The Best Online Master's in Educational Administration

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School administrators — including principals, superintendents, and instructional coordinators — oversee K-12 schools, while higher education administrators oversee student services and academic programs at colleges and universities.

Education administration professionals ensure that schools run efficiently and effectively.

Graduates who earn an online master's in education administration enjoy lucrative and in-demand career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that school principals earn a median salary of over $95,000 per year and projects the creation of 11,000 new principal jobs between 2018 and 2028. Additionally, the BLS reports that higher education administrators earn a median salary of over $94,000 per year, with a 7% projected job growth through 2028.

Top 10 Online Master's Programs in Education Administration

#1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
#2 George Washington University Washington, DC
#3 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
#4 Fordham University Bronx, NY
#5 The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Knoxville, TN
#6 University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman, OK
#7 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
#8 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA
#9 Iowa State University Ames, IA
#10 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE

Choosing an Online Master's in Educational Administration Program

When researching potential online master's in education administration programs, students should consider factors such as a program's cost, accreditation status, format, and available specializations. Typically, public institutions cost less than private institutions, but students at both types of schools can take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help offset education costs.

When researching potential online master's in education administration programs, students should consider factors such as a program's cost, accreditation status, format, and available specializations.

Additionally, students may need to attend an accredited school to qualify for professional licensure or certification. For example, many states require individuals to hold an accredited degree to qualify for a principal or administrator license.

The length of an education administration master's degree track varies depending on the program and a student's enrollment status. Most programs take two years of full-time study to complete, although some schools offer accelerated timelines. Students should also consider a program's format. Asynchronous programs do not require set login times, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities.

Finally, many programs offer specializations in areas like principalship and higher education administration. Students should ensure they choose a program with focus areas that align with their career goals.

What Is a Master's in Education Administration?

A master's in education administration prepares graduates for jobs such as school principal, K-12 school administrator, and higher education administrator. Students take classes on topics like school leadership, instructional assessment, and school financing. Some programs offer electives or concentrations in areas like higher education administration, special education leadership, and differentiated curriculum planning.

Many educational administration programs incorporate an internship or practicum to give students hands-on experience in the field. Online programs typically let students meet practicum requirements at an approved site near their home.

What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Educational Administration Program?

Courses vary by program, but we outline several common master's in education administration classes below.

The Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Education Administration

  • Instructional Leadership: This course covers the operational functions of schools, the role of data analysis in school leadership, and how to use teacher evaluations to improve instruction. Graduate students also learn to manage resources — including teachers, budgets, and district opportunities — to increase student achievement. Depending on the program, this class may also cover how to implement English language learning and special education programs. The course prepares students for leadership roles in K-12 schools.
  • School Financing: Students in this course learn how to develop a school or district budget and conduct budget forecasting. Students learn about the collaborative process behind creating a budget, budget implementation models, and the role of government funding in budget development. The course also covers topics like enrollment trends, student attendance reimbursements, and population projections, including how these topics shape school financing.
  • Educational Psychology: This course examines the theories and research behind how students learn. Participants investigate how culture and context shape student learning, examining topics like motivation, human development, and educational management. Students also learn how to develop teaching methods and instructional processes based on psychological concepts. The course prepares future education administrators to improve instruction using educational psychology.
  • School Administration: This class introduces students to foundational school administration principles and responsibilities. Learners study administrative doctrine, leadership behavior, and leadership skills in an educational environment. Learners also study school administration theories and applications. Some programs incorporate a practicum to give students hands-on experience in school leadership. The course prepares students for leadership roles in schools.
  • School Law: This course examines the legal framework of the public education system in the United States. Students learn about judicial decisions that shape school law, the legal responsibilities of schools, and the legal constraints on public school officials. Learners study topics like collective bargaining, employment discrimination, and special education law. The course prepares future school administrators to adhere to laws and regulations.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Education Administration Prepares For

Many education administration careers require a license. For example, principals generally need to complete a master's degree and hold a state-issued license to qualify for job opportunities. However, most higher education administrators do not need a license. Licensure requirements vary by state, so prospective school administrators should research the requirements in the state where they intend to work.

Accreditation for Online Master's in Educational Administration Degrees

Prospective students should ensure they attend an accredited school. Several education administration careers require a license, including school principal jobs. In most states, licensure candidates need an accredited graduate degree. Similarly, many employers prefer candidates with an accredited degree.

