Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

Become a leader in your community and school. Check out these top-rated online master's in educational leadership programs to get started.
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  • With a master’s in educational leadership, you can work as a school administrator, such as a principal or dean.
  • Educational leadership degrees take anywhere from 2-4 years to complete and may include internships.
  • A master's in educational leadership offers good job prospects, high salaries, and the chance for career advancement.

Working with children is great. But increasing your pay, job options, responsibilities, and still shaping what goes on in the classroom? Well, that might be even better. So, consider becoming an education leader.

But what does being an educational leader mean? It means working in kindergarten, elementary, and secondary schools. It means managing curriculums, creating policies, and thinking innovatively to improve student outcomes. It means doing what you love every day — and making more money while you're doing it.

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?

Ready to take the leap and lead the next generation of youngsters? Check out our top online educational leadership degrees, and follow these steps:

  • Explore this page to determine whether this path is the right choice for you.
  • Check out the top-ranked online master's in educational leadership programs, as well as our sponsored programs.
  • Request more information from schools you're interested in to find the best fit for you.

Why Should You Get a Master's in Educational Leadership?

Teachers and administrators are currently in short supply. So schools must find ways to fill the gaps in their administrative support.

The good news? This makes it a good time to move into this industry. You'll have a wide range of location options and a good deal of job stability.

Benefits of Getting a Master's in Educational Leadership Degree

  • A master’s degree in educational leadership allows you to work in schools without being in a classroom.
  • Being qualified to fill roles at all levels of school staff provides greater job security.
  • While learning about curriculums and professional development, you can help your community at a more macro level.
  • You can network during your program and build a network of support after graduation.
  • Even if you decide not to go into education, the degree is useful in other industries, like social and community service.

Featured Educational Leadership Programs

Master's in Educational Leadership Programs You Should Consider

Reasons for Getting Your Master's in Educational Leadership Online

Best Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs

Rankings compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

#1 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

Seton Hall University

  • South Orange, NJ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,397
Out of State | $1,397

Credits to Graduate
39

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation

Seton Hall's graduate degree in education leadership, management, and policy gives you options. You can pursue a master of arts or a more advanced education specialist degree in this topic. Keep in mind: To qualify for the education specialist degree, you need a master of arts degree. 

While Seton Hall's educational leadership coursework takes place entirely online, the program does require two on-campus residency visits. The application requires three recommendation letters and a letter of intent that explains why you want to complete this program. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$42,920
Out-of-state
$42,920
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
9,814
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#2 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $458
Out of State | $458

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

UTRGV's master of education in educational leadership offers a well-rounded curriculum. Through UTRGV's program, you'll learn about the importance of equity and how to lead in diverse sociocultural settings. 

The coursework also covers practical aspects of a school administrator's job, like how to balance a budget. Lastly, you'll put your knowledge to the test through two practicums. 

If you want to apply to this UTRGV program, you'll need to submit your official transcripts and have at least a 3.0 GPA.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,233
Out-of-state
$17,049
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
32,441
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

City University of Seattle

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $595
Out of State | $595

Credits to Graduate
45

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Through CityU's master of education in education leadership, you can qualify for administrator certification. The courses provide an overview of historical and current education perspectives. In CityU's educational leadership program, you'll hone your conflict management skills and learn how to provide positive guidance to instructors. 

If you want to apply to this program, you must fill out a series of admissions questions and submit contact information for three references.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,658
Out-of-state
$13,658
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,052
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#4 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

Florida Atlantic University

  • Boca Raton, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $372
Out of State | $1,027

Credits to Graduate
#N/A

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

If you know exactly what niche administration topic you want to learn about, consider attending FAU. The online master's in educational leadership at FAU offers two concentrations. If you want to pursue a career in college administration, you can pursue the higher education leadership concentration. If you'd rather work with educators teaching young kids, choose the K-12 leadership concentration. 

To apply to FAU's graduate programs, you must fill out an online application and turn in your official transcripts.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,522
Out-of-state
$14,374
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
30,805
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

University of West Alabama

  • Livingston, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $429
Out of State | $429

Credits to Graduate
34

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

If you're looking for an educational leadership program that provides one-on-one feedback, attending UWA might work well for you. This school pairs all of its online master's in instructional leadership students with a mentor. The courses highlight topics like educational statistics, multicultural leadership, and educational technology. 

UWA still accepts students without a teaching degree, but you must meet other requirements. For starters, you need at least a 2.75 GPA. You will also need to pass a basic skills assessment test and the PRAXIS II exam. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,100
Out-of-state
$18,200
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
5,734
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

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.

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#6 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

University of Northern Colorado

  • Greeley, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online  | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $589
Out of State | $1,168

Credits to Graduate
30

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

Completing UNC's program allows you to work as an educational leader for schools that teach any age. UNC's educational leadership program also prepares you for various careers in this field, such as assistant principal or superintendent. 

To qualify for admission, you need a valid teaching license. UNC also accepts applicants with a special service provider license, like a school counselor license.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,596
Out-of-state
$19,854
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
11,460
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
83% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

DePaul University

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

 100% Online | Self-Paced Classes 

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $668
Out of State | $668

Credits to Graduate
60 quarter hours

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

DePaul's educational leadership master's degree allows you to focus your studies on your personal interests. With multiple concentrations to choose from, Depaul's program prepares you for various educational leadership jobs. Some of these concentrations include Catholic leadership, higher education, and principal licensure. 

