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Senior administrators oversee the daily operators of their organizations or institutions. Most work in education and health care facilities, where they perform general administrative duties as well as specialized tasks for their respective fields. Many senior administrators begin as entry-level employees, such as teachers or hospital administrative assistants, and advance to senior administration positions once they have acquired the necessary experience.
Senior administrators oversee all administrative management duties for their organizations. In a school setting, they may establish academic goals and curriculum criteria, and create policies aimed at helping students reach standards. Education senior administrators supervise all teaching and educational staff and are responsible for hiring and evaluating teachers as well. They must ensure that students meet national and state academic requirements, and must prepare budgets. Some education senior administrators may also be responsible for fund raising for their school. Senior administrators who work in a health care setting are responsible for supervising and hiring staff and managing facility operations. They are also in charge of the facility's finances and create policies and procedures for patient admission and record keeping. Some senior health care administrators may have clinical responsibilities as well.
Educational requirements for senior administrator positions vary based on industry and employer. Senior administrators at elementary and secondary schools usually have a master’s degree in educational leadership or education administration. Some may have a doctoral degree in education administration as well. Private and preschool senior administrators may only require a bachelor’s degree. Health care senior administrators usually have a master’s degree in health services administration, public administration or business administration. Doctoral degrees are also available in health care administration, and some employers may prefer to hire candidates who have completed a doctoral program.
Senior administrators usually work in comfortable offices, though they may be required to travel occasionally for meetings with superiors, community members and state and local officials. Many senior administrators work long hours. Education senior administrators must often attend schools events that take place on nights and weekends. Some health care senior administrators work at hospitals or other facilities that operate 24 hours a day, so they may be called at any hour to deal with problems that arise. Senior administrator positions can also be stressful because administrators are responsible for the performance and operation of their organizations and must solve problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wages for elementary and secondary education administrators, including senior administrators, were $83,880 as of May 2008. The highest 10 percent were paid more than $124,250, while the lowest 10 percent were paid less than $55,580. Health care administrators, including senior administrators, had median annual wages of $80,240 as of May 2008, according to the BLS. The highest 10 percent were paid more than $137,800, while the lowest 10 percent were paid less than $48,300.
The BLS estimates that employment for education administrators, including senior administrators, will increase by 8 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is about as fast a rate as the average for all occupations. Employment for health care administrators, including senior administrators, should grow by 16 percent during the period, which is a faster rate than the average, according to the BLS. Population growth will spur a need for new schools and health care facilities, which will create opportunities for senior administrators in both fields. Competition for senior administration positions will be fierce, however, because they tend to pay higher salaries and provide better benefits.