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For current teachers and lower-level administrators wanting to secure a higher-level administrative role, choosing the right master’s in education administration program is crucial. These programs are designed to provide you with the leadership and organizational skills necessary for high-stakes decision-making and effective management in educational settings. Graduates often step into roles like education administrator, with a median salary of $99,940; school principals, earning around $101,320; and, in some cases, school counselors, who make a median of $60,140.

Most programs can be completed in 18 months to three years, depending on whether you study part-time or full-time. With the average graduate tuition costing $19,749 for the 2020-2021 academic year, investing in this degree can significantly advance your career in this field, providing professional growth and financial benefits.

How to Choose a Master’s in Education Administration Program

Choose your area of study

When choosing your area of study for this degree, you’ll want to consider this carefully, as it will help you narrow your focus to programs that support your interests and professional goals. Whether you’re aiming to become a school principal or are interested in roles within colleges or universities, there’s a specialization within this field to suit your educational needs. These options vary depending on the institution but may include educational leadership, higher education administration, or instructional technology.

Research schools and program

Once you’ve chosen a specialization, thorough research into potential schools and programs is essential. Consider using the following questions to guide your research:

  • How does the curriculum align with my career goals?
  • What are the faculty’s qualifications, and what’s their experience like?
  • What practical experiences or internships does the program offer?
  • What are the program’s graduation rates and alumni success stories?

Most programs make this information readily available on their website, but you can typically find more details and specific answers to these questions by attending an information session or speaking with admissions counselors.

Prepare for tests and applications

With your shortlist of schools in hand, it’s time to begin preparing for tests and applications. Setting aside ample time to write a compelling personal statement that illustrates your ambitions and readiness for graduate-level study is crucial. Start gathering materials early — including transcripts and letters of recommendation — to avoid any last-minute stress. If your prospective programs require GRE scores, consider enrolling in a test prep program to improve your performance.

Select your program

If you submit multiple applications, you may receive multiple acceptance letters. This is a great time to revisit your initial research criteria, evaluate what’s most important to you, and compare each program’s total cost of attendance.

Programs with financial aid opportunities – especially those that include scholarships, grants, or assistantships – may take priority here if they meet your other academic criteria. It’s essential to weigh these factors against your career goals to make an informed decision that aligns with your professional objectives and financial situation – ensuring you select a program that offers the best value and support.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

To best finance your graduate degree, you must create a comprehensive financial aid plan utilizing all available resources. Seek out scholarships and grants first, as these do not need to be repaid and can significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses. Then, consider assistantships, which frequently offer tuition waivers or stipends alongside resume-boosting experience. If your degree aligns with your current job, explore whether your employer provides tuition assistance – which often covers a portion of your tuition in exchange for agreeing to continue working for the company post-graduation.

While federal loans are often an accessible option for most students, they should be considered only to bridge financial gaps. It’s important to remember that every dollar taken out on a loan will eventually have to be repaid with interest.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Education Administration Programs

Best Master’s in Education Administration Degree Programs_2024 badge

Vanderbilt University

University of Southern California

Loyola Marymount University

North Carolina State University

Northwestern University

George Washington University

The Universities at Shady Grove

Fordham University

Western Washington University

Saint Joseph's University

The Ohio State University

Seattle University

National University

Rowan University

Michigan State University

University of Louisville

Saint Cloud State University

Boston University

Texas A&M University

Ball State University

Texas A&M University-Commerce

University of Georgia

The College of Saint Rose

New Jersey City University

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How we rank schools

This list covers graduate programs in education administration that prepare students for advanced careers in education. These programs teach organizational management, leadership, and administrative skills. The types of degrees offered include Master of Education (MEd) in educational administration, Master of Science (MS) in educational administration, and Master of Arts (MA) in educational administration.

We only considered institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed. Many of these options also have programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which has particularly high standards for education-related programs.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Education Administration Program?

Schools require motivated professionals with exceptional organizational skills to take on administrative roles, which is precisely what a master’s in education administration will prepare you for. As a student, you’ll delve into the intricacies of educational leadership, policy analysis, and school finance, acquiring the skills to manage and lead educational institutions effectively.

The most innovative curriculums combine theoretical coursework with practical, real-world experiences, preparing graduates for the challenges of educational administration. Some programs may necessitate the completion of a thesis to graduate, offering students the opportunity to explore an educational issue they’re most interested in in depth.

In most situations, these programs can be completed within two to three years, depending on whether you enroll full-time or part-time.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in education administration program

  • Educational Leadership: This course introduces students to the foundational principles of leading and managing educational institutions. Learners explore leadership theories, effective communication strategies, and the management of resources, aiming to cultivate skills for effective leadership in academic settings.
  • School Finance and Budgeting: Focused on the financial aspects of running educational institutions, this course covers budget preparation, allocation, and management. Students learn about educational funding sources, financial planning, and strategies for managing fiscal resources efficiently to support academic goals and improvements.
  • Curriculum Design: This course delves into developing and assessing educational curricula. Participants study various curriculum models, integrating educational technologies and evaluation methods to ensure curricula meet academic standards and the needs of diverse student populations.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Education: This course examines strategies for creating inclusive educational environments that respect and respond to diversity among students, staff, and communities. Students explore theories of multicultural education, strategies for promoting equity, and the role of administrators in fostering an inclusive school culture.

Master’s in Education Administration Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in education administration degree program?

The application process for each school may be slightly different, but many programs share similar criteria for admission, including the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Professional resume or CV
  • GRE scores, if required

In addition to these criteria, some schools may request evidence of leadership experience to illustrate your potential in educational settings.

Given the variability in requirements, reaching out to an admissions counselor before applying can be helpful. They can provide advice and ensure your application is as strong as possible.

How much does a master's in education administration degree cost?

The average graduate tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year was $19,749. However, you’ll also want to consider additional expenses like books and supplies, room and board, and potentially technology fees if you opt for online classes. Financial aid can help mitigate these costs, but it’s essential to thoroughly research and budget for the total cost of your education beyond tuition.

How long does it take to earn a master's in education administration degree?

Earning this degree takes most full-time students two to three years, while part-time students often take three to four years — depending on the program’s total credit requirements. The number of required credits can vary significantly between programs, directly affecting your completion timeline. Generally speaking, programs requiring more credits will take longer to complete.

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