Schools rely on experienced, innovative, and passionate leaders to encourage teachers and students to grow and reach their full potential. Earning a master’s degree in education administration online will provide you with the skills to improve and lead educational institutions.
Online master’s programs for education administration are generally geared toward working professionals, especially those working in K–12 or higher education institutions who want to take on leadership positions. Graduates can take on high-ranking and high-paying positions, such as a school principal or postsecondary administrator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), both of these jobs come with a median annual salary exceeding $90,000.
Choosing a Program
Earning an online master’s in educational administration is a great pathway for teachers who want to advance their careers and move into leadership positions. These programs help working professionals become school principals, superintendents, or higher education administrators. Students learn how to manage schools and academic departments, including their finances and staff, and make thoughtful decisions improving learner outcomes.
Many schools offer master’s in education administration online programs, but you can narrow down your choices based on elements such as the program’s learning format, length, capstone requirements, and concentration offerings. Some education administration programs are structured in cohorts, which means you will learn with a group of students and move through the curriculum together.
You should also consider whether you want to enroll in a program requiring on-campus residences or field experiences. Some programs require students to complete several hundred internship hours, which may not be ideal for working professionals with full-time jobs. Lastly, consider whether you want to specialize in a certain area of education administration that aligns with your career goals. Programs most commonly offer concentrations in higher education and pre-K–12 education.
For career information, skip down:
- What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Educational Administration Program?
- Online Master’s in Educational Administration Careers
- Accreditation for Online Master’s in Educational Administration Degrees
- Professional Organizations for Educational Administration
See also: What can I do with an Education degree?
Online Master’s in Educational Administration Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
What Are the Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration Programs?
1. University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the state’s flagship college and a top-tier research institution. Its nine colleges offer several academic programs to 26,000+ Huskers, including distance education programs. The school’s suite of administrator preparation programs includes the 37- to 43-credit master of arts in educational administration–higher education administration and 36-credit master of education in educational administration–school leadership.
Students work with professors to develop a plan of study for either program. Areas of study in the MA include higher education in America, student affairs, educational leadership in higher education, and human resources management in higher education. Students who opt for a specialization in student affairs administration attend classes on campus.
Educators in the M.Ed. focus on pre-K–12 school leadership and study education finance, education law, special education law, faculty and staff appraisal, and school culture and student behavior. M.Ed. students elect to pursue state certifications and endorsements such as curriculum supervisor; principal, elementary (P–8); and principal, secondary (7–12). While faculty deliver many courses online for the M.Ed., some courses require on-campus attendance. UNL offers thesis and non-thesis options for both degree plans, and all master’s students complete a comprehensive exam. The MA program admits students in the fall, while the M.Ed. does so in the summer. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and school transcripts; GRE scores are not required.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. George Washington University, GW Online
Washington, District of Columbia
George Washington University enrolls 26,000+ students on three campuses in the nation’s capital. Located just four blocks from the White House, GW provides world-class programs administered by its 10 schools and colleges. Students enjoy access to internship opportunities at a wealth of organizations, including 450 student organizations and Division I athletics teams.
Educators prepare for the principalship and other K–12 administrative positions in the master of arts in education and human development in educational leadership and administration. The 30-credit curriculum includes study of supervision and evaluation of instruction, K–12 site-based leadership, school law and policy, and educational leadership and the change process.
Participants apply course concepts and learn from peers during group work designed to simulate the workplace. They also develop leadership competencies during two administrative internships: one within a school district and one through a semester-long leadership project. Coursework and field experiences prepare learners for certification eligibility in the District of Columbia and compact states such as Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. One of the top master’s degrees in the country, students complete the program in two years. The program admits students in the spring, summer, and fall. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, a minimum one year of teaching experience, and school transcripts.
George Washington University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The master’s in educational leadership and administration is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
3. University of Oklahoma–Norman
The University of Oklahoma’s main campus in Norman houses world-class research, the National Weather Center, and 400 student organizations. The College of Education administers a 36-credit master of education in educational administration, curriculum and supervision in a hybrid cohort that begins in the fall. The M.Ed., which includes Oklahoma principal certification endorsement, prepares participants for leadership positions in elementary and secondary education.
