How to Become a

School Superintendent

The complete career guide to be a School Superintendent: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $92,940
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.8%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Fast Paced Career
    Career Attribute

A school superintendent is the chief operator of a school district. School superintendents manage multiple schools within a district which may include elementary, middle, and high schools. School superintendents report to the board of education and execute on measures passed by the board.

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What is a School Superintendent?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in school superintendent roles:

  • Reports issues, present proposals, and make recommendations of behalf of the district and its schools to the school board
  • Work with principals, assistant principals, teachers, students, parents, and community members to implement programs and policies and create and maintain a thriving learning environment
  • Oversee and manage all district finances, assign budgets to individual schools, and request additional funds when needed
  • Serve as the face of the district to the community, media, surrounding districts, and politicians
  • Manage school operations and ensure appropriate resources are in place for student transportation, building maintenance, and facility upgrades

A Day in the Life of a School Superintendent

The role of a school superintendent is enormous, and superintendents rarely have a quiet day. They spend a lot of their time working with others, gaining a better understanding of issues and making arguments on behalf of their schools. They work with school principals to understand the needs and problems of individual schools, work with parents and community members to discern ways to improve opinions of the district, and work with the school board to garner favor for proposed requests.

Beyond working with others, school superintendents also have a lot of administrative responsibilities. They’re responsible for purchasing busses and making sure student transportation is executed without issue. They oversee hiring of school principals and support staff. They review student transfer requests and may have to sign off on admitting transfer students, and they may also have a role in determining how many new teachers to hire, how many classes to offer, and how many students to accept.

Finally, one of the most important roles of a school superintendent is that of establishing educational programs, school curriculums, and staff professional development opportunities. They ensure that student learning is taking place and that schools in the district perform well on standardized testing. Ultimately, the superintendent is held accountable for poor test scores and unsatisfactory performance, so they spent a significant amount of time ensuring that district schools enable and encourage learning.

Typical Work Schedule for School Superintendents

School superintendents work year-round—they do not enjoy summers off like most school personnel. While most their work occurs during normal business hours, they’re also expected to attend community and school events during evenings and on weekends. Additionally, because the role carries so many responsibilities, superintendents must often work overtime to ensure all required tasks are completed.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Teacher, Assistant Principal
  • Mid-Career: Principal, Instructional Coordinator
  • Late Career: School Superintendent

Typical Employers

Generally, all public school districts have a superintendent. Public school superintendents are employed by local or state governments. Private schools may also hire superintendents.

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How To Become a School Superintendent

School superintendents almost always start their careers as teachers in elementary, middle, or high schools. To teach, you must have a bachelor’s degree in education that culminates in the appropriate teaching license or credential for your state. After earning the proper degree and teaching credential, you’ll be qualified to teach in a public school. While teaching, you’ll need to pursue a master’s degree in educational administration and leadership to move up the ladder within your school.

With several years of teaching experience and a master’s degree, you’ll be qualified to move into assistant principal and principal positions. Most aspiring superintendents work as assistant principals for a number of years before moving into principal roles, and then work as principals for several years before pursuing career advancement into superintendent roles. In addition to a bachelor’s and master’s degree and experience, additional educational requirements may exist for superintendents.

Some individuals pursue a superintendent certification, which is a certificate program that can be earned after obtaining a master’s degree. Others choose to pursue a Ph.D. in education or administration. Different school districts will have different requirements on what level of higher education degree is required. However, with a lot of experience and a proven track record of success, many individuals are able to move into superintendent roles without earning doctorate degrees.

School Superintendent Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do School Superintendent salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, School Superintendent's can make an average annual salary of $92,940, or --- per hour. On the lower end, they can make $72,380 or --- per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #88 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among School Superintendents

  • 13.2%   Doctorate
  • 44.8%   Masters
  • 23.5%   Bachelors
  • 5%   Associates
  • 8%   College
  • 4.6%   High School
  • 0.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does School Superintendent job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 14,000 jobs for a total of 254,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #390 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most School Superintendents

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Elementary and secondary schools; local 187,400 11,000 11%
Elementary and secondary schools; private 37,500 2,300 2%
Self-employed workers 5,100 200 0%

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