Online Master's Degree in Education Administration

A master's degree in educational administration prepares graduates for careers as principals, superintendents, deans, and provosts. Educational administrators work in elementary and secondary schools, as well as in higher education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job openings for principals will grow 8% by 2026, as an increasing number of students spur demand for more educational administrators.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job openings for principals will grow 8% by 2026.

Earning a master's degree enables current teachers to move into administrative positions, which consistently command higher salaries. Enrolling in an online program provides working teachers the flexibility needed to earn their degree without putting their career on hold. While on-campus programs meet at set times, online programs allow students to complete coursework on their own schedules. Some education administration programs require prior classroom experience, while others provide administrative and management training for those who do not have a background in teaching. After earning their degree, graduates can move into careers in K-12 administration, career counseling, higher education administration, or academic advising.

Students have several options when choosing an educational administration degree. Depending on the program, schools may offer a master of arts (MA), a master of science (MS), or a master of education (MEd) in education administration. While graduates with MA, MS, or MEd degrees earn similar average salaries, program requirements and career paths vary.

MA and MS programs are research driven, often requiring students to complete a research project or thesis to graduate. As a practitioner's degree, the MEd emphasizes practical experience and usually requires a practicum, field experience, or project. Graduates with an MEd often assume leadership positions in K-12 administration or higher education. Graduates with an MA or MS may apply for the same positions as someone with an MEd, as well as other policy- and research-based roles.

Many schools also offer degrees in both educational administration and educational leadership. Although some use the terms interchangeably, there is one important difference: educational administration degrees meet state licensing requirements for a principal or administrator license, while many leadership degrees do not. Students who plan to work in positions that do not require an administrative license, such as in private or independent schools, should consider a master's degree in educational leadership.

Average Salary for Educational Administration By Degree Type
Degree Type Average Salary
Master of Arts (MA), Higher Education Administration $51,786
Master of Education (MEd), Higher Education Administration $51,474
Master of Science (MS), Higher Education Administration $51,454

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master's Degree in Educational Administrations

Students pursuing a master's degree in education administration online can often select a concentration or specialization in an area of interest. This allows students to specialize their studies, better preparing them to pursing their short- and long-term career goals. Below are some of the most common options.

The application process for many online master's in education administration programs requires students to submit evidence of a bachelor's degree, and many programs also expect a valid teaching license or test scores, such as the GRE. Some master's in teaching online programs prefer applicants with prior teaching experience.

Prerequisites for an Online Educational Administration Master's Degree

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Before earning a master's degree, applicants must first hold a bachelor's degree. Many programs admit students who have a bachelor's degree in a subject other than education. All bachelor's degrees must come from an accredited institution.

  • Test Scores (GRE/TOEFL)

    Some online master's programs for education administration require test scores. Typically, programs ask for GRE scores, but they may also require TOEFL scores from applicants who speak English as a second language.

  • Teaching Certificate

    Some master's in education online programs require applicants to hold a valid teaching license for the state where they plan to teach.

  • Classroom Experience

    Educational administration programs may also require applicants to have prior teaching experience before enrolling in the program. Teaching experience can also make up for lower test scores or undergraduate GPAs.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Educational Administration

The specific curriculum for an education administration master's program can vary depending on the school. However, there are some core courses that are found in nearly all online master's in educational administration programs. Below is a sample curriculum that includes courses found in most programs.

Example Courses

School Law This course covers the evolution of laws related to education and schools, including court decisions. Students learn about the principles and practices of school law as they relate to administration. Coursework may cover both federal- and state-level legal decisions related to schools, as well as policy implementation for legal decisions.
Curriculum Design and Teach Strategies Curriculum design courses prepare future administrators to examine school-wide curricula and teaching strategies. Students learn how to work with teachers to implement coordinated instructional material and assessment practices. This course is particularly useful for students who want to become principals.
School Finance, Business Affairs and Physical Facilities School administrators act as managers for their school or district. Coursework covers topics like school finance, business affairs, and physical facilities and prepare graduates to manage financial and physical resources for their school.
Supervision of Instruction and Staff Personnel Managing personnel is a central component of educational administration. Students in this course learn how to oversee school employees, develop skills in classroom observation, supervise student teachers, and hire new teachers.
Policy, Planning, Evaluation, and Assessment Administrators must create and implement policy, evaluate its effectiveness, and assess their school or district. Coursework in policy, planning, evaluation, and assessment, often called strategic planning, prepares students for this rigorous work. This class includes the analysis of case studies, strategic decision making, and management skills for administrators.

