Best Online Master’s in Higher Education Programs

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The professional field of higher education refers to college professors and faculty members, deans, student administrators and other personnel who work at colleges, universities and other postsecondary learning institutions. Jobs in higher education have grown in recent years to match the rising number of U.S. college students. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), roughly 20,515 undergraduate and graduate students attended a postsecondary institution in 2016 ― representing a 34% increase in overall enrollment since 2000. These numbers are also expected to grow by 13.5% in the next eight years.

The vast majority of professors, administrators and other postsecondary education personnel begin their careers at the college level. A master’s degree is considered the educational minimum for careers in postsecondary education; some positions, including professors, will usually also require a doctoral degree. The master’s degree in higher education pathway prepares students for niche areas of the profession by allowing them to build knowledge and skills in areas like educational leadership, administration, community college teaching, education technology, and distance learning. Many of today’s students are choosing to earn their master’s degree in higher education online, rather than in a classroom. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, often leading to the same number of post-degree job opportunities. The flexible, study-from-home schedule are ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other important commitments.

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

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Master’s degrees in higher education are designed to build on the foundational studies of undergraduate programs while introducing more advanced concepts, theories and approaches to educating and accommodating college students. The curriculum will also cover ethics and laws specifically related to the way postsecondary education is delivered, financed and evaluated. Those who pursue master’s in higher education degrees for teaching or administration should also expect to take part in practicum courses, or on-site training sessions;. Capstone projects are often required, as well.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online master’s degree programs offer a flexible, easily accessible alternative to traditional college learning. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors ― all from their home computer. Current technology also enables them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable Wi-Fi devices. For added convenience, students can usually coordinate practicum courses at schools and other locations that are reasonably close to their current residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY MASTER’S DEGREE IN HIGHER EDUCATION?

Job eligibility for those with a master’s in higher education will largely depend on their areas of emphasis as a graduate student. Students who focus on educational leadership or administration will be prime candidates for roles in student affairs, housing, course registration, finance, and other key facets of college life. For aspiring professors, the master’s degree will typically be a stepping-stone toward doctoral or Ph.D. programs; however, some postsecondary educators ― such as community college teachers ― are often considered for jobs once they have completed their master’s program studies.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN HIGHER EDUCATION 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 degree in higher education programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online master’s in higher education, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Stony Brook University 72.49 3/5 6% Stony Brook, NY

The State University of New York at Stony Brook is ranked among the top 100 universities in the nation and offers over 140 graduate degree programs. Among the selection is an online master’s degree in higher education administration suitable for those working in all manner of higher education environments, from community colleges and trade schools to four-year universities and government agencies. Students may complete their courses entirely online or through a combination of distance and on-campus education. The curriculum totals 36 credit hours where students hone their expertise in fundamental areas like leadership and diversity in higher education. They also choose six courses from electives that fit their career goals, ranging from facilities management and crisis management to international higher education and philanthropy. Students are required to complete a comprehensive research project that culminates in a final research paper. SBU provides its students with a number of co-educational and professional opportunities, including a number of career development workshops and access to the Higher Education Administration Association, which connects students with peers and experts in the field.

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2 Michigan State University 68.32 3/5 18% East Lansing, MI

Located in East Lansing, Michigan State University is one of the United States’ premier public institutions of higher education and research. Among its comprehensive list of degree program offerings is a master of arts in higher, adult, and lifelong Education (HALE) designed for individuals with prior professional experience in the field and who want to work full time while pursuing their degree. This online master’s degree in higher education program consists of 30 credit hours in courses like adult learning, program planning, and budgeting and finance. Students enjoy the freedom to take 15 credits in elective classes; nine of which must be in the HALE program, but the other six can be taken in approved collateral topics like business administration or learners with special needs. Independent research is part of the academic culture at MCU and HALE students enjoy faculty support for their pursuits. Tuition is based on residency status, but all students have access to a number of scholarships, ranging from small tuition awards to large packages.

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3 Mississippi College 63.73 3/5 24% Clinton, MS

Mississippi College, located in the city of Clinton, was founded in 1826 as an academy teaching composition and rhetoric to a handful of students. Today MC is a comprehensive institution of higher education, offering a number of graduate programs, including an online master's degree in higher education administration. In order to prepare students of all backgrounds for several careers in the field, coursework is designed to ground students in general administrative theory and practice. The curriculum consists of 30 credit hours in topics like higher education law, organizational behavior, and the specific needs of community college students. Students are also required to complete two six-week practica, which involve at least 60 hours of work, a presentation, and a reflective paper. The program is usually completed in 18 months or less if a student is able to transfer the allowable six credits towards their degree. The school makes a number of scholarship available, including an award specifically for transfer students.