Schools may hold regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Regional accreditation is typically awarded to nonprofit, degree-granting schools that meet high academic standards.

Programs within a school may also receive specialized accreditation. Programmatic accreditation applies to specific programs, including teacher preparation and education administration programs. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation grants programmatic accreditation to education administration programs.

Online Master's in Educational Administration Careers

Graduates with a master's degree in education administration enjoy diverse career opportunities. We cover several common jobs for graduates below.

Instructional Coordinators

Median Salary: $64,450 Projected Job Growth: 6%

Instructional coordinators — also called curriculum specialists — oversee a school's or district's curriculum and teaching standards. They develop educational materials, organize teacher training events and workshops, and analyze student performance data to make curriculum improvements. Some instructional coordinators specialize in an area such as special education or English as a second language.

School Principals

Median Salary: $95,310 Projected Job Growth: 4%

School principals oversee the operations of K-12 schools. They implement curriculum standards, manage teachers and staff, and oversee the school's budget. Principals also hire teachers and assess their performance. In many schools, principals implement standards set by the district and coordinate with the superintendent and school board to improve the school. Principals often need a state school administrator or principal license.

Higher Education Administrators

Median Salary: $94,340 Projected Job Growth: 7%

Higher education administrators manage student services and academic departments at colleges and universities. They may specialize in several areas, such as admissions and student affairs. Higher education administrators in admissions offices may set targets for how many students to admit, conduct outreach to encourage student applications, and oversee staff members. In student affairs, higher education administrators advise students on academic issues, lead programs, and schedule services.

Professional Organizations for Education Administration

Professional organizations help education administration students and professionals advance in their careers, expand their professional networks, and strengthen their skills.

  • American Association of University Administrators AAUA represents higher education leaders and administrative personnel, including department chairs, unit directors, and community college administrators. AAUA offers professional development resources, including an annual leadership seminar that focuses on a current theme in higher education. Members benefit from access to the Journal of Higher Education Management, which publishes current research in the field. The association also offers a professional development fellows program that helps administrators develop their skills. In addition, AAUA offers a professional development program for department chairs that includes onsite workshops and online support.
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals Founded in 1921, NAESP represents elementary and middle school principals. The association hosts the National Principals Resource Center, which provides professional resources, research articles, and webinars to help principals stay current in the field. NAESP also hosts an annual conference that provides networking opportunities for education administration students and professionals. NAESP's career center connects principals with job opportunities from across the country. Members also gain access to NAESP publications, including Principal magazine, newsletters, and white papers.

The Best Online Master's in Education Administration Programs

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Fordham University 

Bronx, NY Apply Now

About this school

Fordham University provides a Jesuit education focused on community service. The university's online master of science in education, administration, and supervision program prepares graduates for leadership positions in Catholic and independent schools. The program follows a cohort model that includes research, group projects, problem simulations, and clinical application.

Fordham offers two program tracks:

  • School Building Leadership: this pathway caters to students seeking certification as New York State School Building Leaders and careers as school principals, department chairs, and other leadership roles.
  • Administration and Supervision: this track serves students who are not seeking New York certification but want to prepare for educational leadership roles at particular institutions in the U.S. or abroad.

Both tracks require a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, three years of teaching experience, GRE or MAT test scores, and a statement of purpose for admission. Once accepted, distance learners pay the same tuition as on-campus students.

Students in the program must complete 30 credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA and pass a master's comprehensive exam. School building leadership candidates also log two semesters as interns; these may be completed at their place of employment. Students choose 10 classes from a list of required courses, including instructional leadership, leading in a diverse society, school finance, and a seminar in the spirituality of leadership.

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Percent Receiving Loans

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville 

Knoxville, TN Apply Now

About this school

The online master of science in educational administration program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville offers two options: a licensure track and a non-licensure alternative. Both pathways are offered through the program's volunteer online leadership studies specialization.

Each track consists of 36 credits of online coursework. The licensure track aims to create quality leaders. Graduation requires passing a comprehensive exam and the School Leader Licensure Assessment. Licensure students submit a professional learning portfolio and complete a 350-hour internship supervised by a school principal and a program faculty member.

Non-licensure students prepare for careers in school or social service leadership and take two elective courses instead of completing an internship. To graduate, they must pass a final comprehensive exam.

Prospective students need a minimum 2.7 undergraduate GPA or a minimum 3.2 graduate GPA. They must hold teacher or school licensure with three years of experience and submit three professional recommendations. Candidates also interview as part of the admissions process.

