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Can a Teacher Be 'Overqualified' for an Administrator Job?

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Q:
I have been in the field of education for 24 years and I just received my doctoral degree in educational leadership. I have extensive experience as a teacher leader within my school, yet I am finding it difficult to transition into the field of educational leadership. I have applied for several positions in various counties in Georgia. Could it be that my extensive experience, and advanced degree are making me less marketable in regards to salary range?

A:
I am sad to say that "yes" your experience and salary range as a 24 year veteran teacher does make you less marketable for entry-level administrative position. If you look at most salary schedules across the country, once a teacher has 8-12 years of experience and a MA degree, he or she would be making a higher salary as a teacher than assistant principals or directors in that school district. When you factor in a longer work year for administrators than teachers, the daily rate comparison becomes even more dramatic. It is an unfortunate fact of how teacher and administrative salary schedules have developed over the years, but it is very difficult for a veteran teacher to move into entry-level administrative roles and maintain their salary.

If you really want to make the transition to administration, you may need to be willing to take a pay cut to do so. You should also be prepared to share that fact with potential employers, as it is unlikely that a district is willing to bring on a brand new administrator who would be earning more than an experience administrator. You may wish to share your willingness to do so in your cover letter or at an interview if you are willing to take a pay cut.

-- Hank Gmitro, President, HYA Executive Search Division, ECRA Group, Inc.

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