Online Master’s Programs in Educational Administration

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Careers & Salaries with a Graduate Degree in Educational Administration

If you’re looking to take your teaching career to the next level, you might benefit from an online master’s degree in educational administration. Advancing your degree will allow you to take on more responsibility within your school and make decisions that directly influence the education and wellbeing of your students. A master’s degree in educational administration can also increase your job prospects, leading to a higher salary. Find out the best online programs, what they entail and what careers they can lead to.

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Our rankings are based on information provided by the Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, as well as the university’s own published materials. All of the colleges and universities included in this list have been accredited. Students should only consider enrolling in accredited master’s programs, which ensures they are providing quality education.

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Top 10 Online Master’s Programs in Educational Administration

Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration

  1. New England College
    Location

    Henniker, NH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students can earn an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from New England College in 2 ways: 100% online or through a hybrid format, combining online and on-campus course delivery. Additionally, the degree offers an online concentration option in Campus Public Safety Administration. All classes in the 40-credit hour base program are online in the online format, while in the hybrid format, each term 1 course is offered online and 1 on the NEC campus in Henniker, NH, for students who are interested in face-to-face instruction. Students can enroll in 1 or 2 classes every 7-week term, completing the degree in 10-20 months. The program focuses on theory and practice in higher education, honing in on essential management areas such as advising skills, multicultural competence, legal issues and administrative leadership. Coursework includes College Students in the U.S., Multiculturalism, Advising and Helping, Leadership Theory, Law in Higher Education and Organization and Administration. Students must also complete 2 practicums and a capstone research or professional development project. Candidates graduate with an understanding of issues in higher education administration, the ability to apply learned management practices and make effective use of resources, and the capacity to effectively communicate with students, staff and organizations to ensure inclusivity. Graduates are prepared to seek careers in academic advising, admissions and enrollment management, fundraising, career placement, financial aid or student affairs. The Campus Public Safety Administration concentration covers strategies for ensuring campus safety, managing crises and emergencies on campuses, and laws and regulations in campus safety administration. The school says the concentration is the only one of its kind in the U.S. Students take many of the same courses as in the base program, along with classes focused on the concentration such as Emergency Management and Campus Public Safety Considerations. NEC offers multiple benefits for members of the military, including tuition savings, potential credit for service, and a Veteran Affairs Office offering a range of support services. NEC is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

  2. Cairn University
    Location

    Langhorne, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The 39-credit-hour M.S. in Educational Leadership & Administration program at Cairn University can be completed in 28 months through an online delivery format that allows student to finish coursework on their own schedule, a set-up ideal for working education professionals. The program is aimed at preparing Christian educators for leadership roles in public, private, Christian or international schools and school districts. Additionally, participants may be eligible for prior learning credit, specifically for bible or theology coursework that was completed at an accredited bible college, Christian liberal arts college or university or a seminary, as well as for field work based on a student's ongoing professional responsibilities. The program combines online coursework with field work, where students have the opportunity for hands-on experience in data management, budget development, daily operating procedures and workplace interactions with students, colleagues and superiors. Courses include Principalship PK-12, Organizational Theory and Team Building, School Law, Issues in Special Education for School Leaders, Financial and Business Management, and Biblical Integration for Educators. Courses are taught via the eLearning online learning platform, where students view instructional content and videos, upload assignments, participate in forums, and take quizzes. Coursework is asynchronous so can be completed anytime, anywhere, as long as weekly deadlines are met. Online courses range in length from 7-14 weeks. Graduates must earn a 3.0 GPA and complete a capstone field experience. Similar in scope to a master's thesis, the capstone includes a minimum of 90 hours of on-site field experience. Candidates seeking admission to the program must submit 2 essays, one a spiritual statement and the other a statement of purpose. Students concurrently pursuing principal certification must submit a copy of valid teaching certification, documentation of 5 years professional experience in education, and verification of 3 years of teaching experience. Online students receive the same support as on-campus students, including mentorship, access to library resources and assistance from the school's writing lab. Members of the military may be eligible for reduced tuition rates. Cairn University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  3. Evangel University
    Location

