What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s Education Administration Program?

The primary responsibility of an educational administrator is to ensure schools run smoothly. They monitor student achievement and progress, approve learning standards and curricula, create financial budgets and evaluate teacher performance.

When enrolling in an online master’s in education administration program, students can expect to receive the same high-quality instruction as they would receive while taking on-campus classes. Students who are already working as teachers and looking to advance their careers into administrative roles can take classes during the summer or after school. When choosing an online master’s in education administration program, it’s important to find the right program that aligns with your personal and career goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Education Administration

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Elementary/Secondary/PK-12 This type of concentration typically prepares students to become leaders of a public or private school that houses students from Pre-K to Grade 12. Some programs may have more specific specializations, such as a concentration specifically for elementary school or high school, for instance. Principal of Pre-K-12 public or private school, vice principal of Pre-K-12 public or private school, superintendent
Curriculum/Assessment Supervisor PK-12 An educational administration master’s with this concentration prepares students to become curriculum leaders or experts in a particular school or school district. An educational administration master’s in special education leadership prepares students for district-wide roles as supervisors of special education
Special Education Leadership This concentration qualifies special education teachers to work with students who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Special education director, central office administrator for special education

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Education Administration

When selecting a school or program for earning your master’s in educational administration, keep in mind what your personal career goals are and whether the goals of a particular program match up with yours. Each school you research for earning an online master’s degree in educational administration offers something unique.

Consider also how the curriculum is delivered in this online master’s format. Some schools offer coursework entirely online, which many teachers find convenient since they can complete course materials at their own pace and whenever they have time, while other programs may feature a hybrid model that includes participation in classes on-campus. Many programs also require on-site courses, which you can usually complete at your current place of employment or other local school, where you’ll receive supervised training from experienced professionals in school settings.

At the master’s degree level, students in the field of educational administration learn about the challenges and issues facing the current education system as a whole and strategies that address those concerns. While coursework is going to vary significantly depending on your location and concentration choice, students applying for online master’s degree programs in educational administration can expect to take courses that cover these broad subjects:

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Educational Law and Ethics Delves into national and state laws around education.
Measuring Student Engagement Methods of administering assessments, both informal and formal, and how to interpret those results, both school-wide and district-wide.
Faculty Management Strategies for managing faculty and how to be an effective leader for them.
School Finance Manage school finances and balance annual budgets.
PK-12 Principalship Covers topics related to being a PK-12 principal or vice principal.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Education Administration?

The overall length of time to complete your online master’s degree in educational administration is going to vary by your chosen concentration and pace at which you complete courses. Most programs are between 36-42 total credits, and usually take between two and five years to complete, depending on your individual pace. Students who are working as full-time teachers may take up to five years to complete an online master’s degree in educational administration.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Education Administration Prepares For

The type of certification and license you earn upon completion of an online master’s in educational administration program is going to vary widely depending on your state, since each state has different requirements for educational administration certification. In general, the best online master’s programs in educational administration prepare students for licensure exams and other state-level post-degree requirements. For example, school principals must become licensed as school administrators in the state where they want to work.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Education Administration Degrees

When selecting an online master’s in educational administration program, it’s very important to make sure the program you’re applying to is accredited, in addition to making sure the program’s outcomes align with your personal career goals.

Accreditation is important because it determines whether or not that program meets minimum standards for quality on a national, state and local level and whether it delivers appropriate coursework that leads to licensure in educational administration.

Furthermore, accreditation is critical because it can impact your job search. Most school districts or other employers will not hire individuals who have not completed an accredited master’s in educational administration program.

When searching for an accredited program for a master’s in special education, students should focus their search on programs accredited by bodies such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the main accrediting agency for education degrees.

Also look out for programs certified by national agencies, including the Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Education Administration Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Education is highly valued in the United States, and because administrators play such an important role in our education system, the job outlook is strong for those interested in pursuing a career in educational administration.

