School Supervisor Degree Programs with Course Descriptions

Students pursuing a career as a school supervisor have a variety of educational options, including M.Ed., Ed.S. and Ed.D. in educational leadership. These programs are geared towards providing an understanding in educational administrations.

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Essential Information

A school supervisor at the K-12 level generally fulfills the role of principal. School supervisors must meet the needs of students, parents, faculty and staff while representing the school within the community. Educators who are interested in becoming school supervisors can consider pursuing master's, post-master's or doctoral degrees in educational leadership or related disciplines. At the graduate level, students must typically complete an internship, as well as a culminating project, such as a dissertation or capstone project. Admission into these programs requires a bachelor's or master's degree, as well as a teaching license in most cases.

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership

A Master of Education in Educational Leadership program is designed to prepare teachers for supervisory positions in school administration. The curriculum focuses on leadership and resource management as well as on the development and promotion of a positive learning environment. Program participants are generally required to complete an internship and put together a professional portfolio.

Admission into an educational leadership master's program requires a bachelor's degree and a current teaching license. Most prospective students are required to have at least one year of teaching experience. Other requirements may include a personal essay, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or curriculum vitae (CV), transcripts from any previous graduate work and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

The coursework in a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program focuses on practical and theoretical approaches to research and leadership. The curriculum may include courses in the following:

  • Educational leadership
  • Education research
  • Education law
  • Curriculum development
  • Evaluating and supervising personnel

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Adult Education Administration
  • Community College Education
  • Educational and Curriculum Supervision
  • Educational Leadership
  • Higher Education Administration
  • K thru 8 Administration and Principalship
  • Secondary School Administration
  • Special Education Administration
  • Superintendency Education
  • Urban Education Leadership

Educational Specialist in Educational Leadership

The Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership is a post-master's degree program that prepares educators and educational administrators for leadership positions at schools, school districts, government education departments or professional organizations. Many educational specialist degree programs give students the choice between a principalship track and a superintendency track. Students must successfully complete a capstone project or comprehensive exam.

Prospective students must have an educational leadership master's or a degree in a related field. Most programs have a minimum GPA requirement for undergraduate and graduate work. Otherwise, students must usually submit the same materials for admission to an Ed.S. program that they do for a master's program.

A number of schools allow students to apply their educational specialist credits toward a doctoral degree program, because they share common courses. The following classes are typically part of the curriculum.

  • Educational finance & budgeting
  • School administration theory
  • Education and the community
  • Education, leadership & culture
  • Personal leadership development

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

An Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) in Educational Leadership provides the knowledge that prospective leaders need to influence educational policy and decisions. The curriculum focuses on critical educational issues and the legal, historical, organizational, technical, social, political and economic aspects of schools. Some programs require students to complete advanced internships. Completion of a dissertation is usually required.

Typical admission requirements for the Doctor of Education program are similar to the M.Ed. and Ed.S. programs. Students applying to a doctoral educational leadership program are required to have a master's degree.

The coursework in an Ed.D. program may vary depending on the student's chosen concentration. Typical classes include:

  • Organizational theory
  • Educational policy and practice
  • Issues of culture and gender in education
  • School leadership and reform
  • Educational leadership principles

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a six percent increase in education administration positions for principals from 2014 through 2024 ( The demand for school supervisors is likely to increase in the western and southern regions of the U.S. due to population growth. Rural and urban schools also have a higher demand for principals. The BLS 2015 salary survey shows that elementary and secondary school principals had a median salary of $90,410.

Educators wanting to advance their careers and go into elementary and secondary education administration may choose to pursue a M.Ed., Ed.S. or Ed.D in education leadership.

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