    Springfield, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Evangel University offers an online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program that prepares graduates for educational leadership positions at the school, district, state and national levels. The 2-year, 30-credit degree program is designed primarily for Missouri residents. Graduates will be prepared for principal certification after they complete the Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education building level administrator licensing exam. The Evangel University M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program meets Missouri curriculum requirements for elementary or secondary principal certification. The 100% online program focuses on developing a skill set necessary for educational leaders, including organization, management, technical knowledge and effective social and political communication. The program takes participants through a set of courses consisting of the core curriculum, program requirements and electives. Sample courses include Leadership in Elementary and Secondary Curriculum, Foundations of Educational Administration, Administration of Special Programs, School Supervision and Improvement, School Law and Ethics and a Leadership internship and capstone. An internship is also required, consisting of a minimum 300 clock hours of field experience. Students may be able to transfer up to 9 graduate credit hours from another accredited institution. A cumulative 3.0 GPA is required to graduate. Applicants to the M.Ed. program must have teaching certification and 2 years of teaching experience is preferred. The Education Department also requires 3 letters of recommendation, one describing the applicant's Christian character and the other 2 from a school administrator, faculty member, or employer. Online students have access to support resources including advising, library services and financial aid for those eligible. The educational leadership program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and Evangel University by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Saint Leo University
    Location

    St. Leo, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida teachers ready to advance into administrative positions at the school, district and community level will gain the knowledge and skills they need through the online Master's in Educational Leadership program at St. Leo University. This Florida state-approved program is designed for teachers holding K-12 certification who can complete the practicum in Florida and who intend to seek Educational Leadership Level 1 certification through the Florida Department of Education. Students considering applying to this program are responsible for meeting the licensure and/or certification requirements of their individual states, a process that is separate from St. Leo's application and degree requirements. Courses in the 36-credit-hour program include Decision-Making for Instructional Leadership, Leadership in a Learning Culture, Values and Ethics in Educational Leadership and Managing the Learning Environment. Candidates must also arrange for a 150-hour leadership practicum experience with a school or school district leader focused on school improvement assignments involving curriculum, student achievement and a school's role in a community. Graduates of the program will be prepared to serve as teachers, principals, administrators, deans or college department chairs in primary and secondary schools, community colleges, universities, technical schools, governmental and adult schools. Online students are supported by academic advisors, library resources, career counselors and financial aid. Military members may be eligible for special resources and financial aid. St. Leo University, a Catholic liberal arts university serving people of all faiths, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Columbia International University
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online M.Ed. in Educational Administration at Columbia International University offers a comprehensive approach to training educators for educational leadership roles. The wide-ranging curriculum encompasses leadership theory, school law, financial principles, faculty and staff supervision and strategic planning. The program at the multi-denominational Christian institution is taught from a biblical perspective and graduates are ready to take on leadership positions in Christian day, missionary, international or national cross-cultural schools. Courses in the M.Ed. in Educational Administration program include Biblical Foundations for Curriculum, History and Philosophy of Education, Curriculum Development and Instruction, Understanding the Learner and Educational Administration. The 30-credit-hour program takes about 2 years to complete. Classes, hosted on the online learning management platform Canvas, are taught by the same professors who teach on-campus courses. Students in online classes participate in discussions, do projects, listen to lectures and work with professors. Because there are no official class meeting times, students can complete coursework at their convenience. In addition to a bachelor's degree, an essay and a reference from a church leader, candidates for admission must show evidence of Christian conversion and development of Christian character and freedom from habit-forming substances. Online graduate students have access to resources such as the library, bookstore, and academic success center. Financial aid, including scholarships and grants, may be available to eligible students. Military members may receive tuition discounts and possible course credit for service experience. Columbia International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Working education professionals looking to advance their careers in Christian, public or private schools will focus on instructional techniques, managing behavior, curriculum development and leadership qualities in the online M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision at Liberty University. The program also helps school leaders enhance communication skills so they are able to easily and productively interact with diverse populations of students, staff and community members. And the degree at Liberty University, an evangelical liberal arts institution, emphasizes high academic, moral and spiritual standards in graduates. The 36-credit-hour degree takes about 2 years to complete. Graduates will be poised to seek positions in higher education such as principal, assistant principal or curriculum instructor. Courses cover the teacher-learning process for learning theory, human development, motivation, teaching methodology and individual differences. Featured courses include School-Community Relations, School Administration, Supervision of Instruction and Principles of Behavior Management. Students must also complete an internship and have the opportunity to take 3 of the required courses in an intensive format on the Liberty campus in Lynchburg, VA. Online students can seek support from academic advisors and online tutorials and connect with peers via an online student community. Members of the military, past and present, are eligible for tuition discounts. The M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision is accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the school by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. Wayne State College
    Location