Online tuition and fees cost less for distance learners than on-campus students — significantly so for out-of-state students.

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University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus 

Norman, OK Apply Now

About this school

The University of Oklahoma offers a variety of degree programs for distance learners, including a blended master of education in educational administration curriculum and supervision. Delivered by OU's College of Education, the program prepares students for leadership roles in schools, colleges, and universities, as well as in school districts, government agencies, and policy and advocacy centers.

Applicants must have a bachelor of science in education with 12 credits of approved prerequisites in education. Students may transfer in up to 25% of credits required for graduation. The thesis track requires 34 credits, while the non-thesis option features 36 credits.

Core classes include the following:

  • Curriculum Development in Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Education and the Law
  • Organization of Education
  • Supervision of Instruction
  • Technology in Educational Administration

Electives cover such topics as middle school, adult education, women in education, and the history of American education.

The thesis and non-thesis tracks can each be completed in less than five years. The non-thesis pathway culminates with a comprehensive portfolio and principal internship. To graduate, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

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Percent Receiving Loans

Texas A & M University-College Station 

College Station, TX Apply Now

About this school

Texas A&M University houses a student population of nearly 70,000 and offers several online degrees, including a master of education in educational administration. This non-thesis program trains future public school leaders, emphasizing social justice, responsibility, and equity in preK-12 administration. Once graduates complete at least 36 credits of online coursework and obtain faculty approval, they can take the state principal examination. The program typically takes two years to complete.

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate. Other prerequisites include at least two years of full-time teaching experience, involvement in leadership activities, and a faculty interview. Applicants submit an online application, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. The head of the department assigns each accepted student an advisory committee chair, who assists with formulating a proposed degree plan.

Required courses include school principalship, administration of special populations and programs, public school laws, and K-12 school finance and budgeting. Students complete an internship during their second year. Participants can take courses online, but they must come to campus for one weekend during their second spring semester for a required training session.

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Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College 

Baton Rouge, LA Apply Now

About this school

Among the online graduate degrees offered at Louisiana State University, two prepare students for careers in educational leadership and administration. The master of arts in higher education administration program prepares students for postsecondary-level leadership roles in admissions, alumni relations, counseling, and similar areas. Alternatively, the master of education in educational leadership track builds on a student's teaching experience to foster advanced leadership and management skills.

The 36-credit higher education administration program takes about two years to complete. Graduation requires preparation of an online portfolio or reflective essay. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Other admission requirements include GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and proficiency in English.

Students can graduate from the online master of education in educational leadership program in 15 months. Admission into this 39-credit program requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA; a teaching certificate; current school or district employment with at least two years of experience; and evidence of leadership potential, such as a "teacher of the year" nomination, a national board certification, or a nomination letter.

Both programs feature an internship and a class related to understanding and applying research in education. Distance learners pay more than traditional students, but education students may qualify for funding from the Louisiana Department of Education.

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Iowa State University 

Ames, IA Apply Now

About this school

Iowa State University offers numerous online and distance learning options, including a master of education with an emphasis in higher education. This 30-credit program trains students to become leaders and scholars skilled in postsecondary administrative leadership; assessment and research; student development; and equity, diversity, and inclusion. Students can concentrate in one of three areas:

  • Community College Leadership
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Intercollegiate Athletics Leadership and Administration

Students can typically earn their degrees in two years, including one summer term. Designed for working professionals, the program delivers coursework asynchronously and synchronously. Class topics cover educational research, curriculum development, student affairs, and student development. The program culminates in a capstone seminar. Students also participate in on-the-job fieldwork.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrate English proficiency. Prospective students apply online to the graduate school and submit a resume; three references; transcripts; and a 500-word statement detailing their academic and professional goals, professional background, educational areas of interest, and reasons for choosing the program.

All distance learners pay the same tuition as in-state students.

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Lincoln, NE Apply Now

About this school

Distance learners can earn their master of education in P-12 school leadership or master of arts in higher education administration online from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Both programs — designed for working professionals — take approximately two years to complete and consist of 36 credits. Students can also attend conferences and symposia as part of their program.