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4 Drexel University 60.98 5/5 31% Philadelphia, PA

Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University was founded in 1891 with the mission of providing a technology-focused education designed to help students succeed in a complex industrial society. Today Drexel is a comprehensive research university, offering a number of degrees, including a master’s degree in higher education online. The school's 45-credit curriculum provides students with a historical framework of the workings of higher education in the United States as well as the connections between the university and the surrounding community. In addition to taking core courses in topics such as effective assessment and organizational leadership, students may also use their elective hours to forge a secondary concentration that further personalizes their degree in areas like “Global & International Education”, “Enrollment Management”, and “Student Development & Affairs”. Students must also complete a capstone project that challenges them to identify and solve an issue in higher education in a professional setting. At Drexel, structures are tailored to maximize student success, including internships through one of the university’s partners and mutual peer support through the school's Dragon Mentoring Program.

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5 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse 59.62 3/5 17% La Crosse, WI

Designed on a theory-to-practitioner model, the master of science in education program in the Department of Student Affairs Administration at UW-La Crosse prepares students to work effectively and collaboratively within the complex social, economic, and political world of higher education. Aside from a face-to-face on-campus program, the department boasts innovative asynchronous and blended approaches to online education. About two-thirds of SAA students are online students who either work as full-time higher education professionals or in graduate assistantship-type positions. Students take 40 credit hours over two years in higher education and student affairs competency areas, including diversity, inclusion, and equity, leadership, administration, assessment, history, helping and supporting skills, legal issues, finance and governance, and special topics seminars that change year-to-year to meet the changing needs of college students and institutions of higher education. Students also complete a capstone project, the results of which are shared with the university and greater community in an annual department-wide research day. Internships, while not a requirement, are strongly encouraged and students may complete an approved professional experience anywhere, whether in the U.S. or abroad over a summer semester. The SAA Department also attempts to provide students international opportunities, such as study tours to Great Britain or Germany, as well as domestic excursions. The SAA Program is home to outstanding tenure-track and clinical faculty, who together have extensive experience as student affairs professionals, and who exhibit excellence in research, scholarship, and service to the profession. Given the focus on excellence in teaching at UW-La Crosse, all faculty are primarily teachers who are deeply committed to guiding and preparing the next generation of student affairs practitioners.

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6 University of Houston 58.70 3/5 35% Houston, TX

The University of Houston was founded in 1927 and today enrolls more than 43,500 students annually. Among the school’s 120 graduate programs is an online master’s degree in higher education designed for professionals looking for career advancement while working full-time. Delivered through the Blackboard platform, the 36 credit curriculum covers fundamental topics including student support services, leadership for change, and educational policy. While the UH program does not require a capstone project, students do take a comprehensive exam during their last semester. They are also expected to complete a semester-long internship of their choice (with guidance from faculty advisors). Students may also choose to take advantage of the professional development opportunities the program offers, including research and conference presentation opportunities. Tuition is priced per credit and based on residency status, and financial aid is available, including a $20,000 scholarship for students who can be considered “new Americans”.

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7 University of Louisville 58.20 3/5 17% Louisville, KY

Founded in 1798 as a seminary, the University of Louisville now offers academic programs in over 170 fields of study through its 12 schools and colleges, including an online master’s degree in higher education administration. Ideal for professionals who work fulltime in a college environment, the program is grounded in contemporary challenges facing higher education in the United States. The curriculum totals 36 credit hours and includes course topics in educational resource management, educational leadership, and history of American colleges and universities. Students must also complete a semester-long internship, which is graded on a pass/fail basis and is meant to provide on-the-job training and professional development opportunities. The degree can be completed in two years or less for students who are able to transfer up to six approved credits towards their degree completion. Active military and veterans, in addition to receiving a steep discount on tuition, may also use field training and work experience as transfer credits.