    Wayne, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Wayne State College offers 3 different online master's degrees in school administration that prepare students for leadership positions such as principal, assistant principal or director, in elementary or secondary schools. The M.S.E. in School Administration 7-12 and the M.S.E. in School Administration PK-8 are both 36-credit hours programs, while the M.S.E. in School Administration PK-12 is 45 hours. Students in the programs learn the intricacies of running a school, from administration to finances to facilities to legal issues to instructional matters. Depending on the program, specific courses could include Fundamentals of Curriculum Development, Elementary School Administration, Secondary School Administration, School Organization and Community Relations, Principal as Instructional Leader and School Finance & Facilities Management. A maximum of 18 graduate credits may be transferred from another regionally accredited graduate institution. Once accepted into graduate studies, students must also be admitted to the school administration program by submitting an essay and 3 school administrator references, and, after completion of 15 program hours, sitting for an online video conference progress interview. In addition to coursework, students must also complete internships and take a comprehensive exam. Graduates will be prepared to take the ETS Praxis II Exam Educational Leadership: Administration and Supervision as well as seek certification. Resources such as an online writing help desk, library services and financial aid are available for online students. Military tuition assistance and credit for military experience are available for eligible candidates. Educator preparation programs at Wayne State College are accredited by the Council of Accreditation for Educator Preparation, and the school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. Mississippi College
    Location

    Clinton, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online M.S. in Higher Education Administration degree at Mississippi College is focused on administrative theory and practice and aimed at candidates seeking administrative opportunities and advancement in the higher education field. The 31-credit-hour program, including 2 practicum experiences, can be completed in about 18 months. The program may accept up to 6 hours of transfer credit. Online students take classes on a cycle consisting of 2 or 3 courses each fall and spring semester and summer term. Practicums, which each require a minimum of 60 clock hours over 3-6 weeks, can be completed at a college or university near where the student lives. The objective is for students to gain an inside look at how a higher institution works. Students must submit a 5-page paper and make a presentation reflecting on the practicum experience. Courses are taught via Moodle, the college's course management system, where students access course information, participate in class discussions, communicate with peers and professors and complete tests and assignments. Courses include Basic Understandings in Higher Education Administration, Law and Higher Education, Finance in Higher Education, Student Development Theories/Ethics and Inquiry, the Community College, Basic Effective Leadership and Organizational Behavior. To graduate candidates must complete all coursework, 2 practicums, a Comprehensive Examination, and maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Online students can take advantage of school services such as advising, tutoring and career support and may be eligible for financial aid. The school offers tuition discounts and student support services to active military members and veterans. Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  9. Sam Houston State University
    Location

    Huntsville, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Master of Education Administration (MEd) at Sam Houston State University focuses on effective leadership strategies, organizational practices and school regulations. This 36-credit hour MEd program is designed for people who are working toward Principal Certification and want to acquire the skills needed to assess educational programs and improve instruction. The program is available either online or on campus. Sample courses include Administration and Organization of Public Schools; Communication for Educational Leaders; Campus Business Management and Federal, State, and Local School Law. A Principal Practicum/Internship is also required, which can be taken over the course of 2 semesters. Tuition is $765.25 for 1 semester hour for Texas residents, and $1,180.25 for nonresidents. Online learning courses include an additional fee of $101 per credit hour. To apply to the program, applicants must submit a graduate application and apply to the Principal Preparation Program. They must also pay an application fee and pay the $55 Texas Education Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs Fee. In addition, applicants are required to submit official transcripts from colleges and universities attended and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. They must also submit a copy of Teacher Service Record from their school's HR department that shows 2 years of certified teaching experience, a copy of a valid Teacher Certificate, a reference form from the school principal and assistant principal, a professional statement and a current resume. After an initial screening process, applicants are also required to submit a video interview and admissions documents to the Principal Certification Program as required by the Texas Education Agency.

