BestColleges is committed to delivering content that is objective and accurate. We have built a network of industry professionals across healthcare and education to review our content and ensure we are providing the best information to our readers.
With their first-hand industry experience, our reviewers provide an extra step in our editing process. These experts:
Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
Provide specific, corrective feedback.
Identify critical information that writers may have missed.
Our growing Review Network currently consists of professionals in fields like business, nursing, social work, and other subject-specific industries; professionals in higher education areas such as college counseling and financial aid; and anti-bias reviewers.
Reviewers typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for BestColleges as a side project. Our reviewers are members of the Red Ventures Education Freelance Review Network and are paid for their contributions.
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?
An affordable online master's in educational leadership prepares students for leadership positions in higher education and K-12. These programs focus on advanced training in curriculum design, school operations, financial management, and strategies for increasing student achievement. These professionals may also help teachers leverage their strengths and provide them with growth opportunities.
Graduates may pursue roles as school administrators, principals, and superintendents. Most of these positions require a master's degree and offer high-paying salaries. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that K-12 education administrators earn an average median wage of $98,490 as of May 2020.
The costs of a master's in educational leadership vary, based on the type of school and resident status. The College Board reports that tuition and fees for a master's degree ranged from $8,950-$29,670 in the 2019-20 academic year. These programs typically take about two years to complete. However, accelerated online programs can reduce the time to completion.
How Much Does an Online Master's in Educational Leadership?
Tuition for an online master's in educational leadership program ranges from about $285-$1,150 per credit. In-state students attending public colleges tend to pay the lowest tuition rates, though some online programs do not charge out-of-state fees. Private universities usually charge the highest tuition.
Additional costs to consider include books and fees. While the cost of an online program may not include campus-based fees such as student activities and athletics, online programs may charge technology or virtual access fees.
According to College Board, books cost an average of $1,240 per year in 2020. Some schools offer online students the option of paying a fee to access course materials online. Additionally, online students may find it easier to work while earning their degree, reducing the costs associated with lost wages.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program?
Education leaders influence students, teachers, and communities. This level of responsibility requires commitment, strong communication and decision-making skills, and the ability to lead under pressure. These professionals also need to be able to work in teams and collaborate with others. Finally, success in this field requires solid money management skills and awareness of the new technology transforming educational systems.
Most affordable online master's in educational leadership programs require 30-36 credits of coursework and take about two years of full-time enrollment to complete. Some accelerated tracks can lead to a degree in one year. When preparing for graduate school, consider how much time you can devote to studies to determine which track to take.
Many schools also offer concentrations, enabling students to align their education with their career goals. These specializations include higher education administration, teacher leadership, school leadership, and district leadership.
Most programs require an administrative practicum or internship. Internships provide students with the supervised, hands-on experience to become successful leaders. While hours vary, most states require an internship to apply for principal and school leader licensure. Programs must include an internship component to gain Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program?
Curriculum Design and Implementation
This course explores the current trends in effective curriculum development and implementation. Students examine research, theory, and evaluation methods. Covered topics include helping teachers maintain a valuable learning environment and the role of local and state governments.
This course examines the key characteristics of effective school leaders. Topics covered include methods for evaluating and improving teacher and student performance, developing management systems, and the role of self-awareness in leadership positions.
Diversity in Education
This class covers leadership strategies for diverse classrooms, schools, and districts. Students gain insight into cultural, ethnic, gender, disability, and socioeconomic diversity. Learners also examine special considerations in urban and suburban school settings.
Legal Aspect of Education
This course emphasizes the role of politics and law in school leadership at the local, state, and federal levels. Students learn about changing laws in public education and the needed political skills when working with community organizations.
This class covers different school financial management and budgeting models. Students learn about analyzing costs and the varying sources of revenue at different educational institutions. Students also explore the concepts of human resource management.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program?
All online master's in educational leadership programs require candidates to possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Some programs specify a degree in education or a related field. Schools may also require applicants to hold a valid teaching certificate and 2-3 years of teaching experience.
