Education directors oversee various areas of secondary and higher education under their jurisdictions. In public secondary schools, this includes administrators who direct subject-area programs such as English, music, vocational education, special education, and mathematics. They work with instructional coordinators and curriculum specialists to evaluate and improve teaching techniques and curriculum.
Education directors in higher education direct and coordinate various student services, including admissions, foreign student services, health and counseling services, career services, financial aid, and housing and residential life. In smaller colleges, they may also counsel students, while in larger colleges, separate administrators may handle each of these services. These jobs may include registrars, directors of admissions, financial aid directors, and athletic directors.
Education directors need to have specific knowledge of leadership concepts gained through experience as well as formal education. Strong interpersonal skills are essential, due to the high percentage of time spent interacting with others. They must possess qualities such as leadership, determination, confidence, innovativeness, and motivation. Today, education directors are required to be intimately familiar with computer technology. This is because they are required to gather information, collect data, and coordinate technical resources for their students, teachers, and classrooms. They should be good decision-makers and be able to organize and coordinate work efficiently.
In 2002, education directors earned a median annual salary of $81,451. Benefits for education directors are typically very good, including 4 or 5 weeks of vacation each year and generous health and pension packages.
Training and Education
Most education directors begin their jobs in a related occupation. At the same time, they usually complete a master’s or doctoral degree in order to prepare for education director positions. Various jobs have vastly different duties and levels of responsibility, resulting in workers with a diversity of educational backgrounds and experience. They usually hold teaching positions before moving into administration. In some cases, education directors move into their positions from related staff positions, such as recruiter, guidance counselor, librarian, residence hall director, or financial aid or admissions counselor.
Many colleges and universities offer advanced degrees in higher education administration, educational supervision, and college student affairs. These programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. Education directors advance through promotion to more responsible administrative positions or by transferring to more responsible positions at larger schools or systems. They also may become superintendents of school systems or presidents of educational institutions.
In 2002, education administrators (the occupational category to which education directors belong) held about 427,000 jobs. 60% worked for State and local governments, and 20% worked for private institutions. Less than 5% were self-employed.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of education directors is expected to grow faster than the average. Job prospects for directors in colleges and universities is expected to by very good. While colleges and universities are often subject to fluctuating economic cycles, overall student enrollment will continue to grow, creating demand for education directors. A large percentage of education directors are expected to retire during this period, and education continues to hold greater importance in people’s lives.
For more information on how to pursue this profession, please see our Education Degree directory.