Online Master's in Educational Leadership

Earning a master's in educational leadership online prepares students to positively impact their community and ensure young people receive proper education. Educational leaders fill crucial roles in schools, higher education institutions, and school systems. They oversee these organizations and facilitate quality learning. As principals, they ensure their school's daily operations run smoothly. Educational leaders also design curricula for schools and school systems, using materials in line with the latest standards. These professionals may also work in universities, managing the admissions, student services, or academic affairs office.

Educational leaders fill crucial roles in schools, higher education institutions, and school systems. They oversee these organizations and facilitate quality learning.

Those interested in working in religious schools can benefit greatly from earning a master's in educational leadership online from a Christian college. These programs teach principles in leadership, curriculum development, and administration from a Christian perspective. They educate students based on Christian ethics and views and train future educational leaders to do the same. Most educational leadership positions require a master's degree. Candidates can further advance their career by pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary education administrators earn a median annual income of $92,360, more than double the national median salary. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 10% by 2026, due to increasing enrollment in colleges and universities.

Some online programs include access to online spiritual counseling, real-time video streams of on-campus worship services, and online forums that foster connections among students.

One of the benefits of earning a master's in educational leadership online is the flexibility of distance learning. Many schools deliver online courses asynchronously, enabling students to study from home and integrate lectures into their schedule. Online programs also allow students to balance their education with other commitments; full-time professionals, parents, and students with regular church obligations often value the convenience of online programs. In addition, online programs tend to be more affordable than on-campus programs, since online students do not need to pay for campus housing or meal plans. Distance learners also save on gas and public transportation costs by studying from home.

Distance education programs typically provide the same academic quality and student support resources as on-campus programs. Christian institutions offer the same Christ-centered coursework to online learners. Some online programs include access to online spiritual counseling, real-time video streams of on-campus worship services, and online forums that foster connections among students. Online learners can also participate in experiential learning opportunities, and many programs allow distance learners to complete internship or practicum requirements at approved locations in their area.

How Long Does it Take to Earn Your Educational Leadership Master’s Degree Online?

Program length for online educational leadership degrees varies by school. Most programs require students to complete about 10 courses, totalling 30 credits. Master's programs typically take two years to complete, but some schools offer accelerated options that students can finish in one year.

Students in self-paced programs balancing other responsibilities may study part time, which typically increases completion time to at least three years. Program requirements also impact graduation time; some programs require a specific number of internship or direct experience hours, while others require a thesis or research project.

Admission requirements vary by program, so prospective students should research each school's requirements before applying. Online master's in educational leadership programs typically require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Some schools require an undergraduate degree in an education-related field. Many programs also require a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must typically submit official undergraduate transcripts, and some schools require GRE scores.

In addition, applicants may need to submit a resume. Some educational leadership programs require applicants to have at least two years of professional experience as an educator. Admission requirements may also include up to three letters of recommendation and a personal essay.

Online educational leadership master's curricula help students develop the skills they need to navigate the challenges associated with leadership roles in schools and educational systems. Students learn to design, develop, and improve learning programs and curricula. They also master strategies for managing student behavior, organizing resources, and fostering a school community. Online educational leadership programs at Christian colleges teach students to lead schools according to Christian ethics and principles.

Master's-level educational leadership students often focus their studies on a specific area in the discipline. Students who plan to enter a particular line of work after graduation can prepare by focusing on skills and theoretical knowledge specific to that occupation. Each online master's degree in educational leadership offers different concentrations, but the specialization options below are common for students in online ed leadership programs.

Earning a master's in educational leadership online provides the credentials and abilities needed to succeed in many roles. Graduates who want a high degree of leadership responsibility often work as elementary, middle, or high school principals. Those with a greater interest in academics can become instructional coordinators, who train teachers and design school curricula. Graduates can also pursue positions as administrators at higher education institutions.

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Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

These administrators oversee all daily operations in schools. They supervise the development of curricula, manage teachers and other employees, and allot resources. Principals make sure school facilities are clean and safe. Most schools require principals to hold a master's degree in educational leadership or administration.

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators work with principals and educators to develop and implement school curricula. They organize training workshops for teachers and recommend materials, techniques, and technologies. These professionals assess the effectiveness of curricula by analyzing student test scores. Most educational organizations require instructional coordinators to hold a master's degree and a state license.

Postsecondary Education Administrators

These administrators manage operations in various college and university departments. Responsibilities vary by department; these administrators may oversee operations in the admissions office, the registrar's office, or an academic department. Most higher education institutions require administrators to hold a master's degree.
Occupation Minimum Degree Required Employment Annual Mean Wage
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals Master’s 251,300 $94,390
Instructional Coordinators Master’s 163,200 $63,750
Postsecondary Education Administrators Master’s 180,100 $92,360

After earning a master's in educational leadership online, many graduates pursue certification in a particular field. Certification can distinguish a candidate from other educational leaders and can demonstrate competence and experience to potential employers. In addition, some occupations require a license. For example, school principals and superintendents must hold state licensure. In some states, instructional coordinators must also have a license.

