Online Master’s Programs in Educational Administration

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Updated on: 09/20/2018

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.

Best Online Master's in Educational Administration 2018-2019

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Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

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 a quality education.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 New England College Henniker, New Hampshire $18,377 77% 99% 36% 3 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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2 Cairn University Langhorne, Pennsylvania $13,489 100% 98% 68% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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3 Evangel University Springfield, Missouri $11,073 88% 75% 48% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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4 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida $22,400 100% 70% 43% 2 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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5 Columbia International University Columbia, South Carolina $23,690 100% 36% 67% 1 No Yes Yes

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.

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6 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia $23,800 96% 24% 55% 1 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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7 Wayne State College Wayne, Nebraska $5,310 23% - 50% 3 No Yes Yes

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.

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8 Mississippi College Clinton, Mississippi $17,000 99% 49% 54% 1 No Yes Yes

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.

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9 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, Texas $5,139 25% 72% 56% 2 Yes Yes Yes

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.

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10 Appalachian State University Boone, North Carolina $4,744 36% 68% 71% 2 Yes Yes Yes

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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11 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, Texas $7,160 75% 74% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The online Master of Education (MEd) in Sport Administration at Midwestern State University (MSU) in Texas teaches students a variety of topic areas related to sports management such as organizational leadership, event and facility management, media and community relations, ethics and legal issues, conflict resolution, human relations and marketing and finance. The program requires a total of 36 credit hours, including a graduate practicum. Graduates of the program can pursue sport administrative positions for a range of athletic programs including intercollegiate, professional, interscholastic, intramural and community-based, and they may find job opportunities at schools and colleges, professional sports teams, fitness organizations and nonprofit programs. MSU Texas doesn't offer a discounted tuition rate for online students. An added rate of $50 per semester credit hour is required on top of the designated and graduate-level tuition rate, for a total tuition of $213.85 per semester credit hour, plus add-on fees. A number of scholarships are available to graduate students at MSU Texas including the Graduate Merit Scholarship, the Graduate Student Ambassador Scholarship as well as discipline-specific scholarships. To apply for admission to the MEd program, candidates must complete an online application and submit a $50 application fee. GRE or GMAT scores must be submitted to the admissions office, and international students must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate English language proficiency. In addition, candidates must submit official transcripts from each college or university attended and meet with a graduate coordinator to learn about program-specific requirements.

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12 Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, Tennessee $20,880 65% 50% 40% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Lincoln Memorial University offers an online Master of Education (MEd) degree with 3 programs of study including Curriculum and Instruction (CI), Instructional Leadership (IL) and Educational Leadership (EL). The CI program is designed for licensed teachers who work with school-age children and wish to pursue additional professional development. The IL program is intended for teachers with at least 3 years of experience who would like to become a licensed school administrator and lead other teachers at the building or district level. The EL program doesn't lead to initial Tennessee leadership licensure and is designed for those who already hold licensure, out-of-state candidates or higher education professionals. MEd courses are offered online, although students have the opportunity to meet with faculty three times per semester. These in-person sessions don't include lectures; they simply allow students to connect 1-on-1 with professors and get their questions answered. Lincoln Memorial University doesn't offer a special discounted tuition for online students, and the cost for students in an MEd program is $460 per semester hour. To gain initial admittance to the MEd program, candidates must submit a program application, $50 application fee and official transcripts for their bachelor's degree and any coursework completed since then. Each program also requires another series of steps for program admittance before the completion of 9 credit hours. At this stage, each program requires a different set of criteria from students. For example, the CI and EL programs require three recommendation forms and test scores from the GRE or Praxis, while the IL program requires a portfolio and interview.

