Top Career Paths for Education Graduates

A career in education can be rewarding with just an undergraduate degree; primary and secondary level teachers have the opportunity to change the lives of their students for the better while working with the subject matter of their choice. While that can be rewarding, the compensation enjoyed by teachers is not exactly renowned for its generosity.

Educators interested in more responsibility and higher pay will be best served pursuing a graduate level degree. Education degrees at the master and doctoral levels open the door to many top-paying and prestigious professions that are generally unavailable to undergraduates.

Education Administration

A master's degree in Education Administration allows graduates to become school principals at the primary, secondary and sometimes even postsecondary level. Principals tend to be the highest paid individuals within their schools or districts. They are responsible for coordinating curriculum, overseeing other teachers and staff, and handling involvement between their school and the surrounding community. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of 2015, the median pay for all elementary, middle and high school principals was $90,410 per year.

Principals are the entry-level position into further academic administration. An Education Administration degree, accompanied with enough experience, could also open the door to a superintendent or other school board position down the road.

Higher Education Management

Higher Education Management degrees prepare graduates for positions in postsecondary education such as college dean, vice president of student affairs or student services director. While the BLS cites a median pay of $88,580 per year, job duties and salary will vary based on what area you decide to manage, such as admissions, student life or financing. The position of dean, in particular, differs in pay based on the college and field of study they oversee: universities tend to pay more to those who direct their science, technology, engineering and mathematics departments.

Education Leadership

Similar to the Education Administration degree path, Education Leadership programs prepare graduates for careers in academic administration or other lead roles. Graduates with doctoral degrees in Leadership can work as superintendents or chief academic officers within all levels of education institutions. Study is generally based around school law, financing, curriculum development and politics in education. Graduates can start off by becoming registrars or financial aid directors, who make $71,764 to $74,261 annually.

Postsecondary Teacher

For educators who prefer to stay out of administration but still wish to further their own career, a postsecondary graduate degree path may be ideal for their goals. Postsecondary teachers instruct students beyond the high school level in their area of expertise, whatever that may be. While a master's degree is usually enough to teach in a community college, becoming a university professor typically requires completing a doctoral degree in your field of study.

Outside of the classroom, postsecondary teachers have the option to be involved with other areas of their school such as administration, student advising or research projects. Many professors are required to conduct research, publish scholarly papers, or write books as part of their tenure contracts.

BLS reported that the median annual wages for postsecondary teachers was $72,470 as of May 2015. The need for this profession is expected to grow 13% from 2014 to 2024 as a result of the continued increase in enrollment at community colleges and universities.


Graduates interested in pursuing a quieter career might consider looking into a Library Science degree. The American Library Association (ALA) notes that a librarian position can span a range of requirements, but most require a Master of Library Science (MLS) from an ALA-accredited school. Your chances are better if you have some experience working in a library before graduation.

Accredited librarians have the option to work at not only government-funded locations, but in academic libraries at primary, secondary and postsecondary schools as well. No matter the institution, librarians are responsible for managing staff, developing information programs and providing assistance to students and teachers by meeting research or other informational needs.

Librarians make an average $56,880 per year, but this number can go up or down depending on the work environment; higher level institutions tend to pay higher wages.

Upper Iowa University offers graduate education courses in teacher leadership, higher education and student affairs. To see where your teacher education program can take you, contact UIU today to apply or request more information.