Teachers can continue their education and advance their careers by pursuing a master's degree in education administration. Many states require teachers to hold this degree before they can apply for posts as assistant principals, curriculum specialists, and school district administrators.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of principal positions will increase by 4% between 2018 and 2028. Principals earn a median annual salary of $96,400.

A master's degree in education administration can also prepare graduates for careers as college or technical school administrators and training managers. Education administration programs typically focus on topics like leadership, facility management, and instructional methods.

This guide introduces common courses and concentrations available in education administration master's programs. It also explores potential career paths in the field.

What Is Education Administration?

Education administration refers to leadership, instructional development, performance evaluation, and fiscal management in education. Principals and other administrators must take responsibility for a workforce of teachers and support staff.

Education administrators may also work in a specific area of education, such as curriculum development or special education. At the postsecondary level, they implement policies and processes that provide for educational improvement, facility management, and regulatory compliance at colleges and universities.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Education Administration Programs of 2020?

Rank School Location
1 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
2 George Washington University Washington, DC
3 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
5 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
6 Fordham University Bronx, NY
7 University of South Carolina Columbia, SC
8 Concordia University - Irvine Irvine, CA
9 William Woods University Fulton, MO
10 San Diego State University San Diego, CA

Should I Get a Master's in Education Administration?

Many teachers pursue a master's degree in education administration to advance their careers. Some public school systems offer higher wages to teachers with a relevant master's degree, and many states require a master's degree to become a licensed school administrator.

Demand for education administrators should remain steady in the coming years. The BLS projects 4% employment growth for principals from 2018-2028, which translates to the creation of more than 11,000 new positions.

The BLS also projects 7% growth for postsecondary education administrators between 2018 and 2028. This field includes workers like admissions officers, as well as college leadership positions like deans and provosts.

Most education administration programs include courses in leadership development, human resources, budgeting, and conflict management. Students also learn to make data-driven decisions and policy recommendations.

Pursuing an online master's degree in education administration may be appealing to classroom teachers because of the flexibility provided by distance learning. Many teachers balance their education with their own lesson planning, grading, and family commitments.

What Will I Learn in an Education Administration Graduate Program?

The following sections discuss common courses and concentrations available in a master's program in education administration.

Concentrations allow you to tailor the degree to your interests. These concentrations may focus on a specific age group or special populations within a school system.

Most master's programs require a capstone, such as a thesis or a professional project. Many programs also include an internship — some states require this experience as part of the licensure process.

Courses

Supervision of Instruction

This course prepares aspiring administrators to perform classroom observations for teachers. Participants learn about effective instructional strategies and data-driven instructional methods. Learners also discuss how to mentor and coach teachers in instructional practices.

Education in American Society

This course covers the development of the modern public school system, its management, and its financing. Students also discuss movements related to school choice, alternative educational paths, and voucher controversies.

Education Law

Schools must meet local, state, and federal requirements for student attendance, hiring practices, and educational quality. Participants in this course learn how to meet those requirements while also studying landmark court cases in education.

School Resource Management

Administrators must manage various resources to run an effective school. This course offers an introduction to bookkeeping, human resources, and facility management.

Instructional Strategies

This class evaluates the different ways in which students learn. It also offers guidance for developing lessons and activities that support those learning pathways. Participants also discuss theories of motivation, differentiated instruction, and assessment practices.

Concentrations

Leadership

This concentration focuses on organizational management and leadership. Courses explore how to motivate employees at all levels and promote a positive school culture. This track is a good fit for aspiring principals, postsecondary leaders, and superintendents.

Higher Education Administration

This concentration prepares graduates for roles in postsecondary institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporate training businesses. Learners discuss theories and principles related to education policy, student development, adult learning, and enrollment management.

Special Education Administration

Leaders in special education need advanced knowledge of human development, education law and policies, and differentiated instructional practices. Courses include applied research, contemporary educational issues, and resource management.

Instructional Design

This course evaluates data-driven changes in curriculum and instructional design. Courses may cover topics like implementing educational technology in classrooms and distance learning program design. Career opportunities include curriculum supervision in public school systems, higher education course design, and training and development programs for adult learners or continuing education.

Principalship

This concentration often aligns with state requirements for an administrator or principal education license endorsement. Courses include curriculum supervision, resource management, and leadership. Many administrators work as assistant principals before assuming the role of principal.

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

Many education administration graduates work for public and private school systems. However, the leadership skills and expertise gained during master's programs in education administration can lead to careers in fields beyond education.

The jobs listed below offer an idea of the career opportunities available.

Careers

Principal

Principals manage their staff, develop school budgets, and oversee school policies. They often meet with parents to discuss students' academic or behavioral concerns. They also develop professional development programs for teachers and complete performance evaluations.

Median Annual Salary: $96,400

Preschool and Childcare Center Director

Directors ensure proper staffing, develop program standards, and ensure compliance with state and federal childcare facility regulations. They also handle enrollment and outreach for new students. They develop professional development programs for staff and prepare budgets.

Median Annual Salary: $48,210

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators ensure teachers have the resources and training needed to teach. They often review textbooks and other materials and train teachers about new standards and instructional strategies.

Median Annual Salary: $66,290

Postsecondary Administration

These administrators work in colleges, universities, vocational schools, and adult education programs. Many administrators oversee a department that reports to a college president.

Median Annual Salary: $95,410

Training and Development Manager

These managers work in corporate entities and nonprofit organizations. They design training materials and programs for new hires. They also help workers with continuing education requirements and professional development.

Median Annual Salary: $113,350

How to Choose an Education Administration Master's Program

Our site ranks the best online master's in education administration programs based on variables like affordability, academic outcomes, and online learning opportunities. This can provide a useful starting place for your school search.

Identifying the best school for you involves reviewing academic offerings, electives, and specializations. Additionally, consider the accreditation status of the school and if the curriculum meets requirements for licensure in your state.

How to Get Into an Education Administration Master's Program

You typically need a bachelor's degree in education and at least three years of teaching experience to qualify for a master's program in education administration. While specific requirements vary by school, some programs also require a minimum 3.0 GPA and GRE or MAT scores.

A master's degree in education administration does not typically meet state requirements for initial teacher licensure. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in another field should look into the licensure requirements in their state if they want to become education administrators.

Additional application materials often include letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.

Read Our Guide to Graduate Admissions

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Education Administration?

Most master's programs in education administration take about two years to complete and require 30-36 credits. Many students enroll as part-time learners during the fall and spring semesters while they continue to teach. Some schools offer intensive programs during summer sessions.

Additionally, some programs offer accelerated pacing that allows students to graduate in about 12 months. These programs may feature shorter terms of 7-8 weeks.

In addition to your degree, you may need to apply for licensure from your state department of education to work in this field. Some states require a passing score on the appropriate Praxis exam.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Master's in Education Administration?

In 2018, the National Center for Education Statistics found that public institutions charged approximately $11,926 in tuition and fees for graduate programs. That same year, private colleges charged $25,442 for graduate programs.

Many public universities offer tuition discounts for public school teachers. Additionally, some online programs charge all distance learners in-state tuition rates. Students who pursue an online degree in education administration can also save on expenses like transportation costs and parking.

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Best Online Master's in Education Administration Programs