Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs

Educational leaders are found at public and private learning institutions across the country. Principals, vice principals, and deans of students oversee elementary and secondary schools, while superintendents and their supportive personnel manage entire school districts. Leadership titles at the collegiate level include deans, department chairs, and administrators. Other roles in educational leadership are found behind the scenes. Curriculum directors and instructional coordinators, for example, design and implement lesson plans for learners at different grade levels.

A master’s degree is considered the minimum academic requirement for most educational leadership positions. Online master’s in educational leadership programs allow students to advance their career standing and earn a fully accredited graduate degree from the comfort of their home computer. The online master’s curriculum is largely dedicated to topics like educational law, learning technology, school administration, and leadership methods. Many educational leadership master’s programs require students to complete a set number of internship or practicum hours. Other programs culminate in a master’s thesis or capstone project, which allow students to showcase the knowledge and skills they have gained.

Learn more about what you can do with an online master’s in educational leadership and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Students who graduate with a master’s in educational leadership are prepared to be effective school administrators. The comprehensive coursework of master’s programs will cover the various tasks associated with educational leadership roles, such as developing a curriculum, managing budgets, and measuring student performance. Internships or practicum courses will also give students the opportunity to gain supervised, hands-on training from established professionals. Many programs also allow students to concentrate their studies on specific age groups (such as elementary, secondary, or postsecondary) in order to further boost their standing in the job market. Master’s programs are also a crucial stepping-stone for college deans, school superintendents, and other educational leadership careers that are usually reserved for candidates with a doctoral degree or PhD.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible format that is ideal for students who must balance their schoolwork with other obligations, such as employment or childcare. Most programs utilize user-friendly software that allows students to access course materials, submit written assignments, take exams, and contact their professors at any time of day. Current technology also allows them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other portable device with Wi-Fi capabilities. If students reside far from their campus, they can often arrange internships and/or practicum courses that are close to their home for added convenience.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

A master’s degree is considered the prerequisite for most educational leadership positions. Depending on their specialization, students who leave school with a master’s degree in educational leadership will be qualified for a wide range of positions. Certain positions — such as principals and instructional coordinators working at public schools in some states — will be required to earn an official license. The best programs will prepare students to sit for licensure exams and earn the certification required for their field.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online master’s in educational leadership programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific master’s in educational leadership degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 University of Florida 81.08 3/5 85% Gainesville, FL

Consistently lauded for being one of the best public research institutions in the country, the University of Florida in Gainesville is also home to one of the best master’s in educational leadership online programs in America. This program comprises 36 credit hours and is designed to propel graduates into meaningful leadership roles within education. The majority of students need two years to complete the required coursework, with each semester (including summer) consisting of two classes. No past teaching experience or certification is required and no teaching experience is earned through the program. Students must pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination, which is administered by the Florida Principal Leadership Standards and leads to a Florida educational leadership certification.

Courses in this master’s in educational leadership online include innovative study in data-driven decision making, administration of school personnel, principalship, and communication in educational leadership. Students must complete 150 hours of practicum experience within a Florida school or in a school where they reside. They must be able to work directly with a certified principal.

Distance learners are eligible to enroll at three different times each year: summer, fall, or spring. The applications deadlines are February 15 for summer, May 15 for fall, and October 15 for spring. Students are required to take the GRE before being considered for admission; the GMAT is not accepted. Learners are provided with an interactive and comprehensive orientation program to help familiarize them with course faculty, the curriculum, and the online learning platform. The University of Florida ranks first within the Association of American Universities for the number of master’s degrees granted to Hispanic students each year.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $734 per credit, $2,202 per course

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: 150 hours of field experience in a school or educational setting

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: February 15 for summer, May 15 for fall, October 15 for spring
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Resume required with application

Contact
Department phone: 352-273-4333
Department email: bmousa@ufl.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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2 University of Central Florida 72.30 3/5 65% Orlando, FL

Orlando’s University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 and has more than 64,000 students from all 50 states and 148 countries. The school enjoys a range of academic partnerships in many different fields, including education. UCF’s online master’s in educational leadership is administered by the College of Education and Human Performance and the School of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership to provide a broad degree that prepares students for global opportunities within educational leadership. Whether curating learning at art centers and museums, directing educational outreach at zoos or environmental centers, or working in a traditional classroom setting, UCF graduates are prepared for many exciting professional experiences.

The program requires learners to earn at least 30 credits to graduate. Twenty-one credits are focused on administration, with coursework including topics in educational supervisory practices, financial affairs, systems planning, and legal aspects. The remaining nine credits are devoted to research and measurement courses, including statistical data analysis and evaluation. Classes can be taken in any order, but the required research project is always taken last. Two areas of concentration are available, including higher education/student personnel and community college education. Each of these has different enrollment and graduation requirements. Some electives or prerequisites may not be offered online.

This program is not state approved for certification in Florida. It prepares students for education-related fields that don’t require a certification. Careers that don’t need a certification include private school headmaster, community college or university staff administrator, and museum administrator. Student resources include individualized academic advising, career coaching, library assistance, and technical support.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Performance, School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: None offered online
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: Resident: $327.32 / Non-resident: $1151.72 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: N/A

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: N/A
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: January 15 for fall priority deadline, July 15 for fall, December 1 for spring, April 15 for summer
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate work, or in last 60 hours of undergraduate work
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: 407-823-1468
Department email: kenneth.murray@ucf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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3 Lehigh University 71.37 4/5 88% Bethlehem, PA

Sitting on 7,000 acres outside Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh has been challenging the status quo of education since its founding during the Civil War. Ninety-six percent of graduates found employment or moved on to advanced education within six months of graduation. The 30 credit online masters in educational leadership provides students with access to cutting edge teaching and learning opportunities taught by qualified and experienced faculty. The broad curriculum ensures that all graduates understand the inner workings and functions of educational organizations.

The focus of this program is on K-12 schools, and graduates can be found working in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout America and abroad. All classes are taught online during the fall and spring semesters, followed by campus visits for the summer semester. Coursework includes data-based decision making, curriculum management for school executives, leading inclusive learning systems, and the theory and practice of relational leadership. Students must complete a range of internship and practicum experiences, including time spent at a central office working with a superintendent and with a principal in a school district. A practicum in supervision and curriculum instruction is also available. All of these experiences can be completed in a school district close to the distance learner’s home.

