Education administrators serve in many different capacities, such as principals, curriculum developers and superintendents. Although each locality has different regulations in relation to the hiring of education administrators, there are several aspects of training and certification that are commonly required to become an education administrator. Many areas require you to have a master's or doctoral degree, special certificates and licenses, prior teaching experience and letters of reference and to complete on-the-job training with a mentor if you want to become an education administrator.
Although higher degrees are not always required, many areas require them if you want to become an education administrator. These degrees generally focus on educational administration. As with many jobs, some localities will consider prior work experience in lieu of higher education, although the degrees might assist you greatly in performing the job well.
Many areas require special certificates or licenses if you want to become an education administrator. This is particularly true when the administrator will be working with young children. In some places, the certificates and licenses might be obtained at the same time as the advanced degree. Some areas even require continuing education courses be taken after a certificate or license is issued so that the education professional is up to date on all matters associated with his or her job.
Prior teaching experience is arguably the most beneficial precursor to becoming an education administrator. This training prepares you for the real-life experiences you will encounter in the school system and familiarizes you with the school system in which you will work. Some areas do not require this if you want to become an education administrator, however.
Letters of reference from academic personnel and prior employers are a great asset if you wish to become an education administrator. These letters will humanize you and might serve to show what you are best at and what you hope to bring to the district. It is best to contact individuals that might be asked for letters of reference ahead of time so that they have enough time to prepare accurate portrayals of you.
Some places will ask a new education administrator to complete a hands-on training period with a mentor. This is especially helpful if you are new to the education field or to the district, because it allows you to see how things are handled and ask any questions that you might have. After completion of this period, you will be allowed to work on your own in your new capacity as education administrator.