The P-12 school leadership hybrid program delivers online and face-to-face courses. Participants also complete in-person internships in their home school districts with support from on-site and faculty mentors. The curriculum centers on three core competencies: visionary thinking, reflective learning, and servant leadership, which students demonstrate in their school leadership portfolios. Graduates are prepared to sit for the state-mandated PRAXIS exam and earn administrative certification. Notable classes include:

  • School Culture and Behavior
  • Educational Finance
  • Diversity and Equity in Educational Organizations

The fully online higher education administration degree program targets current postsecondary institution staff members interested in advancing their leadership and administrative skills. This program has no in-person attendance requirements and culminates in a comprehensive examination. Core class offerings include:

  • Higher Education Environments
  • College Students in America
  • Personnel Management

Prospective students submit transcripts, a letter of application, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. Online students pay lower tuition than their on-campus counterparts.

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Percent Receiving Loans

University of South Carolina-Columbia 

Columbia, SC Apply Now

About this school

The University of South Carolina's online master of education in educational administration is one of the university's nearly 50 graduate-level distance learning programs. The program prepares graduates for careers as principals, teachers, and instructional leaders in preK-12 schools. Graduates can become certified as school principals.

Focusing on community ethics, critical self-reflection, and deep and equitable change, the curriculum includes 21 core credits, nine related credits, and six in-person practicum credits. Core courses include finance, personnel management, school law, and school leadership. Related classes cover curriculum development, research, and special education.

Online learning takes advantage of highly interactive platforms and synchronous virtual classes, along with guests speakers who work in educational administration. Students log their practicum hours at a local school with supervision from an on-site staff member and a university faculty member. The practicum features situations and challenges encountered by school principals.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and submit three letters of recommendation. Non-resident online students pay in-state tuition, and South Carolina certified teachers can attend at a discounted rate.

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Percent Receiving Loans

Drexel University 

Philadelphia, PA Apply Now

About this school

A leader in research, Drexel University offers an online master of science in educational administration that educates future leaders of elementary and secondary schools. Students can choose from four program options:

  • School Principal Certification
  • Supervisor of Special Education Certification and Principal Certification
  • Supervisor of Special Education Certification
  • Non-certification Track

The curriculum centers on leading collaboratively, solving problems methodically, promoting educational standards, and using technology for instructional and assessment decision-making.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. For the school principal certification pathway, applicants must possess a state-issued counseling or teaching certificate. Supervisor of special education certification candidates must hold a Pennsylvania special education teacher certificate.

Applicants submit an online application, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and an essay detailing their interest in the program and educational philosophy. Drexel does not charge an application fee. Program participants save 25% on tuition compared to on-campus students.

The program delivers coursework asynchronously, and on-site experiential learning requirements vary based on the program option. Students seeking school principal certification must log internship hours focusing on technology, finance, leadership, and relations. Supervisor of special education certification and principal certification internships address instructional leadership, collaboration and personnel, finance, and management. All students conduct capstone research in one of these tracks: practitioner, thesis, or lesson study.

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San Diego State University 

San Diego, CA Apply Now

About this school

San Diego State University's online master of education in educational administration targets preK-12 teachers and administrators seeking leadership roles, as well as those interested in teaching students technology and critical thinking skills. Offered through SDSU's World Campus and College of Education, the program maintains a cohort of 12-30 students, with an emphasis on collaboration through technology.

A predetermined course schedule follows a mostly asynchronous delivery model with some instructors holding periodic synchronous sessions. Students graduate in 1-2 years, working through the following curriculum:

  • Communication, Problem Solving, and Decision-making in PreK-12
  • Methods of Inquiry
  • Organizational and Systems Leadership
  • Personalized Learning and Leading Through Technology and Tech Architecture (which may involve on-site field experiences)
  • Professional Learning and Growth Leadership
  • School Improvement Leadership
  • Visionary Leadership

Students also complete individual study and special topic courses culminating in a written project.

Prospective students submit a Cal State application, a program application, transcripts, and GRE scores. They also upload a 1-2-page statement of leadership philosophy, resume or CV, and two recommendation letters — one of which must come from an immediate supervisor. Incoming students need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.85 GPA. Those with lower GPAs may earn admission on a probationary basis.

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Percent Receiving Loans

West Virginia University 

Morgantown, WV Apply Now

About this school

The extensive online offerings at West Virginia University include a master of arts in higher education administration. Offered through the College of Education and Human Services, this 30-credit program delivers online courses in a combined synchronous and asynchronous format. Students can graduate in 2-8 years, depending on whether they enroll part time or full time. Participants can take classes entirely online or through a mix of online and on-campus courses.