Upon fulfilling coursework and practicum requirements, students are approved to apply for certification as a K-12 principal, superintendent of schools, international school leader, or curriculum and instruction professional. Lehigh offers an accelerated master’s in educational leadership for educators who work in urban public schools. The majority of enrollees complete this program within 15 months of part-time study. This is a hybrid program that requires visits to the Pennsylvania campus. The Office of Global Online Graduate Degrees and Training oversees this program and has been providing distance educations for more than 15 years.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education, Department of Education and Human Services
Program Name: M.Ed. In Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Principal Certification
Accrediting body: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: $1,855 per course

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30 (37 credits total with principal certification option)
Field education requirements: N/A

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: 2-6 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: 610.758.5737
Department email: and212@lehigh.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 71.28 3/5 84% Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867 as one of the initial 37 public land-grant institutions under the direction of Abraham Lincoln. The institution has been building its library collection and a full range of high-achieving academic programs related to education. One of those programs is the master’s in educational leadership online degree, designed to prepare graduates for principal roles at public or private elementary, middle, or high schools.

Offered as a master of education in education policy, organization, and leadership, this degree is comprised of 36 clinical hours and includes a clinical experience in student administration to help learners develop their leadership skills. A concentration in educational administration and leadership is also available to online learners. Distance learners are exposed to topics ranging from school improvement and the political/cultural context of education to public school finance and how to lead learning-centered schools.

UIUC’s Department of Education requires all applicants to have at least two years of experience as an educator before enrolling. Online student support includes help with finding a clinical location, accessing library services, career resources, veteran support, disability services, and an online writing and research center. Three letters of reference and a GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate studies are required to be considered for admittance. Distance learners must login at least four days a week and can expect to spend 20 hours per week on classwork.

The College of Education offers a range of awards and scholarships alongside fellowships for incoming students and graduate assistantships for current learners. Stand-alone tuition waivers covering the full cost of tuition, service fees, and library/technology fees are also available and based on merit and/or need.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: M.Ed. in Teacher Leader Specialization
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition: Residents: $12,488 per year, Non-residents: $26,980 per year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Mixture of synchronous and asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: N/A

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: N/A
Program start dates: N/A

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA for last two years of undergraduate study
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: Two years of full-time experience as an educator

Contact
Department phone: (217) 333-7703
Department email: connect@education.illinois.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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5 George Washington University 71.17 4/5 80% Washington, DC

Located in the District of Columbia, George Washington University welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 130 countries. George Washington’s online institution provides education to thousands of students through 10 different schools. The master’s in educational leadership online is designed for distance learners who aspire to work in school-based and central leadership positions in K-12 education or other supervisory roles within teaching and learning.

The program is comprised of 30 semester hours, including a six-credit internship in varied administrative settings. Coursework within this master’s in educational leadership and administration is designed to teach students learn how to foster a thriving learning culture and oversee all administrative tasks in the areas of finance, legal aspects, policy, and evaluation. School-specific coursework covers the supervision and evaluation of instruction, quantitative research, and school-community relations.

Students are welcome to complete their internships in Washington, D.C., but GWU also offers help in organizing a suitable internship near the student’s place of residence. Domestic and international students are drawn to GWU’s offering as the program has been in operation for more than 30 years. Instruction is provided by faculty members who are still very active in the field and have held a variety of K-12 leadership positions throughout their professional lives. The curriculum is regarded for providing valuable experience in team leadership dynamics through a range of group-based projects. Graduates will have an impressive professional portfolio demonstrating mastery of theory and practical skills and knowledge.

In addition to holding school-wide regional accreditation, the program is nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. A post-master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration is available to students looking to further prepare themselves and can prepare qualified candidates for administrator/principal licensure.


Program Overview
Department: Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $995 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: N/A

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: Two administrative internships

Program Length
Program options: N/A
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: N/A
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: N/A

Contact
Department phone: 844-386-7323
Department email: Admissions: gsehdadm@gwu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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6 George Mason University 67.23 3/5 66% Fairfax, VA

Initially operating as a branch campus of the University of Virginia, George Mason University in Fairfax became an independent institution in 1972. The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is an interactive program that allows students to discuss coursework with their peers, professors, and other educational administrators while learning the ins and outs of the the field.

Developed as a 21st century program, coursework focuses on helping students understand the rapidly evolving needs of schools and the communities they serve. It also covers changes that are constantly taking place as regulations are introduced and policies changed. The 30-credit program prepares students for a school or district level instructional leader position. It features courses in finance, education law, and curriculum development. Each course is three credits and the program requires students to complete a case study. Individual courses include topics in using research as a tool to lead school improvement, leading schools and communities, and contemporary issues within educational leadership. Graduates of this online educational leadership master’s program have gone onto roles as athletic directors, principals, special education leaders, and deans of departments. This program fulfills the Virginia Board of Education requirements for licensure in administration and supervision PK-12.

The program is supported by 11 professors with previous experience as entrepreneurs, researchers, superintendents, and principals to provide an expansive and diverse array of teaching voices. The program is considered competitive and includes a rigorous admissions process, ensuring that all students meet certain qualifications. Further education is available through George Mason’s Ph.D. in education leadership. GMU’s program is designed to fulfill licensure in administration and supervision PK-12 in Virginia. Virginia-based students receive a 15% PreK-12 educators discount on the instate tuition price and out of state students qualify for an automatic 45% discount on nonresident costs.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Development
Program Name: M.Ed. in Education Leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $563.50 per credit hour for VA state residents

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: N/A
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program options: N/A
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall or spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: April 1 for fall, November 1 for spring
GPA: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or GPA of 3.0 in last 60 hours of study
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: At least two years of documented, successful, full-time teaching in an accredited school and a valid teaching license

Contact
Department phone: (703) 993-3633
Department email: edleprog@gmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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7 University of St Francis 66.63 3/5 56% Joliet, IL

The University of Saint Francis in Joliet, Illinois, will soon celebrate 100 years of providing excellence in education as a small, private liberal arts college with Catholic underpinnings. The school has a student body of 3,900 and small class sizes averaging 17 learners – including those taught through an online format.

The school's online master's in educational leadership is a standout program. General coursework consists of 33 credits and is typically completed in six semesters. Credits belonging to the educational leadership major comprise 21 hours and cover topics such as supervisory behavior, educational research, and serving special populations. The remaining nine to 12 hours are used to complete one of two available concentrations: principal preparation or teacher leader. The former requires 12 hours and covers topics such as finance and law alongside three internship components. This path leads to a PK-12 principal endorsement. The latter includes nine hours of leadership practicum hours and two elective courses within the educational leadership course offerings and leads to a teacher leader endorsement. While all of the classes for either can be completed entirely online, students will need to complete an internship or a practicum off-site, depending on their chosen concentration.