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13 Tiffin University Tiffin, Ohio $15,000 91% 76% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The online Master of Education (MEd) with a concentration in Higher Education Administration at Tiffin University is designed for working professionals who would like to move into management positions within a variety of non-academic departments including university admissions, student affairs, financial aid or athletics. The degree program consists of 30 credit hours and includes courses in Educational Leadership, Crisis Prevention and Intervention, Finance and Budgeting and Issues in Student Affairs. Most classes are small, with only 10-15 students, and are offered in 2, 7-week terms beginning in January, March, May, July, August and October. Students have the option to take 1 class at a time or 2 at a time to complete the program faster. Online courses are based in the Moodle learning management system. Students don't have to log-in at a certain time each day, but they can still interact with classmates and faculty through discussion forums, chat rooms and email. Online students aren't eligible for a special discounted tuition rate; graduate students in MEd programs pay $500 per credit hour or a total of $15,000. However, discounts are available for students who obtained a bachelor's degree from Tiffin University and for serving members of the armed forces and spouses of active military. The minimum admissions requirements include a bachelor's degree or a 3-year undergraduate professional degree from an accredited higher education institution, an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0, a resume and a personal statement that expresses a clear goal for pursuing the degree.

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14 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, Texas $10,252 72% 67% 81% 1 No Yes Yes

Texas A&M University offers a Master of Education in Educational Administration with an emphasis on PK-12 Educational Leadership that follows the requirements set by the Texas State Board of Educator Certification Principal Domains, Competencies and Standards. This means that graduates are eligible to become certified in Texas and qualify for employment in various educational administrative role. To be admitted, students need to have at least 2 years of professional teaching experience and must currently be a certified teacher. A bachelor's degree is also required, and students will need to submit test scores for the GRE, GMAT or both. Texas A&M follows the cohort model with this degree. Applicants will be grouped together once they're accepted, and they will continue to take courses together until they earn their degree. This keeps students on track to finish the master's degree in about 2½ years. Because of the cohort model, students should plan on beginning their studies in the fall semester. Also, Texas A&M assumes that those in the program will continue teaching while studying. Most of the curriculum can be finished online, although there are some exceptions. Before finishing their degree, students will have to meet Texas A&M's residency requirements. This can be avoided if individuals are working full time as an educator. In total, 36 credits are necessary, 6 of which are earned through internships. These internships are an opportunity for students to focus their degree toward a specific position.

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15 Southeastern University Lakeland, Florida $13,195 98% 46% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes

A private school with a Christian background, Southeastern University offers a Master of Education in Educational Leadership to teachers and educators who want to advance to a role as an academic administrator. By the end of the program, graduates will be eligible to take the Florida Educational Leadership Exam, the test required to become certified for educational administration in Florida. With most courses available entirely online, the master's degree requires 36 credits. The only exception is the practicum to finish out the program. This is a 6 credit, in-person experience that satisfies Florida's requirements to be eligible to become a certified educational leader. Many other states share this requirement, so some students are eligible for a similar exam in their state. Studied full time, this program can be finished in 18 months. However, since most students in the program are current educators and study part time, the degree usually takes a little more than 2 years to complete. Applicants to the Master of Education in Educational Leadership are required to have a 3.0 GPA as well as 3 years of professional teaching experience. Any applicants with a lower GPA must submit GRE scores. Students who finish this program typically work in Florida at K-12 schools, including private, Christian schools. Most graduates become principals or vice principals, although others choose to enter other administrative roles.

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16 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, Arkansas $4,972 40% 64% 47% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Arkansas Tech University offers a Master of Education in Educational Leadership program that prepares students for certification in a leadership position. The curriculum meets Arkansas' standards for Educational Leadership and Administration, so graduates are eligible for most licensure exams. Prior to applying to this hybrid program, students need to be registered teachers in Arkansas and need at least 2 years of professional teaching experience. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for undergraduate work, and a GPA of 3.0 is required to remain in the program. There are 34 credit hours in the program, 4 of which are from an internship. This internship offers students a chance to specialize their degree, earning experience in an area of administration. Students are paired with an academic adviser who helps them find an internship that matches their professional goals. Upon completing the curriculum, students present a portfolio of their experience to finish the degree. Every course in this program is offered entirely online, so students can continue to work while earning their degree. However, Arkansas Tech requires that students come to campus multiple times to receive special instruction. The internship may require students to show up in-person as well. While many in the program are currently in Arkansas, there are no restrictions for those who are currently living outside of the state.

