Earning a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration

Earning a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration

Everything you need to know about a master's degree program in educational leadership and administration.

Overview of Master's Degree In Educational Leadership and Administration

In most states, educational administrators of all levels are required to have at least master's degree in educational leadership and administration. This program lasts between two and three years and is designed to prepares teacher and administrators for advanced organization and leadership positions in the education environment. Programs may focus on administration for pre-school or a childcare center, elementary and secondary schools or higher education.

This is a great choice for teachers or low-level educational administrators who are looking for greater responsibility and a higher salary. Earning a master's degree in educational leadership and administration may lead to a career as a principal, assistant principal, district director, superintendent or assistant superintendent, though school district administration positions may require additional professional certification. There is currently a demand for these occupations due to the lack of qualified individuals prepared to advance to a leadership position.

Applying to an Educational Leadership and Administration Master's Degree Program

In order to be eligible for all master's degree programs in educational leadership and administration, a student must hold a bachelors degree from a 4-year college or university. Most graduate programs require that the student have worked in a school or education-related field for at least two years prior to applying.

Although there is not a standard graduate school application, many grad schools have similar general requirements including, submitting letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a Graduate Record Assessment (GRE) scores, and college transcripts. Typically, the minimum GPA you need to have earned in college is a 3.0. However, you may be able to find programs that have a lower minimum requirement.

How to Choose a Master's Degree Program in Educational Leadership and Administration

When choosing a grad school for educational leadership and administration in elementary or secondary school, make sure that the program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). Although graduating from an accredited program is not a necessity for obtaining employment, it may be required for licensure examinations.

Many programs focus on a general education in educational leadership and administration, providing students with a basic knowledge on educational management. However, other programs exist that allow a student to focus on one occupational interest, such as a high school principal. Deciding which setting you would like to be an educational administrator will allow you to narrow down your program options.

If you are a teacher or administrator who wishes to continue work while pursuing your master's degree, look into grad schools that offer part-time or online programs. Attending graduate school part-time or online allows students the flexibility to maintain other responsibilities such as work or family. However, because educational administration is a collaborative and communicative position, some programs might involve some on-site class time. Check with each school to see if their programs have any travel requirements.


School location is also an important factor, as you will probably want to attend graduate school in the state in which you wish you become an administrator. Doing so ensures that you will have the information needed to pass your state’s licensing or certification requirements. Similarly, you will want to know where students are allowed to perform their internships or field experience. You want to make sure that your field work is in the same type of school that you wish to move to after earning your master's degree.

What to Expect in an Educational Leadership and Administration Master's Degree Program

Students should expect to take courses to learn how to organize, plan, implement and supervise educational programs. Course material covers topics such as school leadership, law, finance and budgeting, as well as curriculum development and evaluation and counseling. All of these courses prepare the student for a mid-level educational administrative position. If your state requires that educational administrators be licensed, the curriculum might also focus on various licensing requirements.

As the education sector rapidly changes to meet the needs of the 21st century student, there has grown a demand for administrators equipped with the skills to understand and accommodate those needs. In addition, the ability to empathize with teachers and implement strategies to improve those challenges is also an important aspect of masters degree programs in educational leadership and administration.

Generally, this program combines a variety of learning methods, such as research, case studies and career development. The field work is perhaps the most important aspect of a master's degree program in educational leadership and administration, as it provides students the opportunity to research, observe and participate in an education administration. Most grad schools offering this degree require students to complete a master's thesis or an internship.

Top 10 Grad Schools for Educational Leadership and Administration

  1. University of Phoenix
  2. William Woods University
  3. Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale
  4. California State University, Northridge
  5. Northern Arizona University
  6. Prairie View A & M University
  7. National-Louis University
  8. Lindenwood University
  9. Walden University, Minneapolis
  10. University of Houston, Clear Lake



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