All classes are taught through a cohort model to provide additional community, support, and professional networking between students and faculty. Distance learners applying to this program must submit an application, admission essay, official transcripts showing a GPA of 2.75 for undergraduate study, and two letters of recommendation. USF’s program is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Principal preparation and teacher leader
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $739 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30-33
Field education requirements: Principal preparation: year-long internship; teacher leader: one-semester practicum

Program Length
Program length: Principal preparation: six semesters; teacher leader: five semesters

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Principal preparation: minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0; Teacher leader: minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: 2-3 years of full-time teaching or school support personnel experience

Contact
Department phone: (815)740-3461
Department email: jkleinaitis@stfrancis.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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8 University of Dayton 66.40 5/5 78% Dayton, OH

University of Dayton was founded in 1850 as a private Catholic Marianist institution. The school embraces the same mission today as it did at its inception: to provide educations that help graduates be competitive in an evolving economy while also learning to be thoughtful, kind individuals who add value to the communities in which they live. As part of that mission, the school’s master’s in educational leadership online, an MSE program, caters to students looking to work in Catholic and other non-public schools, pre-kindergarten through high school.

Over the course of two years, students complete 30 credits in areas of supervision and professional development, community relations for school leaders, school law, and leadership in diverse communities. Distance learners must achieve a grade point average of 3.0 or better in order to qualify for graduation. A Catholic school leadership concentration is available, as is a summer intensive at the school’s Dayton campus. Teachers or administrators already working in Catholic schools or diocesan offices are eligible for tuition scholarships.

All of the required classes are taught in an asynchronous fashion, allowing students to complete assignments according to their schedule. Students use Isidore to access their classes, and they interact with classmates and professors through assignments, forum discussions, group projects, and exams. For admittance, students must hold at least a 2.75 GPA on their official undergraduate transcripts and meet specific requirements for their GRE or MAT scores. Support services for online students range from 24/7 technical resources to individualized academic advisement and career services.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education and Health Sciences
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Catholic school leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $626 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: Internship

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Eight weeks prior to the start of the desired term
GPA: Minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required for students with lower than 2.75 GPA

Contact
Department phone: 937-229-3105
Department email: ddolph1@udayton.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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9 Nova Southeastern University 66.01 4/5 42% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University is a private institute in Florida that’s been providing educations since 1964. Recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having high research activity, the institution currently enrolls more than 24,000 students each academic year. The online master’s degree in educational leadership offerings remain among the most popular, and that includes the online MS in educational leadership and school administration.

This program is designed to prepare learners who plan to work in pre-kindergarten through high school administrative leadership positions. Students complete an administrative or educational leadership internship comprising a minimum of 300 contact hours. Course topics include standards-based curriculum assessment, electronic tools for educational leaders, ethical school leadership, and educational financial budgeting. Students complete 36 credits and typically finish the program within two years of full-time study. Courses are taken asynchronously through the learning management platform Blackboard.

NSU’s online educational leadership master’s program meets all the requirements of the Florida Department of Education and also works with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement program to provide mobility for educational leaders outside of Florida. The program is also accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required for admittance and a 3.0 GPA to graduate. Students must also receive passing scores on the culminating Florida Educational Leadership Examination.


Program Overview
Department: Fischler College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Education with specialization in Educational Leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $955 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: Administrative internship, minimum of 300 contact hours

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: N/A
Program start dates: Fall, winter, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5
Standardized tests: Applicants without professional certificate or licensure must submit test scores from one of the following: CLAST, GKT, GRE, or Praxis I

Contact
Department phone: Admissions: 800-338-4723
Department email: Admissions: admissions@nova.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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10 Florida State University 65.69 3/5 75% Tallahassee, FL

Tallahassee’s Florida State University has been in existence since 1851 and currently serves nearly 42,000 students from 140 countries. The school’s distance learning program makes it easy for students to complete an online master’s in educational leadership and administration. By taking two classes each semester, all 36 credit hours, including 9 hours of electives, can be completed in two to three semesters of study. Studies are related to the evolving educational administration landscape, including resource management, planning for effective instruction, teacher leadership development, and legal aspects of public school administration.

Students must register for and pass the master’s comprehensive examination during their last semester. The exam has students complete a leadership development plan, a reflection paper, and a paper on conceptual connections across completed coursework. For admittance, applicants must have at least two years of full-time faculty experience in a K-12 school, a minimum GPA of 3.0 in upper-level undergraduate courses, and submit GRE scores. Minimum GRE scores include 149 (verbal), 147 (quantitative), and 3.5 (writing). Because this is a competitive leadership master’s degree online, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

FSU’s program has received approval through the Florida Department of Education’s educator program approval process. The program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the school maintains regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Distance learners can complete a number of online certificates in areas of institutional research, program evaluation, and online instructional development. An Ed.D. in educational leadership and policy is also available.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership/Administration
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: In-state: $479.32 per credit; Out-of-state: $1,110.72 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: Required as part of capstone course

Program Length
Program options: Two courses per semester
Program start dates: Fall or spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1 for fall, October 1 for spring
GPA: Upper-division cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Minimum of two years of full-time faculty experience in K-12 schools

Contact
Department phone: (850) 644-8166
Department email: kcaster@fsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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11 The University of West Florida 64.09 3/5 45% Pensacola, FL

The University of West Florida in Pensacola, founded in 1963, has multiple locations throughout the state alongside a bustling distance education department. Campus and computer-based courses maintain an average size of 40 students or less.

UWF’s online master’s in educational leadership program is offered as an M.Ed. and prepares students for administrative and/or supervisory roles such as dean of public or private elementary and secondary schools, district supervisors, assistant principals, principals, and in-service directors. Distance learners complete 33 hours during the two-year program, with required courses divided into thematic outcomes. These currently include critical thinking, communication, project management, integrity, and diversity skills. Major courses center on foundations of measurement, principles of curriculum development, and using data to drive decisions related to standardized student achievement. This program requires a six-credit principalship internship which may be completed at a suitable site near the student’s place of residence.

This online educational leadership master’s program is approved by the State of Florida and leads to Educational Leadership Certification after students successfully pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination. Students outside the state should discuss certification options with departmental administrators before enrolling. Online students benefit from resources including an online writing and research center, teacher mentoring, career support, online library assistance, student clubs and organizations, and technical support.

