Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration 2021
| TBS Staff
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School administrators oversee K-12 schools, while higher education administrators oversee student services and academic programs at colleges and universities.
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 $96,000 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 $95,000 per year, with a 4% projected job growth through 2029.
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.
Featured Educational Administration Programs
The Best Online Master's in Education Administration Programs
In 1876, Texas A&M University became the first institute of higher learning in Texas. Today, the College Station-based university has an enrollment of over 69,000 students.
Texas A&M works to transform educational leaders into agents of change with its online master of education in educational administration, emphasizing Pre-K-12 educational leadership. The 36-credit master's program includes courses like developing school-community partnerships, school principalship, and instructional leadership development training.
Candidates must have a bachelor's degree, a Pre-K-12 teaching certificate and two years of full-time teaching experience. They must also interview with faculty and be involved in leadership activities.
From its beginning in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has championed teaching, research, and community involvement. Annually, this university educates about 47,000 students on its Urbana-Champaign campus and online.
U of I Online's master of education in educational administration and leadership prepares students for a wide variety of leadership roles, including superintendents, principals, and deans. Ambitious students benefit from a 32-credit curriculum with courses such as public school finance, education law, and leading school improvement.
Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Mississippi College opened its Clinton campus in 1826. This private Christian university enrolls over 5,000 students.
The online master of education in educational leadership from MC has a faith-based curriculum emphasizing Christian leadership roles. This 36-credit educational administration degree program addresses leadership challenges with courses such as the instructional dimension of leadership, school law, and introduction to administrator preparation.
Admission requirements include an official transcript, a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.5 GPA, a teaching license, and a minimum of three years of teaching experience.
Western Carolina University has been a substantial wing of the UNC system since 1972, though its history reaches back to 1889. Located in Cullowhee, this former secondary school has evolved into a university with over 12,000 students.
WCU's 36-credit master of school administration (MSA) online program prepares working educators for leadership roles and principal licensure. The program features courses such as curriculum leaderships, leading adult learning, and shaping school culture.
Candidates must have official transcripts with an undergraduate 3.0 GPA or higher, three years of full-time teaching experience, a valid North Carolina Class A teacher's license (or comparable out-of-state license), three recommendations, a resume, a leadership goal statement, and a candidate evaluation rubric.
In 1963, Southern New Hampshire University became a degree-granting higher learning institution. Since then, this university in Manchester has developed into an educational hub with over 135,000 students.
Teaching professionals enroll in SNHU's online master of science in higher education administration to learn about higher education leadership's major components. The 36-credit curriculum increases management and leadership competence with courses such as data-driven decision making, program evaluation, and educational policymaking.
Admission requires a completed application, a transcript release form for all schools attended, and a graduate attestation form showing at least a 2.75 GPA.
Located in Longview, LeTourneau University started as a technical institute in 1946. Presently, it has transformed into a full university with over 1,100 students.
LETU's online master of education in education administration degree provides working educators with the means to increase leadership and management skills without sacrificing their present work life. Featured courses within the 43-credit curriculum numerous principal practicums, instructional leadership, public school law, and curriculum evaluation.
Candidates for this master's degree must provide official transcripts proving a minimum 2.5 GPA from any regionally accredited undergraduate work resulting in a bachelor's degree. Applicants who don't meet the GPA requirement must submit a resume.
The George Washington University opened the doors to its Washington, D.C., campus in 1821. Now, GW oversees over 26,000 students.
GW's online master of arts in educational leadership and administration appeals to working professionals seeking leadership positions in K-12 schools, central offices, and supervisory posts. The 30-credit curriculum offers such courses as instructional leadership for school improvement, introduction to quantitative research, and administrative issues in education.
Applicants must submit a resume proving at least one year of teaching experience, official transcripts, proof of bachelor's degree, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation.
Founded in 1899, Tarleton State University joined the Texas A&M system in 1917. From its Stephenville campus, Tarleton hosts over 13,000 students.
Tarleton's master of education in educational administration trains ambitious educators for transformative leadership roles within the education system. This 33-credit master's in educational administration program has three concentrations and offers courses such as research in educational leadership, special problems, and special education law.
Candidates must submit an online application and official transcripts verifying a 2.5 GPA or higher.
Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma State University has been educating adults since 1890. This land grant university has over 35,000 students across its five-campus system.
