Graduate Degrees in Education Administration: Program Overviews

Aspiring students wishing to make an impact in education may wish to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in education administration. These degrees will train and prepare students for leadership positions in education.

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Essential Information

A bachelor's degree is necessary to enroll in a master's program along with a valid teaching license, graduate test scores, letters of recommendations and a statement of purpose. To graduate, students typically must finish a thesis.

For admission into a doctoral program, you need a master's degree, Graduate Record Test Examination (GRE) scores, at least three letters of recommendation, and a personal interview. Many programs require applicants to have two to three years of administrative experience in an educational setting. Before graduating, students must present a dissertation.


Master's Degree in Educational Administration

Master's degree programs in educational administration generally takes two to three years to complete. They are designed to train individuals seeking careers as senior school administrators or other educational professionals. Coursework focuses on organizational development, curriculum evaluation, and the art and science of fostering effective classroom instruction. A typical education administration program features a core set of courses that are required for all graduate degree candidates. The balance of the coursework comprises elective courses, chosen by the student in conjunction with his or her academic adviser. These elective courses reflect the concentration or focus of the student's field of study. Students can expect to take courses on the following topics:

  • School system organization
  • Curriculum theory
  • Teaching and technology
  • Leadership and education
  • Staff development and evaluation

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Doctoral Degree in Educational Administration

Nearly all-doctoral degree programs in educational administration are designed for working educational professionals who wish to expand their knowledge base and employment opportunities. Some of these programs are designed for those working in higher education, while others focus on the K-12 range. This degree program is offered in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) formats, although the Ed.D. programs are more prevalent. The exact coursework for this program depends largely on the academic interests of the student and on the degree format. The Doctor of Education degree is intended largely for school administrators, while the Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed for individuals looking to conduct research with regards to educational administration. Courses cover the following:

  • Higher education and public finance
  • Curriculum assessment
  • Ethical issues in educational administration
  • Educational research and statistics
  • Leading in a multicultural environment

Popular Career Options

The employment opportunities that await graduates of doctoral degree programs in educational administration vary according to program format and to each individual's goals. Administrators are needed in educational facilities ranging from day care to university, and they're required anywhere else there's an educational program, such as correctional facilities, libraries, museums and community centers. Below are some sample job titles:

  • High school principal
  • Senior budget administrator
  • Educational researcher
  • District superintendent

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for elementary, high school and middle school principals will increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024. Alternatively, the BLS predicted that postsecondary education administration jobs would grow 9% in the same decade.

The BLS also reported that school administrators' salaries could vary by the levels of education in which they work. For example, those working in elementary and secondary schools earned a median annual wage of around $90,410 in 2015, while those working in postsecondary education earned a yearly median salary of $88,580 in the same year (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education and Licensing Information

Nearly all states require senior school administrators to be licensed. The licensing process varies between states but usually mandates a graduate degree or graduate training, a competitive grade on an administrative efficiency exam, and documentable continuing education credits. These continuing education credits allow educational professionals to stay abreast of the latest in educational theory and development. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has more information on educational licensure.

Graduate degrees in education administration give students the opportunity to advance their careers in education. Successful graduates may find advanced and administrative positions at all levels of academia.

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