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Career Opportunities in Education


There are a wide variety of opportunities to pursue in the education field including areas such as educational administration, educational foundations, government relations, grant writing, institutional research, and education policy. Education professionals also may work for organizations such as Teach for America.

Career Paths and Entry Salaries

Education administrators provide vision, direction, leadership, and day-to-day management of educational activities in schools, colleges and universities, businesses, correctional institutions, museums, and job training and community service organizations. They set educational standards and goals and aid in establishing the policies and procedures to carry them out. They develop academic programs; monitor students’ educational progress; hire, train, motivate, and evaluate teachers and other staff; manage counseling and other student services; administer recordkeeping; prepare budgets; and handle relations with staff, parents, current and prospective students, employers, and the community.

Educational Foundations are school foundations that are private, not-for-profit entities, usually incorporated under state laws or under the sponsorship of another private non-profit which is governed by a board of directors that is separate and distinct from the educational entities it was created to support.

Government Relations works to promote access and equity in education for all students by shaping federal and state legislation, regulations, and programs. Also, those in this field work with strategic partners to help lead the nation in policy areas such as assessments, student financial aid, affirmative action, and diversity.

Grant writers create proposals, usually for educational institutions and non-profit organizations, to find and secure money from outside funding sources. This money is used for projects and services that these educational institutions and non-profit organizations want to complete, but can't afford to fund on their own. It takes a very skilled writer to compose a grant that will convince these outside funding sources to give their money to a particular project. The competition to receive a grant can be very stiff because so many organizations apply for grants, and sometimes the money available is limited. Writing a grant is a tedious step-by-step process. You must research the topic of the grant, learn about possible funding sources, and then find out how the funding sources want the grant written. You usually have to submit a grant following a very strict format. The funding sources will ask for a detailed description of how people will benefit from the funds they may provide. Research and writing skills are essential to be a successful grant writer. You must be able to clearly and succinctly explain what the organization for which you work is seeking and why.

Institutional Research involves collecting, analyzing, and preparing standard institutional reports on summary level institutional data, including trends and peer comparisons where appropriate. Those in this field conduct special research projects and reports to support policy development, decision making, accountability, program evaluation, and promotion of institution. Usually knowledge of creating surveys, conducting focus groups and collecting and analyzing statistical data is required.

Education Policy professionals monitor/analyze economic, social and political issues affecting educational sector development. Through this process, they identify education policy development needs and potential solutions relevant to project activities.

Qualifications Necessary

Qualifications will vary depending on the area of education an individual would like to pursue. Most often, a bachelor's and master's degrees in a relevant field will be required; in some cases a doctorate will be preferred. The ability to build effective relationships with a wide range of people and to solicit cooperation from individuals and groups is essential.



Association for Institutional Research,

Council for Advancement and Support of Education,

Grantsmanship Center,,


Education Resource Organizations Directory,

Edited for the use of SPEA students by the staff of the Office of Career Services. Written by Career Directors from the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Information obtained from the Maxwell School of Public Administration.