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 percent, about as fast as the average for all jobs in the U.S., meaning there will be stiff competition for these positions.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Educational Leadership programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Many master’s in education leadership programs seek students who are already licensed and have teaching experience. Check with your program of interest to find out what their requirements are, and if 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.
While you are researching programs’ plans of study, you should also look at their application deadlines and admissions requirements. This information is usually available online, or by contacting the school’s admissions department.
Now is also an ideal time to explore options for financing your graduate degree. These funding resources can include scholarships, assistantships, loans, grants, and tuition assistance benefits from your current employer.