What Degree is Needed To Become a Superintendent?

SuperintendentAdvancing in the field of education often leads to an education professional’s consideration of how to complete the degree needed to become a superintendent. Although there are a variety of paths that might be taken, focusing undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate education in specific areas is often the best path in order to meet qualifications for superintendent positions in private, public, and charter school systems.

Undergraduate Course Work

One of the most likely places for an education professionals to begin a career in schools is with a degree in teaching. Bachelor’s degrees in education provide a number of different options, beginning with options for obtaining an elementary or secondary teaching certificate. In either program, future teachers gain knowledge and practical skill for everything from classroom management to learning methods for diverse student populations.

Education Master’s Degree Options

There are number of different options for completion of a master’s degree in the field of education. A popular option for educators in the classroom is to complete a Master of Arts in Teaching, which further builds on an undergraduate degree to continue to learn advanced theories and concepts in classroom instruction. This degree can also qualify a prospective superintendent candidate for some positions.

In most cases, education professionals who are planning on pursuing future roles in administration, from principal positions to superintendent opportunities, will complete a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership. This particular degree incorporates course work in a number of areas that are necessary for successfully leading school districts and meeting the mission and goals to best support students, teachers, and staff. Courses include school operations fundamentals, technology applications in educational leadership, theory of curriculum design, educational priorities, instructional supervision, school improvement, budgeting and schools, and staff development program design.

Education Specialist and Doctorate Options in Educational Leadership

For many superintendent positions, further degree completion will be required, including completion of an education specialist, EdS, degree or doctorate. Additionally, an Education Specialist degree is often required to obtain licensure for becoming a principal in many states, often a requirement before qualifying for positions as superintendent.

An Education Specialist degree prepares education professionals for the unique challenges of leading both students and staff in learning outcomes and developing a shared vision. Courses include communication for school leaders, quality education for diverse student populations, law in school organizations, school system ethics, allocation of resources, learning curriculum initiatives, and recruiting and evaluating school personnel.

A Doctorate in Education, EdD degree, is designed to further prepare education professionals for the challenges of managing various areas of schools and districts. Courses include education reform, meeting student needs in urban schools, professional development practices, student engagement strategies, innovation in teaching and learning, and effective leadership practices.

Pursuing Superintendent Positions

Teaching and administration experience, along with the right degree, will be required in order to ensure that candidates are well-prepared for the diverse considerations of successfully providing education to all students. Additional information can be found at The School Superintendents Association website.

Related Resource: Online Course Development

While various school districts are likely to have different requirements for superintendent candidates, the completion of a doctoral degree is most likely to be preferred. With many options to consider, it is often the most direct path to choose an educational leadership degree needed to become a superintendent.