Students take a 27-credit core in one of the nation’s best online master’s programs for education administration. The curriculum includes studies in the organization of education, financial leadership in schools, school-level instructional leadership, and inquiry for performance improvement. Students also explore two core courses examining technology and politics in educational administration. In addition to coursework, students participate in a principal internship supervised by principals and professors.
Upon completion of the M.Ed., students develop the requisite competencies of aspirant principals in instructional leadership, strategic thinking and planning, data-driven decision-making, and continuous improvement. The M.Ed. offers both thesis and non-thesis options, with non-thesis students and those pursuing principal certification required to complete a comprehensive portfolio. Faculty supplement online courses with Saturday classes once a month on the Norman campus. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree in education and 12 credits of prerequisite education courses. Admissions excludes GRE requirements.
The University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Johns Hopkins University
The nation’s first research college, Johns Hopkins University is based in Baltimore but boasts campuses on three continents. JHU enrolls 24,000 students in 260 programs offered through nine academic divisions. The college also boasts 27 Nobel Prize researchers and notable alumni. JHU’s School of Education offers great teacher and administrator preparation programs, including a master of science in education — school administration and supervision.
The program enrolls certified teachers and education personnel pursuing the principalship and other supervisory positions in K–12 education. The 39-credit curriculum, aligned with the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, is approved by the Maryland State Department of Education for certification in administration and supervision. In the first stage of the master’s in education administration online, educators study effective leadership; curriculum theory, development, and implementation; advanced instructional strategies; and the organization and administration of schools. The second sequence of courses focuses exclusively on K–12 education policy and the administrative and instructional uses of technology.
Students synthesize classroom learning during a capstone seminar followed by a semester-long internship in a school. Participants work under the supervision of a mentor and a JHU faculty supervisor. Faculty also require students develop a portfolio of their experiences during the internship. Learners enroll on a part-time or full-time basis in the fall, spring, or summer. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree in education, teacher or administrator certification, and at least 27 months of experience.
Johns Hopkins University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
5. Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Originally established as an agricultural college, Michigan State University enrolls 50,000 students and administers more than 200 programs that produced Goldwater, Rhodes, and Churchill scholars. The college enrolls approximately 30,000 students in online, hybrid, and off-campus programs and ranks as a leader in graduate teacher preparation.
The 30-credit master of arts in K–12 educational administration uses a hybrid model to prepare school leaders in Michigan. The program features collaborative learning and networking to enable learners to build social capital across the state. The degree plan consists of a 21-credit core and nine electives. The MA core includes an analysis of teaching and learning, educational finance and resource allocation, the evolving practice of school leaders, and how to engage diverse students and families. Participants complete a school internship during the fall and spring semesters of the second year.
Faculty deliver the coursework using a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online delivery and on-campus learning. Students take the in-person classes at one of three locations: East Lansing, Birmingham, or Detroit. Graduates earn eligibility for school administrator certification in Michigan with endorsements in elementary and secondary education. Learners complete one of the top online master’s degrees in education administration in two-to-three years. Students transfer up to nine credits into the program, which admits in the fall, spring, and summer. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and school transcripts.
Michigan State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York
Stony Brook University ranks in the top 1% of colleges in the world. Students learn in classrooms with a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio on a 1,000-acre campus in Long Island. Graduate students planning to pursue careers in administration or student affairs enroll in the master of arts in higher education administration (HEA). The 36-credit curriculum requires an 18-credit core examining topics such as college student development theory, diversity in higher education, and research and assessment in higher education. Learners use 18 electives to examine areas of interest such as enrollment management, student affairs administration, community college administration, and advising and counseling in higher education.
A summer institute acquaints HEA students with emerging issues in higher education through face-to-face and online activities. Using a think tank format, faculty immerse students in the study of leadership in higher education, the challenges and concerns facing administrators, and college student wellness. During a study abroad option, HEA students visit leading higher education colleges in a foreign country such as China or Italy. During the two-week program, students learn about the history of higher education in the country and student issues — and meet with faculty and administrators to exchange ideas. Learners take the HEA mostly online or in hybrid format, completing the degree full-time in 16 months. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, school transcripts, and no GRE.