OSU's master of science in educational leadership targets credentialed educators seeking career advancement in Pre-K-12 education by satisfying Oklahoma's principal certification requirements. Courses within the 36-hour curriculum include principalship, supervision of instruction, and school finance.
To apply, candidates must submit a graduate college application, transcripts from all attended colleges, a current resume, a valid Oklahoma standard classroom teaching certificate, three letters of recommendation, and two specified essays.
Since 1906, Southern Wesleyan University's Christian foundation has been a significant part of its core educational values. From its campus in Central, SWU shares these values with over 1,300 students.
With SWU's online master of education in administration and supervision program, working educators can continue their professional duties while earning a principal certification. The program's 36 credit course load includes cultivating a positive school climate, organizational development in schools, and advanced educational research.
Candidates must have a valid South Carolina teaching certificate, two years of education work experience, an official transcript verifying a 3.0 GPA, two letters of recommendation, and a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Webster University started as a small women's college in 1915. Today, this Saint Louis-based university has grown from five students to over 12,000.
The mission of Webster's master of arts in educational leadership and administration is to prepare students for administrative leadership by focusing on the complex dynamics in the education field. The 32-credit curriculum features courses such as school law, ethics in leadership, and school finance and facilities.
Applicants for this master's in education administration must have completed training for Missouri teaching certification. Admission requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, a minimum 2.5 GPA, an essay, and a letter of recommendation from an associate or faculty member.
In 1976, Jerry Falwell Sr. founded Liberty University in Lynchburg. Over the past four decades, Liberty has evolved from a small college to a university of over 15,000 students.
Liberty's online master's in education administration and supervision develops influential leaders in public, private, or Christian educational environments. Some of the 36-credit curriculum's featured courses are school community relations, school administration, and principles of behavior management.
Candidates must submit an official transcript that verifies a nationally or regionally accredited bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 GPA.
With over 14,000 students, New Mexico State University's 900-acre campus rests in Las Cruces. It has been educating students from this location since 1888.
NMSU's online master of art in educational leadership and administration introduces students to the latest influences and policies affecting college and university administrations. The 33-credit program reflects this theme with courses such as management of educational change, basing decisions on data, and higher education law.
Admission requirements include transcripts from all higher learning institutions attended, a letter of purpose, a current resume, three reference letters, and a writing sample.
Located in Langhorne, Cairn University opened as a Bible college in 1913. Today, it offers over 70 programs to more than 1,500 students.
Cairn offers an online master of science in educational leadership and administration to Christian educators with a desire to advance to an academic leadership role. Some of the 39-credit curriculum's highlighted courses include Biblical integration for educators, principalship, and issues in special education for school leaders.
For entry into the program, applicants must produce official transcripts as proof of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA.
Founded as an agricultural school in 1909, Southern Arkansas University has developed into a higher education hub of 4,100 students in Magnolia.
As a means of earning licensure as a principal, SAU's online master of education in educational leadership in administration and supervision focuses on hands-on clinical experiences. The 30-credit curriculum for this education administration degree features classes such as leadership of special programs and services, school-community relations, and program administrator leadership.
Program candidates must submit an application and an official transcript verifying a bachelor's or master's degree. Unconditional admission hinges on a 2.5 GPA plus a weighted GMAT score of 1,000 or above, a minimum GRE score of 284, or at least a 30 MAT score. Students may qualify for various forms of test waivers.
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod founded Concordia University in 1894. From its campus in Seward, Concordia serves over 2,700 students.
Concordia's online master of education in educational administration satisfies the Nebraska state requirements for the elementary or secondary principal certification. The 36-hour program exposes students to school leadership essentials with courses such as curriculum design and evaluation, school resource management, and school improvement processes.
The Concordia admission process includes a completed online application, a request for official transcripts, a letter of intent, and a resume.
Ball State University has been preparing students for career opportunities from its Muncie campus since its christening in 1918. It presently educates around 22,500 students.
For educators wanting to earn a Pre-K-12 building-level and principals license, Ball State's master of arts in educational administration and supervision supplies all the necessary training. The specialized material in the 36-credit program features courses such as educational decision-making, the school principal, and supervision of instruction.