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8 Andrews University 57.78 4/5 10% Berrien Springs, MI

Andrews University, located in Berrien Springs, Missouri, was founded in 1874 as a small Christian institution. Today it’s the most well-known Adventist university in the world, offering approximately 70 graduate programs, including an online master’s degree in higher education administration. Taking about two to three years to complete, this 36-credit program consists of six courses in the common core, six in a concentration area, and the remaining in electives are chosen in consultation with an adviser. Courses are taken in topics like educational finance and technology as well as student development theory. Though no capstone project is required to graduate, students are expected to engage in other forms of professional development and hands-on training such as internships and community service work. Students may also choose to participate in faculty-led summer trips to Brazil and Argentina.

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9 Hofstra University 56.11 5/5 6% Hempstead, NY

Located in Hempstead, New York, Hofstra University was founded in 1935 and today offers 25 academic programs, including a Master of Science in Education in Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies. Ranked as one of the best graduate education programs in the United States, this degree prepares students to enter or transition into middle and senior leadership positions in higher education institutions, whether that be a private university or a government organization. The curriculum totals 36 credit hours and includes courses in assessment and accreditation in higher education as well as ethical issues and student affairs leadership. Students in this online master’s degree in higher education also take two elective courses, chosen under the advisement of the program director, and complete a completion/capstone project where knowledge and experience gained are used to identify and solve a pertinent issue in the higher education field. The program offers a number of scholarship and paid internship opportunities to help students fund their education.

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10 Sam Houston State University 55.20 3/5 37% Huntsville, TX

Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879 and is one of the oldest public institutions of higher education in Texas. Located in Huntsville, SHSU offers a number of academic programs, including an online master’s degree in higher education administration designed to prepare students for career advancement in the field or for continued education at the doctoral level. Students take courses in topics like diverse student populations, assessment and research methods, and resource management. Though the program has no capstone or internship requirements, students do take a practicum in instructional leadership that bridges the gap between theory and practice, and enhances their professional knowledge as they work in real-time with the guidance of a site supervisor. The general curriculum totals 30 credit hours, but students may opt to take the advanced 36-hour track which earns them an academic advising certificate or an assessment and institutional research certificate in addition to their master of arts. Tuition is priced specifically for online graduate students so residency requirements do not apply and tuition is the same for everyone enrolled in the program. Financial aid is available.

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11 University of Mississippi 53.03 3/5 14% University, MS

Affectionately known as Ole Miss, the University of Mississippi was founded in 1840 and stands today as one of the most prestigious public institutions of higher education in the United States. Ole Miss is a comprehensive institution, offering a wide variety of academic programs, including a master’s degree in higher education online. Designed for individuals already working in a college or university, this professional MA prepares students for advancement in the realms of student affairs, academic advising, administration, and more. The 42-hour curriculum can be completed in two years part-time with coursework over the summer. Students take most of their courses in fundamental areas like cultural context of education, law and ethical issues, and finance in higher education. They also choose four electives from a large catalog, enabling them to personalize their degree to current experiences and future goals, whether that be in multicultural issues or the specific needs of the community college. A practicum of 150 supervised clock hours is also a requirement for graduation. Online tuition for this program is priced at a flat rate no matter a student’s residency status.

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12 Abilene Christian University 51.99 4/5 5% Abilene, TX

Located three hours west of Dallas, Texas, Abilene Christian University opened its doors in 1906 with only 25 students. Today ACU is an innovative institution of learning, offering a number of distance education programs, including an online master’s degree in higher education. Designed as a specialized 18-month program, students choose between tracks in conflict resolution and enrollment management in addition to their core classes in fundamental topics like resource management, student development theory, and legal and ethical issues. Depending which aforementioned track a student picks, they will take additional coursework in negotiation and mediation or marketing and recruiting, among others. Students must also complete an internship with embedded capstone experience, which provides ongoing skill application and culminates in an exhibition. Financial aid is available to all students.

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13 North Park University 51.53 3/5 6% Chicago, IL

North Park University, located in Chicago, Illinois, traces its history back to 1891 as a school that taught English and business skills to Swedish immigrants. Today NPU is a comprehensive private school and offers a large number of academic programs through its seven colleges, including an online master’s degree in higher education designed to enhance the leadership and management skills of individuals already working in the field. The curriculum totals 36 credit hours and can be completed in as little as 21 months. Students take core classes in areas like ethical leadership, non-profit financial management, and curriculum planning and assessment. They also take five courses in guided electives and finish their degree with a capstone focused on the challenges of operating a nonprofit organization. NPU is dedicated to helping its students succeed during and after their time in the program. Degree applicants have the opportunity to waive up to five courses if they’ve done similar academic work in the past 10 years. And after graduation, NPU alumni may return to take courses in the School of Business and Nonprofit Management at a 50% tuition discount.

