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Highest Paying Jobs in Education | An Assessment of the Top 20

Being a teacher is one of the best jobs in Education.

Many people dream of making a difference in other people’s lives. A career that allows you to inspire and motivate others can be a reality. Thousands of people in the US find employment in the education sector every year. This demanding industry is an ideal and rewarding career choice for many. If you’re passionate about encouraging future generations, a career in the education sector may be the right fit for you. However, that does not mean teaching is your only option! This article looks into the 20 highest paying jobs in education, their salary, job outlook, and required skills. Let’s get learning!

Process for Ranking the Highest Paying Jobs in Education

Several factors come into play when ranking the highest-paying education careers for you. Our process involves:

  • Consulting data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the various career choices in the education field
  • Analyzing this data thoroughly
  • Developing a list of the highest paying education jobs
  • Arranging them in order of their average compensation rate

To make this compilation, we looked at two primary elements of a career choice:

  • Compensation rate, and
  • Expected job outlook

Even though other factors matter, such as job satisfaction, these are the most considered and easily compared. According to BLS data, the average compensation rate for all jobs across the US was $56,310 in 2020.

20 Highest Paying Jobs in Education — What Degrees Make the Most Money?

Below we have ranked the top-paying positions in education, starting with the highest salaried jobs.

1. Superintendents

Superintendents are also known as the chief executive officers of schools. They manage all the aspects of a school district. Their wide array of responsibilities include:

  • Enhancing the quality of education by formulating and implementing procedures and policies
  • Developing, maintaining, and overseeing budgets
  • Managing school staff and educators
  • Mediating behavioral issues related to staff and students, salary issues, budgetary issues, and other complications
  • Offering resolutions to education-related issues regarding complaints and scheduling complications
  • Planning, assisting, and monitoring renovations, projects, and other changes

Many superintendents have a specialized doctoral degree and possess experience as school educators or administrators. However, some may also gain this position with a master’s degree. Requirements include completing certification programs, specialized training, and continuing education programs to remain updated with the changing world dynamics. The average compensation rate for superintendents ranges from $133,606 to $193,983.

2. School Principals

As highly trained educational administrators, school principals manage and oversee the daily operation of preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. Their job responsibilities include:

  • Development and execution of education policies
  • Hiring staff and educators
  • Devising academic curricula
  • Training staff
  • Monitoring student progress
  • Handing relations between teachers, students, and parents

Employment requirements include a minimum of a master's degree in education administration or leadership. The average salary of school principals is between $86,970 to $129,480 annually.

3. Chief Academic Officers

Chief academic officers are highly skilled professionals, also called directors of education. They plan, direct, and coordinate educational programs within secondary schools. They are responsible for:

  • Researching, developing and monitoring the progress of academic courses
  • Evaluating the efficiency of instruction within institutions
  • Responding to complaints
  • Resolving differences with academic departments or faculty
  • Devising means of extending and enriching course offerings

Employment requirements include a master’s degree combined with experience or a doctorate in educational leadership. Their compensation rate ranges between $92,622 to $158,000 annually.

4. Assistant Principal

Assistant principals are significant members of an educational system’s administrative team who oversee staff, teachers, and students. They are responsible for:

  • Observation, development, and monitoring of instruction, performance, and programs
  • Devising and directing programs for professional development
  • Enhancing the teaching skills of the faculty
  • Coordinating resources to augment performance
  • Managing financial and budgetary issues
  • Acting as disciplinarians for staff and students
  • Measuring and evaluating test scores to meet local, state, and federal standards
  • Meeting with parents and educators to report student progress and behavior
  • Maintaining safe conditions for students and faculty on school premises

Assistant principals usually begin their career as educators with a master's degree and gradually make their way up the ranks. Their annual compensation rate is between $66,697 to $89,406 annually.

5. Academic Deans or Post-secondary Education Administrators

Academic deans or post-secondary education administrators work within financial aid, admissions, or registrar’s offices at universities, colleges, and secondary schools. They specialize in student lives — residential life, housing, multicultural affairs, admissions, financial aid, etc. They are responsible for a comprehensive array of managerial responsibilities, such as:

  • Advising students
  • Organizing students and class data
  • Assisting students in securing tuition funds
  • Developing and maintaining databases for courses and students
  • Looking for ways to resolve housing, academic, or personal problems
  • Assisting in appointing faculty
  • Developing and instilling educational policies
  • Managing budgets

Academic deans should hold a master’s or doctoral degree in higher education with courses in education law, student affairs, higher education administration, school finance, etc. They should also possess experience as an educational administrator or professor. The compensation rate for academic deans varies greatly depending upon their field of specialization but typically lies between $47,130 to $83,710 annually.