For admittance into this National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education-accredited program, applicants must possess a valid professional teaching certification, have three years of teaching experience, have earned a minimum 3.0 GPA during their undergraduate career, and submit GRE or MAT scores. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 must plan to submit GRE or MAT scores that fall at or above the 50th percentile.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Professional Studies
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership Certification
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: In-state: $218.98 per credit; Out-of-state: $648.37 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33

Program Length
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1 for fall, October 1 for spring, March 1 for summer
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required unless minimum undergraduate GPA is met
Work experience: Minimum of three years of teaching experience

Contact
Department phone: (850) 474-2745 Department email: teelgrad@uwf.edu Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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12 Brandman University 62.39 3/5 40% Irvine, CA

Brandman University in California was founded in 1958. Operating as a separate school within the Chapman University system, Brandman is home to 50 degree and certificate programs and an online virtual campus. The online master’s in educational leadership is provided through iDEAL (Instructional Designed for Engaged Adult Learning), an interactive teaching model that was designed exclusively for Brandman. All of the required courses are available asynchronously to ensure busy students can complete their assignments, projects, and forum discussions on their own schedule.

Students take 18 core courses in areas of research, learning theory, and curriculum studies before moving into 12 credits designated to emphasis courses. Students are allowed to tailor their own tracks to suit goals. Completion of the 30 required semester hours usually takes two years, including a summer semester. Unlike other master’s in educational leadership online, Brandman does not require incoming distance learners to possess previous teaching experience or teacher credentialing. Because this program does not lead to a certification, all roles held by alumni fall into administrative or leadership categories.

There are three different ways for students to be considered for admission if their GPA is not a 3.0 or higher. All students are required to send in two letters of recommendation, a current resume, and a letter of intent. This program is not available to residents in all 50 states; prospective students should speak to a university enrollment coach before committing to the program. Similar online programs are offered, including a master’s of education in education, teaching, and learning; leadership in early childhood education; and leadership in curriculum and instruction.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education, Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: N/A
Accrediting body: National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $620 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 2.5
Standardized tests: May be required based on undergraduate GPA

Contact
Department phone: Admission: (877) 516-4501
Department email: Admission: adminfo@brandman.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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13 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 62.37 3/5 65% Baton Rouge, LA

In 2016, the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll recognized Louisiana State University in the area of education, specifically as it relates to community-engaged work. The online educational leadership master’s program requires students to earn 39 credits. Learners gain hands-on experience from classes in research and education, ethics and education, best practices of principal leadership, and supervision of instruction. Specialized studies in educational research, school improvement, action research, and independent study are also available completely online.

This program is offered in an accelerated format. The seven-week course structure makes it possible for full-time learners to complete their studies in 15 months. Aside from the 13 required courses, students also complete a part-time internship in their region to provide them opportunities to put theory into practice. Applicants must possess a valid level-two teaching certificate or comparable level from an out-of-state credentialing body. They must also be currently employed in a school or district and have at least two years of teaching experience. A nomination letter must be received from a current or past administrator alongside an additional letter or recommendation. They must also have evidence of a teacher of the year nomination, national board certification, publication activity, teacher leader endorsement, or evidence of being a presenter at a local, state, or national conference. Current GRE score and transcripts showing that the students held at least a 3.0 GPA during their undergraduate is also required.

As of 2016, graduates have a 100% pass rate on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment, and the program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.


Program Overview
Department: College of Human Sciences and Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Accrediting body: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Tuition: $451 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 39
Field education requirements: Required internship in educational administration

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: 15 months
Program start dates: Multiple start dates throughout the year

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Approximately four weeks before start of the desired term
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, or minimum GPA of 3.0 on last half of degree requirements
Standardized tests: GRE
Work experience: Current employment at a school or district and at least two years of successful teaching experience in area of certification

Contact
Department phone: Graduate admissions: 225-578-2311
Department email: Graduate admissions: gradonline@lsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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14 University of Arkansas 61.62 3/5 60% Fayetteville, AR

Rooted in the Ozark Mountains, University of Arkansas was founded as a land-grant college in the late 1800’s and has expanded to provide multiple campus locations and an extensive online learning department for students throughout the world. The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is a 33-semester-hour program that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Full-time distance learners traditionally complete the program in two years, but part-time options are also available. Twenty-four of the required credits comprise major studies in areas of instructional leadership, analytical decision making, effective leadership for school improvement, and school organization/administration. The remaining nine hours consist of foundational and specialty courses in areas of finance, research, and special topics within educational leadership. An internship is also included in course requirements and lasts an entire semester. Students may complete this portion of the degree at an approved school or district in their region.

To qualify for this online master’s degree in educational leadership, students must already hold a valid teaching license and have spent time in a classroom as a credentialed educator. Individuals who hold a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate studies are exempted from submitting GRE scores. In order to help lower the financial burden, the School of Education’s Global Campus offers a range of scholarships and fellowships to online and offline students alike. Resident and non-resident students pay $410 per semester hour. As of 2015, the student-to-faculty ratio was 19:1. The program maintains a 100% student pass rate on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment. Students may begin this program at three different times throughout the year: summer, fall, or spring. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Health Professionals
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Accrediting body: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Tuition: $409.94 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33
Field education requirements: Internship required

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: Two years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT required for students who do not meet GPA minimum

Contact
Department phone: 479-575-5092
Department email: egbengts@uark.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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15 Liberty University 60.98 4/5 46% Lynchburg, VA

Founded in 1971, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, has the unique distinction of being the largest private, nonprofit institution in the country and the largest Christian university in the world. Liberty University’s online master’s in educational leadership is offered as an M.Ed. in teaching and learning with an emphasis in leadership and was designed to prepare graduates for a variety of school settings. These may include Christian, public, or private schools at the K-12 levels.

Liberty's educational leadership master’s degree online requires students to complete 36 credits, half of which may be transferred to Liberty with prior approval. A three-hour, semester-long internship is also available as an optional component. Coursework is divided into three categories: advanced education core courses (15 hours), leadership cognate (12 hours), and professional courses (nine hours). Topics covered include elementary and middle school curriculum, contemporary issues in education policy, behavior management, and technology practices for instructional improvement. Students can choose from two different capstone courses during their final semester. While in the program, students must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher and no more than two grades of ‘C’ may be applied to the transcript. All courses are taught asynchronously.

Licensure is not available to graduates. Potential career fields include positions as principals and assistant principals, university departmental chairs, primary teachers, policy and procurement development specialists, and administrators. The school is accredited regionally and the program is approved by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. A range of departmental scholarships and fellowships are available to online students, including TEACH Grants.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teaching and Learning - Leadership
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: Part-time rate: $615 per credit; full-time rate: $565 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36
Field education requirements: Optional three credit hour practicum

Program Length
Program length: Four semesters
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Approximately two weeks before start of term
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA for admission in good standing
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact
Department phone: Graduate admissions: (800) 424-9595
Department email: Graduate admissions: luograd@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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16 Emporia State University 60.65 3/5 42% Emporia, KS

Kansas’ Emporia State University, founded in 1963, is a thriving public research institution with a history of providing support and training to educators. The university is home to the Fallen Educators’ Memorial and the National Teachers’ Hall of Fame.

