Educational Leadership Degree Programs and Training

Oct 14, 2019

Aspiring school principals and education system administrators can enroll in Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree programs. Students need a bachelor's degree, and many schools accept only licensed teachers with a few years of experience.

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Essential Information

Educational Leadership degree programs prepare individuals to manage day-to-day operations of schools or school districts. Students enrolled in such programs learn to communicate with school constituents, ensure that school programs meet district, state and federal standards, manage and oversee personnel, and balance school budgets. Many graduate programs in educational leadership consist of 33 to 40 semester hours. They are composed of seminar and workshop courses in leadership, management and ethics and often include a required internship experience. Some degree programs in the field are tailored for specific school environments, such as public schools, private schools or religious schools. Several states require special licensure for school and education administrators, and completing a master's degree program in leadership is usually a requirement. A competency exam may be required as well.

Master's Degree in Education Leadership

Nearly all schools offering master's degree programs in educational leadership require incoming students to hold a baccalaureate degree and have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. Some schools also require incoming students to have at least two years of professional teaching experience, as well as a valid teacher's license. Most of the courses offered in educational leadership programs focus on the theories and practices of leadership and management. Some schools offer such courses on a part-time basis to work around the schedules of active teachers. Some common courses include:

  • Public school administration
  • Curriculum and instruction
  • Management of personnel
  • Leadership theory
  • School and community relations
  • Legal aspects of school administration

Popular Career Options

A graduate degree in educational leadership can prepare individuals for several different careers in public and private school districts. These include:

  • School administrator
  • School principal
  • Assistant principal
  • Teacher leader
  • District superintendent

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected employment growth from 2018-2028 is 4% for elementary, middle and high school principals and 7% for postsecondary education administrators ( Increases in student enrollment is the primary factor fueling growth for these educational leaders. The BLS reported in May 2018 that elementary and secondary school education administrators earned $98,750 annually on average. Postsecondary education administrators earned a higher mean annual wage of $111,210.

Continuing Education

Several states require educational leaders and administrators to gain licensure before they can legally obtain a leadership position at a school. One of the most common requirements for licensure is the successful completion of a master's program in educational leadership or educational administration. Some states also require eligible applicants to pass a test before they can obtain a license in school administration.

Pursuing a master's degree in educational leadership may be necessary for individuals hoping to work in more administrative roles in education. Programs will focus on topics like management, curriculum, and the legal aspects of education.

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