If you want to apply, you need to submit a copy of your state teaching license, resume, transcripts, and recommendation letters.

Average Tuition
In-state
$40,551
Out-of-state
$40,551
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
21,922
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

Fitchburg State University

  • Fitchburg, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $385
Out of State | $385

Credits to Graduate
33

Program Information
Program Accreditation | New England Commission of Higher Education

If you're looking for a non-licensure program that you can finish quickly, consider Fitchburg State. This program's master of education in educational leadership and management prepares you to start working as a department chair, curriculum leader, or academic coach. 

If you want to apply, you need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with at least a 2.8 GPA. You must also turn in a resume that details your professional experience.

Average Tuition
In-state
$970
Out-of-state
$7,050
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
6,728
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

University of Louisiana at Monroe

  • Monroe, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $315
Out of State | $315

Credits to Graduate
36

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

ULM's master of education in educational leadership prepares you to lead a school or an entire district. The master of education program at ULM teaches you how to hold students and instructors accountable to produce the best learning outcomes. You can wrap up this program in as few as 15 months. 

To apply, you must send your official transcripts for your bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. You also need a teaching certificate and at least three years of teaching experience. 

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,788
Out-of-state
$17,888
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
8,888
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
70% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs of 2023

Baldwin Wallace University

  • Berea, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

100% Online | Self-Paced Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $565
Out of State | $565

Credits to Graduate
42

Program Information
Program Accreditation | Higher Learning Commission

BW's master of arts in education with an emphasis in school leadership focuses on designing, developing, and reforming curriculum. This online master's in educational leadership allows you to enroll part time and still finish within two years. Plus, if you're pursuing the principal licensure program, you can choose between three concentrations. 

When you apply to this program, BW will consider your relevant work and teaching experience with children and young adults. You also need a valid teaching certificate or license.

Average Tuition
In-state
$34,504
Out-of-state
$34,504
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
3,399
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

How Much Does an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Cost?

Average Annual Cost of a Master's Degree

Public Institution | 2019-2020

$12,394

Private Institution | 2019-2020

$26,621

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

While earning a graduate degree comes with a hefty price tag, there are ways to make the degree more affordable and ensure you're getting the most out of your investment.

You can consider grants, work-study programs, or scholarships to help get the most out of your time and money.

Pro Tip

Check out this list of scholarships for education majors!

Read More: How to Find Scholarships for College Students: Top 12 Resources

How Long Does an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Take?

These programs comprise 30-40 credits and take about two years to complete. But part-time options can take around three years. Plus, an accelerated program may allow you to graduate in as little as 18 months.

Average Length of Time*

2 years

Required Course Credits*

30-40 credits credits

*Varies depending on your school/program

Concentrations for Your Educational Leadership Degree

In addition to core coursework, many programs provide concentrations so you can focus your knowledge and skills in a particular area. Concentrations vary by program, but common options include:

Keep in mind: If you choose the principal licensure path, you may need to participate in a principalship internship or practicum to complete required hours. Other programs may require you to write a full-length thesis or conduct field research.

What Jobs Can You Get With a Master's in Educational Leadership Degree?

So what can you do with an educational leadership degree? Quite a bit. There are administrative jobs, including principals and post-secondary administrators.

And there are other positions, like education consultants, who work behind the scenes. They assist administrators and teachers in improving the school's operations and shape important educational tools, like the curriculum.

5 Popular Jobs for a Master's in Educational Leadership
Job Median Annual Salary (May 2021)
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal $98,420
Educational Consultant $69,000*
Instructional Coordinator $63,740
Postsecondary Education Administrators $96,910
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Sources: BLS and Payscale
*Based on data from Dec. 2022

Read More: The Best Jobs for Former Teachers

Read More: Advance Your Career With One of These 6 Highest-Paying Master's in Education Jobs

Is a Master's in Educational Leadership Worth It?

The short answer? Yes.

The education industry is constantly growing. And while different jobs grow at different rates, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that administration jobs will grow at a rate of 5% between 2021-2031.

The pay isn't too bad either. According to the BLS, school principals made a median annual salary of $98,000 in May 2021. If you're an educator looking to increase your pay, a master's in educational leadership is a good place to start.

Bonus: You'll also get the satisfaction of knowing that you can make a difference for the students in your community.

Everything Else You Need to Know About a Master's in Educational Leadership

What can you do with a master's in educational leadership?

With a master’s degree in educational leadership, you can work as a principal, superintendent, curriculum designer, and many other administrative roles within a school.

But your degree will also apply to other areas outside of education. Leadership skills are useful everywhere, including nonprofits, employee development jobs, or any other job that involves managing large people-centered organizations.

Is educational leadership in demand?

Yes, educational leadership is in demand. The BLS projects that jobs for school principals will grow by 5% from 2021-2031, while postsecondary education administrator jobs are projected to grow by 7%.

As schools learn more about how to educate and accommodate students, they need the proper infrastructure to implement new instructional modes and methods.

What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in educational leadership?

According to the BLS, the top three highest-paying positions in the field include: training and development manager ($120,130), K-12 principal ($98,000), and post-secondary administrator ($96,000).

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.

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