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A master’s in educational administration degree mixes the skills and knowledge of an educator with principles and techniques required for leadership roles that expand to all schools and systems. Upon completing this degree, students will understand how to oversee school operations as superintendents, principals, vice principals, human resources managers, and administrators.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for K-12 principals is $101,320. And at the postsecondary level, administrators earn an average salary of $99,940 per year.

Tuition costs for an online master’s in educational administration vary. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate tuition is $12,596 at public colleges and $28,017 at private institutions. This degree typically requires a minimum of 30 credits and can be completed in 1-2 years, depending on the pace of study.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Educational Administration Program

Choose your area of study

Decide what type of administrative role you would like to pursue. Is your interest in elementary, secondary, or higher education? Are you drawn to a specific area of education, such as curriculum development or special education? Many programs allow you to select a concentration and specialize in one of these areas.

Consider also the different types of degrees available in this field. Some common master’s degrees in educational administration include Master of Education (MEd), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Science (MS). Each type of degree takes a different practical and theoretical approach to curriculum design and hands-on learning.

Clarifying your career goals and personal interests will help you focus your search on programs that meet your specific criteria.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to 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. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. 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.

Ideally, your master’s in educational administration program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Council on the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP). This programmatic accrediting organization has particularly high standards for education-related programs.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Some of the essential questions students should ask during the research phase include:

  • How do online students interact with classmates and faculty?
  • Who are the faculty, and what are their qualifications?
  • What support services are available to online students?
  • Is teaching experience required to enter the program?
  • What type of internship, practicum, or field experience is required?
  • Are scholarships available?
  • What are the program’s core courses?
  • Are tutors accessible to online students?

Prepare for tests and applications

Each program varies in its application requirements and processes. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Standard requirements for a master’s in educational administration are an accredited bachelor’s degree in education or a related field, a 3.0 grade point average, and applicable work experience.

In general, students applying to an online master’s in educational administration will have to submit the following:

  • Completed application and fees
  • Official transcripts from previous colleges
  • An updated resume or record of employment history
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from academic and professional references
  • A personal statement or statement of purpose outlining your interest in the field, achievements, and career goals

Some schools require GRE scores, so if you need to take this standardized test, prepare and sit for the exam while researching schools.

Select your program

There are various ways to decide which programs to apply to. Conducting thorough research will help students eliminate some schools that don’t meet their needs in terms of schedule, cost, or curriculum. Some students submit multiple applications to boost their odds of acceptance, while others target a single program based on their interests and needs. Whatever path you choose, remember that most schools charge application fees, which can add up quickly if you’re applying to many schools.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for need-based aid like federal student loans, grants, work-study, and institutional scholarships. You can also research merit-based scholarships and grants from your school as well as external resources like professional development organizations, non-profits, community and religious groups, and more.

Students who will be working while enrolled in an online master’s in educational administration program should check if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits. Veterans and active military service members should find out if the school offers military discounts and accepts GI Bill benefits.

Any questions about financial aid, student loans, and tuition should be directed to the school’s financial aid office.

The Top 53 Master’s in Education Administration Programs

Best Online Master's in Education Administration Degree Programs

Clemson University

UF College of Education

University of North Texas

Texas A&M University

Arizona State University

SDSU College of Education

Montclair State University

UMass Lowell Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies

Kansas State University

Penn State World Campus

University of South Carolina

University of Alabama

University of Virginia

Purdue University

Ball State University

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Creighton University

FSU College of Education

University of Kentucky

Virginia Commonwealth University

Sam Houston State University

Indiana University Bloomington

Towson University

University of Cincinnati

University of Kansas

Southern Wesleyan University

Iowa College of Education

University of Mississippi

Drexel University

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Florida International University

The University of Texas at Arlington

University of Massachusetts

University of Nebraska at Lincoln

George Washington University

Columbia International University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Education

Stony Brook University

Lamar University

Fordham University

Florida Atlantic University

University of Houston at Victoria

Louisiana State University

Mississippi College

Fitchburg State University

Angelo State University

St. Cloud State University

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How We Rank Schools

Different types of degree programs in education administration exist, including Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education. While these degree programs have slightly different requirements and areas of emphasis, they all cover the skills and knowledge you need to be an effective school administrator. Our list includes all three types of degrees.