Stony Brook University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
7. University of Massachusetts–Lowell
Formed as a teaching college in 1894, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is one of five colleges in the UMass system. The school enrolls 17,000 students in 175 programs. UMass-Lowell offers several graduate programs, including a 10-course master of education in education administration. The non-licensure program enrolls experienced educators hoping to expand their professional knowledge in education administration. The 30-credit curriculum includes study of inclusive schools, principles of supervision, program evaluation, and the role of the curriculum and instructional leader.
A new course on school finance develops students’ understanding of financial principles and cultivates competencies in budget management in public schools. One of the top online master’s degrees in education administration, the M.Ed. also offers a new course on the principalship during which faculty acquaint learners with the attributes needed for effective leadership of K–12 schools. The course exposes students to theories and research on school leadership, the decisions principals make every day, and how to foster strategic thinking and leadership. During a capstone, students develop a teacher work sample focusing on six areas, including learning goals, an assessment plan, design for instruction, and an analysis of student learning.
The fully online program admits students in the spring, summer, and fall. Online students pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of K–12 teaching experience.
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The online M.Ed. in education administration is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
8. The University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is the state’s flagship college and enrolls 28,000 students. UT Knoxville serves learners with 900 programs of study administered by 11 colleges. Students learn in classrooms with a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school’s virtual arm offers several graduate educator preparation degrees. The online 36-credit master of science in educational administration offers both licensure and non-licensure tracks.
The non-licensure track does not prepare students to become principals. Instead, learners develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work within private schools, nonprofit organizations, or in grant writing positions. Students work with faculty to develop a curriculum and an internship plan addressing their specific educational and career needs.
The licensure track leads to a Tennessee instructional leader’s license. The curriculum aligns with both Tennessee Instructional Leaders Standards and the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium Standards. It includes study of administrative and organizational theory, curriculum and school leaders, how to use data for school improvement, and supervision and personnel administration. Faculty require students to complete a six-credit internship and thesis. Students sit for Tennessee’s School Leaders Licensure Assessment upon completion of one of the top master’s in education administration online. Learners take either program virtually. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree, school transcripts, and the GRE.
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The MS in educational administration is fully accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
9. University of South Carolina-Columbia
Columbia, South Carolina
The University of South Carolina–Columbia is one of eight campuses in the USC system. The system enrolls 50,000 students in hundreds of programs, including 200 graduate degrees. Educators pursuing administrative positions choose from a suite of eLearning options. The 36-unit master of education in educational administration prepares experienced teachers for the principalship at elementary or high schools.
The curriculum includes study of school leadership, school personnel administration, supervision of instruction, and school finance and business management. A course on the principalship covers many of the competencies, principles, and practices involved in school administration. Students take electives in subjects like human growth development, classroom assessment methods, and special education. Two internship courses focus on becoming either an elementary or a high school principal.
Upon completion of the M.Ed., graduates understand the socio-political and cultural issues affecting education. Students complete the online master’s in educational administration in 24 months. Those living out of state must determine if the degree meets their state’s licensure requirements. Online students pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Certified teachers in South Carolina enjoy reduced tuition. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, the MAT or GRE, and a minimum of three years of teaching experience.
The University of South Carolina–Columbia is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
10. Ball State University
Originally established as a teachers’ college, Ball State University enrolls 22,000+ students from around the world. Ball State’s Teachers College maintains its prominence as one of the best in the nation. Students unable to attend classes in-person pursue educator preparation via Ball State Online.
Educators in the master of arts in education (MAE) in administration and supervision acquire the education and training necessary for principal licensure in Indiana. The MAE is the largest principal preparation program in the state, incorporating a rigorous curriculum with applied research. The 36-credit curriculum includes study of school law, educational leadership, educational decision making, and educational finance and ethics. Students use electives to study topics like the history of American education and education and ethics.