The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is overseen by the Department of School Leadership and the Middle and Secondary Teacher Education Department. Offered as a master of science in educational administration, the majority of students plan to move into leadership roles at middle and secondary schools. The program offers opportunities for licensure and non-licensure tracks. In order to qualify for the licensure path, students must already hold a master’s degree. ESU’s degree requires students to complete 35 semester hours. Courses include technological applications in school leadership, school systems management, curriculum leadership strategies, and advanced educational psychology for teachers and administrators. Students also complete two semester-long practicums to hone their administrative skills. The overarching curriculum concentrates on three areas of learning: curriculum leadership, how to be an effective practitioner, and preparation for National Board Certification. Graduates are able to apply for building-level leadership or district-level leadership licensure.

Distance learners must have a GPA of at least 3.0 during the final 60 hours of their undergraduate degree, a state-issued teaching license, official transcripts of all college-level work, two references, and a current resume. The school recently eliminated the requirement for GRE or MAT scores. Students looking to learn more can attend a monthly distance education event hosted by the school. The program must be completed within seven years.


Program Overview
Department: The Teachers College, Department of School Leadership/Middle and Secondary Teacher Education
Program Name: Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction – Curriculum Leadership
Available concentrations: Curriculum Leadership is the concentration
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: Resident: $333.55 per credit hour; non-resident: $457.30 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 34
Field education requirements: Practicum experience

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: 2-7 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 on last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or 3.0 GPA on last 30 hours of graduate coursework
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact
Department phone: 620-341-5776
Department email: mobrien1@emporia.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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17 University of Northern Iowa 60.49 3/5 66% Cedar Falls, IA

The University of Northern Iowa was founded in 1876 as a normal school for training teachers. Although the university’s mission has expanded, preparing teachers and educational administrators is still at the heart of UNI’s mission.

UNI’s online master of arts in education in educational leadership with a concentration in principalship is an innovative and interactive two-year degree that equips graduates with the skills needed for PK-12 principalship or PK-12 supervisors of special education. This online master’s degree in educational leadership is comprised of 37 credit hours and requires students to complete an extensive internship. Full-time students can expect to finish the required 13 credits and on-site internship within two years of study, but part-time options can also be arranged. The curriculum is attuned to the evolving needs of the educational system, and that’s reflected in the available topics. These currently include leadership for effective schools, leading school growth and improvement, special education law, and community connections.

Classes are delivered synchronously, so students need to log in one night per week during the fall and spring semesters for interactive lessons. During their first year, learners must visit the Iowa campus for a weekend learning intensive. All other coursework is provided through the Blackboard learning management system. The program is delivered through a cohort model. Students will build a peer network and continue to work with the same group throughout the program. UNI’s online educational leadership master’s program was developed according to the Iowa Standards for School Leaders. Students may begin the program at the start of each fall semester.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education in Principalship
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission
Tuition: $486 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous cohort format

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 37
Field education requirements: Required internship

Program Length
Program options: Two to three classes per term
Program length: 2-years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Priority deadline: April 14
GPA: Full admission requires a minimum GPA of 3.0; GPAs of 2.75-2.99 may be considered for provisional admission.
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact
Department phone: 319-273-6264
Department email: Susan.Alborn-Yilek@uni.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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18 Concordia University-Chicago 60.29 3/5 49% River Forest, IL

Distance learners seeking a Christ-centered online education are often drawn to the offerings of Chicago’s Concordia University. Founded in 1864, Concordia University operates as a private liberal arts college in the Lutheran tradition that promotes integrity and services while maintaining rigorous academic standards.

The university’s online master's in educational leadership is a 30-credit, accelerated program that can be completed in 12 months by full-time students. A 24-month option is also available for distance learners planning to enroll on a part-time basis. The 10 required courses provide nuanced studies of all the administrative and leadership skills. Students learn about school finance and business management; partnering with schools, parents, and the community; curriculum and assessment frameworks for student learning; and school evaluation and change processes. Students will also develop skills in management, operation, and creating an effective learning environment. School law is an important aspect of the program and how it affects teachers, students, programs, and tort liability.

Rather than requiring a semester-long internship, Concordia mandates that all degree seekers take part in a capstone experience requiring them to create a culminating project that highlights a mastery of content provided throughout their studies. This project is used to help instructors evaluate students and see how they interpret applied theory into practice.

CU’s program has special provisions for international students looking to move into educational administration. A GRE is not required to enter the program, but students will need to turn in official transcripts, recommendation letters, and evidence of a 3.0 or higher GPA during their undergraduate education. Students are permitted to begin their studies at the start of every fall semester.


Program Overview
Department: College of Graduate Studies
Program Name: Master of Arts in Leadership, Higher Education specialization
Accrediting body: Higher Learning Commission

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 33

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program length: 12 or 24 months
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: August 15
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.85 or master’s degree GPA of 3.0 for full admission

Contact
Department phone: Admissions: 708-263-6758
Department email: Admissions: Online.Info@CUChicago.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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19 Texas A & M University-Commerce 60.25 3/5 36% Commerce, TX

Students at the Commerce campus of Texas A&M University enjoy a more personalized education and smaller class sizes. The Commerce campus is popular for its campus-based and online programs, many of which are in the field of education. The school is also consistently recognized for the many specialized services provided to first-generation college students.

The online master’s in educational leadership program is provided completely online through the myLEo portal, which oversees all assignments, discussion boards, and lectures. The university’s 30-credit master of education in educational administration requires students to be admitted to the graduate school and the educational leadership master’s degree online in order to fully matriculate. Coursework includes studies in how to lead effective schools, using research for best practice, building capacity for powerful learning, designing curriculum, and facilitating learning for diverse students.

Students have the option of completing a 21-hour principal certification plan. During the student’s final term, they will complete the leading the learning community practicum in a local school district; the course lasts the whole semester. The practicum is only available during fall and spring semesters.