  10. Appalachian State University
    Location

    Boone, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The online Educational Administration (EdS) program at Appalachian State University leads to sixth-year superintendent licensure. For graduates of the program, possible career paths include superintendent, university registrar or school board director. This 5-semester, 30-credit program is offered part-time with 1 synchronous evening class per week along with asynchronous coursework that can be completed on a student's own time. The EdS program is designed to help students assess and implement best practices in instruction to promote optimal student achievement. Coursework includes Organization and Systems Theory for District Leaders, Developing and Managing District Resources, Leading Change in Education, School District Organizational Communications and Policy Analysis in Educational Leadership, among other courses. Although a thesis is not required, the program does require an internship practicum that students can complete within their local school district. The university doesn't offer a special discounted rate for online students; the cost of tuition for in-state residents is $237 per credit hour. Out-of-state students must pay $895 per credit hour. To be eligible for the EdS program, applicants must have a master's degree in school administration from a regionally accredited university and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. In addition, they must have a current principal licensure and submit GRE or MAT scores that are less than 5 years old. To apply, candidates must complete an online application, pay an application fee and submit official transcripts from each college or university attended. They must also submit a resume, 3 references and a personal statement.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Educational Administration Program?

The time it takes to complete an online master’s in educational administration will depend on the online college program and the number of credit hours required to graduate. Typically, this graduate degree will take two years to complete as a full-time student. Students wishing to take the course on a part-time basis may take between three and four years to complete. Some online colleges may offer accelerated programs which may be completed in as few as 12 months.

Students should expect to gain the following skills from an online master’s in educational administration:

  • Deeper understanding of educational policy
  • Ability to transition to a leadership role
  • Broader knowledge of school-wide curricula
  • Hands-on experience in a school environment

What common courses are offered in a master’s in educational administration program?

Although courses offered in an online master’s in educational administration vary from college to college, most online courses offer the same core classes. These may include:

School Leadership

This course introduces students to the main theories of educational leadership as well as organizational practices within school systems. Participants gain an understanding of the challenges faced by today’s school leaders.

Leadership for Social Justice

This course is designed to give students the necessary skills for an entry-level administrative position. Participants gain knowledge relating to social justice in educational leadership.

Leadership for Accountability

This course focuses on developing school leaders with the ability to solve problems and guide educational policy. Participants examine the state accountability system, analyze data and look for ways to improve the curriculum and instructional practices.

Instructional Supervision

Students learn the importance of supervision in the educational process. They will compare and contrast historical perspectives and models of instructional supervision as well as contemporary practices.

School Community Relations

This course provides a foundation for the development of relationships between the school faculty, the community and parents with the aim of supporting and improving student education.

Curriculum Management

This course introduces state-level curriculum models and frameworks, and the assessment and implementation of educational standards.

Human Resource Management

Students focus on developing human resources to support the optimum learning and instructional goals of the school. Topics include contract renewal, employment and personnel law, teacher development, personnel policies and confidentiality.

School Law

This course introduces the spectrum of laws and regulations relating to education. Issues covered include student’s rights, teacher’s rights, the responsibilities of school officials, and legal aspects of school policies.

School Finance

Students learn about the funding needs of schools and the best practices for managing financial resources. They also examine current trends in state funding across the United States.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Students taking an online master’s degree in educational administration can expect to complete one or more of the following exams or projects in order to graduate:

Examination

Often a written examination is required to culminate an online master’s degree in educational administration. If this is the case, students will sit for the exam during the final semester of their program. The exam will cover all the theoretical and practical aspects of their program and will be completed in one sitting.

Practicum

Typically, students will be expected to complete a directed internship within a real-life school setting. The setting will vary depending on whether the student is taking a general master’s degree in educational administration or is specializing in Pre-K-12 education or adult and higher education. A Practicum for Supervision is designed to give the participant hands-on, job-related experience under the direct supervision of faculty and a school district supervisor. A Practicum for Principal is designed to give the participant hands-on, job-related experience dealing with management and leadership issues under the direct supervision of faculty and a school district supervisor.

What specializations are available in a master’s in educational administration program?

Specializations in a master’s in educational administration program will vary. The most common specializations for this major include:

Adult and Higher Education Specialization

This specialization enables students to explore the theory and practice of post-secondary education. It gives them knowledge and skills to implement professional and academic objectives in the field of adult and higher education.

Pre-K-12 Principal Specialization

This specialization is designed for aspiring school leaders and offers a combination of online courses and hands-on experience. The specialization provides a balance of theoretical and practical training to produce effective school administrators.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Educational Administration Degree?