Faculty require students to complete a two-semester internship at an elementary and high school. Some complete the internship at their home school or one nearby. Wherever they choose, participants acquire practical experience as they engage in the decision-making responsibilities of a school administrator. Students complete the MAE, one of the best online master’s degree programs in education administration, in 18–20 months. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, school transcripts, and the GRE. Indiana requires two years of teaching experience for the principalship.
Ball State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The online MAE in administration and supervision is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
11. Liberty University Online
Liberty University offers 550 programs of study emphasizing academic rigor and Christian principles. The college’s eLearning options include several educator preparation programs, including licensure and non-licensure tracks.
The 36-credit master of education with a specialization in administration and supervision enrolls licensed teachers who want to work in administrative roles. The degree prepares educators for the principalship or for roles as curriculum instructors in Virginia. The curriculum includes a core examining learning theory, curriculum development, the foundations of exceptionality, and the foundations for educational leaders.
The 12-credit administration and supervision cognate cultivates students’ understanding of school law, school administration, school-community relations, and school finance and management. Professors require students to take courses designed to develop professional competencies in the supervision of instruction, behavior management, and curriculum and methods for the middle school. Students also hone administrative skills during a school internship and learn from peers and faculty during required on-campus intensives. Faculty use eight-week courses to deliver the master’s in education administration online. The M.Ed. enrolls students eight times during the year and allows them to transfer up to 50% of the degree’s required credits. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, initial teaching licensure, and three years of experience.
Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The M.Ed. with a specialization in administration and supervision is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
12. Indiana Wesleyan University
Founded in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian college affiliated with the Wesleyan Church. IWU offers liberal arts and professional education to 3,000 students on a 350-acre campus in Marion. Moreover, some 10,000 nontraditional learners earn degrees online and through centers located in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. IWU’s MBA program offers several specializations, including one designed for aspiring school administrators.
The 42-credit MBA in school administration creates graduates with a unique combination of business administration and school management skills. Faculty develop educators’ mastery of business principles with coursework in business economics, global management, innovation management, and accounting and finance for managers. They learn the intricacies of school administration with coursework exploring collaborative and instructional leadership; organizational, operational, and resource management; and professional, legal, and ethical leadership. Educators apply leadership principles learned in the program during a two-part principal internship in a school.
The degree trains school leaders able to drive school improvement with the use of effective instructional practices, ethical standards in decision-making, and stakeholder relationships that achieve institutional goals — all within a biblical framework. Students in the master’s degree in education administration online pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, school transcripts, and at least two years of teaching experience.
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The MBA in school administration is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
13. Appalachian State University
Boone, North Carolina
Appalachian State University enrolls 19,000 students in 150 majors. Students learn in classrooms with a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school’s eLearning options consists of degree completion and graduate programs in various fields. Experienced educators enroll in the 36-credit master of school administration (MSA) on a part-time basis. The online cohort program leads to North Carolina initial licensure in school administration.
MSA participants examine the principal’s role in evaluating the processes and systems involved in continuous school improvement. The curriculum immerses students in study of school law, the principalship, how to manage resources in schools, and theory and development in educational organizations. A three-course series focuses exclusively on research methods, data-driven school leadership, and school improvement planning. Students use electives to pursue areas of interest such as curriculum planning and digital technologies in education. Learners engage in administrative duties that align with MSA’s goals and objectives during an internship which students typically arrange at their home school.
Faculty use a mix of asynchronous and synchronous delivery to teach courses in one of the best online master’s programs for education administration. Students take a comprehensive exam to complete the MSA. The program admits students in the fall, and they complete the degree in six semesters. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, the GRE or MAT, North Carolina ’A’ or ’M’ licensure (or the equivalent if residing in another state), and at least three years of teaching experience.
Appalachian State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
14. University of Scranton
The University of Scranton provides learners with a liberal arts education in the Jesuit tradition. Students study on an urban campus just minutes from the Pocono Mountains. The school administers 96 programs to 5,000+ students. Experienced teachers cultivate leadership skills in the 39-credit master of science in educational administration, a program they complete in 18 months.