Courses are taught asynchronously, allowing students to work on their own schedule. Student resources include library and research assistance, technical support, career services, an online writing center, and academic advisement each term. Degree seekers are admitted to this program at the start of every fall semester.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Services, Department of Higher Education and Learning Technologies
Program Name: Master of Science or Master of Education in Educational Technology - Leadership
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Tuition: Resident: $566.26 per credit; Non-resident: $974.26 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30

Program Length
Program options: Most students take two courses per semester
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: June 1 for fall, October 15 for spring, March 15 for summer
GPA: Minimum GPA of 3.0 on any graduate-level coursework; minimum 2.75 GPA on undergraduate coursework required for full admission
Standardized tests: GRE, unless student meets 3.0 undergraduate GPA or higher
Work experience: Statement of work experience may be requested by admission committee

Contact
Department phone: 903-886-5520
Department email: MaryJo.Dondlinger@tamuc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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20 Seton Hall University 60.17 4/5 67% South Orange, NJ

Named after the first American-born saint, Seton Hall University in New Jersey has been providing Catholic educations since 1856. Nearly half of all students are enrolled at the graduate level, providing a strong network and qualified faculty. Seton Hall’s online master’s in educational leadership is delivered as a master of arts in education leadership, with special emphasis in management and policy.

The program encompasses 39 semester hours divided into 13 classes, with most students moving from matriculation to graduation within two years of full-time study. Six groups of two courses (a total of six semester hours) are delivered through distance education every four months. Courses include analysis of supervisory behavior, directed research in administration, supervision of instruction, and curriculum design and engineering. A two-part administrative internship is completed during the fifth and sixth semesters. At the end of their time in the program, distance learners are required to take a comprehensive pass/fail examination.

Seton Hall’s educational leadership master’s degree online begins in the summer, making it easier for students who also work as teachers. Throughout the program, students travel to the South Orange campus twice for weekend residency intensives. They’ll meet with faculty and other classmates to provide further practical and real-world experiences alongside networking opportunities. Learners focus on four central themes: academic rigor, ethical standards, practical application, and technology. Faculty consist of expert researchers, practitioners, and leaders within education, as well as those with long careers in professional psychology and family therapy. Many of them remain actively engaged in their field while teaching.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education and Human Services
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Management and Policy
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $641 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 39
Field education requirements: Required internships

Program Length
Program options: 2 courses per term
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
Standardized tests: GRE or MAT
Work experience: Work experience in field related to educational administration

Contact
Department phone: (973) 275-2417
Department email: gallowal@shu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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21 Rowan University 60.13 4/5 72% Glassboro, NJ

Founded in 1923 as a teacher preparation college, Rowan is now a regionally accredited public institution catering to thousands of students throughout the country. Located in Glassboro, New Jersey, the school is still recognized for its education programs at all levels, including its masters in educational leadership online degree. The program is structured as an M.Ed. in teacher leadership and is offered as a 34 to 40 credit program, depending on the chosen content area. The 19 core hours cover teaching and learning concepts, including studies in analyzing classroom teacher behavior, researching classroom practice, applying theories of learning, and enacting educational change. The remaining hours can be used to select a specialized area of focus. Current options include autism spectrum disorders, educational technology, English as a second language, global history, history, middle school mathematics, reading, reading/writing, school public relations, and special education.

At the end of the program, students submit a professional synthesis portfolio and a teacher leadership presentation rather than a dissertation. This program does not require students to undertake an internship, but they will have the opportunity to take part in a self-guided study course related to research in teacher leadership.

Courses are divided into eight week modules, making it easier for motivated students to accelerate their learning and graduate quickly. All classes begin on Tuesdays at 8:00 a.m. and conclude on Monday at 11:59 p.m. to provide a rhythm to the curriculum. To gain acceptance, distance learners must submit official transcripts, a professional resume, a statement of professional objectives, and two letters of recommendation. They must also provide a signed statement showing that they have regular access to a classroom and a statement confirming they have been an active, current teacher for at least one year. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.


Program Overview
Department: College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Teacher Leadership
Available concentrations: Autism spectrum disorders, educational technology, English as a second language, global history, history, middle school mathematics, reading, reading/writing, school public relations, or special education
Accrediting body: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Tuition: $730 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 34-37

Program Length
Program options: Part-time
Program length: Six semesters
Program start dates: Summer or fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: All materials are due a month before start of the term in which the student begins
Work experience: Signed statement of regular, on-going access to a classroom; statement confirming you are currently teaching and have been an active teacher for at least one academic year

Contact
Department phone: Online admissions: (856) 256-4747
Department email: Online admissions: global@rowan.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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22 Dallas Baptist University 59.98 4/5 54% Dallas, TX

Operating as an affiliate of the Baptist General Convention, Dallas Baptist University is focused on providing Christ-centered educations to its student body of more than 5,000 learners. Online classes are kept small, with an average course size of 13 students.

The university’s master’s in educational leadership online is offered as a 30 semester program in the form of a M.Ed. in educational leadership. The required hours are broken down into six core hours in education research and curriculum design/evaluation, while the remaining 24 are specialized preparation and certification courses. These classes cover topics including school personnel administration, public relations, and the principalship and supervision of instruction. Distance learners must also complete an educational administration internship, a defense of degree capstone requirement, and a seminar in educational leadership designed to help students prepare for the texas examination of educator standards. Once passed, students receive state principal certification. No thesis is required for students to graduate from this program.

The department provides a charter school administrator concentration for graduates that want to work directly at schools or the district level. After completing the first required 12 credits, continuation in the program is contingent upon students receiving a passing score on the GMAT or GRE, unless the student earns an A- or higher in all four classes. During the specialized preparation and certification courses, students complete one educational administration internship at an approved site. To gain acceptance, applicants must have at least two years of creditable teaching experience in a public or private setting at the K-12 level. Distance learners must submit their service record prior to being registered for state certification examinations.


Program Overview
Department: Dorothy M. Bush College of Education
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Charter school administrator, certification, non-certification
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Tuition: $906 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: for certification: Two years of creditable teaching experience in a K-12 public or private school
Credit requirements: certification track: 30; non-certification track: 36
Field education requirements: Required internship for certification tracks

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: Minimum 3.0 GPA
Standardized tests: GRE or GMAT

Contact
Department phone: Graduate admissions: (214) 333-5242
Department email: tamj@dbu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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23 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 59.25 4/5 50% University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University has been providing distance education for more than 100 years, making it a pioneer in the field. The institution’s World Campus opened nearly two decades ago and is now a national leader in online learning.

PSU’s online master’s degree in educational leadership is designed as an M.Ed. in educational leadership. It's for current K-12 teachers in public or private schools who want to expand their opportunities by acquiring leadership roles and build deeper knowledge about the administration of school systems. The program requires 30 semester hours and provides three different areas of emphasis: teacher leader, school leader, and school leader without principal certification. The school leader without principal certification is for students in international or private schools. All three programs require an internship component, but core coursework differs. Common core classes for all paths include school improvement, designing staff development programs, learning processes in relation to education priorities, and technological applications in educational leadership.

