The Best Online Master’s in Education Administration Programs

Educational administrators are responsible for ensuring that schools run smoothly. They monitor student achievement and progress, approve curricula and learning standards, create financial budgets and evaluate teacher performance. Professionals in educational administration include principals and vice principals, school secretaries, superintendents, college deans and admissions officers. Administrators work at every grade level, from preschool and kindergarten to colleges and universities, and are found in both public and private school settings.

Education administration professionals reported an annual average salary of $101,910 as of May 2014, according to the BLS.

At the master’s degree level, students in this field learn about the challenges and issues facing our current education system, as well as strategies and innovations that directly address these concerns. Courses include subjects like educational law and ethics, measuring student engagement, faculty management and school finance. The majority of educational administration master’s programs also involve practicum (or onsite) courses, which allow students to receive supervised training from experienced professionals in real-life school settings. A capstone course is often required as well, giving students the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained through a comprehensive research project. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their master’s in educational administration online, rather than in a classroom. Online degree programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as brick-and-mortar options, leading to the same number of job offers for successful graduates. The online learning schedule is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other responsibilities that may interfere with campus-based learning.

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


A master’s degree is considered the minimum academic requirement for most educational administration positions, so graduates with this credential will be well-positioned to compete in the job market against candidates with a bachelor’s or less. The majority of these master’s programs allow students to concentrate on one age group or area of educational administration; a master’s specialization will further boost a student’s career standing. Additionally, certain professionals in this field ― such as school principals ― must become licensed as school administrators in the state where they wish to work. The best online educational administration master’s programs prepare students for licensure exams and other state-level post-degree requirements.


Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional college education. Students are able to access course lectures and readings, submit assignments, participate in virtual discussions with other students, take exams and communicate with their professors ― all from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also allows them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable Wi-Fi devices. For added convenience, online students can arrange practicum courses at schools and other sites that are reasonably close to their current residence, rather than commuting long distances.


Students with an educational administration master’s degree will be qualified to become principals, vice principals and other administrators at the K-12 level. They may also be eligible for district positions, working alongside school superintendents to manage all schools in a given area. Certain careers in educational administration, including deans and other postsecondary professions, typically require candidates to hold a doctoral degree. A master’s in educational administration will provide foundational knowledge and skills for students who wish to obtain a doctorate.


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 administration programs in the United States. If you are considering an online master’s in educational administration, 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 Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 71.51 3/5 84% Champaign, IL

U of I is the flagship institution in the University of Illinois System, serving more than 44,000 students from its main campus in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign. Consistently ranked as one of the strongest public schools in the country, U of I offers an online Master of Education in Educational Administration & Leadership with an emphasis in principal preparation. The degree leads to an Illinois Principal's License, preparing graduates for positions as principals and assistant principals at elementary and secondary schools. The program curriculum includes courses in leadership, school improvement, education law, and school finance. Students earning their master's in education administration online have the option to earn a joint MBA degree simultaneously, which requires 12 fewer credits than completing both degrees separately. Students pursuing the dual degree option must be enrolled in the MBA program for three terms.

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2 Texas A&M University 69.65 3/5 80% College Station, TX

Students in A&M's online educational administration program are required to satisfy a combination of core and support courses to complete the degree and pursue certification. Coursework consists of 30 credits in the study of leading effective schools, designing curriculum and law in educational practice, among other topics. A&M is a participant in the SREB electronic campus consortium program.

Coursework in the online M.Ed at Texas A&M may be delivered synchronously or asynchronously via the eCollege platform. The program is designed to provide media-rich content to support the skills needed to adapt to learning in the technology age. In addition to offering a wide variety of Web-based resources to support individual assignments, A&M emphasizes process and practical skills in its online learning environment.

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3 Columbia International University 68.95 3/5 69% Columbia, SC

Occupying a 400-acre campus along South Carolina's Broad River, CIU offers accredited, Christian-based higher education to a student body of more than 1,100. The school began its life in 1922 as a bible college, and today CIU is a respected regional institution, winning accolades from both Washington Monthly and U.S. News & World Report. The college's online master's programs in education administration prepares graduates for leadership positions in a variety of secular and Christian educational settings, including K-12 schools, missionary programs, international schools, and cross-cultural schools. Emphasizing the relevance of Christian values to educational administration, the program covers topics in leadership, decision making, strategic planning, staff supervision, and school finance. Students gain an understanding of biblical and educational theories, developing instructional strategies to meet the needs of different learners. The degree is available entirely online, and can be completed within two to four years of study.