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17 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, Texas $4,312 78% 81% 37% 1 No Yes Yes

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin may be part of the extensive Texas university system, but it offers benefits to students around the nation. UTPB offers the same tuition rate to all its online graduate students, and its programs can be studied by students regardless of where they live. The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership is an online degree for those interested in academic administration, and it is offered in an an accelerated format. Courses are 8 weeks, and there are multiple start dates throughout the year. Full-time students can complete this program in just 1 year, though most students enrolled in the program are current educators who will continue to work while earning their degree. All of the courses can be completed entirely online except for the final practicum. This practicum gives students in-person experience, and they can use this to specialize in the area of educational administration they're interested in. To be eligible for the program, applicants will need to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and will need to submit GRE or GMAT scores. Also, while those in any state are eligible to apply, UTPB assumes that they are current educators. The program prepares students for a role in Texas, and the prerequisites to become licensed in Texas may align with other states' requirements. Most graduates find positions as principals or superintendents in Texas, although the degree does meet the requirements for most administrative roles.

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18 Columbia College Columbia, Missouri $8,550 27% - 40% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Offering most of its programs online, Columbia College provides multiple master's degrees for educators. The Master of Education in Educational Leadership can be an ideal program for those interested in administrative or leadership roles. The 2 year program follows Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards, so graduates should have the experience and perquisites necessary to qualify for an administrative position in most states. This master's degree has 2 tracks: the principal track and instructional leader track. Either one is completed through the program's required 36 credits, and both have different outcomes. Students living in Missouri are eligible to become licensed principals after finishing the principal track while the instructional leader track is designed for students interested in an administrative role. Both tracks can be completed entirely online, and those studying while working can finish the degree in just over 2 years. While either track can lead to certification, Columbia doesn't require certification to complete the program, so certification is not guaranteed. The degree isn't yet available in every state. Students will need to contact the school to find out if their state is eligible. Applicants are required to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and are not required to submit test scores. Regardless of the state students reside in, Columbia charges a flat tuition rate per credit.

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19 Heritage University Toppenish, Washington $9,240 100% - 25% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students with an interest in pursuing leadership roles in their local or district school system as a principal or program administrator, the Master of Education in Educational Administration at Heritage University may be a good fit. This school offers both the master's degree and a certificate in Educational Administration and prepares learners for careers working in K-12 school systems. You will take classes from experienced teachers and leaders such as superintendents, assistant superintendents and principals. At Heritage, you will study the latest in educational theory and prepare for leadership roles in a changing industry with real-world experience and hands-on training. Distance learners choose from 2 tracks of study within the major: Principal or Program Administrator. Regardless of the track, over the course of 32 credits, online learners take classes including Creating School Culture, Data and Student Achievement, Issues in Education, Curriculum Alignment, Fundamental Understanding of Behavioral Research and Data Collection/Field Work. The only difference in the curricula between the tracks is the focus of the Internship. Prospective students for the master's program must submit their graduate application online, official transcripts, and pay the application fee. Beyond the standard graduate application requirements, those candidates for the principal certification must submit proof of their Teacher or Career Technical Education certification reflecting at least 3 years of teaching experience. Additionally, you will need an Educational Staff Associate certification that indicates at least 3 years of experience in school-based instruction. Your application should include 3 letter of recommendations from administrators in your current school system, including a principal and the superintendent. Your official transcripts must show completion of a baccalaureate degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

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20 Southern Wesleyan University Central, South Carolina $15,075 100% 55% 51% 1 No Yes Yes