How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Master's in Educational Administration?

On average, it takes two years to earn a master's degree in educational administration. However, the length of time varies depending on program structure, enrollment status, and field experience requirements.

Most online educational administration programs require a minimum of 30 credits. Some programs allow students to progress through coursework at their own pace, allowing advanced learners to complete the required credits quickly. Other programs operate on the cohort model, which often set one start date and graduation date for all members of the cohort. Finally, some education administration programs provide accelerated degree options, which enables students to earn their degree in just one year.

Choosing the right educational administration program can feel intimidating. Prospective students must consider several factors before deciding on a program, including the program's structure and cost, its location, the duration of the degree, and any specializations or concentrations offered by the school.

First, prospective students should research a program's admission process, graduation requirements, and prerequisites. Some programs require test scores like the GRE or TOEFL, which may add time and cost to the admission process, while others only require a bachelor's degree. Additionally, some programs set coursework prerequisites that require prospective students to earn additional baccalaureate credits before enrolling in the program. By researching multiple programs, prospective students can find one that best matches their background and avoid taking standardized tests or additional coursework.

Next, students must consider the cost for each potential program. Remember to research the credit requirements for each master's in educational administration, as well as the cost per credit. Also consider any additional fees, online tuition discounts, or other factors that can influence the total cost of each program.

Remember to research the credit requirements for each master's in educational administration, as well as the cost per credit.

Online and hybrid programs provide students with the flexibility of attending any school, even one that is not in a student's local area. However, when researching online education administration programs, prospective students should consider location if they want access to the school's on-campus support resources and in regards to student teaching placements. You can contact the admissions advisor to determine whether or not you can arrange student teaching in a local school.

Prospective students should also consider the specializations or concentrations offered by each master's in education program. Current teachers who want to move into administration in their district may benefit from a principal concentration or a K-12 specialization. These specializations might add credit requirements to a degree, so students should carefully assess any practicum or direct experience requirements. Finally, students should research whether the program requires a written thesis or final project, which may vary by state.

Finding Accredited Online Educational Administration Programs

Before enrolling in a master's program, prospective students should always check the institution's accreditation status. Accreditation is a voluntary process that requires institutions of higher learning to demonstrate their commitment to educational and professional standards. Both institutions and programs can hold accreditation.

Academic accreditation benefits students in several ways. Accredited institutions are required to meet high educational standards, resulting in a better overall education. This also garners more respect from employers, allowing graduates from accredited institutions to fare better on the job market. Attending an accredited school also qualifies students to apply for federal financial aid. Students who do not attend an accredited school may have difficulty finding employment or pursuing more advanced degrees.

After checking the accreditation status of the university, prospective students should also look for specialized accreditations held by the teaching program. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council both specialize in accrediting educational programs.

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Graduates with a master's in education administration can apply for several licenses and certifications. Licenses are most commonly offered at the state level through the board of education. They may be required to hold public school administrative positions, such as superintendent. Since requirements vary, students should research the process of earning licenses and certifications in the state where they wish to work.

Master's in Educational Administration Careers

Graduates with a master's in educational administration can pursue a variety of career paths such as principal, superintendent, dean, provost, and director of student services. In addition to these fields, graduates can also work as academic advisors, career counselors, or program coordinators. Administrators may work at the K-12 level or in higher education.

Academic Advisor

Academic advisors often work in high schools or in higher education. They help students develop an academic plan to succeed in school and prepare them for the workforce. They may also assist students in completing some major requirements to earn a degree.

Career Counselor

Career counselors often work either at the high school or collegiate levels. They help students choose a career path and increase their chances of gaining employment. They may help students build a resume or apply for jobs.

Director of Student Services

These directors oversee an area of student services such as admissions, student affairs, or the registrar's office. They manage staff and create programs to assist students. Directors of student services usually work in higher education.

