School Supervisor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a school supervisor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensing requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

The overall responsibility for the efficient and high quality operation of elementary, middle or high schools falls to the school supervisor. Most states require that you hold a master's degree. Licensure is mandatory for all public school supervisors.

Essential Information

School supervisors (school principals) are in charge of the daily operations of schools. They are responsible for managing teachers, students, and all other school faculty members in a school. Many school supervisors start out as teachers and move up into administrative roles within the school. The most common requirement for school supervisors is a master's degree in education administration or education leadership. It is also required for prospective school supervisors to obtain a state license in school supervision.

Required Education Masters in education leadership or education administration
Other Requirements State license in school supervision
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (as fast as average)*
Average Salary (2015) $90,410*

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*

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School Supervisor Job Description

School supervisors (also called school principals) are managers in charge of the day-to-day operations of kindergarten through 12th grade schools. They must manage teachers, coaches, librarians, counselors, support staff and other employees.

The current trend is for decision-making authority to decentralize from school district offices to the supervisors of individual schools. Therefore, school supervisors must be aware of concerns from parents, teachers and the community at large. They meet with community representatives and organizers as well as parent and teacher groups. School supervisors must have excellent communication skills.

The student body may be quite diverse, and some students may not speak English; therefore, the supervisor must be sensitive to each student's needs. Supervisors may also have to deal with overcrowding as enrollment outpaces growth.

School Supervisor Job Duties

Job duties include preparing budgets, developing academic programs, establishing performance goals and objectives for the school and for teachers and keeping records. A school supervisor may also monitor students' progress, keep teachers trained and motivated, formulate mission statements, visit classrooms to evaluate teaching methods and provide performance standards for teachers and other employees. They prepare reports on student attendance and performance.

School supervisors or principals are also responsible for making sure the school adheres to local, state and federal education standards. Often this includes overseeing annual or semi-annual testing as well as preparing reports on students' performances and initiating test preparation for students and teachers. Supervisors are also responsible for disciplining students.

School Supervisor Job Requirements

Education Requirements

A common career path for school supervisors is to begin by teaching. Some teachers move directly into administrative positions, but others move up to assistant principal or another administrative position within a school before transitioning to school supervisor.

School supervisors typically hold a master's degree in education administration or education leadership, which is often required for licensure as a school administrator. They may also hold a specialized degree in education administration or a doctorate in a similar field. In some private schools, a master's degree is not required to be a school supervisor, though candidates should have at least a bachelor's degree in education.


Obtaining a state license in school supervision typically requires a master's degree and may require passing a specialized examination. Principals in private schools are typically not required to hold a state license.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

2015 information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual median salary of $90,410, for elementary and secondary education administrators. According to the BLS, elementary, middle and high school principals could look forward to average job growth of 6%, from 2014-2024.

Often beginning as a teacher, most school supervisors advance to that ultimate position by obtaining a master's degree in leadership or education administration. You'll need a license in order to become a principal at a public school, though not necessarily at a private school. Employment opportunities for school supervisors are expected to increase about as fast as the national average for all occupations.

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