Some schools offer tracks designed for non-teaching students. These programs are ideal for school counselors and administrators interested in leadership roles.
The admissions process may also include on-campus or virtual interviews. While all programs vary, the following represent typical graduate admission requirements.
Candidates usually submit an online application through the school's website or online portal. Unlike undergraduate school, there is no online application platform that allows students to submit one application to multiple colleges. Most application forms ask for basic information, such as contact and academic information and names of references.
While fewer schools require standardized test scores, some online master's in educational leadership programs request GRE scores or list them as optional. If optional, determine if including them would boost your application. International students must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants must submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. Ideally, these letters should come from a direct supervisor, such as an assistant principal, principal, or superintendent. Suitable references also include recent professors. Make sure to request these references at least 2-3 months in advance to ensure they arrive by the application deadline.
Resume and Work Experience
A student's college application resume or curriculum vitae should include work experience, internships, volunteer activities, and publications or professional organization memberships. Many programs require two or more years of teaching experience, which the resume should reflect. Some schools also request the most recent yearly teacher evaluations.
Most schools request a statement of purpose or letter of intent. These help the admissions department get to know the person behind the test scores and academic achievements. While each school varies, many expect to read about an applicant's career goals and research interests and how their program fits these aspirations. Some programs also require scholarly papers.
Candidates must request official transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions. Most schools require a minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0 in upper-division undergraduate work or the last 60 credits. Less competitive programs may require a minimum GPA of 2.0 or take test scores and experience into consideration. Some programs also accept transfer credits.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Degree?
Graduates of master's in educational leadership programs pursue roles as school administrators, principals, and, with experience, superintendents. They also hold positions in government, shaping educational policies. Others work in nonprofit agencies that focus on educational reform and accessibility on a global scale.
Education leaders also use their skills as consultants, helping private and public schools develop curricula, integrate technology, and design teacher development programs. Others specialize in specific school programs, such as special education, early childhood, or athletics.
The BLS projects an 8% job growth for K-12 principals and postsecondary education administrators from 2020-2030. This correlates with the average growth rate of 8% for all occupations. These school administrators earned median yearly salaries of $98,490 and $97,500, respectively.
The following section highlights some common careers pursued by graduates of online master's in educational leadership programs. Keep in mind that most leadership roles in education require state licensure, so make sure to review your state's requirements.
Principals manage schools by overseeing academic performance, teacher evaluations, and budgetary concerns. They may develop curricula, meet with students, teachers, and parents, and hire staff. In larger districts, they may oversee assistant principals and instructional coordinates who take on some of these functions.
College and university education administrators' duties vary, depending on the department they oversee. For instance, they may work in admissions, the registrar's office, student affairs, or career services. Depending on their role, they might meet with prospective students and review applications, oversee student class registrations, or act as student advisors.
Superintendents oversee school districts. In large cities, school districts may include hundreds of schools. In rural areas, they may only consist of a few schools. All principals report to the superintendent, who creates a vision for the district and monitors its success. Some school districts prefer candidates with a doctorate. Many superintendents work their way up from positions as teachers and principals.
These directors work with schools to develop their curricula, ensuring it meets educational and regulatory standards. They also develop teacher training, verifying they cover mandated topics in each subject. Many directors work for school districts, overseeing programs for multiple schools.
Directors of special education typically work at the district level, supervising the special education programs at multiple schools. They develop systems for evaluating and placing students to ensure their academic and social success. They also oversee special education staff development.
Education professionals aspiring to positions such as university president or superintendent of large school districts should consider earning a doctorate. A doctorate of education (Ed.D.) program offers instruction in practical application and is best suited for those seeking managerial and leadership roles. A Ph.D. presents courses geared towards research and teaching at the postsecondary level.
Earning a doctorate also allows students to explore a specific field of interest in-depth. A few of the common educational paths include:
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program?