Graduates may pursue careers in postsecondary administration, teaching, research, and policy at colleges, universities, and external agencies. The program features a personalized curriculum that emphasizes using online learning technology to accommodate different learning styles.

Resident and non-resident online students pay the same tuition rate. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students submit an online graduate application, a letter of application outlining their professional experience and educational goals, three professional references, and an academic writing sample.

To graduate, students must earn a "C" or better in each class and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25 in required courses, which include the following:

  • History of American Higher Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Higher Education
  • Higher Education Administration
  • College Student Development

The curriculum also includes research topics in a student's area(s) of interest and electives, such as community college leadership, adult and continuing education, land-grant colleges/universities, and academic affairs roles. The program concludes with a capstone that consists of a supervised, on-site internship; monthly group discussions; and a portfolio.

Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

University of North Texas 

Denton, TX Apply Now

About this school

At the University of North Texas, distance learners can earn a master of education in educational leadership or a master of education in higher education with an emphasis in general administration. UNT Online offers more than 80 programs, many with accelerated learning options allowing completion in 12-18 months.

Prospective education students must first apply to the graduate school. Applicants who meet admission standards then go through the College of Education for a final decision.

The 30-credit educational leadership degree offers an accelerated option. The program centers on building K-12 educational leadership skills through current theory and research. Participants learn about guiding school culture, teaching methods, and student achievement. Education leadership applicants submit a program application, a letter of recommendation from a current supervisor, a personal essay, and a resume.

The higher education degree option does not offer an accelerated learning option. This 36-credit program prepares students for careers in higher education administration. The curriculum focuses on developing skills related to the history, theories, and philosophy of postsecondary education.

Admission into the higher education program requires a program application, official transcripts, adequate GRE scores or an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.3, and three references. Students must also write a two-page essay describing their professional goals, significant life events, and personal strengths and weaknesses.

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Percent Receiving Loans

Duquesne University 

Pittsburgh, PA Apply Now

About this school

Duquesne University offers a Catholic education focused on educational excellence and moral and spiritual values. The university's online master of science in higher education administration provides graduates with the experience, knowledge, and skills needed to pursue administrative careers in postsecondary education. Students can graduate in two years.

The 30-credit curriculum covers admissions development, business, communications, and marketing. Courses address data-driven decision-making, external relations, financial management, and legal issues. Students participate in a supervised, on-site practicum during which they formulate a capstone proposal. The program culminates in a capstone research study that examines, analyzes, and recommends improvements to a current issue in higher education.

Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants submit a graduate application, official transcripts, and a statement of purpose. The university does not accept applications from online students in all states; non-Pennsylvania applicants should contact the admissions office before applying. Tuition rates for online students equal those of on-campus students.

Distance learners work with an advisor throughout the program. The interactive course delivery combines synchronous and asynchronous experiences that promote collaboration among students and faculty. Students can access a writing center, library, and support center online.

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Percent Receiving Loans

Saint Joseph's University 

Philadelphia, PA Apply Now

About this school

Distance learners at Saint Joseph's University can earn their master of science in educational leadership and administration entirely online or choose a combination of online and on-campus courses. Students also complete fieldwork.

Learners can prepare to earn certification in preK-12 education or they can choose a non-certification path. Graduates may pursue careers related to school and district administration, curriculum supervision, and special education leadership within the context of democratic ideals, service, and social justice.

Learning outcomes include knowledge of educational leadership content, theories, and practice; skills in fostering a positive school culture and student success; organizational, operational, and resource management abilities; and understanding of applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

The program offers concentrations in the following areas:

  • General (Non-certification), 30 credits
  • Principal Certification and Curriculum Instruction Supervisor, 30 credits
  • Supervisor of Special Education, 30 credits
  • Principal Certification, Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor, and Supervisor of Special Education, 39 credits

Distance learners pay the same per-credit tuition — regardless of residency — and graduate assistantships may be available for those who can commute to campus. Students can complete the program full time or part time.

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school and submit an online application, academic transcripts, and two letters of recommendation.

Graduation Rate
Percent Receiving Loans

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 

Milwaukee, WI Apply Now

About this school

The master of science in educational administration and supervision program at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee takes a cohort of students through fully online coursework grounded in educational equity and social justice. Catering to aspiring school principals, district superintendents, and other administrators, the program prepares graduates for the following licensure or certificate areas:

  • Director of Instruction, 33 credit
  • Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, 33 credits
  • School Business Administrator, 33 credits
  • School Principal, 33 credits
  • School Principal/Director of Instruction Dual License, two-year course sequence
  • Administrative Leadership Specialist Certificate, 24 credits

Applicants upload their transcripts and a statement outlining their reasons for applying to the program; their interests and backgrounds; and any relevant training, awards, and honors they have received.

