Education Management: Study Education or Business?

by Judge Josh on October 4, 2010

Anita is steadily climbing the ladder in the education industry, and because she’s an older student, it’s important that she chooses her steps carefully. When you don’t have a couple of spare decades to recover from mistakes, it’s important you make as few as possible!

I am a non-traditonal student (43) and just got my AAS degree in Child Development/Early Childhood.

Congrats! It’s never too late to get started, folks!

I have earned a total of 74 credits and I want to continue on to get a Bachelor’s BUT my question is:

Should I continue in Child Development/Early Childhood so that I can get done faster but I was also leaning towards a degree in Business Administration but it may take me longer?

education management

Ah, the good old days.

I wouldn’t advise choosing one or the other just because it takes longer to complete. Instead, you want to choose the one that best helps you fulfill your career goals over the long term.

Let’s try and figure out what that is for you.

I have worked in childcare for 15 years as a teacher, manager, and want to stay in it, but move up into more executive roles. Does it matter which bachelor’s degree program I enter?

OK, excellent — you want to get into the business/management side of education. Let’s work from there.

I don’t think you need to consider a bachelor’s in business in order to move into education management. I don’t think that would help you a great deal in getting those type of jobs. Not at the bachelor’s level, anyway.

I’m going to lean on my commenters to help me out today, because I know a lot of you are in education. But in my experience, most of the people who work in education management positions have undergrad degrees in education and master’s degrees in education as well.


Some have specialized “education management” master’s degrees, and beyond that, some even have their Ed.D degree.

Education-related MBAs are also pretty hot these days. You can find those with specializations like “educational leadership,” “education administration” and the one I’ve been repeating so much already, “education management.”

All of the above are better options than a bachelor’s in business. I think you need some type of degree, bachelor’s at minimum, in education, if you’re going to compete with others for these jobs. Because you’ll be competing with plenty of teachers out there who want to get out of the classroom and into a (relatively) quiet office, and they’re all going to have that B.A. in education and probably an M.A., too. The strongest candidates will have some doctoral hours as well.

And by they way, the type of jobs I’m envisioning when I’m discussing all this are positions like principal and assistant principal, educational director, and even up through superintendent jobs (you’ll need a doctorate for most of those, though).

My advice, then, would be to continue with an ed-related bachelor’s degree and then continue with one of the master’s degrees mentioned above. I can’t recommend a specific one over the others, because I just don’t have the experience to do so.

Luckily, many of our commenters do. I know the marvelous Counselor Buddy will have valuable feedback, although she’s away with a death in the family for the next day or so.

Best of luck to you, Anita!

** OK, education types — got any advice for Anita on the best path to take? Let us know in the comments below!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrienne October 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Anita,
I have a business administratin degree which I don’t use. It’s such a broad degree so I wouldn’t advise it for a specific sector like education. You need to get a masters in education with a specialization in school administration. This will better prepre you and you will also learn supervisory skills specific to education. A bachelors in education is the best place to start. Depending on what school you go to, you can minor in business and learn the basics.

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Cassidy October 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I think that is the best option- what Judge Josh recommended. Most of my former principles and colleges near mu home town offer educational administration on a short track as a masters for people who have education experience. Look into it

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Min October 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Do the education degree with a teaching certificate. Then work on your masters in education with an administrative emphasis. (I have a bachelors in accounting and a minor in management. What I learn in the classroom is different from educators.) If you believe that the business degree would help, then double major or go for a business minor. At my university the business minor is four classes and the accounting principles are not among them.

Many members of the faculty at the primary and secondary levels obtain their masters in education for two reasons 1) it increases their base salary and 2) they are in the position to move into administration. Others I know, have moved to the Area Education Agencies in Iowa. Here they are removed from the day-to-day classroom. For example, some Early childhood educators may evaluate children for placement in programs.

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mark October 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for those helpful posts. I am an educator who would like to move away from education completely.I have a bachelors and it seems like all there is is more teaching gigs.

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Ed October 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Stick with education. One of the negative things about having a business degree in a field like education would be that hiring managers would believe that you wouldn’t understand the intricacies of education. Minor in business or worry about it in grad school.

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Latoya Smart October 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Yeah every one has been giving good advice-go with education admin or leaderships That will prepare u for top positions in the field.

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Anita October 4, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Thank you everyone (and Judge Josh) for commenting on my question. It’s official, I will stay in education. I appreciate all of the advice which has helped maked my decision a lot easier. All of your responses makes so much more sense and I am glad I had this site to go to!

Thanks again!

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Michael Swenson October 4, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I highly recommend moving onto a masters program as soon as you possibly can. Most likely, in order to get into one, you will have to have a bachelors degree. I agree with Judge Josh: get a bachelors degree relevant to education and then move onto a masters. You will be extremely marketable with a combination like that.

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Anonymous October 4, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Have you considered asking those in the field that you are interested in what major is required/recommended? You can also talk to HR and find out more from them. Try to find a mentor and ask them to guide you, which is a great way to network as well. Consider doing some volunteer work or an internship in your field to see the job from the inside and ask questions.
Best of luck

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Jane October 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

Hey Anita,
The Masters in Education at the University of Maryland College Park is 2 semesters long, one of which is 2 classes with a teaching internship as a TA in an elementary or middle school setting. I can imagine that most education programs would be like this, so it is probably worth asking your school if you can use the teaching you have already done to substitute for the internship as a TA. You may be able to get your masters degree faster that way, especially if they let you start working on the graduate classes before you finish your BA.

Good luck.

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James October 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm

It depends. Are those hours total attempted hours or total passed hours? If you rely on fed fin aid, it can make a difference since the 150% rule includes failed and withdrawn hours as well as passed hours (roughly 180ish total hours for Bachelor’s).

Sadly, he is probably spot on. Realistically, you need the Business degree, but many Ed. hirers don’t care. I considered applying for a position in Social Services. Several Directors recognized the value of my Business degree, but were unwilling to take it into account. They wind up hiring non-Business people and wonder why they have financial problems.

If you have the extra hours, I suggest pursuing the dual degree. The Ed/Bus Masters is another option. MBAs are a dime a dozen, but at least with a combo degree (B, M, or both) you have additional options.

Honestly, too many Ed. degree leaders is a huge problem. They don’t worry about the business side. Results are vast amounts of money wasted because they don’t have the business degree. After all, why does it matter? They rarely have to be accountable to anyone on how they blow money and voters or fed/states will give them more money.

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daniel November 17, 2010 at 1:09 am

Can international student apply for the scholarship???

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Abiy December 9, 2010 at 2:46 am

i need join to any university or college in this field when you are giving this chance i am ready and start scholarship program at andy time that is under graduate program.

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