Top 10 Online Master’s in Educational Administration Degree Programs

online master's in educational administration

Education is a noble profession, but not many people associate the field with high wages. Still, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average pay for school administrators exceeds $100,000 per year. To qualify for this lucrative position, though, one needs a master’s degree in educational administration.

Increasingly, these advanced degree programs are offered via distance learning, so students can continue work in their current roles while completing their coursework online.

For many aspiring school principals, it’s an ideal arrangement. In this ranking, our editors highlight the ten best online master’s in educational administration.

Featured Programs

Methodology

To develop this online master’s in educational administration ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of 20 top-rated distance learning programs with tuition costs below $25,000 per year. We then applied our site-wide methodology for graduate degree programs. Below is our take on the top 10 most affordable online educational leadership master’s degree programs.

#10—Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

MEd in Educational Administration

Website

Points: 6

Tuition: $10,138

The online master’s in educational administration degree from Grand Canyon University is an advanced principal licensure program. Offered both online and on campus, the program features a comprehensive curriculum, encompassing courses such as:

  • Educational Administration and Education Law
  • Sustaining Educational Environments and Communities
  • Promoting Effective and Respectful Learning Environments
  • Distributed and Inclusive Leadership

A clinical internship is also required at the culmination of the program. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited GCU to award master’s degrees in educational administration.

Pros:

  • High acceptance rate
  • Experiential learning opportunities

Cons:

  • Large class sizes

#9—University of Wisconsin – Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

MS in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,728

The online master’s in education administration from the University of Wisconsin- Madison is a principal preparation program that emphasizes equity and justice in education. This accelerated program can be completed in just fifteen months. It features a 30-credit hour curriculum, including the following course titles:

  • Leadership for Equity and Diversity
  • Race, Class, and Educational Inequity
  • Resource Allocation for Equity and Social Justice
  • Community, Opportunity, and Justice

An optional concentration is also available for individuals who wish to pursue a special education directorship. UW-Madison is accredited to award this online master’s degree in educational administration by the Higher Learning Commission.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked online master’s in education programs
  • 100% acceptance rate

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes
  • Less diverse
  • Limited tech support

#8—Indiana University – Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana

MSEd in Educational Leadership

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $10,133

Indiana University- Bloomington offers a fully online master’s in educational leadership that leads to a school principal license. Major course requirements for this 36-credit hour program include:

  • Public School Budgeting and Accounting
  • Legal Perspectives on Education
  • Continuous School Improvement and Data-Decision Decision Making
  • Educational Leadership: K-12 Principalship

Course delivery is primarily asynchronous for flexibility and convenience. Indiana University- Bloomington is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Pros:

  • Top-rated online graduate programs in educational administration
  • CAEP-accredited program
  • Small class sizes
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Less diverse

#7—Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Website

Points: 9

Tuition: $9,684

The online MS in educational administration from Florida State University is a certification program designed for working professionals. The 33-credit hour curriculum for the program consists of mostly core courses, including:

  • Resource Management for Educational Leaders
  • The Principalship
  • Leadership for Diversity
  • Data Driven School Improvement

A field experience and internship are also required as culminating elements of the program. Florida State is accredited to offer these online master’s in educational administration programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked online graduate programs in education
  • High acceptance rate
  • Small class sizes

Cons:

  • Limited tech support

#6—Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Master’s in Educational Administration

Website

Points: 10

Tuition: $10,692

Auburn University is home to two online master’s degree programs in educational Administration:

  • MEd in Administration of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • MEd in Administration of Supervision and Curriculum

Both programs are offered fully online, though only the MEd in Administration of Elementary and Secondary Education leads to state certification. Depending on the specific degree they choose to pursue, students will take online courses such as:

  • Leadership and the Learning Organization
  • Supervision and Personnel Issues in Education
  • Curriculum and Instructional Leadership
  • Integration of Technology into the Curriculum

Auburn University is accredited to award the online master of educational leadership by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pros:

  • Top 10 online master’s in educational leadership
  • CAEP-accredited program
  • Small class sizes
  • 100% graduation rate

Cons:

  • More selective
  • Less diverse
  • Limited tech support

#5—University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

MEd in Educational Leadership

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $10,770

The online MEd in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida features both certification and non-certification tracks. Both full-time and part-time options are available, and the program can be completed within just two years. Course requirements include:

  • Communication in Educational Leadership
  • Educational Organization and Administration
  • Public School Finance
  • Administration of School Personnel

A field experience is also required prior to graduation. UF is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the master’s in educational leadership degree.

Pros:

  • Full and part-time options
  • Mentorship program
  • Top-ranked online graduate programs in education
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Competitive admissions

#4—University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Master of Education in Educational Leadership & Policy

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $8,878

Designed for working professionals, the fully online master’s in educational leadership program from the University of Georgia blends asynchronous and synchronous course elements. This allows students to enjoy an immersive learning experience while still benefiting from the convenience of an online program. The curriculum for the program is prescribed and features course titles such as:

  • Educational Leadership for Student Success
  • Education Law and Ethical Leadership
  • Developing, Supporting, and Sustaining a Positive Learning Environment

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited the University of Georgia to award this online master’s in educational administration.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked online master’s in education programs
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Prescribed curriculum
  • More selective

#3—Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

MSEd in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Website

Points: 12

Tuition: $9,718

Purdue University’s master’s in educational administration is a cohort-based program that follows an accelerated, asynchronous format. Students who take seven credits per semester can finish the licensure aspect of the program within just one year. Required courses include:

  • Legal Aspects of American Education
  • School Community Relations
  • Administration of Educational Systems
  • Supervision of Instruction and Instructional Personnel

Elective classes are also available and include:

  • Differentiating Curriculum and Instruction
  • Multicultural Education
  • Gifted, Creative, and Talented Children

Purdue University holds its institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Pros:

  • Top-ranked online master’s programs in education
  • High acceptance rate
  • CAEP-accredited program
  • Smaller class sizes
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • Less diverse

#2—Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

MEd in Educational Leadership

Website

Points: 11

Tuition: $5,467

Florida Atlantic University offers one of the most affordable master’s of educational administration degrees online. The program is also customizable, featuring three concentration options:

  • Adult and Community Educational Leaders
  • Higher Education Leaders
  • School Leaders (K-12)

Depending on the concentration they choose, students enrolled in the program will take classes such as:

  • Improvement of Instruction in College
  • Contemporary Trends in Education
  • Program and Curriculum Development for Adults

FAU is accredited to offer this distance learning master’s in educational leadership by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pros:

  • Top-rated online educational administration programs
  • Diverse student body
  • 24/7 tech support
  • Affordability

Cons:

  • More selective

#1—Texas A&M University – College Station

College Station, Texas

Master of Education in Educational Administration

Website

Points: 12

Tuition: $6,885

The online master’s in educational administration option from Texas A&M University is an asynchronous program ideal for working professionals. This diverse program features two distinct specializations:

  • K-12 Educational Leadership and Policy
  • Higher Education Administration

The curriculum for the program is self-designed, but a minimum of 36 credit hours is required. Students must also take and pass a final examination prior to graduation. Texas A&M is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer the online master’s in educational leadership degree.

Pros:

  • Top-rated online graduate education degrees
  • Small class sizes
  • 24/7 tech support

Cons:

  • More selective

Types of Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Students interested in a career as a school principal or administrator should be aware that there is more than one type of master’s program in educational administration. Below, we discuss some of the different types of graduate programs you’ll find in this discipline.

Licensure vs Non-licensure Programs

Many online master’s programs in educational administration lead to licensure as a school principal, but this is not always the case. If you desire to earn your license as you complete your coursework for the master’s degree, be sure to confirm that your school of choice offers this option.