Students working towards a principalship certificate or the school leader emphasis are required to complete a semester-long internship, either by traveling to the Pennsylvania campus or by finding a suitable school or district in their region.

All of the online master’s in educational leadership programs require 30 credit hours, regardless of emphasis. Students from Alabama and Kentucky should check with their state licensure board to ensure Penn State’s program is accepted. PSU is an Act 48 approved provider; courses from this program may count toward professional development hours. Classes are taught asynchronously and students are never required to visit the University Park campus, making it one of the most flexible programs available.


Program Overview
Department: Penn State College of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership
Available concentrations: Teacher leader, school leader, school leader (without principal certification)
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: $821 per credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: Required year-long internship for school leader emphasis

Program Length
Program options: Part time and full time
Program start dates: Fall, spring, or summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 1 for fall, November 1 for spring, March 15 for summer
GPA: Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: Three years of school-related experience required by conclusion of program for school leader emphasis

Contact
Department phone: 814-865-1487
Department email: dlp5189@psu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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24 Old Dominion University 59.19 3/5 49% Norfolk, VA

Old Dominion University has campuses in Norfolk and online. Graduate enrollment constitutes approximately 20% of the student body, and 25% of all learners are affiliated with the military.

The educational leadership master’s degree online is focused on teaching the skills graduates need to work in administrative and supervisory roles for K-12 schools and school systems. The program leads to full licensure within Virginia. It’s recommended students speak to program administrators to find out how that applies to them if they live outside the state. 24 of the required credits are devoted to studies in educational politics, policy-making, strategic communication, external relations, learning theories, and instructional leadership and supervision. The final six hours within this 30-credit program are devoted to two semester-long internships in areas of educational leadership and instructional design. Both internships combined must total 120 hours. Students are required to login occasionally for live, regularly scheduled online classes.

The program emphasizes four programmatic themes: leadership for school improvement, data analysis and decision making, strategic human resource and fiscal management, and establishing and leading professional collaborative communities. Distance learners seeking more comradery and teamwork from their online educational leadership master’s program can elect to join a cohort. Learners who work best alone can progress through the degree at their own pace. Graduates have gone on to meaningful roles as principals, superintendents, curriculum leaders, data instructional leaders, and lead teachers.

Students who want to be eligible for the administration and supervision preK-12 licensure path must have three years of full-time teaching experience at the time of application. According to a 2015-2016 student satisfaction survey, 96% of students were satisfied with their overall online learning experience.


Program Overview
Department: Darden College of Education, Department of Educational Foundations & Leadership
Program Name: Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership - Administration and Supervision, K-12
Accrediting body: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
Tuition: Residents: $496 per credit; Non-residents: $538 per credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: For licensure in Virginia, students must have completed three years of full-time work experience
Credit requirements: 30
Field education requirements: 120 internship hours are embedded throughout the coursework

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program length: Accelerated program is 15 months
Program start dates: Summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: Not required
Work experience: Applicants should be employed by a public or accredited nonpublic school division/district

Contact
Department phone: 757-683-6698
Department email: ksanzo@odu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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25 LeTourneau University 59.13 4/5 61% Longview, TX

Founded just after World War II as a place where GIs could receive practical educations, LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, still maintains the mission of outfitting students with degrees they can use in the real world. Operating as a private Christian institution, LeTourneau is focused on making educational programs flexible, whether students need to work full-time or if they’re located on the other side of the country. The university’s educational leadership master’s degree online is a comprehensive graduate program designed for distance learners who are already working within the world of education but have aspirations to move into a managerial or leadership role. Applicants should have already completed at least two years of full-time teaching at a PreK-12 school that’s approved by the Texas Education Association or the corresponding body in their state of residence.

Students can complete an accelerated online format making it possible to finish the program quickly. Students take one course at a time, allowing them to focus on the concepts and theories being covered. Each of these classes last three to seven weeks and are available year round. Courses designed to prepare graduates for upward mobility include public school law, educational research, campus management, administration of special programs, and religion in public schools.

To graduate, students must have maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and completed at least 25% of all required credits at the university. A principalship certification is also available to students planning to take this path. The program has received accreditation from the Texas Education Agency, the Association of Christian Schools International, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Department: School of Education
Program Name: Master of Education, Teacher Leadership
Available concentrations: Certification options for teaching special education or ESL students
Accrediting body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Tuition: $605 per credit hour

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 32

Program Length
Program options: One course at a time
Program length: 2 years or less, depending on course load
Program start dates: Multiple start dates in fall, spring, and summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Applications are generally due a minimum of two weeks before the term
GPA: Minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA for regular admission; students with GPA of 2.8 in their last 60 hours may be allowed to enter on academic probation
Standardized tests: Not required

Contact
Department phone: Online admissions: 1-866-873-5388
Department email: Online admissions: GlobalAdmissions@letu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

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Earning an online educational leadership master’s degree prepares students for careers running school systems and academic facilities. Many online educational leadership programs use different instructional techniques and include varied curricula. Online educational leadership programs also differ in cost, credit requirements, completion time, and concentrations offered.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Principal Leadership For most schools, the leader of faculty and students is the principal. Many master’s in educational leadership online programs are designed to prepare students to become principals and vice principals. This concentration typically involves extensive internships. Principal, vice principal, dean
Teacher Leadership Perfect for future department heads, students can learn to lead with curriculum innovation and mentorship. Department head, teacher, vice principal
Administration Leadership Administrative leadership can help students get more involved in the operational aspects of running a school. This concentration is a popular option for teachers at private and nontraditional schools. Curriculum coordinator, principal, teacher, dean

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Every master’s in educational leadership online program features a unique set of courses depending on its focus and faculty. However, many online educational leadership master’s programs cover the same topics in their core curricula. Most students will see these foundational courses in their program:

  • Curriculum Development: Online master’s in educational leadership students look at the big picture rather than individual lesson plans. It’s important for them to be able to determine what the outcome will be.
  • School Finance: Students learn how leaders interact with school finance, which issues are common, and what solutions may be available. They will also learn about allocating funds between departments.
  • Internships: Online master’s in educational leadership programs involve many experiential components. Most online programs feature some form of an internship or fieldwork as part of its requirements.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

An online educational leadership degree requires about 36 credits and can usually be completed in one to three years. Many programs feature flexible, individually paced learning schedules designed for working students. Some programs feature an online cohort model, which has students proceed through the program at a synchronous pace. Many programs feature an accelerated academic schedule with extra terms in the summer and winter for quicker completion time. Internships and capstone projects can also impact how long it takes for degree completion.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP PREPARES FOR

  • State-specific principal certification/license: Most online master’s in educational leadership programs are designed to prepare students for the principal certification or licensure requirements in a given state. These requirements vary from state to state, so students should research their own state’s requirements before enrolling. Often the certification is built into the program directly so that students graduate with a license and degree at the same time.