6. High School Teachers

High school teachers work with teens and teach at least one specialized subject, usually in mathematics, science, or art.

They are also responsible for:

  • Advising students on career and college plans
  • Helping students with personal issues
  • Supervising study hall
  • Leading extra-curricular activities
  • Organizing field trips

Their job requirements include a bachelor's degree in education and state-issued credentials.

The annual pay of high school teachers is between $49,990 and $81,410.

7. Elementary School Teachers

Elementary school teachers have a special bond with students to help them learn, grow, and develop constructively. They adopt creative approaches to learning that can help children laugh, play, and learn wholeheartedly. Elementary school teachers should:

  • Use knowledgeable and fun techniques for learning
  • Create an interactive and academic learning environment
  • Design lesson plans
  • Be able to teach the basics of mathematics, reading, and writing thoroughly
  • Exhibit utmost patience
  • Interact with parents to communicate student’s progress
  • Adopt a playful learning approach
  • Use props, songs, and games to engage students

Teachers should hold a bachelor's degree, and state-issued credentials attained through teacher education programs to qualify for this position.

The average pay for elementary school teachers is about $60,940 and ranges between $48,350 to $79,120.

8. Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers handle students in grades five through eight. They are responsible for teaching students subjects such as:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Foreign Language

Employment requirements include a bachelor's degree and necessary certifications or licensure for public schools.

Their compensation rate ranges between $48,870 to $77,880.

9. Health Educators

Health educators assess community-based health needs and devise effective curricula or programs that address those needs. Their job responsibilities include:

  • Teaching
  • Advocating for the community
  • Analyzing and evaluating the effectiveness of health-awareness programs
  • Collaborating with students, community members, and public school advisers

Health advisors should hold a bachelor’s degree in health promotion or health education.

Their annual salary ranges from $41,870 to $77,300.

10. Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators conduct intensive research regarding the methods of instruction in educational institutions. They have numerous responsibilities, including:

  • Developing and implementing curricula
  • Forming instruction plans within educational organizations
  • Training educators
  • Selecting textbooks and other instruction materials
  • Evaluating the efficiency of educational programs
  • Assessing student performance
  • Devising ways of enhancing education quality
  • Implementing new classroom technologies

Employment requirements for instructional coordinators include a master's degree in instructional design and specialized study in an academic field or subject.

Instructional coordinators’ median annual pay range is $42,070 to $75,000.

11. Librarians

Librarians play a vital role in the education system. They manage information and library resources and have numerous other responsibilities such as:

  • Creating library programs and systems
  • Supervising and overseeing library staff
  • Developing, organizing, and maintaining materials and resources
  • Assuring easy access and retrieval of educational materials
  • Selecting new material, technology, videos, and books for libraries
  • Reviewing patron needs
  • Assisting and educating staff and students with cataloged resources and materials

Employment requirements for librarians include a master's degree in library science and a certification in education or a teaching license in compliance with state regulations.

Librarians have an average annual salary of 42,240 to $65,300.

12. College Instructors

These teachers plan and deliver specialized lectures and instruction on sciences, humanities, history, information technology, engineering, and more. They are responsible for:

  • Conducting original and thorough research to attain a vast understanding and advanced knowledge in their domain of teaching
  • Analyzing documents and offering critical reviews
  • Publishing findings of their research
  • Advising students and supervising graduate students
  • Monitoring student progress by grading coursework
  • Offering administrative input regarding the recruitment of new faculty
  • Recommending policy changes

They should hold a master's degree to qualify as instructors in two-year community colleges and a doctoral degree to work in larger, four-year institutions. Their salaries depend upon their field of instruction, employer, geographic location, and experience. The range is between $41,600 to $83,960 annually.

13. Speech Pathologists/Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists work with speech-impaired students or those with problems articulating sounds or pronunciation. They also work with those with non-native or second language issues. Their work covers a broad spectrum, from children with mental disabilities and speech impediments to gifted children.

Speech pathologists should hold a master's degree and a state-issued credential. Their annual salary is $66,920 per year on average.

14. Media Specialists

Media specialists manage an institute’s technology resources, such as multimedia, audiovisual equipment, and computers. They are also responsible for:

  • Evaluating new technology
  • Ensuring technological equipment runs seamlessly
  • Recommending purchase of new equipment
  • Training personnel
  • Maintaining equipment

Media specialists should hold a bachelor's degree and suitable expertise in the IT and education sector. Their pay scale ranges from $40,000 to $65,000.

15. Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with children and teenagers with emotional, mental, or physical disabilities. They provide their students with specialized attention to help them maximize their independence, expand their knowledge, improve their skills, and augment their abilities. They are generally responsible for:

  • Assessing and adapting Individualized education programs
  • Creating transition plans for students
  • Working closely with parents, staff, counselors, administrators, and other teachers to discuss student progress
  • Offering means of adapting lesson plans to assist special education students with their courses

To qualify for employment, these professionals should possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, special education certification, and expertise. Salaries for special education teachers typically range from $40,480 to $63,500 annually.

16. School Counselors

School counselors typically work in elementary, middle, and high schools and offer specialized services to staff, teachers, administrators, and students. They are responsible for:

  • Providing groups or individuals access to educational, personal, or vocational counseling
  • Offering mental health education and other ways of enhancing efficiency
  • Identifying abuse
  • Assessing student interest and ability by conducting interviews and research
  • Offering college and career planning
  • Collaborating with teachers to identify developmental and behavioral disorders, issues, or complications
  • Coordinating application information and financial aid between students and prospective colleges

School counselors should have a master's in education in school counseling and licensure to qualify. Their annual salaries range from $38,740 to $65,360 annually.

17. Career Counselors

Career counselors help students decide their future careers and realize their interests and abilities. They are responsible for assisting students in developing academic and social skills and determining their long-term goals.

Career counselors should hold a master's degree in counseling and a state-issued license. Their salary range is between $33,600 and $94,600 per year.

18. Self-Enrichment Teachers

Self-enrichment teachers provide insight into non-core subject areas, including foreign languages, art, and music. They can develop their curriculum or use a school-provided one.

There are no strict job requirements for this position. The essential requirement is teaching experience and proficiency in the subject matter.

The average annual salary for self-enrichment teachers is about $36,340.

19. Preschool Teachers

Pre-school teachers work with children between three to five years of age. They usually create a school environment enriched with creativity, imagination, and interactive learning rather than homework and worksheets. Their duties involve:

  • Teaching children problem-solving skills
  • Encouraging social development
  • Using art supplies
  • Hosting story time
  • Monitoring play

Employment requirements include a high school diploma and certification in early childhood education.

Their compensation rate ranges between $26,220 to $42,350 per annum.

20. Sports Coach

Sports coaches train amateurs to compete in a sport either individually or as a team. They do not recruit players but rather work with those enrolled in their school. Apart from sports training, they play a significant role in character development and community building.

There are no nationwide educational requirements, but they should have first aid and CPR training. Their annual wage ranges from $25,190 to $55,530.

Skills Required for a High-Paying Job in Education

Skills needed within education include:

  • Creativity
  • Effective communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Desire to impact students’ lives in a meaningful way

Let’s look at some essential traits that are a central component of a successful career in education.

Effective Communication

Effective communication is the primary skill all individuals in the education field should possess. Since these professionals need to communicate frequently, they should maintain excellent written and verbal communication, sharp listening ability, and clarity. In addition, they should be able to pass on information in a way that is both meaningful and accessible for students, colleagues, administrators, and parents.

Professionals in education should also transform their communication style according to their listeners. Various factors include their age, educational standing, learning style, and culture. Some examples of communication skills include:

  • Communication with students, colleagues, and professionals
  • Knowing and adapting to an audience
  • Collaboration with administrators, colleagues, students
  • Building communities
  • Building meaningful relationships
  • Possessing the ability to lead
  • Developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships
  • Advocating for others
  • Active listening
  • Demarcating boundaries
  • Avoiding confusing jargon and striving for clarity in speech
  • Networking
  • Composing instructions, correspondence, and reports

Critical Thinking Abilities

Education professionals typically solve many problems under a strict deadline, especially teachers. Thus, they should synthesize and apply the knowledge they possess at any given time and make sound decisions by using their critical thinking skills. These professionals should be able to think critically when:

  • Answering complicated questions
  • Addressing the what-if queries
  • Maintaining a comfortable learning environment in the case of teachers
  • Accumulating information
  • Setting goals and expectations
  • Synthesizing data
  • Supporting students, administrators, and colleagues appropriately
  • Proactively addressing any unprecedented situations that may arise

Organization Skills

Professionals in the education sector often juggle several responsibilities at once. Multitasking requires practical organizational skills to manage responsibilities, workload, and even work files and documents. Some required mental and physical organizational skills include:

  • Storing and maintaining records
  • Following strict deadlines and schedules
  • Attending or hosting meetings with administrators, colleagues, students, teachers, etc.
  • Developing schedules
  • Time management
  • Planning and preparation
  • Identifying issues that may arise ahead of time and knowing how to troubleshoot

