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Online Master of Education in Leadership: Degree Program Overview

Research online Master of Education in Leadership courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Although some Master of Education in Leadership programs can be completed entirely online, others are provided in blended formats and require students to travel to campus for one or two weekend residencies where students engage in discussions, share professional experiences and provide program feedback to fellow students and faculty. Internships may also need to be completed under the supervision of a licensed administrator. Students usually must have one to three years of experience in teaching or a similar occupation before applying to a master's degree program.

Students examine topics like school finance, ethical practices, leadership framework and effective policy implementation. Students may want to find an online program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). Some programs prepare students for state teaching or an administrator licensure.

M.Ed. in Leadership Degree

This type of online program is designed for working teachers interested in advancing their careers by becoming school administrators. Applicants are required to have a minimum of 1-3 years of experience in teaching or another educational role. The curriculum incorporates the practices, theories and policies involved in educational leadership and focuses on educational excellence, access and equity.

Program Information

A Master of Education in Leadership program is typically composed of 36-40 credit hours of coursework that takes two years to complete on a full-time basis. Students are typically expected to participate in an administrative internship during the last semester of study. A computer with high-speed Internet access is needed to login to the course management system (typically Blackboard) and access class materials. Specific software requirements may apply; this information can be found by contacting the college or university.

Course Topics

Online courses for this type of degree aim to increase student knowledge of ethical standards, practical application, instructional technology and academic rigor.

Education Law

Lessons cover the legal responsibilities and roles of teachers and school administrators in a learning environment. Students review educational legislation and policy decisions that affect academic freedom and the rights of both students and teachers.

Supervision of Instruction

Students focus on the principles, theories and practices of instructional supervision for a variety of professional and paraprofessional staff and faculty. Assignments incorporate case study analysis and interactive practice of supervision.

School Finance

This course covers funding sources, accounting and budgeting for schools. Specific topics include cost management, investment techniques, auditing, financial reporting and revenue sources.


Career and Certification Information

Graduates are qualified to pursue administration roles at a variety of educational institutions, including elementary and secondary public schools, private schools, district offices and other educational organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the employment of elementary, middle and high school principals to grow by six percent during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that school administrators at elementary and secondary institutions earned a mean annual salary of $92,940 in 2015.

Nearly all 50 states require school administrators to be licensed. Specific requirements vary by state; however, most states require that individuals hold master's degrees and pass state certification exams. In some states, licensed administrators are required to earn continuing education credits to maintain licensure.

Experienced teachers who want to advance to administrative jobs may enroll in an online Master of Education in Leadership program, which covers school management topics such as academic policy and budgeting. Once they finish, they can pursue state licensure.


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