The tuition rate for an online master's in educational leadership program ranges from approximately $285-$1,150 per credit. Public colleges usually fall in the lower range, especially for in-state students. Some online programs, however, do not charge out-of-state fees. Private universities generally cost significantly more. Learn more about the costs of online and on-campus programs.
Online schools offer synchronous and asynchronous learning formats. Asynchronous programs offer the greatest flexibility, allowing students to study at their own pace while turning in assignments by specific deadlines. Synchronous programs provide more interaction with peers and professors with scheduled virtual class sessions. Some programs also offer part-time enrollment or accelerated tracks that may lead to a degree in one year.
Many educational leadership positions require licensure or certification. Students should research their state's requirements and ensure the program qualifies them for licensure, as some programs do not qualify out-of-state students. Additional considerations include possible on-campus requirements, out-of-state tuition fees, and internship opportunities. Many factors go into deciding between an online or on-campus college education.
College accreditation ensures that schools and programs meet set academic standards. Regional accreditation is required to qualify for federal financial aid and transfer credits to other colleges. Programmatic accreditation is also important and can affect licensing, certification, and employment. The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits master's in educational leadership programs.
How Do I Pay for an Online Master's in Educational Leadership?
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The first step in applying for financial aid is filling out the FAFSA form. This application determines eligibility for financial aid from the federal government through grants, work-study programs, and loans. Colleges and universities also use the FAFSA to determine scholarships and other aid awards.
Many students take out college loans. The federal government offers graduate students different loan options. These loans usually offer lower interest rates than private student loans from a bank. In addition, some institutions, such as credit unions, provide specialized loan programs for aspiring educators and administrators.
School grants, such as the Pell Grant, are awarded by the federal and state governments and based on need. Like scholarships, these do not need to be repaid. The Gates Millennium Scholars Program offers financial aid for Pell Grant-eligible students of color. Eligible candidates include graduate students in the field of education.
Federal work-study programs offer low-income students part-time work at their school or an outside organization. Earned income can go directly to tuition costs or be deposited in a student's bank account. Students may work as research assistants, tutors, office support staff, and more.
There are numerous scholarship opportunities available for graduate students in the educational field. Professional associations, educational organizations, colleges, and universities offer this merit-based financial aid assistance. For example, the American Association of School Administrators grants a $2,500 scholarship to graduate students intending to become school superintendents.
Most Affordable Accredited Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.
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.
Most Affordable Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs
At the University of Florida, students anywhere can earn an educational leadership degree from one of the top online graduate education programs in the United States. The two-year M.Ed. in educational leadership program blends coursework with mentoring, field experience, and ongoing support for school leaders.
The 36-39-credit curriculum requires 10 courses that cover topics in the principalship, public school law, data-driven decision making, and administration of school personnel. Two elective courses examine how school leaders can lead change and effectively communicate.
Participants seeking to pursue Florida principal certification must complete an ESOL training requirement in this affordable online master's in education. Students typically complete six credits per semester, but can enroll on a full- or part-time basis. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credits of undergraduate work and the GRE.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $734/credit in-state; $734/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36-39 Program Length: 2 years
Indiana University-Bloomington continues a tradition of rigor and affordability as one of the best value colleges in the nation. The fully online M.S.Ed. in educational leadership enrolls teachers interested in school leadership, though the department considers applicants with no teaching experience who can make a strong case for their inclusion.
The 36-credit curriculum deepens participants' leadership skills, enhances their professional development, and their understanding of the challenges facing the education field. Topics covered include school community relations, legal perspectives on education, and educational leadership: principalship K-12.
Enrollees use nine credits to customize the degree with a strand they choose in collaboration with an advisor, and must participate in a practicum in educational leadership. Fellowships help fund this affordable online master's in education. Admission requires a minimum 2.75 GPA, the GRE, and teaching or relevant work experience.
Program Name: M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $434/credit in-state; $520/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 credits Program Length: 2+ years
Florida State University manages a robust virtual college. Teachers with at least two years of full-time pre-K-12 teaching experience can advance their careers with the fully online MS in educational leadership. The 33-credit degree, which blends theoretical knowledge and applied research opportunities, offers Florida certification and non-certification tracks.
The MS examines an array of topics, including how to plan effective instruction, data-driven school improvement, leadership for diversity, and the principalship. During a practicum, educators show how they can use their knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on students and schools. Students culminate the affordable master's in education with a comprehensive exam.
The College of Education at FSU offers more scholarship and fellowship opportunities than any similar department in Florida. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA, the GRE, and a current Florida Professional Educator's Certificate.
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $444/credit in-state; $1,076/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 33 credits Program Length: 2 years
The University of Central Florida celebrates 20 years of administering top online degrees in various disciplines. The MA in educational leadership offers a fully online curriculum designed to meet the needs of working professionals. The degree does not meet Florida Department of Education approval for educational leadership certification.
Learners interested in administrative and leadership positions in schools and other settings that do not require certification enroll in the program. The 30-credit curriculum examines topics in organization and administration of schools, educational supervisory practices, and educational systems planning and management.
Participants complete a nine-credit research and measurement component. They culminate the affordable education degree with a research report that synthesizes their learning. UCF pairs participants with a success coach charged with providing support from enrollment to graduation. All students pay comparably affordable tuition. Admission requires school transcripts.
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $357/credit in-state; $1,152/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: 2 years
Educators seeking administrative certification in Wisconsin can enroll in the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse's online MSED in educational leadership emphasis. The degree prepares learners for administrative roles in the principalship.
The curriculum covers topics of the principalship, supervision and instruction, data-based decision making for instruction, and leadership and cultural competence. Participants engage in a supervised practicum focused on the school principalship. Learners culminate the degree with a thesis that incorporates original research and data.
All students in the affordable online master's in education pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Applicants with a minimum 3.5 GPA qualify for scholarships that cut tuition down by $54/credit. Admission to the MSED requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, and one year of full-time teaching experience at the K-12 level.
Program Name: MSED Educational Leadership Emphasis School Status: Public Tuition: $450/credit in-state: $450/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36-38 Program Length: 2 years
San Diego State University administers an educational leadership program that ranks first in the state. In just one year, online learners can earn the MA in educational leadership. The degree uses a cohort model to prepare educators and administrators to assume leadership roles at the pre-K-12 school and district levels.
The curriculum requires 10 courses that examine topics in visionary leadership, school improvement leadership, organizational and systems leadership, and professional learning and growth leadership. All courses in the affordable master's in educational leadership focus on technology.
Students learn from faculty renowned for work in leadership and instruction. Graduates leave the program equipped to lead schools in the use of technology to improve student outcomes. Admission requires a minimum 2.85 GPA and the GRE. Cohorts start every summer.
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $17,940 divided over four semesters Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: One year
The College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prepares educators with a drive to make education accessible to all learners. The online M.Ed. in education policy, organization, and leadership models that approach with five concentrations, including global studies in education and educational administration and leadership.
The courses for the 32-36-credit curriculum depends on the specialization. Those interested in the global studies in education specialization delve into education and human rights, education and globalization, and global youth and citizenship.
The educational administration and leadership specialization covers public school finance, leading learning-centered schools, and leading school improvement. Students use synchronous online sessions to complete this affordable online master's in education. All students pay an affordable online tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and no GRE.
Program Name: Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership School Status: Public Available Concentrations: Diversity and equity in education; education administration and leadership; human resource development; global studies in education; learning design and leadership Tuition: $482/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 32-36 Program Length: 2 years
The University of Iowa designs educational Leadership programs for working professionals. The 36-semester-hour MA in educational leadership offers both a hybrid principal licensure track and fully online non-licensure track. The program generally enrolls practicing teachers and administrators.
The MA's 24-credit core examines the foundation of school administration, school and community relationships, analysis and appraisal of curriculum, and supervision and evaluation. Those pursuing licensure use the remaining 12 semester hours to complete clinical coursework. Those in the non-licensure track work with an advisor to choose 12 credits in electives.
All students in the affordable master's in educational leadership culminate the degree with a comprehensive examination. Faculty deliver the degree asynchronously. All applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants seeking licensure must hold at least three years of teaching experience at the pre-K-12 level.
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Available Concentrations: Principal licensure Tuition: $337/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 semester hours Program Length: 2 or more years
Format: 100% online and hybrid Instruction Style: Synchronous
GPA: 3.0 minimum Work Experience: At least 3 years of teaching experience at the Pre K-12 level for those seeking a license
California State University - Sacramento's College of Education boasts graduates able to address the unique challenges of a changing educational landscape. The college's 30-credit MA in education focuses on higher education leadership.
The hybrid curriculum of this affordable online master's in education examines diversity in higher education, the dynamics of organizational change, and workforce development professional competencies. All students culminate the degree with a capstone research project or thesis that applies research in the practice of educational leadership.
Faculty deliver the program synchronously with face-to-face sessions held on Friday nights and Saturdays. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units of the bachelor's, professional experience in higher education, and some leadership experience.
Program Name: Master of Arts in Education School Status: Public Available Concentrations: Higher education leadership Tuition: $2,082/0-6 units Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: 2 years
At Florida Atlantic University, the College of Education offers the IDEAL master's in educational leadership program to train teachers for the principalship. Faculty designed the 42-credit IDEAL (Inclusive Development of Educational Administrators and Leader) to cultivate leaders of leaders, reflective practitioners, and transformative decision-makers.
The curriculum involves scenario-based learning and practical application of learned concepts. Topics covered include theory and assessment, school operations, instructional leadership I and II, and leadership for social justice. Students engage in clinical practice during a three-semester internship at their school.
Participants in the affordable master's in educational leadership attend on-site classes at FAU's campus in Boca Raton, or join remotely in real-time through the college's video-conferencing platform. All students pay the same per-credit tuition. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA in the bachelor's degree, at least three years of teaching experience, and no GRE.
Program Name: IDEAL Master's in Educational Leadership for School Leaders School Status: Public or private Tuition: $304/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 42 credits Program Length: Six semesters
Located in Michigan, Oakland University is a public college with an enrollment of about 20,000 students. OU offers the M.Ed. in educational leadership, a state-approved principal training program that leads to a Michigan administrative K-12 certificate. Students complete the 32-credit program in just 22 months. The curriculum develops administrators highly skilled in leadership theories and techniques, staff and curriculum development, school finance and business administration, and other key areas. The school-based internship provides hands-on experience in an educational environment.
A school leader provides invaluable support through a mentoring relationship with the mentee. Participants leave the program with an e-portfolio documenting their accomplishments. The school offers affordable tuition and comprehensive financial aid. Admission to the affordable online master's in education requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. Some teaching experience is preferred, though not required.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $771/credit in-state; $1,027/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 32 Program Length: 22 months
Situated in Laramie, the University of Wyoming develops effective educational leaders through a principal preparation program offered to distance learners. The MA in education with a concentration in educational leadership can lead to K-12 principal certification.
The 33-credit curriculum examines leadership for curriculum development; leadership for instruction; an introduction to school law; and assessment, accountability, and student learning. All students complete a course that introduces them to research methodologies. The principal internship gives aspiring school leaders 435 hours (11 weeks) of practical leadership experience at elementary, middle, and high school grade levels.
Tuition at UW consistently ranks among the nation's best for value. Several scholarship opportunities may help lower tuition. Admission to the affordable master's in education requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and at least two years of teaching experience.
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $2,439/9 credits in-state; $7,299/9 credits out-of-state Credit Requirements: 33 Program Length: 2+ years
The state's Flagship college, Louisiana State University manages a virtual college that makes learning accessible and affordable. The M.Ed. in educational leadership expands on educators' classroom experience by equipping them with advanced management and leadership skills.
The program consists of 13 seven-week courses that participants complete in as few as 15 months. Faculty explore issues of ethics and educational leadership, administration of school personnel, how to apply research in education, and implement school improvement initiatives. A four-part series examines best practices of principal leadership.
All students in the affordable master's in education pay the same affordable tuition no matter where they live. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the final 60 credits of the bachelor's, a teaching certificate from Louisiana or another state, and at least two years of teaching experience.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $459/credit in-state; $459/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 39 Program Length: 15 months or more
GPA: 3.0 GPA Work Experience: At least 2 years of teaching experience in a certification area. Valid Louisiana Type B or Level 2 teaching certificate, or one that's comparable from out-of-state, required
George Mason University is Virginia's largest public research college. The fully online M.Ed. in education leadership enrolls educators interested in pursuing school- or district-level administrative positions. The 30-credit degree leads to Virginia administration and supervision pre-K-12 endorsement.The curriculum of this affordable education degree requires coursework in education law, organizational theory and leadership, the use of research to lead school improvement, and how to manage financial and human resources. An internship provides educators with at least one year of educational leadership experience.
Participants complete the M.Ed. in two years when they take two courses each semester. Mason lauds in-state graduate tuition that ranks low compared to similar colleges. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of the bachelor's, a valid teaching license, and at least two years of full-time teaching experience.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $707/credit in-state; $907/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: 2 years
Towson University lauds the institution's reputation for helping to create some of the best schools in Maryland through educator preparation. The fully online MS in transformational educational leadership enrolls educators with at least three years of experience who want to assume leadership roles.
The 36-unit curriculum embeds the requirements for Maryland's Administrator I certification. Participants acquire expertise in the leadership of schools and groups, curriculum and assessment, evidence-based decision making, and transformational leadership. They apply learning during a 300-hour internship in a school system. Students may also choose a hybrid format with face-to-face classes in Towson or other locations around the state. U.S. News & World Report ranks TU among the best values in higher education. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and state certification/licensure as a teacher or school professional.
Program Name: MS in Transformational Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $612/unit in-state; $1,104/unit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: 100% online and hybrid (online/on campus) Instruction Style: Asynchronous
GPA: 3.0 minimum Work Experience: At least 3 years of experience.
Through Mizzou Online, the University of Missouri opens up access to more than 125 online programs. The M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy analysis offers an emphasis in pre-K-12 educational leadership and administration. The two-year degree leads to elementary/secondary principal certification.
The 31-37-credit curriculum covers the supervision of learning environments, leadership for data-driven change, school improvement, and learning curriculum and assessment for school leaders. A six-credit internship provides hands-on experience. Students complete much of the degree online, blending virtual learning with face-to-face weekend sessions four to five times per term.
Distance learners qualify for in-state tuition no matter where they live, making this an affordable online master's in education. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of the bachelor's and no GRE.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis School Status: Public Tuition: $453/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 31-37 Program Length: 2 years
A private college located in Pennsylvania, Lehigh University offers a hybrid M.Ed. in educational leadership for working professionals interested in assuming leadership roles at educational institutions and related organizations.
The 30-credit degree requires a five-course core that examines organizational leadership, diversity, and data-based decision making. Learners must pursue a 15-credit area of interest, such as special education, learning and technology, or school counseling. Degree-seekers in this affordable online master's in education complete just two more courses to qualify for Pennsylvania principal certification.
Lehigh offers most courses on campus and some online. Students complete the degree in 18-24 months and may opt for full- or part-time enrollment. All students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and school transcripts.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Private Available Concentrations: Learners may design 15-credit areas of interest, such as special education, learning and technology, or teaching Tuition: $565/credit in-state; $565/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: 18-24 months
At California State University-East Bay, the MS in educational leadership prepares leaders who can help improve school systems and enhance student performance. The fully online program offers a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (PASC) option for those who hold a current California teaching credential.
The 24-month MS ideally serves educators in pre-K-12 schools and educators at community colleges. Faculty design the affordable master's in education using a cohort model. The 30-36-credit curriculum covers social justice and equity in urban schools, collaborative research for equity, and transforming professional learning to support equitable student outcomes.