Creativity

Enthusiasm and creativity are two essential skills for a career in education. Contrary to popular notions, educational careers are not based exclusively on book knowledge but require a mix of knowledge, information, creativity, and inspiration. Professionals in this field should stay flexible, retain their sense of humor, and be open to working with different learning modes. Being a creative professional also entails being the following:

  • Artistic
  • Enthusiastic
  • Genuine
  • Undeterred in the face of adversity
  • Able to embrace ambiguity
  • Confident
  • Realistic
  • Practical
  • Passionate
  • Willing to try innovative and new things

Patience

Patience is crucial if you want a career as a teacher. These professionals often have to repeatedly explain concepts, manage intellectual situations, or even manage individuals who keep acting up. Dealing with colleagues, administrators, students, and teachers also tests a professional’s patience. It necessitates a professional and calm demeanor. Some people are intrinsically more patient than others, whereas others may need to intentionally exhibit emotional control, maturity, and patience.

Technical Skills

Professionals in education should possess technical skills and the required book knowledge to excel in their field. However, different positions in this domain require specific skills, levels of education, and expertise. They should perform the primary technical responsibilities that today’s globalized world entails, ranging from using standard software seamlessly to troubleshooting when required. Technical skills typically include excellent computer skills and knowledge of the software.

More Skills for Education Careers

Some other soft skills that education professionals should possess to enhance their working ability, expertise, and professionalism include the following:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Assertiveness
  • Neutrality
  • Discretion
  • Mindfulness
  • Practicality
  • Caring about detail
  • Encouragement

Education Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in training, education, and library occupations may grow by 10% between 2020 to 2030. This job outlook is about as promising as the average for all occupations. The BLS also projects about 920,500 new jobs from 2020 to 2030. Since student enrollment is most likely to increase, K – 12 teachers will be needed in higher numbers to meet demands. However, budgetary restrictions may hamper employment growth in some states as education, training, and library occupations come under local and state budgets. Below we list the top 4 best-paying jobs in education and the job outlook for each:

Superintendents

Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast the job outlook for superintendents to increase by 8% between 2020-2030, which is as fast as the average growth. About 247,100 openings are projected each year over the decade. The employment change may come up to 209,500.

School Principals

About 270,200 jobs were available for school principals in 2020. The BLS expects their job outlook to increase about 8% between 2020-2030, as fast as the average job outlook for other occupations. About 21,200 openings for elementary, middle, and high school principals would possibly appear each year between 2020-30.

Chief Academic Officers

The employment of chief academic officers may grow by 8% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 178,800 positions were available in 2020, and the BLS expects about 14,500 openings to appear every year on average. A majority of these openings are likely to result from a need to replace professionals who either exit the labor force or move to other occupations.

Academic Deans or Post-secondary Education Administrators

Post-secondary education administrator positions are likely to grow by 8% between 2020-2030, about as fast as the average for other occupations. BLS statistics state an average of 14,500 new openings every year in the coming decade.

Is There A Shortage of Skilled Teachers? Jobs in Education — Supply and Demand

Every state in the US suffers from a teacher shortage, which unequivocally affects education quality. A 2016 study concluded that the lack of qualified educators in the US rose to roughly 64,0000 and may increase to 316,000 by 2025.

This teacher deficit has amplified the demand for skilled educators in the US, which is most likely growing.

The teacher shortage is not spread evenly over all states. It is most widespread in urban school districts, with around 75% experiencing shortages. In comparison, about 60 percent of suburban neighborhoods and 65 percent of rural communities reported deficiencies. At any rate, these statistics point to an increase in the overall teacher shortage, which may not come down anytime soon.

Growing Jobs in Education You Need To Look Out For!

Apart from the mainstream careers in education, several other professions hold the potential to turn into successful careers for you. Let’s take a look!

  • Adult Basic And Secondary Education And ESL (English as a Second Language) Teachers
  • Archivists, Museum Workers, And Curators
  • Career And Technical Education Teachers
  • Instructional Coordinators
  • Library Media Specialists
  • Curriculum Developer
  • School Counselor
  • Library Technicians and Assistants
  • Teacher Assistants
  • Health Educator
  • School Social Worker

Get Started With A Progressive Career in Education!

With a surge in demand for teachers and other educational professionals in the coming years, a career in the education sector seems like a superb option. If you intend on pursuing a job from the ones mentioned above, we have good news for you. You can become eligible for the position of your choice and satisfy the employment requirements by undertaking an online bachelor’s or master’s degree in education!

Several reputed institutions are now offering online degrees to stay on top of changing world trends. You can earn one too, right from the comfort of your home! So head over to GetEducated.com right now to make an informed decision.

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