The online M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision at Southern Wesleyan University prepares graduates to serve in K-12 schools and school districts as supervisors, assistant principals and principals. Students in the program learn about educational leadership, school operations management, public and community relations, ethics and advanced educational research. The 36-credit-hour program can be completed in 23 months and leads to advanced certification in the state of South Carolina. Southern Wesleyan University has offered the M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision degree on campus since 2011 but made it available online in May 2018. The program is designed for current teachers with at least 2 years teaching experience who are interested in becoming a school principal or district level supervisor in South Carolina. Non-resident applicants to the program must verify with their own state department of education whether the Southern Wesleyan degree meets their requirements. Courses include Ethics in Educational Leadership, Organizational Development in Schools, Educational Leadership for Curriculum and Instruction, Cultivating a Positive School Climate, Public and Community Relations, and Politics, Law and the Schools. Students also complete 3 practicums at their current school, as well as an internship. Each course is 7 weeks and the internship 12 weeks. Students access courses, complete assignments and interact with instructors and classmates via Canvas, the school's online learning management system. While assignments can be done at the student's convenience, some classes may require students to be online at specific times for meetings with the instructor or group activities. Each online student is assigned a personal academic success coach who assists with course advisements and in securing other requested resources. Financial aid is available to eligible students and military members receive tuition discounts. The M.Ed. is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the school by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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21 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, Texas $4,896 58% 69% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The University of Texas at Tyler is a public institution established in 1971 with approximately 10,600 students. As 1 of 40 master degree programs, online learners can earn a Master of Education with Standard Principal Certification at UT Tyler. The degree is earned concurrently with the principal certification requirements. Master's students must complete a total of 30 credit hours for graduation. UT Tyler requires that master's students take core courses such as Educational Leadership Theory and Practice, Developmental Supervision, Public School Law and School Building Operations. Students will also complete 3 principalship practicums, which count for credit toward their degree and must be completed in-person at a school in Texas. Upon completion of the program and preparation for principal certification, students will develop their communication, collaboration and organizational skills while learning how to shape student and campus life, create sustainable educational programs and assess student performance. For admission, students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and possess a Texas Teacher Certification in any field. Applicants must also have a minimum 2.5 overall GPA. The GRE is only required for applicants with a GPA under 3.25. All documents, including official transcripts, scores and copies of your teacher certification and teacher service records, should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. An admission screening assessment and preliminary criminal history evaluation must also be filled out online as part of the admission process. UT Tyler offers a variety of online resources for graduate students. You can find supplemental materials to improve your teaching skills or search for jobs through the Office of Career Success and Alumni Engagement.

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22 South Dakota State University Brookings, South Dakota $7,516 57% 91% 60% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Established in 1881, South Dakota State University is a public university serving over 12,600 students. Online or hybrid students at SDSU can earn a Master of Education in Educational Administration with 1 of 2 specializations: Elementary Education or Secondary Education. Both specializations meet South Dakota's requirements for the principal endorsement. Regardless of the specialization, you will either complete a coursework-only track or coursework plus a final project track. The former track requires 35 credit hours for graduation while students in the latter must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours. In both tracks, distance learners complete core courses such as Introduction to School Administration, Supervision, School Finance, School Law and Education in a Pluralistic Society. SDSU's Teaching, Learning and Leadership Department encourages students to apply for assistantship positions to supplement their studies and bolster their resume, although assistantships are not required for graduation. If you are pursuing a principal's endorsement you are required to hold a valid teaching certificate from South Dakota and meet all licensure requirements. The state requires that all individuals have 3 years of verified teaching experience, as well. At least one of those years must include classroom teaching experience or direct services to students. The GRE is not required, but applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission. On-campus or hybrid students have access to SDSU's student services and resources, including counseling services for emotional, behavioral, or academic concerns.

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23 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, Louisiana $9,132 57% 76% 67% 1 No Yes Yes

Louisiana State University offers an online Master of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Higher Education Administration. Full-time students can complete this 36-credit hour degree in as few as 24 months. With this training, you will be prepared for leadership positions in colleges and universities and work as administrators, educators and scholars. Students develop the skills necessary to work in in higher education fields such as financial aid, career planning and placement, counseling and admissions. You will complete 12 courses, each of which is 7 weeks long, a capstone project and an internship. Learners in this concentration must pass a comprehensive final exam to be eligible for graduation. To prepare for the final exam and capstone, distance learners undertake a diverse curriculum including courses such as Student Affairs in Higher Education, Foundations of Higher Education, Student Development Theory and Higher Education and the Law. Applicants must submit their GRE scores, official transcripts, 3 letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. For unconditional admission, you need a 3.0 GPA and GRE of at least 297. Those who do not meet these standards might still be accepted on probationary admission. Incoming students may receive credit for up to 12 hours of graduate credit from an accredited institution. Students can also participate in supplemental learning opportunities available through LSU's School of Education including The Curriculum Theory Project and the LSU Writing Project. You will also have access to the Center for Academic Success, online tutorials and disability services.

