Education Administration Degrees: Master's, PhD & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in an education administration master's degree or PhD program? Read about the program requirements, the pros and cons of a master's degree and PhD and potential careers.
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Study Education Administration: Degrees at a Glance

If you're interested in a career managing schools, whether at the elementary, middle, secondary or postsecondary level, then earning a master's degree or PhD in education administration may be for you. Common jobs include principal, vice principal and instructional coordinator. Often, you'll be in charge of curriculum design, teacher-training, hiring and sometimes budgetary matters. Competition for some of these positions, particularly on a postsecondary level, can be fierce.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs available for elementary, middle and high school administrators are projected to grow by 14% from 2010-2010. Although this figure drops to 10% for principal positions, it's still about average for job growth across all industries in this time frame. Due to increased enrollments, the job growth for postsecondary school administrators is set be around 19%.

Master's Doctorate
Who is this degree for? Individuals who want to go into school administration at the elementary, middle or secondary school level People interested in working in academia as postsecondary school administrators
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Elementary, middle and secondary school administrator ($90,200)*
- Religious learning organization administrator ($60,300)*
- Technical or trade school administrator ($79,400)*
- Residential care facility administrator ($71,800)*
- University administrator ($101,800)*
- Community college administrator ($84,500)*
- Technical or trade school administrator ($79,400)*
Time to Completion 1-2 years full-time 3-5 years after the master's
Common Graduation Requirements - Usually about 6-8 graduate courses
- Master's thesis/research paper
- Master's exams
In addition to all or most of the master's degree requirements:
- 4-6 graduate courses
- PhD qualifier tests
- Dissertation proposal
- Dissertation
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in education administration or a related field Bachelor's or master's degree in education administration or a related field
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Master's Degree in Education Administration

In a master's degree program in education administration, you'll learn about planning and educational strategies, problem solving and trouble-shooting, organizational development, managerial methods and leadership skill application. Some of these programs are aligned with national and state standards. This can be helpful for gaining licensure or certification in academic administration. While some master's degree programs are terminal, others are designed to lead into your doctorate studies. Even with a master's degree, you may need to have several years of experience before obtaining an administration position.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • With a master's degree in education administration, you will qualify for most K-12 administrative positions as well as positions at some community colleges
  • If you already have work experience, earning your master's degree can help you secure a larger salary
  • A master's degree in education administration will give you the skills needed to successfully lead and manage a school

Cons

  • If you want to go into postsecondary administration, you'll need to earn a PhD in most cases
  • It can sometimes be difficult to secure funding for a terminal master's degree
  • A master's degree program in education administration can be time consuming and expensive

Courses and Requirements

The courses that you take will often depend on whether your focus is on K-12 or postsecondary education administration. The following are simply a few classes you might encounter from either type of program:

  • Strategies for student enrollment
  • School economics and finance
  • K-12 leadership methods
  • University leadership methods
  • Urban education
  • International education
  • Research fundamentals
  • Mediation and negotiation

In addition to the coursework, you'll usually be required to complete a master's thesis on your chosen topic of expertise.

Online Degree Options

There are a number of online options you can explore with this degree. Most online curricula and requirements are similar or the same as campus-based programs. Online programs can be helpful if you're currently employed as a teacher or administrator and wish to continue your education.

Getting Ahead With This Degree

While earning your master's degree, you can already be focused on how you plan to get ahead in your career. For example, if you're interested in teaching internationally, you can attend international school job fairs within the U.S. Some universities even have international job placement programs that you can look into before deciding which program to enter. Also, keeping abreast of the latest educational technologies such as online virtual lessons, Webinars and electronic textbooks can make you more attractive to potential employers.

PhD in Education Administration

As is the case in master's degree programs, many PhD programs in education administration focus on postsecondary administration while others focus on K-12. In one of these programs, you'll most likely choose your area of research and expertise and work closely with your professors. You may even secure a position as a research assistant. Competition for enrollment into PhD programs is highly competitive.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • With a PhD in Education Administration, you'll be able to begin a career at the postsecondary level
  • Your research could help you influence education policies
  • Postsecondary administrators often have a lot of travel and research opportunities that enable continued professional growth

Cons

  • Getting into a PhD program in educational administration can be very competitive and difficult
  • Obtaining a job in academic administration is also very competitive
  • Job searches for academic administration tend to be nationwide, so you may be required to move

Courses and Requirements

The courses that you take in a PhD program depend on what area of expertise you choose to specialize in. The following are just a handful of courses you could potentially end up taking:

  • Higher education curricula
  • K-12 curricula
  • Human resources
  • Teaching and faculty development
  • Diversity in schools
  • Educational research statistics
  • Qualitative research techniques
  • Business administration in schools

In addition to coursework, you'll be required to attend professional seminars and conferences. After presenting a dissertation proposal to a panel and being approved, you'll need to research and write a dissertation. Because real-world experience tends to be highly valued by employers in this field, some programs require that you complete an internship.

Online Degree Options

While you can't complete your entire degree online, there are online options that you can take advantage of in certain programs. However, because your PhD will be research-intensive and usually require working closely with professors and advisors, the Internet can be very limited for this degree.

Stand Out With This Degree

As you earn your PhD, it's important to make strides towards standing out in the job market once it's complete. The following are simply a few ideas that you can implement:

  • Getting your state's licensure or certification for education administration can be helpful when you're searching for a job, even if you plan on moving.
  • Like with a master's degree, maintaining a focus on classroom technology can help you get a leg up in the job market.
  • Make an effort to have your dissertation and other writings published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. 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
    2. 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 Educational Technology Leadership
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Organizational Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Higher Education Leadership
      • M.Ed. - International Education
      • Master of Education in Educational Leadership
      • M.Ed. - Corporate Wellness
      • M.Ed. - Adult Learning and Workforce Education
  • Online Programs Available
    4. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
      • Master: Higher Education - Student Affairs
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    6. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Educational Leadership, M.Ed. without Licensure
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
      • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

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

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Education - Special Education and Wilson Reading System Certification
      • MS in Organizational Development and Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Educational Leadership: Higher Education - MSEE (Master's)
      • Educational Leadership: K-12 - MSEE (Master's)

Featured Schools

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

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • M.Ed. - Organizational Leadership
  • M.Ed. - Higher Education Leadership
  • M.Ed. - International Education

What is your highest level of education?

University of Delaware

  • Master of Education in Teacher Leadership

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Higher Education - College Admin./Leadership
  • Master: Higher Education - Student Affairs
  • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)

Which subject are you interested in?

American University

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Educational Leadership, M.Ed. without Licensure
  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A. - Emphasis in Alternative Licensing
  • Curriculum and Instruction, M.A.

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

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

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