Masters Degree in School Administration: Program Overview

Oct 20, 2019

If you want to pursue a career in educational leadership, you'll need to earn a master's degree in the field of school administration. Find out more about degree options, program prerequisites, graduation requirements, and future opportunities.

Essential Information

Students who want to become administrators in K-12 schools may enroll in a Master of School Administration or a Master of Education in Educational Administration program. These programs explore topics like personnel management, curriculum development and community relations. Some programs specifically prepare students for principal licensure at the state level, while others may prepare students for leadership roles at the college level. Internships or field practica are typically required prior to graduation. Courses may be offered on-campus or online. In order to apply, students must have a bachelor's degree, a teaching license, and three years of teaching experience.

Master's Degree in School Administration

In order to graduate from master's degree programs in school administration, students are normally required to complete approximately 42 total credit hours (with the exception of some online programs), including a field experience internship. Common coursework includes:

  • Program development for diverse populations
  • Social context of educational leadership
  • School administration and curriculum leadership
  • Personnel administration and the law
  • Managing schools inside a district context

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of elementary, middle and high school principals would increase 4% between 2018 and 2028 ( Postsecondary education administrators are projected to have 7% job growth for the same time frame. In May 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for elementary and secondary school administrators was $95,310. Postsecondary administrators made $94,340 as a median annual wage in the same year.

Continuing Education Information

There are many continuing education opportunities for graduates. Students may apply to a doctoral degree program in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership or school psychology. Administrators may also pursue continuing education opportunities offered by a number of professional organizations, such as the National Child Care Association ( and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (

Through master's degree programs in school administration, experienced teachers can advance their educational expertise and gain the management skills they need to pursue careers as principals or in other positions of educational leadership.

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