Applicants must turn in a completed application, transcripts verifying a minimum 2.75 GPA, and proof of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Founded in 1882, Northwestern College remains committed to offering a Christian liberal arts education to over 1,500 students on its Orange City campus or online.
Northwestern's master of education in educational administration and principal endorsement trains educators to be principals or special education supervisors by using practicing administrators as course instructors. The 37-credit program gives students first-hand knowledge with courses such as operations management, instructional leadership, and professional portfolio.
Through transcripts and official documents, candidates must supply proof of a baccalaureate from an accredited institution, an undergraduate cumulative minimum 3.0 GPA, a teaching license, and at least one year of teaching experience.
Stationed in Mequon, Concordia University Wisconsin operates as part of the Concordia University system. The university's mission of educating over 8,000 students to be Christian servant leaders originates from its 1881 launch by the Lutheran Church.
Aspiring educational administrators study educational systems' complexities in CUW's master of science in education — educational administration — principal or director of instruction licensure. The 33-to-39-credit program offers courses such as leadership for change, business administration of schools, and legal and ethical issues in educational administration.
The application process requires official transcripts verifying a 3.0 GPA and a bachelor's degree, a resume, an essay of purpose, and two recommendation letters.
Founded in 1876, Prairie View A&M University sits on 1,440 acres of Texas countryside in Prairie View. It provides over 70 degree programs to more than 9,000 on-campus and online students.
PVAMU offers an online master of education in educational administration with all the courses needed to earn a superintendent's certification. Some of the featured courses in the 36-credit curriculum include educational statistics, principles of supervision, and school business management.
Candidates must submit a graduate studies Admission application, three letters of recommendation, and a valid teacher's certificate with at least a year of teacher's experience.
Since 1863, Emporia State University has progressed from a small college of about 18 students to a full university with 5,800 students attending on the Emporia campus or online.
ESU's master of science in educational administration online prepares students to become school principals or athletic directors. This 33-credit program instills professional intelligence and skill with courses such as school leadership theory, research in education, and school systems management.
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, a minimum 2.75 GPA over the last 60 hours of study, a state-issued teacher's license, and at least three years of teaching experience.
Established by South Dakota's state legislature in 1862, the University of South Dakota serves as its state's flagship university. Located in Vermillion, USD has a total enrollment of nearly 9,500 students.
USD's master of arts in educational administration and leadership online concentrates on producing educational leaders who add value to this field. Students can choose between a 32-to-34-credit thesis plan or a 32-credit non-thesis plan in this program. Some of the featured courses in both plans include adult learning theories, principles of post-secondary education, and organization and administration in higher education.
Candidates must have successfully completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 2.7.
More than 18,000 students trust the University of Massachusetts Lowell to provide a top-notch educational facility on the Lowell campus and online. Since 1894, this university has been fulfilling that responsibility.
UMass Lowell offers this master of education in education administration to experienced educators seeking to increase the professional knowledge base and advance in their careers. The 30-credit curriculum provides courses such as principles of supervision, leading the professional learning community, and program evaluation.
Applicants with a bachelor's degree can apply with official transcripts, a statement of purpose, and three recommendation letters.
In 1975, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod launched Concordia University Irvine under its original name, Christ College Irvine. Since then, this Irvine-based university has progressed to serving more than 4,000 on-campus and online students.
CUI's master of arts in educational administration offers working educators a cohort program emphasizing strategic decision-making and effective leadership. A few of the featured courses in the 30 credit curriculum include financial resources, facilitating communities of practice, and human resources.
Admission requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution, a 2.7 cumulative GPA or higher, a CBEST passage, a valid California teacher's credential, and proof of work experience.
Founded as a Christian university in 1858, Hannibal-LaGrange University caters to a student body of over 1,000 on-campus and online students. From its Hannibal campus, the university offers a higher education with the inclusion of Christian values.
HLGU's online master of education in education administration provides leadership and management training to working educators seeking career advancement in K-12 education. Highlighted courses in this 30-credit master's education administration include revision of a school improvement plan, school law, and school business management and facilities.
HLGU encourages interested students to apply through admission counselors or online.
Online Master's in Educational Administration Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.
Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
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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.
Education Administration Curriculum
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 — 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 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 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.
Popular Questions About 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.
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.
Completing a master's in education administration program generally takes two years of full-time study, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.
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.
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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