Accelerated Degrees

For many distance learners, time is of the essence when it comes to earning their credentials. For this reason, many colleges and universities offering online master’s in educational administration degrees enable students to follow an accelerated learning format. Some programs are designed to help students complete their required coursework within just one year—half the time of a traditional master’s degree program.

Part-Time vs Full-Time Programs

Since many master’s in educational administration programs cater to working professionals, it’s not uncommon to find part-time options available. These tracks allow students to take fewer courses per semester so that they can balance their studies with their job duties. Keep in mind, though, that choosing a part-time program over a full courseload will require a greater time commitment over the long term.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Programs

As you research your options for an online master’s in educational leadership, you’ll likely come across programs that describe themselves as “synchronous” or “asynchronous”. Synchronous programs operate in real time, enabling students to participate in live lectures and class discussions. Asynchronous programs give students the flexibility to work on their studies independently on their own time. While synchronous programs may be more interactive, asynchronous programs tend to be more convenient.

Admissions Requirements for Master’s in Educational Administration Programs

So, you’ve decided you want to pursue a master’s in educational administration online. The next step is to apply for a program. It’s important to remember that each school will have a slightly different application process, including varying admissions requirements. Some common requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Academic transcripts
  • Teaching license/experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Minimum grade point average

MEd in Educational Administration: Curriculum

Before committing to an online master’s degree program in educational administration, it’s a good idea to be prepared for what you’ll be studying. The curricula for these programs may differ somewhat, depending on the college or university you decide to attend. Still, there tends to be significant overlap from one program to the next. Here are some examples of the types of core classes you can expect to take once you’re admitted.

Sample Core Courses

  • Educational Law and Ethics
  • Leading Educational Organizations
  • Leadership for Equity and Diversity
  • Curriculum Design: Theory and Practice
  • School Finance
  • Instructional Supervision
  • School and Community Partnerships

In addition to online coursework, many educational administration master’s programs require students to complete capstone projects and other culminating program components such as comprehensive examinations, practicums, and internships.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Online Master’s Programs in Educational Administration

Advanced degree programs require a significant investment, both personally and financially. It’s not something to take lightly, and most prospective students have plenty of questions that demand answers prior to enrollment. Below, our editors field some of the most common questions related to the master’s in educational administration credential. Answers are meant to provide general information. For specific details about a particular program or school, contact an admissions counselor or visit the school website.

Q: How much does an online master’s in educational administration cost?

A: Students will pay different tuition amounts depending on which school they attend. The online master’s in educational administration programs in this ranking range in cost from less than $6,000 per year to more than $20,000 annually.

Q: How long does it take to complete a master’s degree in educational administration?

A: Most of the online master’s degrees in educational administration take between one and two years to complete. Accelerated programs are shorter while part-time programs can take significantly longer.

Q: Do I need teaching experience to apply for a master’s in educational administration?

A:  Typically, yes. Still, some schools may make an exception for students who desire a career change.

Career Questions for Master’s in Educational Administration Degrees

Q: What can I do with a master’s degree in educational administration?

A: Most graduates of educational leadership master’s programs become K-12 school principals, assistant principals, or higher education administrators. Other roles associated with this credential might include program directors, superintendents, registrars, or educational consultants.

Q: How much will I make with a master’s in educational leadership?

A: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, K-12 school principals make a mean annual wage of $103,460. The average pay for postsecondary education administrators is similar at $102,610.

Q: What are the job prospects for graduates of master’s programs in educational leadership?

A: The BLS predicts job growth for K-12 school principals and postsecondary education administrators between 2022 and 2032 at 1% and 4%, respectively.

Q: What professional organizations are there in educational leadership?

A: Students and graduates of online master’s programs in educational administration may consider joining a relevant professional organization such as:

  • American Association of School Principals
  • National Association of Elementary School Principals
  • National Association of Secondary School Principals
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
  • National Council of Local Administrators
  • School Superintendents Association
  • Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Sources

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
  • PayScale.com