Instructional Leadership Specialist: Diploma Program Summary

Oct 10, 2019

A diploma in instructional leadership, better known as a diploma in educational leadership, is a postgraduate terminal program that requires a graduate degree for admission. Learn about the courses, careers, and continuing education for this program.

Essential Information

The focus of the diploma program in educational leadership is on leadership duties, laws and regulations, personnel issues, and financial management.

Students who wish to enroll in this program must first obtain both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in an education-related field. Many schools will also only admit students to the diploma program if they maintained at least a 3.0 GPA during their master's degree program. In addition, nearly all schools require students to have three to five years of K-12 teaching experience prior to application. Finally, students are often required to submit essays, letters of recommendation, and professional resumes prior to their entrance interviews.

Graduates often serve as administrators or principals in K-12 schools, curriculum coordinators or administrators for school districts. Deans, provosts, or department chairpersons in colleges and universities are other potential career outcomes.

Instructional Leadership Specialist Diploma Program

Because of the strong management focus of an educational leadership diploma program, many of the courses center on personnel and program administration. Additional courses in finance, community relations, and communication may also be part of the program. Students gain knowledge of educational law, school finance, and how to supervise staff and personnel. Common course topics include:

  • Managing instructional programs
  • Community relations
  • Human relations
  • Educational technology
  • Curriculum and supervision

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Job availability in the field of educational leadership is favorable, particularly for those who hold a diploma in educational leadership. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a job growth of approximately 4% for school principals between 2018 and 2028.

The BLS also reports that wage levels are dependent upon the type of school in which an administrator works. In 2018, preschool and childcare center administrators earned a median wage of $47,940, while elementary and secondary school administrators earned a median wage of $95,310. Post-secondary school administrators made a median wage of $94,340. The median wage for educational administrators in other settings was $82,850 (

Continuing Education Information

Although a diploma in educational leadership is considered a terminal degree, many states require graduates to obtain licenses before becoming educational administrators. The licensing process and related requirements vary by state, but candidates often undergo testing and must participate in periodic continuing education classes to maintain an administrative license.

An instructional leadership diploma refines and builds upon a master's degree holder's skills in education to help prepare them for a leadership role in an education environment. Students with this level of education have many options for careers, but must earn licensure to work as educational administrators.

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