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4 University of South Carolina-Columbia 67.91 3/5 72% Columbia, SC

The flagship school in the University of South Carolina System, USC serves more than 35,000 students from its campus in downtown Columbia, located near the South Carolina State House. USC is a top college in the region, and the school ranks as a major producer of U.S. Fulbright scholars. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school's education programs 22nd in the country. Designed for certified South Carolina teachers, the Master's of Education in Educational Administration degree focuses on the theory and practice of school administration, with courses emphasizing personnel assessment, curriculum construction, supervision instruction, and principalship. Students earning their master's degree in education administration online have the option to focus on elementary or high school administration. Elective courses cover education research, exceptional students, and classroom assessment. Online courses are offered in eight-week blocks, and USC professors are experts in their field.

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5 Stony Brook University 66.71 3/5 70% Stony Brook, NY

Based in the hamlet of Stony Brook, New York, on Long Island's North Shore, SBU is a member of the State University of New York system, with an annual enrollment of more than 25,000 students. The school offers an online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, intended for students interested in positions in community colleges, public and private four-year colleges, and agencies related to higher education planning and administration. Exploring the changing face of higher education in the U.S., the degree focuses on concepts of college and university administration, academic affairs, and student affairs. Along with core administration courses, students can choose from several elective options, focusing on topics in finance, facilities management, and intercollegiate athletics. The online master's in higher education administration includes an optional experiential learning practicum that has students complete a master's project through hands-on learning at a higher education institution.

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6 Nova Southeastern University 65.65 4/5 42% Fort Lauderdale, FL

The school operates a main campus in Davie, Florida, and satellite locations in Dania Beach and North Miami Beach, with an enrollment of more than 24,000 students through campus and online programs. The school serves a range of traditional and nontraditional students, and U.S. News & World Report ranks NSU as one of the 10 most diverse colleges in the country. Students pursuing their online master's in educational administration at NSU explore the social, political, and economic factors affecting education. Distance learners train for administrative positions in schools and school systems to prepare them for the Florida Department of Education leadership certification. The school offers a Master's of Science in Education with a specialization in Education Leadership, covering areas such as educational research, electronic tools for education leaders, school law, and ethical school leadership. The program culminates in an administrative internship where students perform at least 300 hours of supervised work, gaining a deeper sense of a school or district administrator's duties.

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7 Michigan State University 64.55 3/5 79% East Lansing, MI

Michigan State, a public research university, is ranked as one of the top 100 colleges in the country by both the Times Higher Education and U.S. News & World Report. The school is one of the largest in the U.S., with its campus in East Lansing, Michigan, serving more than 50,000 students. MSU's online master's in education administration is available in a hybrid format that features a mix of campus and distance courses. The program requires six to eight campus meetings over the course of a semester, with all remaining classes available fully online. Face-to-face courses are available at the East Lansing campus and satellite locations in Detroit and Birmingham. Offered as a Master of Arts in K-12 Educational Administration, the program includes core courses in responsive leadership practices, organizational management, data-based planning, and teacher development; along with elective courses focused on urban education, policy studies, and international education. Most students complete the program within two to three years of part-time study.

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8 Mississippi College 64.24 3/5 62% Clinton, MS

Established in 1826, MC is the oldest higher education institution in Mississippi and the state's largest private school, serving more than 5,000 students from a main campus in Clinton. The school is highly ranked and inexpensive, offering one of the region's most affordable online master's programs in education administration. The college's Master of Higher Education Administration degree focuses on administrative theory and general practice, giving students a deeper understanding of the dimensions of higher education, including law, finance, student development, and research methods. The program includes two practicum experiences, giving students a chance to apply their class learning to an actual higher education setting. The degree can be completed within 18 months, and graduates are equipped to manage and oversee administrative areas including student services, faculty research, academics, and more. Typical positions for graduates include academic dean and admissions counselor.

