next 10 years.
A significant portion of growth will stem from growth in the private and for-profit segments of education. Many of these schools cater to working adults, many of whom might not ordinarily participate in postsecondary education. These schools allow students to earn a degree, receive job-specific training or update their skills, in a convenient manner, such as through part-time programs or distance learning. As the number of these schools continues to grow, more administrators ill be needed to oversee them.
Enrollments of school-age children will also have an impact on the demand for education administrators. The U.S. Department of Education projects enrollment of elementary and secondary school students to grow between 5 and 7 percent over the next decade. Preschool and childcare center administrators are expected to experience substantially more growth as enrollments in formal child care programs continues to expand as fewer private households care for young children. Additionally, if mandatory preschool becomes more widespread more preschool directors will be needed.
The number of postsecondary school students is projected to grow more rapidly than other student populations, creating significant demand for administrators at that level. In addition, enrollments are expected to increase the fastest in the West and South, where the population is growing, and to decline or remain stable in the Northeast and the Midwest. School administrators also are in greater demand in rural and urban areas, where pay is generally lower than in the suburbs.
Principals and assistant principals should have favorable job prospects. A sharp increase in responsibilities in recent years has made the job more stressful, and has discouraged teachers from taking positions in administration. Principals are now being held more accountable for the performance of students and teachers, while at the same time they are required to adhere to a growing number of government regulations. In addition, overcrowded classrooms, safety issues, budgetary concerns, and teacher shortages in some areas all are creating additional stress for administrators. The increase in pay is often not high enough to entice people into the field.
Job prospects also are expected to be favorable for college and university administrators, particularly hose seeking nonacademic positions. Colleges and universities may be subject to funding shortfalls during economic downturns, but increasing enrollments over the projection period will require that institutions replace the large numbers of administrators who retire, and even hire additional administrators.
While competition among faculty for prestigious positions as academic deans and department heads is likely to remain keen, fewer applicants are expected for nonacademic administrative jobs, such as director of admissions or student affairs. Furthermore, many people are discouraged from seeking administrator jobs by the requirement that they have a master’s or doctoral degree in education administration—as well as by the opportunity to earn higher salaries in other occupations.
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