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14 McKendree University 49.20 3/5 11% Lebanon, IL

Located in Lebanon, Illinois, McKendree University is the oldest college in the state having been founded by 1828 by members of the Methodist Church. Today McKendree offers a number of graduate degrees through its established distance education program, including an online master’s degree in higher education administration. Grounded in the business theory and associated analytical tools of the “best practice” framework, students learn how to maximize the effectiveness of key functions in a higher education organization, from recruiting to assessment. Totaling 36 credit hours, students take courses in such topics as integrated data services, branding and enrollment management, and issues in student access. Students must also complete a capstone in “Best Practice Intervention”, where they work in teams to complete research projects that they present in synchronous online sessions. Courses are offered in eight-week sessions and students can complete their degree in two years or, if they choose the accelerated track, 14 months.

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15 National University 48.69 4/5 73% La Jolla, CA

National University is located in La Jolla, California, and offers academic programs through its 28 campuses and distance education platform, including an online master’s degree in higher education administration. Facilitated through the Sanford College of Education, this master of science program prepares students to perform key functions in a college or university setting, from managing recruiting efforts and implementing university-wide initiatives, to assessing effectiveness and cultivating positive relationships with the local community. The curriculum consists of 10 courses in topics like financial management and policy and accountability. Students are also expected to conduct research that culminates in a written thesis judged by a faculty committee. Students at NU also have a number of professional and academic services, from career advice and assistance to the opportunity to attend and present at a number of gatherings, including the annual Women in Leadership Conference and The Student Research Conference. Tuition is calculated per quarter unit instead of the conventional credit hour.

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16 Bay Path University 45.11 3/5 17% Longmeadow, MA

Bay Path University, located in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was founded in 1897 as a co-educational business. Today the school is a fully-accredited institution of higher education dedicated to providing affordable and career-oriented academic programs, including an online master’s degree in higher education administration. Designed for seasoned professionals as well as those interested in entering the field, this master of science program consists of 36 credit hours, 24 of which is taken in fundamental topics like introduction to higher education administration, the history and economics of higher education, and the capstone project. The remaining credit hours are completed in courses tied to a student’s concentration area, of which there are four: enrollment management, institutional advancement, general administration, and online teaching & program administration. This last choice is a stand-out and prepares students to design specific curricula for distance learners as well as help build and maintain online learning communities.

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17 Tiffin University 41.78 4/5 30% Tiffin, OH

Tiffin University is located on a 130-acre campus in north central Ohio and offers a number of practical and career-oriented academic programs. The school's selection includes an online master’s degree in higher education administration designed for those already working in a non-academic capacity at a college or university and want to advance their career into a management role. Totaling 30 credit hours, the school's curriculum consists of core courses (each totaling two credits) in areas like leadership, technology for educators, and diversity in education. Students also take classes in a concentration, ranging from finance and budgeting to crisis prevention. Students can pursue their master of education full-time and finish in 18 months or part-time, completing their degree in 30. Online students at Tiffin enjoy much of the same services as their campus peers, including advising, career counseling, and professional development and career assistance, including workshops through the school's Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Over 90% of Tiffin students receive some form of financial aid.

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18 Adams State University 38.57 3/5 20% Alamosa, CO

Located in Alamosa, Colorado, Adams State University was founded in 1921 as a teacher’s school, but over the years has transformed into a comprehensive institution of learning. Adams offers a number of graduate academic programs, including a masters of art in higher education administration & leadership (HEAL). Because Adams has a long history of serving Hispanic students, the school’s master’s degree in higher education online is focused on managing the needs and solving the challenges related to this specific community. Students take 36 credit hours over two years in course topics like leading for success, data analysis, and legal issues. They also take a research seminar on entrepreneurship in higher education before completing a related practicum. Those entering the HEAL program with a previous master’s degree (or higher) can pursue the Executive Leadership Institute option, which awards them a professional certificate after their first full year of work. Tuition for the HEAL program is $410 per credit hour, making it one of the most affordable programs of its kind.