Students searching for the best master’s in educational leadership should look for the program’s accreditation. A school or program is accredited when it meets various academic and operational criteria that are widely agreed upon as the standards for education. Students who attend accredited programs are earning degrees that are respected and legitimate to other schools and employers.

Online colleges and universities are accredited either regionally or nationally. National accreditation can apply to any school, but is typically used for online colleges and universities. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is a nongovernmental organization run by higher education leaders, recognizes certain agencies that accredit schools. These agencies may be related to a specific field or subject and investigate schools and provide accreditation.

Regional accreditation applies to traditional brick and mortar schools and many of their online programs. Schools are accredited by one of the six regional U.S. agencies. These regional agencies are recognized by CHEA and the Department of Education (DOE). The DOE does not accredit schools, but oversees the accreditation process and recognizes the accreditors. The CHEA, the DOE, and other groups work to create standards and maintain the system.

Programs can be independently accredited. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits master of education programs. This educator-run organization is committed to improving education and maintains strict standards for teacher learning. Learn more about accredited schools on the DOE’s or CHEA’s websites.

Job Placement: Master’s vs Bachelor’s in Educational Leadership

Students who earn a graduate degree in educational leadership face more favorable employment rates than their counterparts with a bachelor’s or less. A recent survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce revealed a 2.2% unemployment rate for experienced education professionals with a graduate degree and a 2.4% unemployment rate for recent graduate degree earners. By comparison, the unemployment rate for professionals with a bachelor’s degree is 3.7% to 5.1%, depending on experience level.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), education administrators with a master’s degree outnumber their peers with a bachelor’s by a ratio of two to one. BLS data reveals that 338,917 administrators — or 46% of the field — held a master’s degree in 2013. Bachelor’s degree-holding administrators represented 170,873 positions, or 23% of the industry. The best master’s in educational leadership programs enable graduates to compete with fellow graduate degree-holders in the job market. Furthermore, educational leadership professions are expected to grow in the years to come. The following table features BLS projections for some of the most common educational leadership career pathways.

Occupation Number of Employees (2014) Projected Growth Rate (2014-24) Difference in Number of Employees
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals 240,000 6% 14,000
Postsecondary Education Administrators 175,100 9% 15,200
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors 64,000 7% 4,200
Instructional Coordinators 151,000 7% 10,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earning a Living

In addition to lower unemployment rates, job candidates with a master’s in educational leadership also stand to increase their earning potential. BLS found that the median annual salary for education administrators with a master’s degree was $75,000 — roughly $23,000, or 44%, higher than administrators with a bachelor’s.

It’s also important to note that salaries for educational leadership professionals will incrementally increase over the course of their careers. Using data from the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, the following table compares entry-level and mid-career earnings for employees with a master’s degree in different educational fields, including educational leadership.

Master’s Degree Field Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Educational Leadership $55,400 $71,500
Educational Administration $53,800 $73,800
Educational Technology $50,500 $69,200
Higher Education Administration $42,200 $64,000

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Salary expectations at different career stages will also depend on an employee’s specific job title. The next table features the median annual salary for different educational leadership positions at four career benchmarks.

Profession Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Elementary School Principal $72,316 $77,515 $79,523 $88,647
Principal/ Headmaster, Middle School $80,000 $86,000 $91,000 $96,000
High School Principal $76,000 $82,000 $89,000 $95,000
Education Administrator, Postsecondary $48,000 $50,000 $63,000 $65,000
Academic Dean $78,264 $84,707 $93,399 $120,613
Curriculum Developer $58,680 $61,830 $70,507 $74,037

Source: PayScale

Of the positions listed in the table above, academic deans enjoy the highest earnings at three of the four benchmarks (middle school principals had slightly higher salaries at the mid-career mark). Additionally, academic deans enjoy the highest career salary growth — a 54% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Career salary growth for the other occupations fell between 20% and 35%.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a master’s degree in educational leadership will qualify for dozens of positions, although individual eligibility will depend on their area(s) of specialization. Some of the most common career pathways for master’s in educational leadership recipients are detailed below.

K-12 Principal: Principals monitor daily operations at elementary, middle, and high schools. They oversee the school’s curriculum, faculty, finances, administrative functions, and educational resources. Most principals began their careers as teachers, and later earn a master’s in educational leadership or administration. Principals at public schools are required to earn licensure in all 50 states.

Postsecondary Administrator: Administrative roles at the college or university level include deans, registrars, student administrators, and faculty researchers. Most of these positions can be attained with a master’s degree, though advancement in some areas may require a PhD.

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors: These professionals oversee day-to-day operations at preschools, day care facilities, and other pre-elementary learning centers. Many states require childcare centers — including home-based establishments — to earn a license, and all employees must pass a criminal background check.

Instructional Coordinators: Instructional coordinators are responsible for the curriculum and teaching standards at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions. Those who work at public schools are required to earn a license in some states.

Position Median Annual Salary
K-12 Principal $90,410
Postsecondary Administrator $88,580
Preschool and Childcare Center Director $45,670
Instructional Coordinators $62,270

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different educational approaches is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for education administration professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • National Association of Secondary School Principals: Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2016, the NASSP is today represented by principals, assistant principals, and other middle/high school administrative personnel in 35 different countries. The organization hosts networking functions, offers continuing education programs, and gives members the opportunity to become advocates in different key areas of secondary school administration.
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals: Founded in 1921, the NAESP today serves elementary school principals and administrative personnel in the U.S., Canada, and overseas. The organization’s online learning center features webinars, tutorials, and links for classroom-based training programs; an online resource library is also available.
  • Association of Deans & Directors of University Colleges & Undergraduate Studies: This nonprofit organization that represents deans and administrative personnel at postsecondary institutions across the country. The AD&D hosts an annual conference at a different U.S. location each year, and offers both individual and institutional memberships.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about your financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
2 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
3 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
4 The George Washington University Washington, DC
5 Concordia University - Portland Portland, OR
6 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
7 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
8 University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
9 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
10 Concordia University - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
11 Stephen F. Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
12 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AR
13 St. John's University Queens, NY
14 University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
15 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
16 Canisius College Buffalo, NY
17 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
18 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
19 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
20 University of North Texas Denton, TX
21 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
22 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
23 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
24 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR
25 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO