Master’s in Education Administration Program Guide

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by Juliann Scholl
Published on October 5, 2021 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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Educational institutions rely on administrators who possess the communication and leadership skills needed to oversee a school's curricula and operations. Professionals with a master's degree in education administration can perform such duties, working as principals, higher education administrators, and curriculum developers.

Earning a master's degree in education administration can help graduates qualify for higher salaries and access more job opportunities. Although dependent on state budgets and student enrollment, administrators like elementary, middle, and high school principals are projected to see 8% job growth between 2020-2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Should I Get a Master's in Education Administration?

Graduates with a master's degree in education administration should enter a growing field. For example, the BLS projects that postsecondary education administrator jobs will increase 8% between 2020-2030, which is about average.

Most students pursuing a master's degree in education administration must complete 36-54 credits, which usually takes around two years. However, the amount of time students need to graduate typically depends on their credit requirements, the pacing of the curriculum, and whether students enroll on a full-time or part-time basis.

Graduates who want to teach typically acquire a state-issued license to work in the classroom, with some states requiring a passing Praxis exam score. Teachers generally need to renew their licenses every 3-5 years and take continuing education courses to maintain licensure.

What Will I Learn in an Education Administration Master's Program?

A master's degree in education administration equips graduates with expertise in leadership, management, and communication in educational settings. These programs also teach skills in curriculum development. Many students in this type of degree program acquire research proficiencies and further develop their analytical and critical thinking abilities.

Programs conferring an online master's degree in education administration typically offer courses like school resource management, education law, and staff development and evaluation. Students can also expect to take classes in special education leadership, principalship, human resource management, and educational research.

Prospective students can choose from different types of master's programs depending on their goals and interests. For instance, master of arts (MA) and master of science (MS) programs can prepare degree-seekers to teach a specific discipline. These programs also emphasize curriculum development and theoretical aspects of learning and instruction.

Students wanting to pursue roles in special education or industries outside of education may enroll in a master of education (M.Ed.) program instead.


Grades PreK-8 Principalship

Aspiring education administrators in this concentration typically pursue leadership roles in elementary and middle schools. Graduates focus on educational leadership and meeting the developmental needs of young students.

High School Principalship

Principals working with high school students need strong communication and leadership skills. They also ensure effective and safe learning environments in their schools.

Higher Education Administration

Graduates with a master's degree in higher education administration can pursue jobs in postsecondary settings, such as colleges and universities. This concentration typically focuses on topics related to admissions and student services.

Instructional Design

This specialization focuses on the theories and methods behind planning and building curricula. Coursework also covers methods for training and evaluating teachers and other educational staff.

Special Education Administration

Degree-seekers pursuing a special education concentration learn best practices for teaching students with developmental disabilities and other special needs. This concentration may also cover how to train other educators in special education.

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How to Get Into an Education Administration Master's Program

Applicants pursuing a master's degree in education administration typically need to submit academic transcripts that show a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Many programs also require a minimum GPA, typically between 3.0-3.5. Students may also be asked to submit GRE scores. When reviewing students with lower GPAs, admissions personnel might take a high GRE score into consideration.

Many schools require a statement of purpose describing the student's interest in the program and what makes them a good fit for graduate school. Applicants should also be prepared to submit 1-3 letters of recommendation from former professors, employers, and other professional contacts.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Education Administration?

A master's degree in education administration can qualify graduates for leadership and administrative positions in education, providing more advancement opportunities and the potential for higher pay. Individuals can also pursue jobs in curriculum development or as elementary, middle, or high school principals.

Graduates who do not want to teach can seek careers in postsecondary education as academic deans in universities or colleges. Professionals with this degree can also pursue employment as university registrars, overseeing academic records and enrollment.

Popular Career Paths

Elementary School Principal

Principals in elementary schools manage all operations, including the hiring of teachers and staff, curriculum development, safety, and daily activities. They often oversee extracurricular activities, counseling programs, and after-school childcare.

High School Principal

High school principals direct all educational and facility operations, including daily activities, extracurricular programs, curriculum development, and personnel. Principals working at the secondary level also must see that educators prepare their students for life after high school.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators supervise the development and implementation of teaching standards and school curricula. These professionals also oversee the training and evaluation of educators.


Provosts work in postsecondary education administration. Their typical duties may include overseeing and enforcing budgets, hiring faculty members and helping make decisions related to tenure, and overseeing faculty research.

Popular Continuing Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Education Administration?

Professionals in postsecondary education administration made an average salary of $115,200 in 2020, while elementary- and secondary-level education administrators earned an average of $97,970. Many factors can influence a worker's compensation, including their academic background, level of experience, and type of employer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Education Administration Programs

What is education administration? true

Education administration includes managerial and communication duties related to the overall operations of a school. This area of study emphasizes administrative practice and theory, including educational philosophy, principalship, and management. Educational administrators in postsecondary institutions oversee admissions and registration, coordinate large groups of faculty and staff, and manage specific functions like student life or athletics.

Is a master's in education administration worth it? true

Not all schools require a master's degree in education administration when hiring. However, holding an advanced degree can make a job seeker more competitive. It can also qualify them for higher annual pay. An education administration master's degree can open doors to leadership positions in education, as well as teaching and curriculum development jobs.

How much does it cost to get a master's in education administration? true

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate-level tuition and fees during the 2018-19 academic year was $19,314. However, tuition and other charges can vary based on location, a student's residency status, and whether the school is public or private.

How long does it take to get a master's in education administration?

Most online master's in education administration programs take 18-24 months of full-time study. The time needed to finish a program depends on the school, delivery format, graduation requirements, and program pacing. Individuals attending school part time might need three years or more to graduate.

What are the highest-paying jobs in education administration?

Education administration professionals who work for colleges, universities, and professional schools take home some of the highest wages in the field. These professionals made an average annual salary of $119,190, as of May 2020.

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