Students pay one affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. The PASC option has additional requirements, including at least five years of full-time K-12 teaching or service experience and additional MS fieldwork.
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $442/semester unit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 30-36 Program Length: 24 months
Oklahoma State University has 45 years of experience placing student affairs graduates at colleges across the United States. The MS in educational leadership studies: higher education continues that tradition by cultivating scholars who can lead higher education institutions.
The 36-credit curriculum explores student development theory, the impact of college on students and society, and leadership theory and ethical decision making. With electives, participants explore learning in a digital age and the community junior college. Enrollees complete an internship in higher education and student affairs.
The program's capstone course requires a creative component and portfolio. Faculty deliver the MS using a combination of face-to-face classes at the Stillwater campus and online coursework. OSU offers affordable tuition and scholarships that can help reduce costs. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Program Name: MS in Educational Leadership Studies: Higher Education School Status: Public Tuition: $370/credit in-state; $1,016/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 Program Length: 2-3 years
Format: Hybrid (online/on campus); 100% online from fall 2021 Instruction Style: Asynchronous
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley trains educators able to advocate for academic excellence and lead change in schools. The 30-credit M.Ed. in educational leadership offers a 10-month curriculum for busy educators to advance their careers faster.
The degree pays particular attention to developing school leaders able to serve diverse students, especially English language learners. The curriculum examines organizational leadership, instructional leadership, school community relations, and the principalship. A notable course focuses on the alignment of budgeting with HR areas, such as recruitment and retention.
At UTRGV, accelerated online graduate programs feature affordable tuition and a full complement of financial aid. Students may qualify for a $1,000 Graduate Dean's Accelerated Online Scholarship. Admission to the affordable online master's in education requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and the GRE.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $458/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: 10 months
The University of North Carolina Wilmington's College of Education designs programs for certified teachers who want to advance their knowledge and expertise in specialized areas. The M.Ed. in leadership, policy, and advocacy in early childhood trains school leaders who can improve the lives of young children and families.
The 36-credit program delves into core topics of leadership theory and behavior, public policy and advocacy for children and families, and diverse families and children in communities. With up to 15 elective credits, educators hone skills in budget and finance or organizational development for early childhood programs.
Students use six credits to complete a two-part advocacy research project that culminates the affordable master's in education. Admission requires a preferred minimum 3.0 GPA, bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field, and no GRE.
Program Name: Master of Education in Leadership, Policy and Advocacy in Early Childhood School Status: Public Tuition: $590/credit in-state; $2,319/credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 Program Length: 2 years
Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state's premier public liberal arts college. The
MA in educational leadership prepares educators for standard New Jersey Supervisor and Principal Certificate of Eligibility in just one year. Faculty ground the curriculum in theoretical studies and a sequence of field-based experiences.
The 36-credit curriculum consists in part of eight four-credit courses that examine topics in change leadership; effective leadership and school management; curriculum planning, design, and development; and contemporary educational leadership: theories and practice. Graduates leave the program skilled in the use of data for curriculum-based decision making.
Educators complete two 150-hour internships that provide practical experience. All students in the MAEL pay one affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission to the affordable master's in educational leadership requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and valid state-issued teacher certification.
Program Name: Master of Arts in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $722/credit in-state; $722 credit out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 Program Length: 12 months
The University of Texas at Arlington developed a fully online M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy studies in collaboration with area school districts. The 30-credit program cultivates educators equipped to assume roles as principals or assistant principals.
The 16-month curriculum covers leadership theory, the principalship, curriculum design, and diversity in educational settings. Participants culminate the degree with an internship and an accompanying professional portfolio and research project. In order to earn the standard Texas principal certificate, candidates need a master's degree, a valid Texas classroom teaching certificate, and at least two years of teaching experience.
UTA emphasizes affordable online education and offers flexible payment options. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA. UTA does not offer the program in every state.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies School Status: Public Tuition: $277/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 30 Program Length: 16 months
Located in Milledgeville, Georgia College and State University administers an M.Ed. in educational leadership that enrolls certified teachers who want to advance to administrative careers. The program offers an accelerated 36-credit curriculum that educators complete fully online in just one year.