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24 Troy University Troy, Alabama $7,146 57% 91% 39% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Troy University is public university founded in 1887 serving over 18,000 students. The Master of Science in Education in Instructional Leadership and Administration at Troy prepares you for specialized work with P-12 schools. Students learn how to be supportive of school systems, teachers, parents and community stakeholders through courses like Instructional Leadership, Human Resource Administration, Using Data to Make Decisions, Grant Writing and Communication and Problem Solving. Students in this program typically seek careers as assistant principals, assistant superintendents, coordinators for technical education, superintendents and technology coordinators. You need 36 credit hours to be eligible for graduation which you may complete in an online or hybrid format. In this program, you will participate in a learning cohort with other degree candidates from across Alabama or online. All applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university and a letter of recommendation. You application should also include official transcripts with a raised seal and registrars signature and your GRE results. In most cases, prospective students who receive unconditional admission have at least a 2.5 GPA. Students who do not meet the minimum academic standards may still be granted admission under the condition that they complete 9 semester hours with a 3.0 GPA or higher. The Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs ensures that all distance learners have access to student services in the Global Campus. These services include online orientation, academic counseling, help with financial aid, supplemental learning support and tutoring, career services and library access.

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25 University of Nebraska at Kearney Kearney, Nebraska $5,418 70% 85% 60% 1 No Yes Yes School website
26 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, Texas $4,896 64% 62% 46% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Henderson State University Arkadelphia, Arkansas $4,716 61% 66% 37% 2 No Yes Yes School website
28 Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington, Indiana $8,695 55% 79% 80% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Arkansas $4,626 70% 70% 41% 1 No Yes Yes School website
30 Tarleton State University Stephenville, Texas $3,672 50% 50% 47% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, Texas $10,350 70% 23% 42% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Iowa State University Ames, Iowa $8,474 78% 87% 70% 1 No Yes Yes School website
33 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona $8,956 82% 78% 54% 1 No Yes Yes School website
34 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas $7,379 37% 63% 65% 2 No Yes Yes School website
35 Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas $3,398 73% 91% 44% 1 No Yes Yes School website
36 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, Mississippi $7,549 68% 60% 51% 1 No Yes Yes School website
37 Jackson State University Jackson, Mississippi $7,141 39% 63% 48% 1 No Yes Yes School website
38 Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, Texas $3,630 39% 46% 49% 1 Yes No Yes School website
39 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska $7,134 65% 75% 69% 1 No Yes Yes School website
40 Texas Tech University Lubbock, Texas $5,400 43% 63% 62% 1 No Yes Yes School website
41 Marshall University Huntington, West Virginia $6,298 65% 89% 48% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, North Carolina $4,448 50% 72% 71% 1 No Yes Yes School website
43 Marygrove College Detroit, Michigan $8,064 92% 41% 22% 1 Yes No Yes School website
44 University of Tennessee at Martin Martin, Tennessee $8,502 58% 67% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
45 University of Mississippi University, Mississippi $7,644 65% 78% 64% 1 No Yes Yes School website
46 National University La Jolla, California $11,232 4% - 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Touro College and University System New York, New York $16,200 88% 62% 59% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Indiana State University Terre Haute, Indiana $7,128 68% 86% 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
49 University of Montana Missoula, Montana $4,135 52% 92% 53% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website

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:


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.


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?

Career Lowest 10% Earned Annually Median Annual Salary Highest 10% Earned Annually Job Growth 2016-2026
Training & Development Specialist Less than $33,150 $60,360 More than $102,340 +11%
School Principal Pre-K-12 Less than $60,760 $94,390 More than $140,780 +8%
Education Administrator K-12 Less than $60,760 $97,440 More than $140,780 N/A
Education Administrator Postsecondary Less than $52,960 $92,360 More 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

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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