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9 Rowan University 63.10 4/5 72% Glassboro, NJ

Rowan, a public university in Glassboro, New Jersey, enrolls more than 15,000 students each year through its main campus, online programs, and a satellite campus in Camden. Rowan was a teacher's college, and the school maintains a strong education program that's ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The college's Master of Arts in School Administration is an accelerated, part-time degree program that features a predominantly online format, with only four campus sessions and three benchmark meetings required throughout seven semesters. Students complete leadership and other core administrative courses; the program includes two practicum/seminar courses that give students hands-on administrative experience working for a school district. Students who earn their online master's in educational administration are prepared to receive State of New Jersey Supervisor Certification and are eligible for New Jersey Principal Certification with additional work experience and testing requirements.

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10 Brandman University 63.04 3/5 40% Irvine, CA

Brandman, a private, nonprofit university, is dedicated to educational opportunities for nontraditional students, offering flexible degree programs for working adults. The school maintains more than 25 campuses around California and Washington State, including a significant online program, serving more than 12,000 students annually. Brandman receives strong rankings from U.S. News & World Report, and the school boasts one of the best online master's programs for education administration on the West Coast. Students can earn a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Educational Administration, preparing them for support positions in a range of educational settings, including preschool, daycare, grade school, and college. Focused on philosophies and theories of collaboration, the program gives distance learners the skills to develop policy and implement change in educational settings through effective leadership. Applicants to the program must hold a valid Preliminary Administrative Services Credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, otherwise they may be denied entry.

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11 University of Nebraska at Kearney 62.60 3/5 56% Kearney, NE

UNK, a public university in Kearney, Nebraska, boasts some of the region's top online master's programs in education administration, winning praise from U.S. News & World Report for its range of graduate education degrees. The school offers a Master of Arts in Education Administration with three available emphases: school principalship, supervisor of special education, and curriculum supervisor of academic area. The Principalship degree trains students for K-12 principal positions and includes a practicum course supervised by professional school administrators. The Special Education program prepares students for special education leadership positions and is only open to applicants who possess a valid special education endorsement and two years of work experience in the field. The Curriculum Supervisor program prepares students to serve as academic field supervisors and is only open to students who hold a valid endorsement in their subject area of choice. All programs are available entirely online except for hands-on internship and practicum programs, which can be performed in students' own communities.

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12 Iowa State University 61.47 3/5 71% Ames, IA

Iowa State, a public research university with an enrollment of over 36,000, is based in Ames, Iowa, about 30 minutes from Des Moines. The college offers a Master's in Educational Administration with options for a Master of Science or a Master of Education degree. The difference between the degrees lies in their final assessment: the M.Ed. requires a portfolio of student work, while the M.S. requires either a thesis or a non-thesis creative project. Both options prepare students for higher level positions in K-12 schools, districts, and education organizations. The degree also includes 400 hours of clinical experience under expert supervision. ISU's online master's in education administration is a hybrid program that includes online courses and face-to-face meetings twice a week. The school regularly offers face-to-face meetings in Ankeny, and may offer courses in other locations depending on student interest.

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13 Ball State University 60.95 3/5 57% Muncie, IN

Ball State, a major Midwestern research university in Muncie, Indiana, is home to more than 21,000 students. U.S. News & World Report ranks BSU's graduate education programs 11th in the country, and the school's online master's in education administration is one of the strongest in the region. The school offers a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Supervision, training students for school leadership positions and preparing them for administration and supervision licensure. The program curriculum includes core studies in educational leadership, human resources management, educational ethics, and related topics, along with a principal internship that allows students to gain hands-on administrative experience at primary and secondary schools. The internship can be performed at your school of employment or other schools in the community. All other courses are available online, and the degree can be completed in as little as 18 months.

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14 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 60.53 3/5 65% Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana State, one of the South's premier research institutions, is a top tier university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the flagship school of the Louisiana State University System. The school is home to more than 30,000 students and maintains satellite campuses all around the state. For online students, LSU offers a Master of Arts in Education with a higher education administration emphasis. Intended for students pursuing careers in student affairs and administration, the program emphasizes higher education knowledge along with leadership and management skills. Graduates are prepared for a range of positions in college and university administration, including admissions, financial aid, student activities, career planning, and more. Students must complete a 14-week internship in educational administration and a comprehensive final exam covering major program topics. LSU students earning their master's in education administration online have access to the college's Career Services center, preparing them to find higher education employment after graduation.