Associate Director of Admissions

Admissions directors work in colleges and universities to review the applications of prospective students. They create policies and procedures that lead to an equitable and diverse student body. Admissions directors may also work with financial aid departments to secure funding for students.

Education Program Coordinator

Education program coordinators oversee curricula and teaching standards in schools. They often develop program materials, work with teachers and administrators to implement programs, and assess the effectiveness of those programs.

Master's in Educational Administration Salary

While administrators typically earn more than teachers, salaries in educational administration vary depending on the job title, location, and level of experience. Career counselors often earn more at the K-12 level than in higher education, while other administrative positions, such as provost or dean, are traditionally more common in colleges and universities. Not only can a master's in educational administration increase your career options, the degree also provides opportunities to earn a higher salary.

Licenses and certifications can also affect salary. Graduates can research teaching degree requirements by state in order to see whether earning a license can open additional career options. Current administrators who want to move into higher positions can earn a doctorate in educational administration to increase their earning potential.

Salary for Career Counselors by Industry
Industry Median Annual Salary
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private $62,100
Junior colleges, colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $48,500
Other educational services; state, local, and private $48,380
Healthcare and social assistance $37,080

Average Employment and Salary for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors

Enrolling in a graduate program is a big step -- and it can be much more expensive than earning an undergraduate degree. In order to pay for a master's in educational administration, prospective students need to research their funding options, including scholarships, loans, grants, and tuition assistance programs.

There are several scholarships designed for current teachers or other students earning a degree in educational administration. These scholarships may be offered by professional associations, private organizations, state education departments, or a student's university. Prospective students can research local scholarships and specialized scholarships in addition to national awards.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important step in securing educational loans and grants. The FAFSA provides access to federal financial aid, including work study programs. Students are required to provide income information from their most recent federal tax return to qualify for income-based funds.

Many graduate students pursuing an online master's in education administration are current teachers. Working teachers should look into tuition reimbursement programs through their employer, school district, or state department of education. Some schools may provide tuition support to help their teachers earn advanced degrees. Tuition assistance programs can significantly lower the cost of earning a master's degree.

Scholarships for Online Master's Degree in Educational Administration Students

Scholarships help students earning online master's degrees in education administration fund their education. For some scholarships, applicants must be members of educational organizations or already hold teaching positions. Other awards are open to all students. These scholarships are an excellent source of financial support for graduate students.

Education Administration Scholarships $2,500

Who Can Apply: The School Superintendents Association offers several Education Administration Scholarships each year for graduate students who plan to become school superintendents. View Scholarship

Donald H. and Verna S. Duncan Endowed Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Phi Delta Kappa offers the Donald H. and Verna S. Duncan Endowed Scholarship for graduate students earning degrees in educational leadership. Applicants must be PDK members. View Scholarship

Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: Blind students who are earning a graduate degree in education can apply for the Rudolph Dillman Memorial Scholarship, which is offered by the American Federation for the Blind. Applicants must provide proof of legal blindness to be considered. View Scholarship

Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarship Fund $500

Who Can Apply: The National Council of Teachers of English offers the Edwyna Wheadon Postgraduate Training Scholarship for current middle school or high school English teachers who are pursuing a graduate degree for career development. View Scholarship
  • The School Superintendents Association Formerly known as the American Association of School Administrators, AASA members include principals, superintendents, and scholars of education administration. The organization promotes administrative policies and provides professional development resources for its members. AASA also offers scholarship opportunities for students pursuing a degree in educational administration.
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals NAESP brings together principals who work at the elementary level to coordinate on educational strategies. The organization also operates a mentor training and certification program.
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals NASSP represents middle school and high school principals, assistant principals, and administrators. The international organization provides educational resources and professional development opportunities for its members. NASSP also offers multiple workshops, webinars, publications, and a national conference.
  • Journal of Educational Administration Scholarly journals can help educational administrators stay up-to-date on developments in the field and provide educational materials for students. The Journal of Educational Administration publishes peer-reviewed articles on education administration with an emphasis on leadership and management in K-12 schools. Dating back to 1963, JEA was the first international refereed journal in its field.
  • Educational Administration Quarterly Educational Administration Quarterly publishes research on leadership and policy issues facing educational organizations. EAQ's peer-reviewed scholarly articles emphasize education policy, research, and best practices.
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