What Is The Best Degree To Obtain If I Want To Be a Superintendent Of a School?

A school superintendent holds one of the chief administrative positions within the K-12 level educational system and is responsible for managing school budgets, operations, faculty, and staff. They are also tasked with setting educational policies to improve the overall quality of the school’s academic and extracurricular programs. Most school superintendents possess a mix of business knowledge, administrative skills, and experience as educators. Their job requires acute problem solving and communication skills, and a superintendent’s work week often exceeds the conventional 40 hour threshold established for most jobs. The educational path to obtain the needed functional skills vary slightly. Which degree option is the best for a successful career as a superintendent? Here are descriptions of the top degrees offered for those pursuing positions as school superintendents, and an explanation of why one stands out from the rest as a more popular option.

School Superintendent Education Specialist Degree

For experienced education administrators who want to take their careers to the next level, the Superintendent Specialist degree program offered by many recognized schools around the country is a step in the right direction. Most accredited Superintendent Specialist degree programs are designed as advanced degrees for those education administration professionals who already have graduate level credentials in education, education administration, or business administration. The hours required to complete the core curriculum vary by program and the corresponding state requirement for licensure, but each degree program typically consists of 33 credit hours. Upon completion of the Superintendent Education Specialist program, successful graduates of the program typically receive endorsement for superintendent licensure in the state in which the program was taken.

Master’s Degree In Education Administration

Most educators interested in moving beyond classroom instruction and have aspirations to become principals, superintendents, or other administrators usually pursue a graduate degree in Education Administration. The program typically consists of 30 to 36 credit hours that often comes in flexible online curriculum formats. Although many superintendents possess an education related graduate degree such as this one as a minimum requirement, this degree program really does not distinguish a superintendent candidate from his or her peer competitors. It is, however, an ideal degree for experienced teachers and mid-level education administration professionals pursuing principal or assistant principal positions.

Master’s Degree In Education

Education professionals holding a graduate degree in Education have many career options within the varying levels of the education industry. This degree provides the most flexibility to its graduates who want to fulfill the higher education degree requirements of their current position while preparing for advancement in the industry. While some superintendents possess this degree credential, it usually only fulfills the minimum requirement for the position. Successful superintendent candidates seek other avenues to gain a competitive advantage. This broad-based graduate degree in Education used in conjunction with previously earned specialized undergraduate degree credentials prepares candidates for positions in school counseling, higher education student affairs, curriculum and instruction, and academic enrichment.


The position of school superintendent offers qualified candidates a challenging yet rewarding career making a difference in primary and secondary school education. Even though educational requirements for superintendents differ by school district and governing school board, the trend within the industry is specialization. The Superintendent Education Specialist degree was created in response to the need for specialized training for today’s superintendents. Possessing the Superintendent Education Specialist degree credential leaves no question in the minds of education board members of which job a candidate is qualified to fill.