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15 Concordia University-Nebraska 60.03 3/5 63% Seward, NE

Affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Concordia is a private Christian university in Seward, Nebraska, about 25 miles from Lincoln. The college is a top regional institution, receiving high marks from U.S. News & World Report for its affordability and the strength of its online education programs, including the online master's in education administration. Accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation (NCATE) for over 40 years, the school’s Master of Education in Educational Administration prepares students to serve as K-12 principals, stressing concepts of curriculum development, school management, administration processes, school law, and ethics. Intended for certified teachers, the standard program curriculum leads to an administrative certificate for the primary or secondary school level, depending on a student's existing grade certification and teaching experience. Students who are interested in dual certification for elementary and secondary administration must take an additional nine credit hours, as required by the Nebraska Department of Education.

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16 Liberty University 60.02 4/5 46% Lynchburg, VA

Liberty, a private Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, is the largest Christian college in the world, enrolling more than 100,000 students through campus and online programs. Liberty's tuition is one of the most affordable among online schools, and education students can gain an additional tuition reduction through the TEACH grant, available to graduates who intend to work at low-income schools. The Master of Education in Administration & Supervision trains students for leadership positions in K-12 schools, including Christian, public, and private institutions. Students focus on skills for administration, organization, educational development, and community relations; with courses such as Learning Theory, School Law, and Foundations for Educational Leaders. The online master's in education administration program requires three on-campus intensives throughout the course of study. Intensives are multi-day campus visits that allow online students to interact with faculty, staff, and classmates, and perform collaborative work in an intimate setting.

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17 Emporia State University 59.94 3/5 42% Emporia, KS

Emporia State, founded in 1863 as a teacher's college, was the first public university in the state of Kansas. The school has since evolved into a major center of education in the Midwest, it maintains a focus on education, with U.S. News & World Report ranking ESU's online graduate education program among the top 40 in the country. Intended for licensed teachers, the Master of Science Educational Administration prepares students for a range of high level education administration positions, including principals, superintendents, coordinators, and supervisors. Rooted in educational theories and administrative practices, the curriculum includes courses in leadership, educational psychology, technological applications, human resources, and more. Students perform eight credit hours of administrative practicum, learning through experience in a school or other educational setting. Graduates of the master's in education administration online program are qualified to pursue Building-Level administrator licensure endorsement.

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18 Concordia University-Chicago 59.85 3/5 49% River Forest, IL

Concordia is a private, Lutheran liberal arts college located in River Forest, Illinois, just 10 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1864 as a teacher's college, CUC maintains a focus on civic engagement and successful community outcomes, offering one of Illinois' strongest online master's degree programs in education administration. The college's Master of Arts in Educational Administration trains students to become ethical, innovative education leaders, focusing on effective supervision and administration. Program goals include the promotion of student success, advanced management practices, ethical leadership and effective communication; with staff, students, families and community members. Students gain strategies to respond to the social, cultural, political, and legal issues of modern schooling. The program ends with a final capstone project that culminates student learning and demonstrates mastery over core program objectives. Students can complete their degree within 12 months at a full-time pace or 24 months at a part-time pace.

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19 University of Scranton 59.75 4/5 83% Scranton, PA

Scranton, one of the 28 members of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, enrolls around 6,000 students each year, operating primarily through a rural campus in Scranton, Pennsylvania. U.S. News & World Report ranks Scranton as one of the top regional colleges in the north, and the school's online graduate programs rank highly for student engagement and faculty credentials. Scranton offers a Master of Science in Educational Administration degree that includes foundational courses in education theory and research, along with a wide selection of administration courses, covering areas like finance, law, and supervision techniques. Students gain the skills to organize staff and students, manage school facilities, and integrate policy in accordance with local, state, and national education law. The master's in education administration online includes two, in-person practicum courses in elementary and secondary school administration, each requiring 150 hours of on-site work in a local school system.

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20 Drexel University 59.71 5/5 65% Philadelphia, PA

Drexel, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a highly regarded private university, ranked among the nation's 100 best colleges by U.S. News & World Report. The school's Master of Science in Educational Administration offers several paths, including a Principal certification, supervisor of special education certification, dual certification, and a non-certification option. Students in all tracks gain strategies for collaborative leadership and administration, preparing them to manage and organize schools and provide mentorship to teachers. The program culminates in an Action Research Project, which brings together several examples of effective school activities development from students' academic portfolios. While students take most courses online, Drexel offers several campus events each year that distance learners are encouraged to attend, including orientation sessions and leadership seminars. Students in the online master's in education administration program have access to fully functional campus resources, including the writing center, a career center, and the Library.

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21 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 58.76 3/5 66% Knoxville, TN

UTK's origins date back to 1794, and today the school is the flagship institution of the University of Tennessee System, enrolling more than 28,000 students annually from its campus in Knoxville. Comprised of nine undergraduate and 11 graduate colleges, UTK is a major center of research and education in the region, and the school is praised by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 50 best public universities in the country. The school's Master of Science in Educational Administration offers both licensure and non-licensure options for students. The licensure option includes a strict course selection and requires an on-the-job internship. The non-licensure option allows students more leeway with course selection and may not require an internship. Students earning their online master's in educational administration at UTK gain educational knowledge along with effective leadership skills, preparing them to serve as thoughtful school administrators and supervisory practitioners.

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22 Western Carolina University 56.63 3/5 48% Cullowhee, NC

West Carolina, located near North Carolina's Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, sits on a rural campus in the city of Cullowhee, about 50 miles from Asheville. The school was established in 1889 as a teacher's college, and today WCU's education programs rank as some of the best and most affordable in the region. Open to licensed North Carolina teachers with three years of full-time experience, the WCU Master's in School Administration offers students a path to principal licensure that strengthens knowledge of educational theory and builds leadership skills. The online master's in education administration is designed to accommodate the schedules of working students, but it does include four hybrid courses that require a four-day visit to WCU's Biltmore Park campus in Asheville. Students must complete a supervised principal internship that requires the implementation of an improvement initiative.

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23 Georgia Southern University 56.45 3/5 50% Statesboro, GA

Georgia Southern enrolls more than 20,00 students annually through its main Statesboro campus and online programs. GSU's Master of Education in Higher Education degree features a broad curriculum that helps students understand the functions of vital higher education departments, including academic affairs, student services, and business affairs. The program encourages students to examine multiple data sources to ensure that learners needs are met, situating education in a historical, national, local, and personal context. The online master's in education administration degree is designed for working students, and GSU offers multiple start dates throughout the year along with full-time and part-time course options. Classes emphasize human development, educational philosophy, law and policy, research, and more, giving students an understanding of higher education through a “products and services” framework. The program includes a practicum component performed during the final semester.

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24 LeTourneau University 55.58 4/5 61% Longview, TX

LeTourneau, a private Christian university in Longview, Texas, offers non-denominational Christian education to more than 2,700 students, with satellite campus locations in Houston and Dallas and a substantial online program. The Master's of Education in Education Administration, designed for current educators looking to transition to leadership positions, offers a faith-based approach to principalship and management, preparing students for advanced positions at the campus or district level. The curriculum includes an in-depth administrative practicum (which takes place over four, seven-week sessions) and preparatory practice exams. Performed within your current school district, the practicum includes supervision from `an online instructor and a designated school administrator. There are no face-to-face requirements for the online master's in education administration. Students take one course at a time, lasting between three to seven weeks, and the degree can typically be completed within two years.

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25 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 55.10 3/5 54% Lowell, MA

UMass Lowell is a major urban research university that serves more than 17,000 students from its campus in Lowell, Massachusetts. U.S. News & World Report ranks the college among the 75 best public universities in the country. The school's online Master of Education in Education Management program offers three start dates each year, and students move through the curriculum in a cohort model, taking a sequence of classes in a consistent peer group. Courses focus on core topics including school inclusion, finance and resource management, school policy, and curriculum development. The program concludes with a capstone project that has students create a comprehensive teacher work sample. For licensed Massachusetts teachers, the program offers a principal licensure concentration that leads to state certification. Students residing in other states must confirm licensing requirements and regulations with their state education agency.

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A master’s degree in education administration online is ideal for educators looking to build leadership skills and learn education management techniques. The curriculum teaches students how to budget, plan, manage, and lead school administration while working with the community. Online master’s degrees in education administration offer flexibility to working teachers and educators. Programs vary between schools.


Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Administrative Leadership This concentration teaches educators how to utilize and implement administrative policies that benefit faculty members and students. The program is designed to teach educators how to navigate organizational structure and confront common governance issues. Courses focus on integrating district objectives with the needs and priorities of the administration. Ideal for principals, superintendents, and administrative specialists
Student Affairs Educators learn about the unique dynamic between students and teachers. Courses cover issues such as discipline, diversity, and leadership development. Educators will also explore the legal and ethical components of the educational system and community relations. Educators learn about stakeholders and how they impact the school system. Ideal for education coordinators and program directors.
Enrollment Management This concentration is ideal for teachers considering a career in higher education. Educators are taught the science behind student enrollment, such as theory, research, and communication. The course outline teaches the importance of marketing management, financial budgeting, and planning. Students will also study the organization and administration of higher learning institutions. Ideal for director of admissions and dean of students.


An online master’s in education administration curriculum depends largely on the student’s concentration. Different universities require a certain number of credit hours and specific classes. Below is an example of a master’s degree in education administration online curriculum.

  • Ethnography: This course can be taken by students with a concentration in higher education. Ethnography is an extension of anthropology, and this discipline explores culture, race, and ethnicity. Students will learn about various global cultures and how politics affect the relationships between ethnic groups.
  • Education and Public Policy: This course teaches the unique history of the American educational system and social policy. Students develop an understanding of the politics behind educational policy, distribution of resources, and the current climate of educational policy. Students also perform analytical research and evaluation.
  • Introduction to School Leadership: This course combines the principles of sociology and psychology to enable students to utilize and identify strategic leadership theories. Students learn how to deploy the appropriate problem-solving skills needed to lead academic institutions. Students will review theories like transformational leadership, team leadership, and psychodynamic theory as part of the curriculum.This course is fundamental for educators seeking an online master’s degrees in education administration.


Program concentration, course availability, and course load all affect the length of an online degree. Every online program has a required number of credit hours that students must earn. Students can usually choose to take program in a part-time or full-time format. It typically takes students two years to complete an online master’s in education administration.

Some programs allow each student to take courses on their own schedule. Typically, students in self-paced are given course assignments at the start of the program and they complete work as they go along. By contrast, a cohort program is a teaching model that involves group learning. Students are placed into groups and they complete assignments and take classes on a strict schedule.


Professional Administrator License: A professional administrator license is for school principals and superintendents. Administrative specialists can also apply for this license. The prerequisite for a professional administrator license is a valid teaching license with at least two years of teaching experience. For educators applying for a superintendent license, they will need at least three years of experience in education administration. State boards perform a background check to verify the educator’s experience.

School Business Manager: Managers must earn a bachelor’s degree in business or in a non-business field with at least 15 credit hours of accounting, office administration, purchasing, and risk management. Applicants may receive credit for taking other business-related courses as outlined by the state board. Applicants must also complete at least 300 hours of an internship under the supervision of a licensed school business manager.

In order to receive national or regional accreditation, online master’s programs for education administration must be evaluated by trusted educational authorities and agencies. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) works with the US Department of Education and US Congress to identify accredited institutions.The United States has six regional accreditation agencies. They are the MSA, NEASC, NCA, NAC, SACS, and the WASC. The four national accreditation agencies are the DETC, ACCSC, COE, TRACS. Look for these agencies when researching online master’s degrees in education administration.

National Accreditation is largely extended to vocational and trade schools. There is no standardization among programs at nationally accredited schools, and schools are reviewed every three to five years. Regional Accreditation is considered the highest distinguishment an educational institution can have.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation is an organization that specializes in teacher and educator accreditation. The council reviews departments at schools and colleges to ensure that the appropriate academic standards and requirements are met. It is a Federal agency that works in conjunction with the President and Congress to implement policy for the US educational system and provide financial assistance to institutions and individual students.

CHEA is overseen by 20 university and college presidents that work with over 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States. The council holds conferences where they share data information regarding accredited schools.

Students interested in exploring online master’s degrees in education administration can research a college or university’s accreditation by visiting the CHEA website.

