Educational Supervision Degrees: PhD, Masters & Online Course Info

About this article
What will you learn in an educational supervision degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of a master's and PhD and potential careers.
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At a Glance Section: Educational Supervision Degrees

For teachers interested in making the move to administrative positions, licensure in educational administration is required by many states. To fulfill licensure requirements, future leaders must have a master's or doctoral degree. Educational supervision degree programs prepare candidates for completing licensing testing and performing the duties in administration positions.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the educational administration field is expected to grow in line with all industries (www.bls.gov). For teachers looking to make the move out of the classroom and into administration, these programs can be a valuable, and necessary, tool.

Master's Doctorate
Who is this degree for? Experienced teachers with bachelor's degrees seeking to move into school administration positions Same as for the master's, but requires that teachers have already completed a master's program
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Assistant or vice principal ($77,000)*
- Principal ($93,000)*
Same as master's, plus:
- University education professor ($59,000)**
- District superintendent ($141,000)*
Time to Completion 2-3 years part-time 3-4+ years after the master's
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 10-15 graduate-level courses
- Internship
- Roughly 20-25 graduate-level courses
- Dissertation proposal
- Oral dissertation defense
- possible apprenticeship or internship
Prerequisites - Bachelor's degree
- Teaching certification
- Teaching experience (amount varies by state)
Same as master's program, also:
- Master's degree
Online Availability Yes Some

Source: *Salary.com (June 2012 figures), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Master's in Educational Supervision

This master's degree and others similar to it are the basic professional degree of aspiring educational administrators. Many states require a postgraduate degree in educational administration as preparation for the educational leadership licensing process.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many programs may also satisfy state licensing requirements
  • Because the majority of teachers in these courses are also working professionals, many programs are available part-time
  • Graduates are prepared for administrative roles in schools

Cons

  • For some positions, graduates may compete with doctoral degree holders
  • Completion of a program does not guarantee licensure
  • As leadership credentialing requirements vary between states, and these programs are often tailored to state requirements, moving to another state may necessitate additional education to meet local rules

Common Courses and Requirements Subsection

Students in master of educational supervision programs learn about the larger perspectives of education, how it fits into both the community and the legal landscape, and how to function as effective leaders and administrators. Course work might include:

  • Competencies in educational administration
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • Educational culture: school, family and community
  • Educational law
  • Educational leadership
  • History and theory of American education
  • Human resources in education
  • Instructional supervision
  • Research and evaluation in educational organizations
  • School finance
  • Theories of learning and instruction

Online Degree Options

Educational supervision master's degree programs are available either partially or completely online. However, fully online programs may not be tailored to the applicant's state of residency, so careful consideration should be taken to ensure that your degree meets state licensure requirements.

Stand Out with This Degree

Internships and apprenticeships in some master's programs provide an excellent opportunity for application of learned strategies and professional networking. Completing an internship may make you stand out against your competition or assist you in your post-graduation job search.

Additionally, consider completing a course in the use of computer in technology. Classes in distance learning or in computer projects in education teach you about using technology inside classrooms or for education in general. This knowledge may impress employers, particularly those interested in or operating distance education programs.

Doctorate in Educational Supervision

Doctoral programs in educational supervision are the highest degree available in the field. These programs combine professional training with skills in academic research. Graduates of these programs can seek supervisory positions in schools and at the district level. Those who receive doctoral degrees also may qualify to conduct research at the postsecondary level.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Programs offer a 'next step' in educational achievement
  • Research skills developed in these programs may be applied in a variety of ways, including addressing current issues affecting school districts and publishing papers in the field
  • A doctoral degree may improve the competitiveness of applicants for leadership positions

Cons

  • Programs generally require significant amounts of time and money to complete
  • Research requirements associated with doctoral programs are sometimes extremely challenging
  • Completing a doctoral program as a mid-career professional can be challenging because most programs do not allow working while studying

Courses and Requirements

Coursework for doctoral programs in educational supervision combine professional development topics with research design and completion. Additionally, these programs require qualification exams, a dissertation proposal and an oral dissertation defense. Courses include:

  • School culture
  • School excellence and organizational process
  • Educational practices and paradigms
  • Applied statistics in educational leadership research
  • Qualitative research: methods and skills
  • Program evaluation for educational administrators
  • Finance for educational administration

Online Degree Options

Online doctoral programs in education supervision are both entirely online and in hybrid format. Although the curriculum of online or hybrid programs are the same as on-campus programs, they may not prepare graduates for state licensure requirements.

Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with this degree, consider completing a course in qualitative research methods. Being able to gather and analyze data is a skill that may impress employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Master: Education - Leadership in Educational Organizations
      • Master of Education - Elementary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • MEd - General Education
      • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership
      • MEd - Corporate Wellness
  • Campus and Online Programs
    4. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. in Educational Administration
      • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online Programs Available
    6. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction - Educational Leadership
      • MS in Higher Education Administration
      • MEd in Curriculum & Instruction
      • MEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Dyslexia Studies & LBLD
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Featured Schools

American InterContinental University

  • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master: Education - Leadership in Educational Organizations
  • Master of Education - Elementary Education

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Kaplan University

  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
  • MEd - General Education
  • M.Ed. - Instructional Leadership

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Full Sail University

  • MS - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • M.Ed. in Educational Administration
  • M.Ed. in Educational Leadership
  • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education

What is your highest level of education?

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

American University

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning

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