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School Administration Degrees

Most teachers tell us how invaluable the support of program directors, superintendents, and principals is. These leaders provide teachers with guidance about instructional practices, intervene under challenging issues within the school or classroom, and are generally advocates for teachers.

Some teachers are inspired to take on the challenging, yet rewarding role of administrator. School administrators work to ensure the program, district or school runs smoothly. They combine their skills and knowledge to adhere to federal and local laws and regulations, satisfy stakeholders, balance budgets, develop programming, and manage staff. Typically, those with a school administration degree work as School principals, Superintendents, or Program or athletics directors.

Finding a Teaching Degree With a School Administration Focus

Master’s Degree General Overview

A Master’s degree program for educational administration ranges from 30 to 45 credit hours, depending on the area of concentration and the school. The curriculum consists of core courses, courses in the area of concentration, and possibly a few elective courses. Additional credits are gained from internship field experience, creation of a professional portfolio, and final research projects. Top courses include:

CourseDescription
Principles and Foundations of Educational AdministrationThe course summarizes the foundational principles and theories of educational administration and leadership that students will encounter in the program. Various subjects are covered. They include human resource development, team building strategies, and organizational models. Future leaders reflect on personal leadership qualities while surveying other leaders’ styles.
Educational Funding and FinanceSchool financial and funding topics are studied from economic, and political perspectives. The processes that involve calculating, appropriating, and disbursing federal and state aid to school systems are analyzed. Also discussed are budgetary concern.
Leadership for Equity and Social JusticeTopics discussed include social justice and cultural diversity in the context of leadership practice, learning, and teaching. How to address systematic inequalities through socially just and inclusive leadership practices are covered.
Instructional Leadership for School ImprovementThis course is an introduction to the practice and theory of school improvement that focuses on the role school leaders have in the process.

Successful completion of a Master’s degree prepares candidates for professional leadership advancement in PK-12 education with strong skills that include:

  • Mastery of practical and theoretical aspects of change, planning, and leadership
  • Demonstration of critical issue knowledge in polcy, resource allocation, instruction evaluation, and supervision
  • Ability to promote efficiency, equity, and excellence in education
  • Apply practice and research in political, economic, social, historical, and methodological contexts to develop and maintain educational administration

Doctoral Degree General Overview

A Doctor of Educational Administration requires 48 to 90 credit hours. Many schools are offering the degree entirely online. Sometimes a PhD requires a small amount of coursework to be earned on-campus. Many doctoral degree programs also require in-person internships for field experience. Online components are accessible at any time of day so students can earn the degree while maintaining a current employment status and schedule. Some universities establish learning teams to facilitate learning and encourage collaboration.

Educational administration doctoral programs have a curriculum consisting of core, specialization, and elective courses. All students are required to do senior dissertation research as well as earn internship, seminar, practicum, or final project credits. Top courses include:

CourseDescription
Critical Thinking and Decision MakingThe focus of the course for Educational Leaders is on problem-solving using data-informed decisions. Students are asked to question traditional ways of thinking and their beliefs to achieve personal growth. The tools, styles, and techniques involving critical thinking in various creative situations are highlighted.
Supervision, Evaluation, and Assessment MethodsThe strategies for appraisal and management of faculty and learning institutions are analyzed as well as the positives and negatives of such strategies. How leadership style is affected by appraisal methods is also examined. Other subjects discussed include techniques to improve student learning, outcome-based evaluation, and accreditation concerns.
Planning & Managing ChangeStudents learn how change is implemented and how to hinder opposition. The economics and politics of change are studied. Emphasis is placed on the application of research and theories to real-world situations.
Leaders of LearningThe course is meant to prepare EdD program students to shape the discourse and thinking around learning in the organization they lead. It focuses on the task of being a core driver of learning, diagnose the current system of education and redesign it to ensure all learners have an opportunity and access to fulfill their potential and thrive and build a common language and understanding about powerful teaching and learning. An investigation of literacy as a fundamental learning building block and multiple visits to schools are included in the course.
Race, Equity, and LeadershipThe purpose of the course is to develop the capabilities within an education system that replaces inequitable practices and structures by confronting the legacies of forms of exclusion such as racism and building cultural competency and strength-based instructional capacity, effective leadership of dialogue and communication, authentic community and family engagement, and more.

A Few Online Schools that Have Multiple Degrees in this Area

University of South Dakota – USD offers an online Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Leadership designed to offer schedules that are flexible for working professionals. Students choose a PK-12 Principal, School District Superintendent, or Adult and Higher Education concentration. Each track in the designated administration specialty area is designed around core courses that provide in-depth preparation for the desired career. Most coursework is completed online. There is at least one field-based internship for each track. Requirements for admission are a Bachelor’s degree, a GPA of at least 2.7, minimum teaching experience of three years, and other requirements. USD also offers a Master of Science in Technology for Education and Training and a Graduate Certificate in Literacy and Coaching online.

Florida State University – FSU offers several Educational Leadership/Administration degrees, from a PhD to a modified certificate, online. Applicants have to have at least ten years of professional experience and at least five years in a leadership role to apply for the EdD in Educational Leadership/Administration programs. A doctorate in another field, a GPA of at least 3.0: or an EdS or Master’s degree, a minimum GPA of 3.75 qualify candidates for admission.

Graduates are prepared to be educational advancement leaders through policy changes and research at the national, state, local, and international levels. The EdD consists of 69 credit hours. Of those, 24 are dissertation hours. It takes three years to complete the degree. Along with online completion of coursework, a scholarly engagement requirement may have an in-person component. Other online degrees offered are a PhD in Educational Leadership/Administration, Modified Certificate in Educational Leadership with or without certification, Educational Specialist, and Master of Science.

George Washington University – GWU features an array of online programs. The Graduate School of Education offers a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership that can be completed in two years. It is a 30-credit program that trains educators to become principals and administrators. Learning occurs through a hybrid delivery model that offers on-site classes and asynchronous online classes. Admission requires one year of teaching experience. Prospective students fill out an online application and submit two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and a resume. The cost per credit of online courses is more than on-site classes.

What Can You Do with this Degree?

Educational administrators include a broad spectrum of jobs. They are school principals who work in high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools. Educational Administrators work for universities and colleges. With a Masters in Educational Administration, graduates are prepared to work in various departments of a university or college. Graduates take jobs in areas such as student development, student services, admissions, or student loans. Childcare centers and preschools are included in the spectrum.

The median salary for education administrators is $85,400. Salaries can range from $46,110 to $$149,190.(https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119039.htm#nat)
Educational administrators attract opportunities with positions that also include:

  • Adminstratiors at post-secondary schools
  • Business managers
  • Community Education Directors
  • Curriculum Coordinators

Top Organizations to Know

American Association of School Personnel Administrators is the only organization specifically targeting and representing school personnel professionals. Graduate students interested in the field, principals, superintendents, personnel support staff, and personnel/human resource administrators benefit from AASPA membership. The Association provides networking opportunities, professional development activities, and resources to help do a job effectively, legally, and efficiently.

American Association of School Adminstrators is a great launching point for those in public education who want to lobby for a better U.S. education system. Members range from professors just starting administration careers to CEOs. The Association provides leadership development opportunities such as their magazine, School Administrator, consultants, and workshops. Members receive one million dollars in professional legal assistance and liability insurance. They also receive special discounts from major brands such as Disney, Barnes & Noble, and Target. Memberships start at $197 per year.