The curriculum includes foundational courses in curriculum theory and development, advanced educational psychology, and advanced foundations in education. Teachers study school law, school finance, the principal as administrator, and the principles and practices of supervision. Faculty expect all students to complete an educational research and statistics course in which they develop basic statistical techniques. In addition to coursework examining ethnographic research, quantitative research designs, and meta-analysis, students complete a scientific research project.
Learners get hands-on experience and apply acquired skills during two, 150-hour practicums conducted at elementary and secondary schools. During clinicals, students develop customized task plans, execute high-level administrative tasks, and provide extensive feedback. Graduates leave the program able to manage budgets, supervise staff, manage facilities and equipment, and integrate legal and education policies. One of the top online master’s degrees in education administration, the MS offers an option for Pennsylvania principal licensure through faculty site visits. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, school transcripts, and current teacher certification or a confirmation letter for uncertified teachers.
The University of Scranton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
15. Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Founded in 1964, Nova Southeastern University consists of 18 schools, colleges, and centers. NSU oversees a robust distance learning program made possible with regional campuses across Florida and a virtual college. The school boasts a graduate program in teacher and administrator preparation. The master of science in education with a specialization in educational leadership caters to teachers interested in advancing to administrative positions in schools and school systems.
Pre-K–12th grade teachers cultivate an awareness of the socio-political and economic factors influencing education and student outcomes. The 36-credit degree covers topics like school management, school law for administrators, educational budgeting and finance, and standards-based curriculum and assessment. During an administrative internship, learners spend 300 hours performing the activities of a school administrator under the supervision of a mentor. They leave the internship with a portfolio highlighting their accomplishments. The program meets Florida’s educational leadership certification requirements.
Students take courses in the master’s degree in education administration online with no face-to-face component other than the internship. They pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, school transcripts, and a current professional educator’s certificate.
Nova Southeastern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online MS in education with educational leadership specialization is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
16. University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi began as a teacher’s college in 1910 and evolved into a research university that is now home to more than 14,000 students. Southern Miss offers programs on main campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach and at teaching and research sites across the state. The school’s distance platform provides learners with affordable programs in several fields. The educational administration program requires no face-to-face classes.
The 34-credit master of education in educational administration and supervision prepares teachers for leadership positions at the elementary and secondary school levels. The four-semester M.Ed. offers both a fully online and a hybrid cohort format. Students study school leadership, transformational leadership, how to lead diverse school populations, and leadership for organizational effectiveness. Teachers hone their professional administrative competencies during an internship in their local school; the internship lasts three semesters. The fully online program admits new students in the fall, while the hybrid program admits in the summer. All students pay the same tuition rate. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, strong GRE scores, a current teaching certificate, and two-to-three years of teaching experience.
The University of Southern Mississippi is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online M.Ed. in educational administration and supervision is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
17. Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, North Carolina
One of 17 colleges in the University of North Carolina system, Western Carolina University enrolls 11,000 students and offers programs on a scenic main campus close to the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains. Those unable to attend classes on campus in Cullowhee benefit from WCU’s increasing number of online degrees. WCU, originally a teaching college, offers a hybrid master’s in school administration (MSA). The 36-credit degree plan enrolls experienced educators seeking to advance into administrative roles. The curriculum includes study of public school law, ethical school leadership, shaping school culture, and leadership for continuous school improvement.
Students take online courses and four classes in hybrid format with training provided at WCU’s Biltmore Park site in Asheville. In the second year, students participate in a competency-based internship in which they take on some of a principal’s responsibilities. Upon completion of the degree, graduates master leadership competencies in instruction, community engagement, social justice, and strategic leadership. Students complete the master’s degree in education administration online over five semesters. The MSA also offers the option of part-time enrollment. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, North Carolina Class A teaching license or a teaching license from another state, and three years of full-time teaching experience.
Western Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18. South Dakota State University
Brookings, South Dakota
The largest college in the state, South Dakota State University enrolls 12,000+ students in 180 fields of study. Students enjoy access to internships, study abroad programs, and 200 student organizations. Learners interested in flexible education choose a program from SDSU’s suite of options, such as the master of education in educational administration. The M.Ed. prepares students for leadership roles in schools, businesses, and other organizations.
