Collage of school administration roles including instructional designer, school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, and occupational therapist

4 Careers in School Administration that Don’t Require a Principal’s Certificate

You may know that there are numerous opportunities to work in school administration outside of the well-known principal and vice principal positions. But what is a speech-language pathologist, exactly? What are the requirements to enter into a school psychologist career? How does the role of occupational therapists differ in schools than in traditional medical practices? What are the responsibilities of an instructional designer? 

This list introduces you to four careers in school administration suited for professionals with different areas of expertise and experience to help you follow your passion for education and take your career to the next level.


Group of instructional designers discussing curriculum development


1. Instructional Designer

Instructional designers (also called curriculum designers) work for a wide range of employers including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, educational support services, and large companies such as Pearson or Kaplan. Unlike the other careers in school administration listed below, instructional design typically involves direct contact with adults rather than children. Professionals in this field are in particular demand for the development and implementation of online and blended learning environments. Therefore, they must have an up-to-date knowledge of cutting-edge educational technologies.

Instructional designers create course objectives and curriculum maps in consideration of a variety of factors including students’ background knowledge and needs. They also plan methods of assessment to determine the success of the course. In order to ensure their materials are implemented correctly, instructional designers may conduct professional development workshops for teachers.

Instructional design is typically a full-time, year-round occupation, unlike teaching. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), instructional designers and other instructional coordinators make a median salary of $62,460. Additionally, employment in this field is projected to grow 10% between 2016 and 2026.


School psychologist meeting with young boy


2. School Psychologist

School psychologists are responsible for supporting students’ mental, behavioral, and emotional health within the educational setting. These school administrators typically hold an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree, though a master’s degree in a related field is also suitable. A Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) certification is another common qualification for a career in school psychology.

One of the most prominent duties involved in a school psychologist career is helping students with learning or behavioral exceptionalities fit successfully into the educational environment. This includes administering tests for gifted and talented programs; conducting observations of students in their current classroom placements; diagnosing learning, mental, and behavioral disorders; and participating in Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) development. Other school psychologist tasks include student counseling, planning and implementing in-school programs, and performing consultations with parents and teachers.

A school psychologist career delivers an average salary of $75,670. The BLS estimates that employment for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will grow 14% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average.


Speech-language pathologist meeting with young girl


3. Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathology is another career in school administration that involves direct interaction with students. But what exactly is a speech pathologist?

A speech pathologist, also called a speech therapist, helps people overcome developmental delays or disorders that cause problems with particular pronunciations, fluency, or rhythm. In a school environment, the speech-language pathologist works with the special education team to address those issues specifically as they negatively impact students’ participation and learning in the classroom. For example, they might work with a child who experiences a significant stutter, but are unlikely to do so with a student demonstrating a minor lisp.

After testing for and diagnosing a child with a speech-related delay or disorder, the school speech pathologist becomes an integral part of the child’s educational team. They are involved in writing the IEP, delivering therapy, coordinating with parents, and keeping meticulous records of the child’s progress. While some children work with speech-language pathologists within the regular classroom, many receive the majority of their services before or after the typical school day or in a special education room in lieu of general instruction.

Speech pathologists make an average of $74,680 per year, while those working specifically in educational services receive $65,540 on average. The BLS projects that employment of speech pathologist in schools will grow approximately 8% between 2016 and 2026.


Occupational therapist meeting with young boy


4. Occupational Therapist

School-based occupational therapists assist students with motor skill problems. Similar to the speech pathologist career described above, occupational therapy in schools focuses exclusively on issues that hurt students’ ability to learn.

Occupational therapists play a key role in the observation and intervention process to identify and support students in need of assistance. Some of the services a school-based occupational therapist might provide include developing goals with a struggling student, educating faculty and staff on a particular child’s disability and needs, collaborating in IEP meetings, and continually re-evaluating students to track their progress.

Unlike in a typical medical environment, occupational therapy in schools frequently requires that employees travel between buildings and to work with children of all ages. The median salary for occupational therapists employed by elementary and/or secondary schools is $71,480, with an expected employment growth of 8.4% between 2016 and 2026.


Whether you are looking to advance from a teaching position or to make a difference in the next generation without standing in front of a classroom every day, there is a school administration position to fit your needs. Check out more career opportunities in school administration by browsing jobs at iHireSchoolAdministrators.

By Erin Coursey, iHire | January 29, 2018
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