Prerequisites include a bachelor's degree, a minimum 2.75 GPA, and GRE/MAT scores or relevant professional certification. The program recommends 2-3 years of teaching experience for applicants seeking administrative licensure. All applicants must also have initial teaching licensure. Specialist certificate applicants must meet additional requirements, including a master's degree with a minimum 3.5 GPA, a K-12 initial administrator license, and two letters of recommendation.

Accepted students may transfer in up to 12 graduate credits with department approval. The program's hybrid curriculum combines synchronous and asynchronous online coursework with face-to-face learning. Clinical experience takes place in person. The program culminates with a capstone project where students put together an electronic portfolio.

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East Carolina University 

Greenville, NC Apply Now

About this school

East Carolina University offers a variety of online programs, including a master of school administration that teaches future school leaders skills related to collaboration, communication, innovation, and problem-solving. Students complete on-site, supervised internships during their second year of study.

The 42-credit program takes approximately two years to complete and features face-to-face and online classes. Students belong to a cohort that meets at a school or district closest to the majority of participants. For those who live further away, an online option allows them to meet with their cohort online once a week and engage in face-to-face meetings for a week in the summer and four times per semester during their second year.

Prospective students must apply to the graduate school. Requirements include at least three years of teaching experience, a signed letter of support from their principal or superintendent, and an interview. North Carolina residents must submit a copy of their current educator license. All applicants upload transcripts, MAT or GRE scores (waived for individuals with at least five years of professional experience or a master's degree in education), and three professional references.

Distance learners who plan to become licensed outside of North Carolina should contact the program to discuss whether it meets their state's requirements. Distance learners pay reduced tuition rates.

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University of South Dakota 

Vermillion, SD Apply Now

About this school

The online master of arts in educational administration and leadership program at the University of South Dakota trains graduates to become educational administrators and leaders. Designed with a flexible schedule for working professionals, the program offers students two specializations:

  • Adult and Higher Education: thesis (32-34 credits) and non-thesis (32 credits) options
  • PreK-12 Principal: leads to licensure, non-thesis only (32 credits)

Adult and higher education students take online courses in adult learning theories, principles of postsecondary education, organization and administration in higher education, and graduate research and design.

The preK-12 principal curriculum includes classes in curriculum leadership, special education law, community relations, and leading school improvement. To graduate, students complete a supervised on-site internship and take comprehensive and professional exams.

Prospective students submit transcripts, evidence of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, essays, and three professional reference letters. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.7 undergraduate or 3.0 graduate GPA. PreK-12 principal applicants must also have three years of applicable teaching experience.

Tuition rates for distance learners fall between the resident and non-resident rates for on-campus students. Online students pay the same rate, regardless of residency.

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Percent Receiving Loans

Ball State University 

Muncie, IN Apply Now

About this school

Ball State University offers a fully online master of arts in educational administration and supervision. The program prepares graduates to earn their principal's license. Potential careers for licensees include school principal, administrator, and superintendent. Focus areas include applied research, high standards of excellence, innovation, and service to schools and communities.

Students can complete the 33-credit program in 19-20 months. Required courses cover topics in educational leadership and decision-making, finance and ethics, human resource development, and school law. Students also select one of three electives: education and ethics, history of American education, or multicultural and multiethnic education in American schools.

Distance learners take asynchronous courses with weekly assignment deadlines. Interaction with faculty and classmates takes place through email, blogs, and discussion boards. Online students can also opt for a hybrid option, in which they attend some classes on campus or at the school's Fishers Center for Academic Innovation. Students complete a two-semester internship at a preK-12 school, in which they take on decision-making tasks at the elementary and secondary levels.

Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA. They must submit an application to the graduate school, along with academic transcripts. Out-of-state applicants should make sure that federal regulations allow them to enroll at Ball State. Tuition rates depend on residency status.

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Franciscan University of Steubenville 

Steubenville, OH Apply Now

About this school

Franciscan University of Steubenville offers rigorous, Catholic-based programs, including an online master of science in education and educational administration. Centered on curriculum, educational theory, human development, and teaching models, the program takes 18 months to finish. Students can take courses online and/or on campus.