Students in the M.Ed., one of the best online master’s degrees in education administration, choose one of two specializations: elementary or secondary education. The 32–35 credit curriculum for both specializations share a common core of courses. They include study of school finance, school law, community and public relations, exceptional learners, and the principalship. A series of courses explore effective teaching, the curriculum: theory and practice, and elementary or secondary education.
Both tracks require a practicum and an internship in which students cultivate proficiencies while working in a school environment. Students choose either a coursework-only option or complete a research project and paper as part of the degree. The M.Ed. leads to eligibility for South Dakota principal licensure and may also meet the requirements of educator licensing authorities in other states. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, a K–12 teaching certificate in South Dakota or another state, and at least three years of teaching experience.
South Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
19. University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska at Kearney administers 170 majors and 20 pre-professional programs through four colleges. Those unable to attend classes on campus choose an online program from several advanced teacher-preparation degrees. The master of arts in education in educational administration offers pre-K8 and 7–12 specializations. Faculty use the 36-credit degree plans to groom teachers for the principalship.
Learners take courses online and complete a practicum under the guidance of school administrators. The curriculum for both tracks shares a common core of subjects. Learners study curriculum planning, the legal basis of education, school business management, and the principalship. The tracks’ electives focus on common areas of interest such as school improvement, administration of special education, and the principal as instructional leader. Aspirant principals use electives to examine curriculum and instruction topics in the pre-K8 or 7–12 grades.
UNK lets students choose either a comprehensive exam or thesis option to exit the program. Those who began the degree elsewhere may transfer up to nine credits into the master’s degree in education administration online. Students pursuing certification in other states must check their State Department of Education to determine if the degree meets certification requirements. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA, a teaching certificate, and two years of teaching experience.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning commission (HLC).
20. Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
LSU Online offers a catalog of degrees students can pursue from anywhere in the world. The 36-credit master of education in education offers a higher education administration (HEA) specialization learners can complete in 18–24 months. Faculty designed the curriculum for those interested in student affairs and higher education administration.
The HEA curriculum develops school leaders well-versed in higher education knowledge, management skills, and leadership vision. Most students in the program already work in student services or a related area. They take 12 courses in the master’s degree in education administration online, examining topics such as college students in the U.S., student development theory, finance in higher education, higher education and the law, and student affairs in higher education. Those interested in community college leadership learn about the history, trends, and challenges two-year colleges face today. Graduates leave the HEA equipped for leadership roles in academic support services, student activities, and career planning and placement.
Faculty deliver the HEA fully online in seven-week courses. All students complete a comprehensive exam to exit the program. LSU Online students pay one tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree in education, business, or related field, and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Louisiana State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
21. California State University, Fullerton
California State University-Fullerton is the largest college in CSU’s 23-campus system. The school enrolls 39,000+ students in 109 degrees and awards more teaching credentials than any public college in the state. The College of Education’s online programs include a hybrid master of science in educational administration/preliminary administrative services credential (PASC). The 24- to 30-unit program trains pre-K–12 teachers and other educators for school leadership licensure. The degree cultivates leaders well-versed in instructional, organizational, strategic, and community leadership competencies.
Faculty deliver the curriculum of the online master’s in educational administration using a cohort model. Students study instructional leadership and assessment, political leadership, community engagement for school leaders, and organizational leadership and management. They acquire hands-on skills through fieldwork and a required project completed at the end of the program.
The Educational Leadership Department provides students with resources and information to help them during the program. Faculty deliver most of the courses asynchronously, with required face-to-face classes three Saturdays each semester. Students take two courses a term to complete the MS in two years and the PASC in 18 months. The program starts in the spring and fall. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA, California teaching or services licensure, and a minimum of five years’ teaching experience. The program requires no GRE or MAT.
California State University-Fullerton is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The online master of science in educational administration is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
22. Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University enrolls 27,000+ students, offers 141 programs, and boasts more than 200 student organizations. The school provides its learners a comprehensive suite of degrees offered by the College of Education. The hybrid master of education in higher education administration prepares leaders for roles in academic departments such as admissions, academic affairs, enrollment management, and alumni relations. The 36-credit curriculum studies American higher education, higher education administration, high education law, and college student development.
