Online Education Leadership and Administration Master’s Degree


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Most professionals pursue an online master’s degree in education leadership and administration to become principals, though the credential can also lead to roles as a department chair, instructional coordinator or union leader.

Principals handle a wide variety of responsibilities, from managing a school’s budget to disciplining students. They can work long hours and are usually 12-month employees who work full time in the summer. Despite the substantial workload that comes with the role, the career ranks among the top 12 underrated jobs, according to a survey by CareerCast, a careers website.

Designed for the working professional, an online education leadership and administration master’s program teaches students leadership, management, organization, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Course Work

Example courses
Multicultural education
Managing resources and finances
Program evaluation
Leading in urban, rural and suburban settings
Technology and communication in schools
Ethics in education

Most online master’s in education leadership and administration programs require students to hold a teaching certificate in their state and have some teaching experience before they enroll.

Courses are designed to prepare educators for the vast responsibilities of leading a school. They include classes on teacher leadership and development, effective instruction, school improvement, school law and finance, curriculum and principalship.

Most programs can be completed entirely online, but some schools may require students to have field experiences in a school setting.

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Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Assistant principal $67,000
Elementary school principal $77,000
High school principal $88,000


School principals must hold a license in school administration in most states. To obtain a license, most states require educators to complete a master’s degree program in education administration and leadership, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some states may also require educators to pass a state exam.

Employment growth for school principals is expected to increase 10 percent by 2020, about as fast as the national average of 14 percent for all occupations. But because hiring demand is tied to student enrollment, employment growth may vary by region, according to the BLS.

Median salaries range from about $67,000 for assistant principals to $88,000 for high school principals, according to PayScale, an online salary database.

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