The program splits into two tracks, both of which require 36 credits to graduate:

  • Master of Science in Education
  • Master of Science in Education Administration

The MS in education core requirements consist of courses in philosophical studies in education and educational research methodology, along with a master's project. Students also choose from concentration classes and electives in their area(s) of interest.

The MS in educational administration curriculum includes courses in contemporary education issues and the school administrator, human development in education, and instructional leadership. Participants also complete a master's project and onsite field experiences under the supervision of a school administrator. This concentration offers an Ohio licensure program for experienced educators with master's degrees. The graduate education department encourages out-of-state residents to contact them for reciprocal licensing information.

Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree with coursework in a student's proposed area of study or a teaching certificate, a minimum 2.5 GPA, professional references, and official transcripts. Applicants seeking to transfer in credits should speak to the director of graduate education.

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Percent Receiving Loans

Old Dominion University 

Norfolk, VA Apply Now

About this school

Old Dominion University has delivered distance learning since the 1980s and now offers a master's program in educational leadership. The program prepares students to become school and district leaders. Graduates can pursue full preK-12 state licensure in educational administration and supervision.

Catering to working professionals, the program offers courses one evening a week through an online platform that simulates an on-campus classroom experience. Courses include accountability and organizational improvement, learning theories and professional development, and instructional leadership and supervision. Students complete on-site, supervised internships and produce a portfolio and reflective paper.

Candidates must submit an online application, evidence of a bachelor's degree and minimum GPA of 2.8, an undergraduate writing sample, and GRE scores. Applicants must also provide a resume, two letters of recommendation, a one-page statement describing their professional goals and anticipated career path, and a two-page essay discussing the impact of a current educational issue on administrators and how participation in a cohort program can benefit their employer school.

Program costs depend on residency status. Distance learners who live outside of Virginia also pay a technology fee. Students can transfer up to 12 credits into this program.

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Stony Brook University 

Stony Brook, NY Apply Now

About this school

Stony Brook University — a prominent public research institution — offers an online master of arts in higher education administration. The curriculum prepares graduates to pursue careers in postsecondary administration and student affairs. Full-time students can complete their degrees in 16 months, although individuals may also enroll on a part-time basis.

Students complete 36 credits, covering topics like diversity, foundations of higher education administration, research and assessment, and college student development theory. Students also take a project seminar, select from an extensive list of electives, and participate in practicum opportunities. The program offers a preparation seminar for the school leadership examination.

All applicants must submit the following materials:

  • An online application
  • Official transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • A 750-1000-word personal statement outlining an applicant's education and career goals and professional background
  • A 750-1000-word essay discussing a critical issue in higher education
  • A resume
  • Two professional letters of recommendation

Non-resident distance learners pay comparable tuition to New York residents and significantly lower rates than non-resident on-campus students. The program may accept up to 12 transfer credits.

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Whitworth University 

Spokane, WA Apply Now

About this school

Whitworth University is a Presbyterian-affiliated school that primarily focuses on the liberal arts, business, and education. The university's online master's in education administration program provides an intimate graduate school experience. Operating on a cohort model, the program allows students to network and familiarize themselves with their peers. Cohorts begin each fall semester, with the program accepting applications until June 1 each year.

Aiming to fit the schedules of professional teachers and administrators, the program features live, synchronous, seminar-style online courses that meet each Friday evening. Courses also meet once a month on Saturday mornings. Students can complete in-person internship requirements at the schools where they currently work. Each cohort completes the program in two years.

The program's curriculum consists of 36 credits. Students who only seek principal certification without a master's degree need only complete 26 credits. Faculty members have significant teaching and administrative experience in Washington public schools.

The program charges all distance learners the same tuition, no matter where they live. The program also offers need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships to outstanding distance learners.

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Ranking Methodology

Online Master's in Education Administration Programs Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a master's in education administration?

Earning a master's in education administration prepares students for leadership positions in K-12 schools and colleges and universities.

What can you do with a master's in education administration?

Graduates with a master's in education administration can work as school principals, higher education administrators, and school administrators. They may hold the job title of dean, director, or vice principal.

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

Completing a master's in education administration program generally takes two years of full-time study, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.

How do I become an education administrator?

Many education administrator jobs require a master's degree from an accredited program and a state-issued license. For example, principals and other administrators at public schools often need a license.

How much do education administrators make?

Salaries for education administrators vary based on their specific role. School principals earn around $95,000, while higher education administrators earn a median salary of $94,000 per year.

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