Why This Matters

  • EARN $34,990 MORE ANNUALLY AS A PRINCIPAL

    The annual median salary for school principals was $95,310 in 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Comparatively, teachers earn $57,980-$60,320 annually, depending on the grade level they teach.

  • MASTER’S NEEDED IN 37 STATES FOR LICENSURE

    Each state sets its own standards for certifying school administrators. Currently, 37 states in the U.S. require candidates to have a master’s degree in education administration to qualify for licensure.

  • DEMAND FOR RELATED JOBS INCREASING BY 11%

    Individuals with a master’s in education administration can also qualify for instructional coordinator positions, an area of education that is expected to grow at a faster than average pace by 2026.

Our Research

Different types of degree programs in education administration exist, including Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education. While the different types of 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 have National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation, 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.

  • 52 hours to write this article
  • 101 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 249 education programs we compared

The Top 53 Master’s in Education Administration Programs

Best Online Master's in Education Administration Degree Programs
01
Intelligent Pick
California State University, Northridge
01
Flexible Completion Time
University of Florida
01
Most Experienced Faculty
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
01
Best in the Northeast
Stony Brook University
01
Best for Veterans
Caldwell University
01
Best Advisors
Concordia University Wisconsin
01
Best for Transfer Students
University of West Florida
01
Most Flexible
Georgia Southern University
01
Best Student Organizations
University of Louisville
01
Best in the Midwest
Fort Hays State University
01
Athletic Administration Focus
Wayne State College
01
Fastest Completion Time
Dakota Wesleyan University
01
Best in the South
Mississippi College
01
Best Master of Education Degree
Southern Wesleyan University
01
Long-Running Program
Lamar University
01
Best Public Research University
Indiana University Bloomington
01
Low Tuition
Central Washington University
01
Most Affordable
Angelo State University
01
Best in the West
University of Wyoming
01
Best Blended Program
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
01
IACBE-Accredited
North Park University
01
Best Technology-Focused Program
San Diego State University
01
Socially-Oriented Program
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
01
Good Value
New Mexico State University
01
Best Alumni Network
Louisiana State University
01
Best Christian University
Liberty University
01
Most Concentration Options
University of Nebraska at Kearney
01
Best in the Southeast
Appalachian State University
01
Best Experiential Learning Emphasis
Ball State University
01
Best for Experienced Teachers
Western Carolina University
01
Best Research University
Michigan State University
01
Innovative Curriculum
The University of Kansas
01
Best Public University
Florida State University
01
Best Military Friendly School
University of Southern Mississippi
01
Leadership Emphasis
University of South Carolina
01
Best Thesis Option
The University of Oklahoma
01
Best Pre-K-12 Concentration
Emporia State University
01
Best Biblical-Centered Program
Columbia International University
01
Best for Tuition Discounts
Clarks Summit University
01
Best for Accelerated Classes
National University
01
Alumni Recommended
Umass Global
01
Best Private University
Boston University
01
Best Higher Education Emphasis
University of Missouri
01
Best Assistantships
Oklahoma State University - College of Education and Human Sciences
01
Industry-Leading Faculty
Texas A&M International University
01
High Job Placement Rate
UNC Greensboro
01
Best Concentration Options
Nova Southeastern University
01
Best Accelerated Program
University of Houston-Clear Lake
01
Best for NJ Students
Rowan University
01
Best Research-Focused Program
George Washington University
01
Best for Career Changers
Baruch College - Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs
01
Best Catholic University
Duquesne University
01
Principal Certification
The University of Texas at Tyler
01
Student Recommended
Drexel University
01
Best in the Northwest
Seattle University
01
Social Justice Orientation
Department of Educational Administration & Human Resource Developmentat at Texas A&M University

What You Should Know About This Degree

As anyone who currently works in education knows, being a principal or administrator can be an extremely demanding job. School leaders must be capable of making decisions, resolving conflicts, and dealing with students, teachers, and parents, often with limited resources.

Because of the complex nature of this job, the process of becoming a school principal is carefully regulated by states, which each develop their own standards for granting certification or licensure as a school administrator. These standards include educational requirements. When researching programs, it’s important to check with your state’s education board to confirm that the program you attend is compliant with their regulations for certification or licensure.

As part of these standards, most states require a practical learning component in your degree program, even if all coursework is offered online. Depending on the program, you may be able to complete this requirement where you currently teach, or you may need to work in a different institution. Either way, you should confirm the exact requirements with your program of interest and make sure they will fit into your schedule.

Although all schools need principals and vice-principals, the projected job growth rate for these positions is 8%, about as fast as the average for all jobs in the U.S., meaning there will be stiff competition for these positions.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Education Administration programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most master’s in education administration programs want students who have a teaching license and prior teaching experience, although the exact number of years may vary. Find out what their specific requirements are to ensure that you fulfill them.
  • Is this school authorized to provide online education in my state? Regulations for providing online education vary state by state, and not all schools are authorized to provide online education to students in all states. Check with your program of interest to verify they can grant you a degree based on the state you live in and that your state will recognize your degree.

In addition to researching programs’ curricula and requirements, it’s important to research their application deadlines and admissions requirements. You can typically find this information online or by contacting the program directly.

You should also explore your options for financing your master’s degree, including scholarships, financial aid, and tuition benefits from your current employer.