A field that blends management with the importance of educational principles, educational administration is a crucial subject for any educator who wants to improve the system they work within. From principals of elementary schools to presidents of colleges, from public school superintendents to private school deans, from preschool directors to school district administrators... if there's anything with the potential to be more influential than a teacher, it's the people creating the environment they teach in.
Best Online Colleges for Educational Administration in 2018-19
Teachers who have their sights set on becoming an educational administrator must usually earn a master's degree to qualify for the positions. At one time a prospect that almost necessitated leaving your teaching job in order to go back to school, the advent of online education has made it possible to keep your job even while you work on your master's.
This list of 10 featured online colleges for educational administration is here to present some options for doing just that. We analyzed many key data points — gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and put through our unique methodology (details at the bottom of this page) — to feature these accredited U.S. colleges for educational administration.
University of Florida
East Carolina University
Sam Houston State University
Florida State University
Texas Tech University
Arkansas State University-Main Campus
Northwest Nazarene University
Appalachian State University
Degree Overview: Educational Administration
Students interested in attending colleges with online educational administration degree programs might wonder what to expect from the various options available. We've combed through a variety of online programs for educational administration to find what students can commonly expect to take and learn while working to complete such a program.
Online Educational Administration Courses
Nine times out of ten, those interested in educational administration will want to start with a bachelor's degree as an entry-level requirement. The reason is two-fold: first, most students in education administration choose to obtain a teaching license, which is possible only with a bachelor's degree; and second, the vast majority of administration-related degrees in education are at the master's level.
There are few bachelor's degree in educational administration available; however, an equitable substitute would be a bachelor's degree in early childhood education administration, which both teaches students how to work as an administrator in the preschool, kindergarten or elementary school levels, and serves as a stepping stone to the master's degree in educational administration.
Once you have earned your bachelor's degree, you can begin the process of earning a master's in educational administration, which is required for most administrative positions in education. Earning a master's in educational administration typically takes 18 months with an accelerated course load, and usually tackles topics such as leadership, organizational behavior, human resources, administrative theory, student development and finance. Many online colleges also have the option to specialize the program; for example, a student might choose to focus on elementary-level schools, or perhaps high schools.
As a step beyond, or perhaps an alternative to, a master's in education (M.Ed), students interested in educational administration can also consider pursuing an educational specialist degree. Commonly known as an Ed.S, these tend to go into greater depth than a master's program by narrowing in on a very specific facet of the field, such as principalship, special education, math, reading or religious instruction. They do not require a dissertation, as doctoral degrees often do, but they can lend added legitimacy to an educator's specialty in the teaching world.
Finally, students may aim for the doctoral degree in educational administration. This lofty goal is particularly helpful for those who intend to work in higher levels of administration, such as superintendents, regional coordinators and the like. Students can expect significant attention paid to courses in research, theory, educational systems and legal aspects of administration in the course of these rigorous programs.
Career-Related Skills to Develop
Students can learn many valuable skills over the course of an online educational administration program. Here are a few of the most important to seek out and focus on improving for anyone who intends to enter a career in educational administration:
- Communication: Both educational careers and administrative careers require communication skills, and an educational administrative career definitely does as well.
- Leadership: Administration puts you in a position of leadership. While this is an ambition of many, it's imperative to be prepared for the responsibilities of management before acquiring the position. This includes giving guidance and direction to those you manage; taking responsibility for problems that arise in your sphere of influence; ; and more.
- Critical thinking: As various situations arise in your career, it's important to be able to weigh the pros and cons of these situations and possible ways to address them. An unexpected grant requires careful consideration about how to best utilize that money, while a necessitated budget cut must be trimmed off wherever it will cause the least harm.
- Decision-making: While critical thinking to establish your best option in any given situation is highly valuable, it's important to remember that, sooner or later, a decision must be made. As an administrator, it's crucial to be able to make decisions when the situation demands, and to be prepared to take responsibility for those decisions even if the results are imperfect.
Educational Administration Career Outlook
Providing quality care to infants, tots and young children is often a goal of people interested in childcare director careers. Their responsibilities, however, encompass more than just guiding and assisting children. These directors are the decision-makers at childcare and daycare facilities, determining the staff to hire, the type of child-focused projects to fit into the budget and the healthy foods that staff will incorporate into kids' meals.
An associate or bachelor's degree is typically needed to enter the childcare director field while a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential could be an additional benefit. Because childcare directors check in on classrooms and communicate with parents and manage staff, they are likely to be moving around the facility throughout the day.
Education coordinators, also known as instructional coordinators, take a look at the big picture of education. Instead of being in a single classroom providing education, they make choices about the type of curriculum to be used in multiple classrooms, often at the public school district level. As part of their job, they may compare different types of materials and analyze them for student engagement level and ease of access and use.
A master's degree in curriculum and instruction is typically needed to enter the field, but a bachelor's degree in teaching may be a necessary first step. A public school district or other hiring entity may seek candidates for education coordinator careers who already have a teaching license or previous teaching experience.
Imagine giving a presentation about enrollment numbers or talking about career opportunities to prospective students. Either of these can be a responsibility of an admissions director, who may also oversee staff and make budgetary decisions. Admissions directors are typically involved in matters related to financial aid packages, data analysis and even public relations.
Most people interested in admissions director careers find jobs at a college or university level, but employment opportunities could also be found in private schools, boarding institutions and through nonprofit programs. An advanced degree is usually required to enter the field. Several related roles include admissions counselor, dean of admissions or vice president of enrollment management.
Moodle or Blackboard? Hybrid learning or blended education? Providing online education requires a massive effort, whether it's at the undergraduate and graduate level or even in K-12 education. Distance learning coordinators oversee online learning programs, ensuring that staff know how to teach and communicate effectively through online platforms. They're also responsible for analyzing data to determine the effectiveness of the programs and delivery systems.
Many, but not all, distance learning coordinators have a graduate degree. This could be in a field like education or instruction or even in distance-based learning. In fact, graduate programs specifically in the discipline of distance education are becoming increasingly prevalent. Strong organizational and communication skills are a must for anyone considering distance learning coordinator careers.