For most educational administrative positions, a master’s degree is considered the minimum educational requirement, so candidates with this credential on their resume will be well-positioned to compete in the job market against other candidates with a bachelor’s degree or less.

Expected Salary

In addition to a favorable job outlook, those who complete an online master’s in educational administration have a relatively high earning potential. For instance, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary, middle and high school principals earn a median annual salary of $94,390 per year. This varies widely by district, state and years of experience.

Compaing Average Salary and Experience Level in Various Education Adminstration Positions

Source: PayScale.com

As evidenced by this data, salaries for educational administrators go up exponentially based on years of experience and type of position. Among principals, high school principals tend to make more than their elementary school counterparts. Other factors that affect overall salary include location, school district and whether the school is public or private.

Students who earn an online master’s degree in educational administration are not necessarily limited to jobs as a K-12 principal, vice principal, academic dean or school superintendent. Many degree holders also transition to jobs as postsecondary administrators, preschool and childcare center directors or instructional coordinator roles. Here’s how those salaries stack up.

Median Annual Salary of a Variety of Education Administration Careers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Based on their chosen area of concentration, teachers with a master’s in educational administration can pursue many career opportunities related to their personal goals and interests.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
K-12 Principal Principals of elementary, middle and high schools manage all school operations and ongoing daily school activities. Typically working year-round, they coordinate curricula standards for each grade level, oversee teachers and other school staff to ensure they’re providing effective instruction and provide a safe, productive learning environment for students. $94,390 per year 8%
Postsecondary Education Administrators This job involves overseeing student services, academics and faculty research at colleges and universities. Individual job duties vary depending on the department — whether in admissions, student life or a registrar’s office. $92,360 per year 10%
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors In charge of supervising staff, designing overall program objectives and plans, overseeing daily activities and preparing budgets, directors of preschools and childcare centers work hard to create a safe, productive environment for young children. They are responsible for the implementation of all aspects of their center’s program and must meet state standards. $46,890 per year 11%
Instructional Coordinators Instructional coordinators work in school districts and oversee school curricula and teaching standards. They develop materials for classroom instruction, coordinate its implementation in individual classrooms with teachers and principals and assess its effectiveness on student learning. They usually work at a district-wide level. $63,750 per year 11%

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide a great opportunity for students entering a master’s in educational administration program to learn more about their chosen career path and form connections with other professionals in the field. Participating in the activities of these organizations can also be useful for earning professional development credits. Resources such as the ones listed below can be invaluable for those entering the job market and completing their degree.

National Association of Secondary School Principals: The NASSP is represented by principals, assistant principals and other middle and high school administrative personnel in 35 countries. It offers continuing education programs, hosts networking functions and provides opportunities for members to become advocates in different areas of secondary educational leadership.

National Association of Elementary School Principals: The NAESP includes members from the U.S., Canada and other countries around the world. Its website features an online learning center, complete with webinars, tutorials and links for classroom-based training programs. It also has an online resource library for members to access.

Association of Deans and Directors of University Colleges & Undergraduate Studies: This nonprofit organization offers individual and institutional memberships. It hosts an annual conference for deans and administrative personnel at postsecondary institutions at a different location in the U.S. each year.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Education Administration Degree

One appealing factor of obtaining your MSN degree online is the financial savings online programs often provide. However, even with a lower cost to complete your degree, some students may still find themselves in need of financial aid. Just as with a traditional brick-and-mortar program, your first step in seeking financial assistance should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to take advantage of federally funded grants and loans. Private options are also available through various organizations, in the form of scholarships. Find out more about potential financial aid options below.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

AASA Educational Administration Scholarship

Award: $2,500

Deadline: September

Eligibility: Applicants must be recommended by the chair of the School of Education in which you complete your degree.

New England McCullough Memorial Scholarship Fund

Award: Varies

Deadline: December

Eligibility: Enrolled in a master’s or doctorate program in educational administration or related area and a U.S. citizen.