Education administration degrees

Long gone are the days in which the only prerequisite to being a school principal was being a school teacher. Today's administrators must have skills that go far beyond the ability to lead a classroom. They must be tech-savvy educators, politically astute team leaders and competent financial managers. The Wallace Foundation, a philanthropy organization dedicated to improving education for disadvantaged students, notes the role of an education administrator encompasses five key responsibilities:

  • Shaping a vision of academic success for all students
  • Improving instruction
  • Creating a climate hospitable to education
  • Cultivating leadership in others
  • Managing people, data and processes

To do their work effectively, school administrators need a specialized education that prepares them to fill the many-faceted roles they are assigned.

Master's in education administration

For most school administrators, that education includes a master's in education administration. While a bachelor's degree may have been sufficient in the past, many states now license principals and require a minimum of a master's degree, typically in school administration or education administration.

Just as state requirements vary, so too do admissions requirements for educational administration degrees. However, most typically require students have a bachelor's degree in education and some may even mandate graduate students have a valid teaching certificate or a certain number of instructional years under their belt. Even if experience isn't required for the degree, employers may prefer to hire administrators with a teaching background.

Students can typically expect to earn a graduate education administration degree in approximately two years, but it depends on the program they select and whether they're attending school full or part time, among other factors. Courses will vary by institution but may include instruction in the following areas among others.

  • Professional communications
  • Leadership and collaboration
  • School policy and law
  • Curriculum, instruction and assessment
  • Business and facilities management

Schools may also allow students to specialize their degree in a particular area such as school administration, higher education or policy research.

Although not typically required at the elementary or middle school levels, a doctoral degree may enhance job opportunities for those seeking positions in secondary and post-secondary schools. A Ph.D. may be required for top administrative jobs at colleges and universities.

Schools with the best educational administration degrees

Those planning to earn an education administration degree have many school choices. To help narrow down their options, students should look for accredited institutions that will help them meet their state licensure requirements.

In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked the best graduate degrees in educational administration and supervision. The following schools had the best programs according to those rankings:

  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • Teachers College at Columbia University

Of course, these aren't the only schools with excellent programs in this field. A number of other institutions also offer good quality programs both online and on-campus, and students searching for educational administration degrees in their area are likely to find multiple options.

When it comes to distance learning, some schools offer degrees that can be earned fully online. As with traditional degree programs, enrollment in online programs may be limited to students who meet certain admission standards such as holding a teaching certificate and having a minimum number of years in the classroom.

To select the best online education administration degree, students should ask the following questions.

  • Is the school accredited?
  • Who teaches the classes?
  • Must students be online at certain times?
  • Can the online program be completed in the same amount of time as the on-campus program?
  • Are specializations available?
  • Does this degree meet state licensure requirements?

Finding work as a school administrator

After graduation, students should have not only the educational knowledge, but also the critical thinking and leadership skills needed to fill a variety of administrative positions. Well-qualified graduates could possibly go on to these or other jobs.

  • Assistant principal
  • Principal
  • Dean of students
  • Academic director
  • Superintendent

Some states may require administrators to take continuing education courses to remain certified. A number of professional organizations for administrators exist, and these groups may help their members locate continuing education opportunities. In addition, they could provide other professional development services as well as provide the chance for administrators to network, collaborate or otherwise share ideas. Member organizations for administrators include the following:

  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • The School Superintendent Association
  • ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)

For those committed to quality education, an education administration degree can be the start of a fulfilling career helping both teachers and students excel. Learn more about available degree options by contacting schools and requesting additional information.

Sources:

Best Grad Schools for Educational Administration and Supervision, U.S. News and World Report, 2014,
http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/education-administration-rankings

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014,
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm

Postsecondary Education Administrators, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Jan. 8, 2014,
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm

Professional Organizations, Wayne State University,
http://coe.wayne.edu/aos/ed-leadership/professional-organizations.php

Characteristics of Highly Effective Administrators, Northwest Regional Comprehensive Center,
http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/teachersLeaders/docs/Minutes%20Handout%20CharacteristicsOfEffectiveAdministrators.pdf

"The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning," The Wallace Foundation, January 2012,
http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/effective-principal-leadership/Documents/The-School-Principal-as-Leader-Guiding-Schools-to-Better-Teaching-and-Learning.pdf

Program

  • All
  • Child Care Services & Management
  • Early Childhood Education Administration
  • Higher Education Administration

Degree/Diploma Offered

  • All
  • Associate
  • Bachelor
  • Master
  • Doctoral
  • Diploma
  • Certificate
  • Coursework

Location Type

  • Campus and Online
  • Campus
  • Online

Zip/Postal Code

Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.

Searching Searching ...

Prefer exploring options talking to our staff?
Call toll free now: 1.855.330.6938
Matching School Ads
4 Program(s) Found
University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
  • Phoenix Career Services™ help students find careers that match their interests & map out a personalized career plan.
  • Mentorships & networking opportunities available through Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Flexible start date and class schedules.
  • 100+ locations and online options.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Students can earn credits for applicable military training and education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • Features 43 degree programs and more than 142 specializations.
  • Offers several ways to save on tuition, including multiple grant and scholarship opportunities, low-cost credits, accelerated programs, and more.
  • Reduced tuition, transfer credits, and other benefits are available for all military service members and veterans.
  • Allows students to preview a free, one-week mini course to give an accurate impression of the student experience.
  • Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found

• Founded in 1949, Grand Canyon University is a premier, private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona
• Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
• As a Christian university, the school encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
• 65% of students have cars on campus, and alcohol is not permitted for students of legal age.

Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ashford Mobile app keeps students connected to the online classroom on the go.
  • Business program offered in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
  • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
  • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
  • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • According to a Walden-sponsored study, 88.2% of graduates are very satisfied or satisfied with their education and more than 85% of students are likely or very likely to recommend the school to others.
  • In that same study, 88% of graduates said their education helped them enhance their professional performance.
  • Students can save 15% on tuition over the lifetime of their program if they are active-duty military, a veteran, or an employee of the Veteran’s Administration.
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked #8 in the 2013 Best Online Undergrad Programs by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 70% graduation rate– significantly higher than the national average of 59%. 
  • Ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Bachelor's Programs for Veterans. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting associations that accredit public and private colleges and universities in the United States.  
  • Has a network of 26 campuses.
Show more [+]
Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best National Universities, with numerous programs listed among the Best Grad Schools, in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • One of the 62 members of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) since 1909.
  • Formulated 8 of the 17 cancer-fighting drugs in from the NCI drug discovery pipeline.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Courses