One of the best online master’s programs for education administration, the M.Ed. focuses on learning theories and application, educational research, and technology for higher education leaders. The program offers students specialized courses they use to explore areas of interest, including multicultural education, the community college, instructional design, and student affairs in higher education. Faculty require students to participate in a practicum in the final semester during which learners engage in field experiences and complete a portfolio under the supervision of a higher education administrator. Students enroll in the program on a full-time or part-time basis in any academic semester. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.75 GPA and the GRE or MAT.
Georgia Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
23. Duquesne University
Duquesne University provides students with a well-rounded education emphasizing spiritual and ethical development. A small college, the school educates approximately 9,000+ students in classrooms with a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. They learn on an attractive campus not too far from downtown Pittsburgh or via Duquesne’s e-campus.
The school’s 85 graduate programs include online offerings. The master of science in higher education administration prepares college administrators for work in admissions, enrollment management, and management and business. One of the top online master’s degrees in education administration, the MS’s 30-credit curriculum includes study of leadership in higher education, student affairs, budget and finance, data-driven decision making, and the regulatory environment. Faculty engage learners in applied learning with two practicums, mentorship under an experienced administrator in a higher education environment, and a capstone project.
Students master a number of skills, including effective advocacy, the use of data to make informed decisions, and understanding the needs of diverse student populations. Online learners receive support from the university’s writing center and access materials from the Gumberg Library. Students in the MS in higher education receive a reduced tuition rate. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and school transcripts.
Duquesne University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
24. University of Kansas
The University of Kansas enrolls 28,000+ students on five campuses and offers 370 degrees. The college boasts 27 Rhodes Scholars, more than all of the state’s colleges combined. KU’s excellence in academics includes programming in educator preparation. Online options include the 36-credit master’s in educational administration with both a non-licensure track and a licensure track for K–12 teachers who want to advance to the principalship or other administrative positions.
The curriculum for either track includes study of the principalship, data-driven leadership, education law, and school resource management. The building leadership track provides students with the requisite education and internship training for principal licensure in Kansas. Learners in this track complete a portfolio developed in tandem with the internship component. Students who choose the non-licensure track substitute the internship for additional coursework.
One of the best online master’s degree programs in education administration, the program allows students to put school administration theory into practice in Jayhawkville — KU’s interactive virtual school district. Jayhawkville consists of 30 simulated schools in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Faculty deliver the master’s in educational administration through eight-week courses. Students complete the program online and graduate in two years. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and school transcripts.
The University of Kansas is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online master’s in educational administration is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
25. West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia
Online learners in WVU’s master of arts in higher education administration enhance their leadership skills in preparation for careers in student affairs and academic administration. In addition to learning the inner workings of higher education institutions, students take elective courses that build skill-sets relevant to their interests.
The 30-credit curriculum includes four core courses exploring the history of American higher education, college student development, higher education administration, and contemporary issues in higher education. A second series focuses exclusively on research, with topics such as college student research, statistical methods, and program evaluation. Faculty allow students to take electives addressing particular areas of interest. Electives include college student affairs, women and gender issues, higher education finance, and diversity issues in higher education.
Faculty require students to complete a capstone to culminate the master’s degree in education administration online. The capstone involves placement at an internship site, monthly group meetings, and the development of a journal and portfolio. The program features fully online or hybrid options, full-time or part-time enrollment, and a flexible curriculum students can complete in two-to-eight years. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, school transcripts, and GRE scores.
West Virginia University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Educational Administration Program?
Online master’s degrees in education administration provide you with the knowledge you need to succeed as a leader in schools or academic departments. The curriculum delves into subjects such as financial management, teacher evaluations, and legal and ethical issues in education. Some programs also prepare students for licensure in school administration.
The Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Educational Administration
Students pursuing a master’s degree in education administration online typically study law and ethics, community relations, curriculum oversight, program evaluation, and finance. Core courses and the specific topics they cover may vary by program, but a few common classes you can expect to take are listed below:
- Education Law: Students in this class gain an understanding of state and federal laws governing education, particularly in public schools. The course prepares students for administrative roles by exploring topics such as educational standards, corporate and individual liability, and ethical issues in schools.