Potential careers for graduates with an online master’s in educational administration include:

Education or Training Specialist

Specific duties for this position will vary depending on the school and the district. In general, education specialists work with schools to maximize students’ academic progress. They may focus on certain areas such as implementing technology in the classroom or helping students with learning disabilities. A master’s in educational administration may also open up positions in training or development outside the field of education.

School Principal

Depending on the student’s specializations, an educator with an online master’s degree in educational administration may embark on a career path as a principal in a Pre-K to 12 or post-secondary school. Their roles will involve helping to set budgets, upholding academic standards, and designing school-wide curricula.

School District Superintendent

School district superintendents are responsible for dealing with issues similar to school principals, the main difference being that superintendents are responsible for several schools within the same district. Their role involves setting budgeting guidelines and implementing standards for students’ academic goals and behavior.

University Registrar

University registrars work alongside other college administrators to design course curricular and designate required courses for degree programs. They also shape college policies.

Students who are taking an online master’s degree in educational administration may benefit from joining the following professional organizations:

National Education Association

School principals can benefit from this organization because it helps them to stay in touch with other professionals in the field and also to learn about the latest developments in public education policy.

National Association of Elementary School Principals

This professional organization supports school improvement efforts through national mentor training, annual conferences, and webinars and online learning programs.

National Association of Secondary School Principals

This organization provides learning experiences to strengthen school leadership including a magazine and podcasts.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

This organization advocates a whole child approach with the aim of re-defining the previously narrow understanding of academic achievement at state and national levels.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Educational Administration?

CareerLowest 10% Earned AnnuallyMedian Annual SalaryHighest 10% Earned AnnuallyJob Growth 2016-2026
Training & Development SpecialistLess than $33,150$60,360More than $102,340+11%
School Principal Pre-K-12Less than $60,760$94,390More than $140,780+8%
Education Administrator K-12Less than $60,760$97,440More than $140,780N/A
Education Administrator PostsecondaryLess than $52,960$92,360More than $182,150+10%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Most educational administration positions are growing slightly faster than the average 7 percent of job growth for all occupations. Positions that fall in the training and development specialist field, which can be within the field of education or outside of it, are growing even faster at eleven percent.

Those considering a master’s degree in educational administration should also keep in mind the potential increase in salary. According to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the median annual salary for those with a graduate degree is $16,000 more than those with a bachelor’s degree in general education fields.

Online Master’s in Educational Administration Program Accreditation

Accreditation and licensing are crucial for an education graduate’s next career move. Most colleges offering online master’s degrees in educational administration are accredited by one of the following national bodies:

Students pursuing a master’s degree in educational administration will also require licensure within their state after completing the degree. Each state licensing board has different rules or regulations. Graduates will need to contact their state licensing board to find out what information they must provide to acquire an education license. Teachers can find out more about state licensing at teaching certification.com.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Educational Administration Degree

Whether you are a novice teacher or a veteran educator, if you are considering going back to school to deepen your knowledge and skills in the field of education you will likely want to access grants, loans and scholarships. The cost of online master’s degrees in educational administration can vary considerably between colleges. Here are some options for paying for this type of course:

  • Federal Funding Students may apply for federal financial aid for an online course. The application process is the same as for an on-campus course. Students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which will enable the college to determine if they are eligible.
  • State Funding Teachers applying for an online master’s degree in educational administration may contact their local state board of education to seek funding. A good place to start is the College Grants Database.
  • Employer Assistance Many employers within the education system value continuing education, particularly in the field of educational administration. Teachers who wish to pursue this type of master’s degree should check with the school they are currently teaching at to determine whether it offers funding assistance for an online master’s program.
  • Scholarships There are a number of national organizations offering scholarships for master’s degrees in educational administration. These include:
  • AASA Educational Administration Scholarships The annual AASA award offers scholarships for up to $2,500 each to five outstanding graduate students who are taking a master’s degree in school administration or educational leadership.
  • Alpha Delta Kappa ITE Scholarships The ITE Scholarships have been helping students pursue master’s degrees in fields of education since 1961. To qualify, applicants must be single women with no dependents.
  • Donald H. and Verna S. Duncan Fellowship This scholarship was created by Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International in memory of elementary teacher and former board member, Verna S. Duncan, and Donald H. Duncan. To qualify applicants must be pursuing an advanced degree in educational leadership.

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