Online Master’s in Educational Administration 2021

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School administrators play a critical role in educating students and managing K-12 schools. Educators can advance their careers to principalship and other administrative positions with a master’s in educational administration. Graduates can also use the degree’s specialized training to pursue roles as administrators at postsecondary institutions.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4% job growth for K-12 principals between 2019-2029. They earn a $98,490 median annual salary. Graduates interested in administrative positions in higher education can earn similar salaries. This guide provides information about coursework and tuition costs for a master’s in educational administration. We also highlight career options and scholarship opportunities.

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Master's in Educational Administration Questions


  • How much do education administrators make?

    K-12 education administrators make a $98,490 median annual salary, and higher education administrators earn a median annual salary of $97,500.


  • What is the purpose of educational administration?

    Educational administration ensures schools function effectively in day-to-day operations and that students and teachers meet established district and state performance benchmarks.


  • What is the difference between school administration and educational administration?

    School administration focuses on K-12 education, while educational administration includes all education levels from K-12 to four-year colleges.


  • What are the major functions of educational administration?

    Educational administrators manage school budgets and resources and ensure productive relationships between stakeholders, such as parents and teachers. They also train and supervise teachers or faculty, establish school policy, and ensure compliance with legislation.


Why Get a Degree in Educational Administration?

School districts nationwide need talented administrators who can implement school reform initiatives and effectively navigate a changing educational landscape. Experienced educators may view principalship and other K-12 administrative roles as the natural next step in their careers. These key leadership positions require a master’s degree in leadership or educational administration.

Postsecondary institutions also need highly qualified administrators to fill roles in areas such as admissions, student affairs, academic affairs, and policymaking. A master’s in educational administration builds administrative and leadership skills applicable to all educational levels. Many colleges allow students to choose a K-12 specialization such as instructional design or a higher education concentration such as college and university operations.

Graduates will also need to pursue state-specific licensure requirements. Online learning allows working educators to earn a degree and fulfill licensure requirements while still employed.

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How Much Does an Educational Administration Degree Cost?


Earning a master’s in educational administration requires an investment. Students can expect to pay between $565-$1,045 per credit, or $18,900-$37,500 in total tuition. The cost of the degree depends on factors such as number of credits, program duration, and online vs. in-person learning. Distance learners can pursue an educational administration master’s degree anywhere in the country. An increasing number of schools offer flat-rate tuition regardless of residency.

Online learners also save money on transportation, childcare, and related expenses. Conversely, some institutions charge technology or online learning fees that can raise tuition prices. All students must pay for books and supplies, but online learners may not need to pay for campus-based services they do not use. A master’s in educational administration program may also require weekend immersives and an internship or practicum component that students should include in their budget.

Students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for grants, scholarships, loans, and other funding that help make the degree more affordable.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree



Prospective students should use the ACO accountability tool to help determine the cost of their master’s in educational administration degree and how much tuition they can afford.

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How Much Do Educational Administration Majors Make?



High School Principalship


A master’s in educational administration and years of teaching experience may qualify educators for the high school principalship. These educators earn an average annual salary of $92,320, according to March 2021 PayScale data, and middle school principals earn slightly more. Educators interested in headmaster positions at elementary schools earn an average annual salary of $83,760. The BLS projects 4% job growth for principals at all three levels between 2019-2029.

Higher Education Administrators


According to the BLS, higher education administrators make a median annual salary of $97,500 with projected 4% job growth. Training and development managers work with business organizations and governmental agencies. They come from diverse backgrounds and begin their careers with at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or education.

Managerial Positions


A concentration such as educational psychology, instructional design, or training and development would benefit learners interested in training and development careers. These managers make a median annual pay of $115,640 with just a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience.


Courses in Educational Administration



Students enrolled in a master’s in educational administration develop management and administrative skills applicable in the school environment. They learn best practices to improve student performance and achieve benchmarks established at the local, state, and national levels.

Degree-seekers complete between 30-48 credits in 16-24 months. While the curriculum for each school varies, it typically includes topics such as education law, administrative issues in education, public school finance, and instructional leadership for school improvement. A clinical or practicum gives enrollees the opportunity to apply an administrator’s responsibilities in a school setting or simulated environment. The following list contains common courses in an educational administration master’s degree.

The course delves into statutory laws and constitutional provisions that govern day-to-day school operations. Students explore the relationship between the school, school boards, and the state. Learners deepen their understanding of campus-based issues that administrators face and the legal framework that informs their decision-making.

The class explores the role of today’s principal as leader and change agent. Students examine best practices such as data-driven decision-making, policy administration, strategic planning, and assessment and intervention strategies. The course also explores the licensure and endorsement requirements for P-12 principals.

The course examines the structure, governance, and management of postsecondary institutions. Enrollees explore the operating models of technical, four-year, and for-profit colleges. Students prepare for advanced study in higher education administration by exploring topics such as academic administration and budgeting and financing.

Certifications and Licensure for Educational Administration



Educators interested in assuming administrative roles such as school principal need teaching experience and state licensure. Licensure requirements vary by state. Educators will need to check with each state’s teacher and administrator licensing authority to determine requirements. The following lists three national certifications for P-12 teachers and higher education administrators.

National Board Certification


The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards administers the K-12 certification program for educators who demonstrate pedagogical excellence. Many NBCTs serve as administrators. Candidates must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, teaching license, and at least three years of classroom experience. They complete portfolios and pass an exam.

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American Board Certification


The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence offers a self-paced online program for teacher certification in a year. This program serves career-changers in 14 states. Candidates must hold at least a bachelor’s and submit to a background check. They complete a program in subject areas they want to teach and pass exams.

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Certified Higher Education Professional


New and experienced administrators use CHEP to demonstrate their proficiencies in higher education administration. Candidates complete training in a certification area such as admissions, leadership, or careers services and pass each course to earn CHEP certification.

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Scholarships for Educational Administration



Students interested in an educational administration program can use scholarship and grant funding to help pay for tuition. Each funder establishes criteria for eligibility, including financial need, academic performance, and minority status. The following list contains three scholarship opportunities.


  • American Association of University Women Career Development Grants

    Who Can Apply: AAUW offers these grants to women holding a bachelor’s degree and seeking career advancement or looking to change careers. Candidates planning to pursue a master’s in education qualify. They submit a proposal outlining career goals and financial need.

    Amount: $2,000-$12,000

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  • The School Superintendent Association Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: AASA awards scholarships to graduate students interested in superintendency. Students must be enrolled in an educational administration program. The chairperson of the enrollee’s School of Education must nominate the applicant for the scholarship.

    Amount: Varies

    Explore Here


Online Master’s in Educational Administration Programs 2021



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  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.

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