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19 New England College 33.60 4/5 47% Henniker, NH

Founded in 1946, New England is a private non-profit institution dedicated to providing student-centered education to the 2,700 students who enroll annually. Located in Henniker, New Hampshire, NEC offers a master of science in higher education administration designed to provide students with comprehensive understanding of critical field issues like organizational effectiveness, team building, and multicultural competence. It should be noted that the NEC program is hybrid, meaning that while most of the coursework, including capstones, can be taken online, students are required to attend certain classes on campus, including two practicum experiences where they are paired with a college/university department at NEC or a nearby college. Cognizant of their students’ varied and busy schedules, the program makes accommodations to the practicum on an individual student basis. The curriculum totals 40 credit hours and courses are presented in accelerated seven-week terms, enabling students to finish their degree in 10 months if they pursue the work full-time. The total cost for this online master’s degree in higher education administration is approximately $22,572.

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20 University of Sioux Falls 32.87 3/5 19% Sioux Falls, SD

Founded in 1883, the University of Sioux Falls is a liberal arts institution affiliated with the American Baptist Church. USF offers four graduate degree programs, including a master of education in educational administration and adult & higher education. This two-year 33-credit program prepares students to work in all manners of non-academic fields in higher education — particularly if it relates to continuing education and nontraditional learners. For example, graduates of this online master’s degree in higher education program have found successful careers in community colleges working with students who’ve recently immigrated to the United States. Courses are taken in topics like managing organizational dynamics, the sociology of adult education, and quality assurance. Students must also complete a suitable internship. Students may also reduce the total cost of their degree by transferring applicable credits towards its completion. It should also be noted that graduates of the USF program are eligible for a sizeable scholarship if they choose to enter an approved doctoral degree program at Bethel University in Tennessee.

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Timeline
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$8,000 to $25,000 in annual tuition
Concentrations
Educational Leadership, Education Administration, Educational Technology, Community College Leadership, Enrollment Management, Online Education and Distance Learning, College Program Planning and Evaluation, and Global Higher Education

WHAT TO EXPECT AS A STUDENT IN AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAM

The curriculum for a master’s in higher education degree online program will cover a wide range of pertinent topics. Students should expect coursework in areas like educational laws and ethics, finance in higher education, educational technology, research in education, student affairs, and classroom management. Some programs allow students to earn a ‘specialization’ for their master’s in higher education degree in fields such as community college or higher education administration. In most cases, however, ‘higher education’ will serve as the specialization for a master’s in education degree pathway.

Practicum experiences are common in master’s of higher education degree programs online. These on-site opportunities expose students to the realities of working at colleges and universities, and allow them to receive hands-on training from professors and faculty members, administrators and other postsecondary personnel. Many programs also require capstone projects, which allow students to use the knowledge and skills they have gained to address contemporary trends and issues in college learning.

It’s important to research the accreditation status of a master’s in higher education degree program before fully committing to it. In the U.S., online higher education master’s programs receive accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). In addition to programmatic accreditation, make sure that the college or university has received regional or national accreditation.

JOB PLACEMENT: MASTER’S DEGREE IN HIGHER EDUCATION

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook is very favorable for postsecondary educators and administrators. Jobs for professors and other teachers are expected to rise by 13% ― or roughly 177,000 positions ― between 2014 and 2024. Likewise, jobs for college administrators are projected to increase by 9%, or 15,200 positions. Both of these growth rates are higher than the national projected average for all occupations, which currently sits at 7%.

How do postsecondary teachers and administrators stack up against other educators in terms of projected job growth? The table below features looks at the number of jobs and expected growth for six different education-related occupations.

Occupation Current Number of Jobs Projected Job Growth (2014-24) Projected Job Increase (2014-24)
Kindergarten and Elementary Teachers 1,517,400 6% +87,800
Middle School Teachers 627,500 6% +36,800
High School Teachers 961,600 6% +55,900
Elementary, Middle and High School Principals 240,000 6% +14,000
Postsecondary Teachers 1,313,000 13% +177,000
Postsecondary Education Administrators 175,100 9% +15,200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

As the table indicates, projected job growth is stronger for postsecondary teachers and administrators than any of the other occupations listed.

EARNING A LIVING

In addition to outlook and job growth, those with a master’s degree in higher education also enjoy higher earning potential than their counterparts in elementary or secondary education. The salary expectations for postsecondary employees is largely tied to their area(s) of master’s degree study. Using data from the 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report, the following table features earning estimates for four different education majors at two early-career benchmarks.

Master’s Degree Field Median Entry-Level Salary (Less than 5 Years) Median Mid-Career Salary (10+ Years)
Educational Administration $53,900 $74,400
Educational Leadership $52,700 $72,000
Education (General) $46,200 $66,500
Higher Education Administration $43,600 $65,100

Source: 2016-17 PayScale College Salary Report

The average wage premium (or salary growth) among the four fields listed was a 41.95% increase in earnings between the entry-level and mid-career stages. In addition to degree specializations and areas of study, the salary potential of a higher education professional will also vary by specific job title. Other important factors include experience level, employer size and city/state of employment. The next table looks at salary projections for four common career paths for higher education master’s recipients.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Professor (Postsecondary/ Higher Education) $60,182 $71,601 $85,712 $98,786
College Administrator $41,000 $42,000 $71,000 $74,000
Dean of Students (University) $87,000 $80,000 $104,000 $120,000
Admissions Counselor $35,203 $42,927 $43,892 $50,000

Source: PayScale

All four occupations experience a salary growth rate of at least 37% after 20 years on the job. College administrators reported the highest growth rate: an 80.5% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Professors ranked second with 64.1% salary growth, followed by admissions counselors with 42% growth.

Career Opportunities

Students who graduate with a master’s in higher education will be well-positioned to enter the workforce and seek jobs in administration, or advance to a doctoral degree program and train to become a college professor.

According to the BLS, most postsecondary teachers require a doctoral degree. However, community college professors and professors at certain four-year colleges and universities may be able to land a job with a master’s in higher education. Roughly 76% of postsecondary teachers work for “colleges, universities, and professional schools”, while another 20% are employed at junior colleges.

Regardless of what kind of courses they teach, postsecondary teachers earn a median annual salary of $72,470. However, salaries for professors will depend on their subject area. Check out the table below for a detailed breakdown.

Postsecondary Teaching Field Median Annual Salary (2017)
Anthropology and Archaeology $91,940
Art, Drama and Music $81,050
Business $96,770
Chemistry $89,320
Communications $74,360
Computer Science $89,670
Education $70,260
Engineering $107,490
Foreign Language and Literature $73,750
Health Specialties $125,430
History $80,880
Mathematical Science $82,650
Psychology $84,440

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

As the table shows, the difference between the highest salary among postsecondary teachers ($125,430 for health specialties) and the lowest salary ($70,260 for education) is more than $55,000 per year.

Postsecondary Education Administrators: In addition to professors, many students who graduate with a master’s in higher education will go on to pursue administrative careers. These personnel include deans, academic advisers, housing officials, registrars and financial officers.

Profession Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Postsecondary Teachers $72,470 13% (+177,000 jobs)
Postsecondary Education Administrators $88,580 9% (+15,200 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to higher education 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 higher education teachers and administrators. 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.

  • American Association of University Professors: Founded in 1915, the AAUP is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. The organization’s branches include the AAUP-CBC, a labor union that advocates for postsecondary personnel; and the AAUP Foundation, a public charity that provides grant-funded support to colleges and universities across the country.
  • Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education: This organization (abbreviated NAPSA) currently represents more than 15,000 members at 2,100 postsecondary institutions worldwide. NAPSA has spearheaded a wide range of initiatives targeting predominant issues in higher education, including equity and diversity, violence prevention, technology and mental health.
  • The National Educational Association: Working to improve public education from preschool to graduate-level studies, the NEA provides resources on current regulations, strategies for securing financial support and tools for creating high-quality lesson plans. Membership opportunities are available for working employees, retired professionals and students.

Despite the relative affordability of online master’s degree 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.

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Students who pursue online degrees will be eligible for scholarships, grants and other financial aid that is unavailable to their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Learn more about these financial opportunities for web-based learners.

MASTER’S IN FINANCE

Finance — the study of money and asset management — is one of the most popular degree concentrations for MBA students. Learn about the best schools for this area of study with our comprehensive degree guide.

MASTER’S IN HUMAN RESOURCES

Another popular specialization field for MBA students, human resources (or HR) focuses on hiring, new employee orientation and other administrative needs. Visit our guide to master’s degrees in HR for more information.

BUSINESS RESOURCE

Our page dedicated to resources for business students includes links to professional organizations, open courseware, industry publications, books and business-minded users to follow on Twitter.

BUSINESS CAREERS

Our career page for business degree graduates includes a state-by-state breakdown of business careers and academic options for business students, as well as popular job sites, professional organizations and continuing education opportunities for established professionals.