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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, employment opportunities for K-12 principals will grow by 5% through 2031. This position earns a median annual salary of $98,420. At the post-secondary level, job growth is projected at 7% over the next decade, with administrators earning a median salary of $96,910 annually.

Tuition costs for an online master’s in educational administration vary. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate tuition is $12,394 at public colleges and approximately $26,621 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? Clarifying these goals and interests will help you focus your search on programs that meet your specific criteria.

Consider also the different types of degrees available in this field. Some common master’s degrees in educational administration include Master of Education (M.Ed), 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.

Now is also an excellent time to set your parameters for the type of program you want. Will you enroll full-time, or do you need a part-time program? Do you prefer an asynchronous or synchronous course delivery method? What kind of hands-on learning experiences, such as internships, are you seeking?

Research schools and programs

A key way to determine if a program and school is worth a student’s time is by checking its accreditation status. Schools that are regionally accredited meet the highest standards of quality in education. The U.S. Department of Education maintains a database of accredited schools. Also, confirm that the program is accredited by the Council on the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP), which specifically accredits education-related degree programs.

Conduct further in-depth research on schools and programs by visiting their websites, participating in virtual open houses and information sessions, connecting with current and former students and faculty, and following schools and programs on social media.

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?
  • Are classes delivered synchronously, asynchronously, or in a hybrid format?
  • 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, so it’s a good idea to confirm with schools before starting your applications. Also, find out if the program has any eligibility criteria. 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.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Start by completing the Free Application for 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 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 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.

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 30-45. 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. The concentration is on diversity research and case studies that show how administrators need to be culturally aware to maintain an inclusive student 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. Classes help 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 Coordinators. Classes teach managing curriculum for K-12 schools. Topics include developing new materials, teacher training, and assessment of curricular effectiveness.

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

Career outlook

Educational administration is a vital component of the education system, with professionals in this field playing a critical role in shaping the quality and effectiveness of educational institutions. Earning an online master’s degree in educational administration equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to lead educational organizations and facilitate positive change.

The career outlook for individuals with a master’s degree in educational administration is highly promising, driven by the ongoing need for effective school and educational leadership. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elementary, middle, and high school principals make a median salary of $101,320 annually, while growth in the field over the coming decade is expected to remain steady at one percent.

Career paths

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 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. There are also opportunities that allow professionals to influence education at various levels and in diverse roles.

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

  • Curriculum coordinator — designs and implements educational curricula, ensuring alignment with academic standards and best practices.
  • Educational consultant — provides guidance and support to schools and educational organizations to improve their programs and teaching practices.
  • Student affairs director — oversees services and programs that support students’ non-academic needs, including housing and counseling services.
  • Admissions director — manages the student admissions process for colleges and other educational institutions.
  • Education policy analyst — works with government agencies, research organizations, and advocacy groups to inform educational policy decisions.

School Principal

Earning Potential: $81,540-$138,820 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in educational administration or a related field

School principals manage all aspects of a school’s operations. They oversee the daily activities, teacher performance, and overall school environment. Principals work to create a safe and productive learning environment, engage with parents and the community, and ensure compliance with educational standards and policies. They play a pivotal role in curriculum development, student achievement, and staff management, focusing on improving teaching quality and student outcomes. Principals also handle budgeting, resource allocation, and student discipline. Their work is instrumental in shaping the school’s culture and ensuring students’ academic success and well-being.

Superintendent of Schools

Earning Potential: $108,690-$199,750 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in educational administration or a related field

Superintendents of schools are the highest-ranking educational leaders in a school district. They are responsible for overseeing the district’s policies, budget, and educational programs. Superintendents collaborate with principals, teachers, and other stakeholders to ensure the overall success and effectiveness of the district’s educational system. They make decisions related to curriculum, resource allocation, and staff development, focusing on improving student outcomes. Superintendents work to create a cohesive and efficient educational environment, address challenges, and set long-term educational goals for the district. They play a crucial role in shaping the quality of education provided to students and the success of the schools within their jurisdiction.

Postsecondary Education Administrator

Earning Potential: $53,770-$156,820 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in educational administration or a related field

Postsecondary education administrators work in colleges, universities, and higher education institutions, overseeing various aspects of educational operations. They manage academic and student affairs, admissions, and student services. Academic administrators such as deans and provosts ensure the quality of educational programs and faculty. Student affairs administrators focus on non-academic student needs, including housing, extracurricular activities, counseling, and student life. Admissions directors manage the student admissions process, establish admissions policies, and promote the institution to prospective students. These administrators aim to provide a supportive and enriching educational experience for college and university students while maintaining the institution’s reputation and compliance with academic standards and regulations.

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 tuition for graduate programs was $12,394 at public universities and $26,621 at private schools during the 2020-21 academic year. Public universities may charge different tuition for in-state and out-of-state students, or they may charge a flat-rate tuition for distance learners.

Online students can expect to pay fees for technical support, online library resources, and technology purchases like an updated computer. However, they can save money by not paying for transportation, on-campus housing, and activity fees.

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 two years to complete, but students might finish in 18 months if they acquire 12 to 15 credits each semester. A student might discover an accelerated program requiring additional term credits.

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. A master’s degree is often a prerequisite for leadership roles in education, such as school principal or superintendent.

Individuals with this degree may earn competitive salaries. An admissions director, for example, makes a median salary of $79,702, with those in the top ten percent of the field earning more than $110,948.

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, ideal for working professionals.

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