Job Placement: M.Ed. vs Bachelor of Education

Education is of the most treasured commodities in the United States ― and because administrators play such an important role in our education system, the job outlook is quite strong for these professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most careers in educational administration are projected to grow by 6% to 9% between 2014 and 2024; by comparison, the average growth expectation for all industries is currently set at 5%. The table below looks at increase projections for four common career pathways in educational administration.

Occupation Number of Employees (2014) Projected Industry Growth (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 (BLS)

As the table indicates, these four professions alone are predicted to grow by nearly 44,000 new jobs between 2014 and 2024.

Earning a Living

In addition to a favorable job outlook, educational administration master’s degree-holders also enjoy relatively high earning potential. According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, graduates with an educational administration master’s earn a median annual salary of $53,900 during their first five years in the workforce and $74,400 after a decade on the job. This represents a 38% earnings increase during that 10-year period.

How does educational administration stack up against other master’s education fields in terms of salary expectations for new graduates? The table below features a 10-year earnings outlook for five of the most popular master’s fields related to education.

Master’s Degree Field of Study Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)
Educational Administration $53,900 $74,400
Educational Leadership $52,700 $72,000
Educational Technology $52,900 $71,200
Higher Education Administration $43,600 $65,100
Curriculum and Instruction $43,800 $60,400

Source: 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report

Of these five career fields, education administration ranks first in terms of both entry-level and mid-career salary. However, earning potential for educational administration master’s recipients will also depend on specific job title, as well as other factors like school/district size and city/state of employment. The next table uses PayScale data to explore the 20-year salary growth expectations of five different administration-oriented careers in education.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Elementary School Principal $73,672 $79,056 $82,411 $84,764
High School Principal $78,201 $81,361 $86,673 $92,455
Assistant Principal $65,137 $68,470 $71,742 $76,923
Academic Dean $78,255 $84,642 $90,724 $106,066
School Superintendent $100,000 $120,000 $115,000 $130,000

Source: PayScale

Of the five careers listed, academic deans experienced the highest rate of career salary growth: a 35.5% increase between the entry-level and late-career benchmarks. School superintendents placed second with 30% earnings growth, followed by high school principals with 18.2% growth.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a master’s in educational administration and complete their state’s licensure requirements will be qualified for dozens of positions at the K-12 and/or postsecondary level, particularly if they have earned a degree specialization. Four popular careers in educational administration are outlined below.

K-12 Principals: Principals monitor all daily operations and activities at elementary, middle and high schools. Most principals begin their careers in teaching, and then advance to the administrative title after completing a master’s program; principals who work at public schools must be licensed in all 50 states, and many private school principals are licensed, as well.

Postsecondary Administrators: These administrators oversee the operations at colleges and universities of all sizes. Administrative roles at the postsecondary level include deans, registrars, student administrators, and admissions officers. A Ph.D. is often required for administrative positions at the collegiate level, although many master’s degree-holders can land entry-level jobs and quickly advance.

Preschool and Childcare Center Directors: These directors manage learning facilities designed for children before they reach kindergarten age. Most positions will be given to candidates with at least an associate or bachelor’s degree, so master’s recipients are in a good position to compete for top jobs. In most states, preschool and childcare center directors must be licensed and receive CPR/first aid training.

Instructional Coordinators: Instructional coordinators write and evaluate the curricula used in elementary, secondary and postsecondary institutions. They work hand-in-hand with principals and other administrators to ensure lesson plans are effective and engaging for students. Instructional coordinators who work in public schools must earn a license in some (but not all) U.S. states.

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

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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 financial aid options.


Our list of scholarships and grants specifically aimed at education majors includes 43 individual rewards totalling more than $170,000 in financial aid. Browse our database to learn more about accessing free money to pay for your online teaching master’s degree.


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.


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 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.


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.


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 Education Administration Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Concordia University - Chicago River Forest, IL
2 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
3 Emporia State University Emporia, KS
4 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce, TX
5 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
6 Ball State University Muncie, IN
7 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
8 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
9 Hope International University Fullerton, CA
10 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
11 Lamar University Beaumont, TX
12 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
13 National University La Jolla, CA
14 Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon, WI
15 Concordia University - Nebraska Seward, NE
16 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
17 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
18 Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, TX
19 Mississippi College Clinton, MS
20 Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI
21 Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI
22 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX
23 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
24 Purdue University - Calumet Hammond, IN
25 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY