Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration Programs

Strong schools rely on strong leaders. Earn your online master's in educational administration and help lead students and staff to success.

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by Marisa Upson

Updated August 16, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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An online master's in educational administration program prepares graduates for leadership roles in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. Students learn about modern theories in curriculum design, skills required to oversee school operations, and how to support teachers and students.

Students earning a master's in educational administration may pursue careers as principals and postsecondary administrators. These positions offer salaries well above the national average of $41,950. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elementary and secondary school principals earn a median annual wage of $98,490 as of May 2020.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Most master's in educational administration programs take about two years to complete. However, some accelerated tracks at top online schools can reduce the completion time. The costs for these programs vary based on the type of school and residency status. According to the College Board, tuition and fees for a master's program ranged from $8,950-$29,670 for the 2020 academic school year.

Calculating the return-on-investment is a good place to start when considering whether to go to graduate school.

Online Master's Education Administration Program Overview

It's important to know what to expect in a master's in educational administration program when preparing for graduate school. Success in this field requires a passion for learning and keen problem-solving skills. Prospective educational leaders also need strong business acumen and the ability to lead by example.

Most online master's in educational administration programs require 30-45 credits and take two years of full-time enrollment to complete. Some accelerated online tracks can lead to a degree in 15 months. Tracks geared toward leadership roles usually include an internship, a requirement for principal licensure in most states.

Most programs offer concentrations that enable students to focus their studies on their area of interest. Some also provide the option to specialize in a particular grade range. The following represent a few of the many specializations:

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Popular Online Educational Administration Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Courses and Curriculum in an Educational Administration Master's Program

Fundamentals of Leadership

Students learn about the skills needed to support a positive learning environment for all students. Covered topics include improving curricula, problem-solving and decision-making, and facilitating effective teaching methods.

Principalship

This course examines the role of an effective school manager. Covered topics include fiscal management, operational policies and procedures, and effective learning environments. Students also learn about support services designed for students and staff.

Curriculum Development and Instruction

This course explores the latest theories and strategies for analyzing and developing curriculum. Students learn about philosophies and values related to teaching and learning and developmentally appropriate practices.

Law and Personnel

This class looks at school law and the importance of making data-driven decisions for school administrators. Students study the practices and principles inherent in effective personnel administration and the legal issues affecting school districts.

Human Resource Management

This class focuses on teacher development and other staff-related policies. In addition, students explore the legal and ethical considerations of hiring and interacting with staff. Additional topics include contract renewal and confidentiality.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Educational Administration Degree?

Career Outlook

An online master's in educational administration prepares graduates for leadership roles and overseeing administrative tasks in primary, secondary, and postsecondary schools. Some may also pursue positions as educational policymakers in government and nonprofit agencies.

The BLS projects 8% job growth for postsecondary education administrators from 2020-2030. This rate is about as fast as the average for all occupations and amounts to about 178,800 job openings.

While salaries vary based on the position and the school, the BLS reports that postsecondary education administrators earn a median annual wage of $97,500 as of May 2020. The following represent a few of the many career paths for those earning a master's in educational administration.

See where a master's in educational administration degree can take you. Learn more about education careers.

Graduate Programs

Students aspiring to move up the administrative ranks and gain positions as superintendents of large school districts, college deans, or provosts may require a doctorate. Others interested in research or pursuing positions as professors may consider a Ph.D.

A few of the common continuing education paths for this degree include:

Students interested in leadership roles such as principals at public schools also require state licensure. Requirements may include a teacher's license, several years of experience, and passing a state exam.

Career Opportunities With a Master’s Degree in Education Administration

School Principal

Primary and secondary school principals oversee school operations, manage and provide staff support, and develop curriculum standards. They also deal with budgeting and financial management. Before earning this title, principals often spend several years teaching. Most states also require licensure for public school principals.

Median Annual Salary: $98,490

Postseondary Administrator

Postsecondary administrators work at colleges and universities overseeing student services. They may work in admissions reviewing applications and assisting with financial aid. Those that work in student affairs may help support students with housing or specialize in other student activities. Administrators also work in the registrar's office, overseeing student registration and graduation.

Median Annual Salary: $97,500

Dean of Students

A dean of students directs student development, services, and conduct. They may investigate concerns or complaints brought up by student and perform teacher evaluations. These professionals may also guide students, ensuring they fulfill their degree requirements or answer questions related to career paths and job opportunities. Some positions may require a doctorate.

Average Annual Salary: $63,720

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators help create and implement school curricula. They may recommend different teaching techniques or textbooks and help teachers develop their skills. These professionals may also specialize in a certain grade level or subject. According to the BLS, elementary and secondary schools employ about 44% of instructional coordinators.

Median Annual Salary: $66,970

Education Consultant

Education consultants may work with students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Parents may use their services to determine which type of school best suits their children or for help applying to colleges. Charter or private schools may request help in improving academic development and educational programs. Book publishers and EdTech companies may also rely on consultants for accurate product development.

Average Annual Salary: $62,900

Educational Administration Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Choosing an Online Master's in Educational Administration Program

Cost

Tuition for an online master's in educational administration ranges from about $240-$1,500 per credit. Public colleges usually offer the lowest tuition rates for in-state students. However, some online programs do not charge nonresident fees. Private universities usually charge the highest rates. Learn more about the true costs of online programs and how they compare to on-campus costs.

Program Format

Schools offer synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid learning formats. Asynchronous learning offers the greatest flexibility. Synchronous programs consist of virtual class sessions, while hybrid formats require some on-campus participation. Students may also choose between full-time and part-time enrollment. Some programs allow students to take up to 10 years to earn their degree. Others offer accelerated tracks that can be completed in 15 months.

Location

A school's location can affect costs. For example, some online programs require on-campus participation. Additionally, some colleges charge nonresident fees for out-of-state online students. The location may also affect state-regulated certification and licensure. Learn if an on-campus or online program is right for you.

Accreditation

College accreditation ensures that a school and program meet the highest educational standards. Accredited colleges and universities qualify students for federal financial aid and the transfer of credits. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits master's in educational administration programs.

Student Support

Online programs offer varying levels of student services. These resources can carry significant weight in a student's overall success. Consider choosing a program that offers faculty mentoring and support finding local internships. Additional online student services include tutoring, career guidance, professional networking opportunities, and access to a strong alumni network.

Admission Requirements

Graduate admissions guidelines are typically similar for on-campus and online programs. They all require a bachelor's degree, with some specifying a degree in education. Some schools may also request an on-campus interview. Many educational administration programs require a background check.

Applicants may need 2-3 years of teaching experience and a valid teaching certificate. Additionally, not all online programs meet certification requirements for each state. Students should check with their department of education to determine state-specific requirements.

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