Online Educational Leadership Degrees by Program Level

Learn about online master's degrees with educational leadership courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Designed primarily for teachers, online master's degree programs in educational leadership allow students to prepare for administrative positions while continuing to work. They can access lectures, reading assignments and other course materials as their schedules allow, within certain time limits. However, the program can't be completed entirely online; students must complete several internships in a school. A valid teacher's license may be required to enter the program.

These programs take two to three years to complete and cover all aspects of educational leadership. Students learn about an administrator's function in curriculum planning and explore current issues in curriculum design. They may study finance and budgeting and learn about building operations management. School law is an important course, as is staff development.

Many programs prepare graduates for certification, or licensing, as school principals or administrators, a requirement in most states. Requirements vary by state, but most call for a master's degree in educational leadership or administration and passing an examination. Continuing education courses are required in order to maintain the license.

For students seeking a fully online master's program in education, a master's of education in curriculum and instruction may be an attractive option. These programs provide students with the training and experience to refine, reform and guide the development of educational curriculum in the public school setting.

Online Master's Degree in Educational Leadership Overview

Individuals looking for upper-level employment in education may pursue a Master of Arts, Master of Science or Master of Education in Educational Leadership completely online. Students take advanced classes in current pedagogical practices and curriculum trends. They also learn about the state of national education in contemporary society. A bachelor's degree in education or a related field and acceptable scores on graduate school examinations are required. Some programs may expect incoming students to hold a valid teacher's license, and many prepare students to meet administrative licensure requirements, such as principal and superintendent.

Program Information and Requirements

A master's degree program typically takes 2-3 years to complete. Distance learners need access to a computer with high-speed Internet. Instructors use traditional texts, audio and video presentations, webinars and chat rooms to create a virtual learning environment. Because some classes require academic papers, word processing and printing capabilities are required.

List of Common Courses in Educational Leadership at the Master's Level

The graduate curriculum emphasizes the responsibilities of educational administration. Students explore the educational system from legal, societal and student standpoints.

Current Curriculum Trends

Students look at current curriculum designs from kindergarten through grade 12. They pay special attention to administration's role and practice techniques. Local and national standards are considered.

Staff Development

Instructors give insight into how administrators bring on new staff. Students learn all about the recruitment process, from selection to evaluation. They also discuss such topics as personnel policy, fringe benefits and salary schedule.

Leadership and Education

The course studies the teacher as leader and how this role impacts student behavior. Students consider the school from an operational standpoint and explore challenges prompted by changes in educational settings. Collaborative decision-making and self-evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in leadership abilities are stressed.


Career Information

Graduates with a master's degree in educational leadership can advance their careers to a higher-level administrative position in education, including principals, assistant principals and district administrators. Upper-level administrative jobs often require state licensure. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) expected a six percent job growth for educational administrators between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, the mean annual wage for elementary and secondary school administrators was $92,940.

Online master's degree programs in educational leadership are available in a blended format. These programs analyze concentrations of study such as curriculum trends, staff development, staff supervision and educational leadership.


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