8 Great Careers in Educational Leadership

The education industry is continuously progressing. Driven by advancements in technology, shifting societal expectations, and an increasing focus on the importance of lifelong learning, there is now a greater need for skilled and dedicated professionals in the field of educational leadership.

 In a world where education is increasingly recognized as a cornerstone of personal and collective success, educational leaders play a vital role in developing and implementing effective curricula, fostering a positive learning environment, supporting the professional growth of educators, and ensuring that educational institutions are well-equipped to meet the diverse needs of their students.

The realm of educational leadership is rich with opportunities for individuals who possess a strong passion for education, exceptional interpersonal skills, and the ability to navigate complex challenges. Professionals in this field have the chance to leave a lasting impact on the lives of those they serve, helping shape the future of education for generations to come.

This article will explore the top ten careers in educational leadership, providing insights into each role and discussing their potential for growth, compensation, and job satisfaction. By considering these opportunities, you may find the perfect fit for your skills, interests, and aspirations.

Great Careers in Educational Leadership

Embracing the Future of Education: Online Programs

As educational institutions continue to evolve, online education programs have become increasingly popular, offering flexibility and accessibility to learners across the globe. In 2019, over 6.9 million students were enrolled in distance education courses at postsecondary institutions in the US. Michigan ranked 15th among the states with the highest number of students enrolled in online courses. One institution that stands out for its commitment to providing high-quality online education programs is Eastern Michigan University (EMU), which has been nationally recognized for its offerings.

EMU’s online education programs cater to all types of learners, from teachers seeking professional development to individuals looking to advance their careers in educational leadership. EMU offers a diverse range of fully online programs, such as Master’s degrees in Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, and Special Education. 

School Principal

School principals play a crucial role in creating a positive learning environment and setting the tone for an entire school. They are responsible for the day-to-day operations, curriculum development, and staff management. According to the BLS data, the median annual salary for elementary, middle, and high school principals was $98,420 in 2021. With a projected 5% growth in employment from 2021 to 2031, this career path offers a rewarding opportunity for those who are passionate about influencing the educational experience of countless students.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators are responsible for developing and implementing curriculum and teaching standards in schools and districts. They work closely with school and college teachers and administrators to ensure that instructional materials and teaching methods align with state and federal guidelines. The median wage for instructional coordinators was $63,740 per year in 2021, and the field is expected to grow by 7% from 2021 to 2031. This career path is ideal for individuals passionate about fostering academic excellence and enhancing the quality of education.


Superintendents oversee entire school districts, manage budgets, set educational goals, and ensure schools comply with state and federal regulations. In 2021, the average salary for a school superintendent was $164,104. With a projected growth rate of 4% between 2021 and 2031, this high-level position offers a unique opportunity to shape the future of education at a district-wide level.

College or University President

College and university presidents are responsible for setting the strategic direction, managing budgets, and leading academic and administrative teams. According to Glassdoor, the annual salary for a college president in the US is $205,868 on average. Although the job market for postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow by only 4% by 2030, this prestigious career path offers the chance to make a significant impact on higher education.

Education Consultant

Education consultants work with schools, districts, and other educational organizations to improve performance, identify areas for growth, and develop strategies for success. In 2021, the median annual wage for management consultants, which includes education consultants, was $93,000. The field is projected to grow by 11% from 2021 to 2031, making it an attractive option for those who want to use their expertise to drive positive educational change.

Director of Special Education

Directors of special education are responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of special education programs and services within schools and districts. They work closely with teachers, parents, and other professionals to ensure that students with disabilities receive the support they need to succeed academically. In 2020, the median annual wage for special education teachers was $61,420. As more emphasis is placed on inclusive education and support for students with diverse needs, this career path offers the opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of students who require additional assistance.

Curriculum Developer

Curriculum developers work with educators, administrators, and subject matter experts to design, evaluate, and revise educational materials and programs. They ensure that curricula align with educational standards and meet the needs of diverse student populations. In 2021, the median annual wage for instructional coordinators, which includes curriculum developers, was $63,740. With a projected growth rate of 7% from 2021 to 2031, this career path is ideal for creative individuals passionate about enhancing students’ learning experiences.

Chief Academic Officer

Chief Academic Officers (CAOs) work at the executive level within educational organizations, overseeing academic programs, curriculum development, and faculty performance. They are responsible for ensuring the overall academic quality and effectiveness of their institution. In 2021, the average salary for a CAO was $177,500. While the overall growth rate for postsecondary education administrators is projected to increase by 4% by 2030, the prestige and influence associated with this role make it an appealing option for those who aspire to shape the future of education on a large scale.


Educational leadership offers a wealth of opportunities for individuals who are ardent about making a difference in the lives of students and educators.

From school principals and instructional coordinators to college presidents and education consultants, these roles provide professionals with the chance to influence the direction of education, improve student outcomes, and foster a culture of excellence.

By considering the various career paths and their scope, you can take the first step toward a rewarding and fulfilling career in educational leadership. With dedication and the right skills, you can contribute to reshaping the world of education and leave a lasting legacy.

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