- Instructional Leadership: This course delves into the duties of a principal or other educational leaders. Students learn about setting goals for schools, developing curricula, and evaluating teachers and assisting in their professional development. These are crucial skills for students pursuing careers as a K–12 principal or an instructional coordinator.
- School Financing: If you aspire to be a principal, this class will teach you the fiscal management skills necessary for the job. This course analyzes key areas in school finance, such as budget planning, revenue sources, and purchasing procedures. Students may also review how politics affect funding, and how funding affects student achievement.
Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Educational Administration Prepares For
- Educational Administrator Certification: Most states require public school principals to earn a school administrator license. Some public schools also require instructional coordinators to earn this certification. Licensure candidates must hold a teaching license in their state and complete a master’s program. Some online master’s programs for education administration meet the educational requirements for one or several states. These programs usually explicitly state what type of certification or endorsement they prepare students for, but students should also confirm requirements with their state’s education board.
Online Master’s in Educational Administration Careers
Online master’s degrees in education administration typically prepare graduates for leadership positions in K–12 schools or higher education. Professionals in these jobs usually oversee entire schools or departments, implement and maintain academic standards, and work closely with teachers and staff. To be a successful educational administrator, it’s important for you to have interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills.
- Instructional Coordinator: Also known as curriculum specialists, these professionals evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum and teaching standards established by school boards, state governments, or federal regulations. Most employers, particularly public schools, require coordinators to hold a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Instructional coordinators in public schools may need to earn a license, such as a teaching license or an education administrator license.
- Median Annual Salary: $63,750
- Projected Growth Rate: 11%
- K–12 Principal: K–12 principals lead elementary, middle, and high schools. They manage a school’s operations, including its budget, activities, and staff. Principals need several years of teaching experience and typically require a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. Public school principals in most states also need to earn licensure.
- Median Annual Salary: $94,390
- Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Postsecondary Education Administrator: These administrators work in several areas at higher education institutions, including admissions, student affairs, and the registrar’s office. They may also be provosts or academic deans. Their duties vary depending on the area they manage, but they typically oversee student services, academics, or faculty research. These positions typically require at least a master’s degree, while provosts and deans usually need a PhD.
- Median Annual Salary: $92,360
- Projected Growth Rate: 10%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Educational Administration Degrees
When researching online master’s degrees in education administration, it is important to check their accreditation status and what agency accredits the program. Accreditation is vital because it ensures you’re receiving a quality education and are able to apply for federal financial aid. Students are only eligible to receive federal financial aid if they attend an accredited school or program.
On top of regional or national accreditation [PDF], specialized accrediting organizations accredit individual programs. Regional accreditation is generally considered the gold standard for institutions. Students who want to become a principal or superintendent should earn a master’s degree in education administration online from a regionally accredited school. This is because many states only allow students who earned a degree from a regionally accredited institution to apply for a school administrator license. Some online master’s programs for education administration are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the main accrediting agency for education degrees.
Professional Organizations for Educational Administration
Students pursuing online master’s degrees in education administration can join a number of professional associations for principals, educators, and college administrators to boost their networking and professional development skills. Professional associations for administrators offer exclusive resources, such as webinars and online courses, and host conferences and events focusing on specific educational topics. Students also typically have the benefit of receiving a discounted membership.
- ASCD: ASCD is dedicated to all educators, including principals and administrators. Students receive a discounted membership and have access to ASCD’s online courses, webinars, and exclusive newsletters. ASCD also hosts conferences and events focusing on areas such as teaching excellence, educational leadership, and legislative advocacy.
- American Association of University Administrators (AAUA): AAUA is composed of university presidents, deans, directors, department chairs, and other administrators. The organization establishes ethical and professional standards for administrators, publishes the Journal of Higher Education Management, and hosts an annual leadership seminar.
- National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP): NAESP serves elementary and middle school principals, as well as other educational leaders. Members have access to legal benefits, free webinars, and discounted mentor training. They also receive a discounted registration price for NAESP’s annual conference.