Faculty use a cohort model to examine issues in management and compliance, stakeholder relationships, continuous improvement, and equity and differentiation. Participants culminate the degree with an exit requirement that includes an electronic portfolio presentation. The school recommends the educator for Tier I certification once they complete the GACE Educator Ethics for Leadership test.
All students pay the same affordable tuition regardless of residency. Admission requires a minimum 2.75 GPA and coursework on the education of children with special needs. The affordable master's in education begins each August and ends the following summer.
Program Name: Master of Education in Educational Leadership School Status: Public Tuition: $288/credit in-state and out-of-state Credit Requirements: 36 credits Program Length: 12 months
Established as a virtual college by governors in the 1990s, Western Governors University continues to innovate with accessible, affordable, competency-based teacher preparation programs. The 39-unit MS in educational leadership gives licensed teachers a pathway to the principalship or assistant principalship with a fully online curriculum and practical experience.
The program develops leaders with expertise in areas of school law, school finance, curriculum design and instruction, and data literacy and evidence-based practice. Educators engage in a two-part practicum that gives them experience under the direction of a practicing school principal or assistant principal.
A capstone requires that educators use their knowledge to solve a challenge in the school environment. About 73% of students complete this degree in 24 months. WGU's per term tuition saves educators money. Admission to the affordable master's in education requires teacher certification and school transcripts.
Program Name: Master of Science in Educational Leadership School Status: Private Tuition: $3,240/six-month term Credit Requirements: 39 units Program Length: 24 months on average
Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Educational Leadership Programs
Is a master's in educational leadership worth it?true
A master's in educational leadership can lead to a rewarding career for students interested in administrative and policy-making roles in education. Most leadership positions in education require a master's degree at minimum. Online degrees garner the same respect and acceptance as their on-campus counterparts.
Earning this degree can lead to career advancement opportunities and greater earning potential. It also grants graduates the ability to affect educational programs and the teachers, students, and communities they impact. As educational leaders, you can change the quality of education in a classroom, school, district, state, or nation.
What can I do with a master's in educational leadership?true
Graduates of master's in educational leadership programs can work as school administrators, principals, directors, and curriculum developers. They may work for primary, secondary, and postsecondary educational institutions in the public and private sectors.
Some graduates develop educational policies and programs, working for government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Others pursue leadership roles in niche fields, such as athletics, special education, and early childhood. Finally, some use this degree as a stepping stone to a doctorate, leading to further advancement opportunities, such as managing large school districts as a superintendent.
Are educational leadership graduates in demand?true
Educational leadership graduates can pursue numerous career paths. Some may choose to work in administrative roles in colleges' admissions or registrar's offices. Others pursue roles as presidents and superintendents. The BLS projects that jobs for school administrators will grow by 8% from 2020-2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
This employment growth amounts to about 14,500 job openings a year for postsecondary administrators and 22,100 openings a year for K-12 principals. As more students enter college, more administrators are needed to direct and support them. State and local government budgets also affect employment opportunities.
How much money can I make with a master's in educational leadership?
Salaries for those with a master's in educational leadership vary, based on the position, employer, location, and experience level. For example, PayScale reports that curriculum directors earn an average yearly salary of $74,330, with the top 10% making $107,000 as of November 2021.
What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in educational leadership?
School superintendents hold one of the highest paying jobs in education, with an average annual wage of $121,930 as of November 2021, according to PayScale. The top 10% boast earnings of $194,000. Superintendents overseeing large school districts may see even greater salaries.
A study conducted by The School Superintendents Association found those who worked for districts with 10,000-24,999 enrolled students earned a median salary of $200,000, while superintendents of schools with more than 100,000 students earned $338,710 in 2019-2020. This position may require a doctorate, particularly for districts with large student enrollment.
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.
Compare your school options.
View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.