  • School Leaders Licensure: In many states, an educator must earn this credential before becoming a school administrator or principal. To become licensed, candidates must pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment. The test includes multiple-choice questions and short-answer questions based on possible teaching scenarios. The Educational Testing Service administers the exam.
  • School Superintendent Certification: School superintendents who manage school systems must hold state licensure. Many states require aspiring superintendents to pass the School Superintendent Assessment from the Educational Testing Service.

Accrediting organizations evaluate schools based on academic rigor and other important characteristics.

When deciding between online educational leadership programs, prospective students should only consider accredited programs and institutions. Accreditation indicates that a school meets established academic standards, and choosing an accredited Christian college ensures students receive a quality education. Accrediting organizations evaluate schools based on academic rigor and other important characteristics. To maintain accreditation, institutions must undergo a new evaluation periodically. Graduates with a degree from a school without accreditation may struggle to find a job; employers and state licensing boards generally only recognize degrees from accredited programs. In addition, accredited universities only accept transfer credits from other accredited institutions.

Traditional, four-year universities typically receive regional accreditation, while vocational schools often receive national accreditation. Institutions with regional accreditation must meet strict standards and guidelines and generally exhibit a higher academic quality than nationally accredited schools. Prospective students should look for schools with regional or national accreditation and programs with field-specific accreditation. Certain organizations evaluate programs within specific academic disciplines. Educational leadership students should prioritize programs with accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Online educational leadership students can join professional organizations for access to networking opportunities, career development, and education resources. Members of professional associations often attend annual conferences, where they establish relationships with professionals in the field. In addition, many professional organizations post job openings online. Through training workshops, intensives, and online courses, members can gain skills to impress potential employers.

  • Association for Christians in Student Development This organization supports professionals who integrate Christian faith into student affairs and development. Members can access resources like ACSD Ideas, an online newsletter designed for student development professionals at Christian colleges. The association also operates a career center and hosts an annual conference.
  • Association of Christian Teachers and Schools This association supports Christian schools and teachers and promotes high academic standards in Christian education. The organization provides discounts on curricula and hosts conferences. Members gain access to information on Christian education and can learn about open positions through the association's career center.
  • National Christian School Association This association connects 98 secondary schools, serving more than 30,000 students. The organization works to improve Christian education and academic standards in Christian schools. Educators and leaders at member schools receive admission to annual conferences and access to training videos. The organization posts job opportunities online.

Online master's in educational leadership programs can be costly. Most students struggle to pay graduate school tuition out of pocket, and many take advantage of financial aid opportunities. Before taking out loans, students should exhaust scholarship and grant options. Many local and national religious organizations provide scholarships to graduate students at Christian colleges. Recipients do not have to repay scholarships or grants, and students can sometimes apply the funds toward books and other expenses.

Educational Leadership Scholarships

Mary E. Bivins Religious Scholarship Program $3,500 per semester

The Mary E. Bivins Foundation offers this scholarship to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree that will help them preach the Christian religion. The applicant must be a permanent Texas resident. Recipients can use the funds for tuition, textbooks, fees, and other expenses. View Scholarship

St. Paul's Scholarship $750-$1,000

St. Paul's United Methodist Church awards this scholarship to members pursuing a postsecondary degree. Though applicants are not required to acquire a particular degree to be eligible, they must plan to work in Christian education or religious music. The church awards 7-9 scholarships each year. View Scholarship

Christian Missionary Scholarships Varies

Applicants must be the children of active or recently returned missionaries. Recipients must attend one of six colleges: Calvin College, Dordt College, Hope College, Kuyper College, Trinity Christian College, or Wheaton College. Recipients do not have to pursue any particular major. View Scholarship

E. Craig Brandenburg Scholarship $1,000-$2,000

The United Methodist Church offers several scholarships to members at various stages in their education. Applicants for this scholarship must be older than 35, and recipients can pursue any postsecondary degree. This scholarship program prioritizes students who are switching careers. View Scholarship

West End Church of Christ Christian Education Scholarship Fund Varies

This scholarship supports young members of the West End Church of Christ. Students must submit an application and must have been accepted to a higher education institution affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Scholarship recipients must study full time and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. View Scholarship

Dr. Mary E. Wilson Scholarship $1,000

St. Paul's United Methodist Church offers this scholarship to members pursuing a postsecondary degree in education. Applicants must be enrolled in or accepted to an accredited college or university. The church presents one of these scholarships annually, and students must submit applications by April 15. View Scholarship

AASA Educational Administration Scholarships $2,500

The American Association of School Administrators offers seven scholarships each year to graduate students in education administration who aspire to careers as school superintendents. To qualify for this award, students must be nominated by the chair of their school. View Scholarship

WMU Foundation Scholarships Varies

The Woman's Missionary Union provides several scholarships to children of missionaries and students interested in missionary work. The scholarship programs require students to demonstrate a connection to the Baptist denomination, sometimes through missionary parents. The WMU Foundation offers awards to students in various disciplines and stages in their education. View Scholarship