All of the programs on our list are regionally accredited. Most also have programmatic accreditation from the Council on the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP), which means they meet the highest quality standards for educator training. Accredited programs are recognized and highly valued by employers and certification boards.

Once we created our list of programs, we evaluated their flexibility, cost, reputation, and course offerings. Using this information, we calculated the Intelligent Score of each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Educational Administration Program?

The number of credits needed for a master’s in educational administration typically ranges from 30 to 45. In addition to coursework, these programs usually require some form of on-site field experience, such as an internship or practicum.

An online master’s in educational administration typically includes coursework and experience in the following areas:

  • Principalship. Examining how principals set the tone at a school through teacher and staff interaction is central.
  • Role of the curriculum and instruction leader. Making difficult decisions and the concept of leadership affecting the school environment are addressed.
  • School policy and law. How schools work through legal challenges and gain an extensive background in educational policies are researched.
  • Diversity in schools. Students learn how administrators need to be culturally aware to maintain an inclusive environment.
  • Planning, school improvement, and technology. Lessons constitute integrating classroom technology inside a budget, plus acquiring critical thinking and negotiation skills.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in educational administration degree program

  • Education Research. Students explore present research in education and a variety of research methods.
  • Educational Administration. This course helps develop students’ leadership styles and philosophies.
  • Promoting School Improvement. Students learn how to create and implement school improvement plans alongside data analysis to encourage effective learning environments.
  • Instructional Design. In this course, students learn about developing new materials, teacher training, and the assessment of curricular effectiveness.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Educational Administration?

Career outlook

A master’s degree in educational administration opens the door to a wide range of career paths within the field of education. Graduates can pursue leadership roles such as school principal, assistant principal, or superintendent of schools, overseeing entire school districts and shaping education policies. Others may become curriculum coordinators, focusing on curriculum development and alignment with educational standards.

Here are some of the career paths open to those with this academic credential:

  • Elementary, middle, or high school principal — Oversee school staff and operations at the K-12 level.
    • Median annual salary: $103,460
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 1%
    • New job openings projected: 20,200 annually
  • Postsecondary education administrator — Manage administrative functions for a university, such as admissions or recordkeeping.
    • Median annual salary: $99,940
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 4%
    • New job openings projected: 15,300 annually
  • Instructional coordinator — Develop, implement, and assess the effectiveness of educational materials.
    • Median annual salary: $66,490
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 2%
    • New job openings projected: 19,200 annually

Online Master’s in Educational Administration Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in educational administration degree program?

The first step is confirming the requirements and application processes by talking to the school’s admissions office. If you’re applying to multiple schools, create a spreadsheet or checklist to keep track of deadlines.

Most schools use an online application portal where students can submit their application and supporting documents. Ensuring you have digital versions of all the required information, such as college transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, and work experience, will help streamline the application process.

Talk with a school admissions counselor to verify you have everything the school needs successfully submitted or mailed in by the submission deadlines.

How much does an online master’s in educational administration degree cost?

There are many factors that determine the ultimate cost of an online master’s in educational administration. For the most accurate information on how much a program costs, speak to a financial aid counselor. Consider all financial support you may receive, including income from a full- or part-time job, scholarships, grants, and loans.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the average tuition for graduate programs is $12,596 at public universities and $28,017 at private schools. Public universities usually charge a higher tuition rate to out-of-state students than in-state students.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in educational administration degree?

The time to earn an online master’s degree in educational administration is contingent on the school and the student’s pace. Most programs take about two years to complete, but students might finish in 18 months if they can earn 12 to 15 credits each semester. Part-time students may need three or more years to earn their degree.

Is an online master's in educational administration worth it?

A master’s degree in educational administration provides the knowledge and skills for leadership roles as well as the opportunity to contribute positively to the field of education, shape educational policies, and make a lasting impact on students and institutions. It is a valuable investment in a rewarding and influential career. Individuals with this degree often earn competitive salaries as well.

Earning a degree online opens the door to advanced education for those who do not live near local educational institutions or need more flexibility than an on-campus program can provide. Many online programs offer self-paced or asynchronous learning, allowing you to complete assignments and exams when it’s most convenient for you.

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