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.

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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.

1

University of Florida

Tuition & Fees
$6,381
Distance Education Participation
50%
Number of Programs Offered
65
School Type
4-year

The home of the Florida Gators, the University of Florida has much more to offer than a stellar sports team. The school has a robust array of online programs, including the master's and doctorate programs in educational leadership, as well as the teacher leadership for school improvement program, which results in a Specialist in Education (Ed.S) degree in curriculum and instruction. UFL's cohort programs are designed with the working professional in mind; in fact, the specialist path is a job-embedded program for full-time educators.

Please note that the leadership in educational administration doctoral program requires some hands-on work -- specifically, up to three weekend meetings per semester at the UFL campus in Gainesville.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (program)
 
2

East Carolina University

Tuition & Fees
$7,188
Distance Education Participation
45%
Number of Programs Offered
67
School Type
4-year

East Carolina University takes their educational administration programs so seriously that there is an entire department devoted to them. Under the umbrella of the College of Education, the Department of Educational Leadership offers three degree options and two non-degree licensure-only programs.

The Doctor of Education and the Master of School Administration options are offered in hybrid format, which requires students to be on or near campus. However, the Education Specialist option is administered entirely online, designed for working professionals who want to move up in responsibility in the field. This sixth-year post-master's program requires 38 semester hours to complete. Upon completion, students may be eligible to upgrade previously held educational licenses.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (program)
 
3

Sam Houston State University

Tuition & Fees
$8,296
Distance Education Participation
53%
Number of Programs Offered
52
School Type
4-year

Students seeking an online education in educational administration can find it through the graduate programs of Sam Houston State University. The Master of Arts in higher education administration has some helpful options for its students, allowing them to choose a thesis or non-thesis track, or to add an academic advising certificate to their curriculum. The program takes 30 credit hours -- 36 if pursuing the certificate.

Another option is the Doctor of Education in developmental education administration, which focuses on developing programs for community college and university students who need an extra push. This cohort program requires 60 credit hours, which usually takes about 3.5 years to complete.

Accreditation:

  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (program)
 
4

Liberty University

Tuition & Fees
$22,584
Distance Education Participation
90%
Number of Programs Offered
137
School Type
4-year

With four fully online options for educational administration programs, students at Liberty University certainly have no shortage of ways to develop their knowledge of the field. This nonprofit Christian research university's programs include:

  • The Master of Education in curriculum & instruction-leadership program, a non-licensure pursuit that covers ways to work with K-12 students.
  • The Educational Specialist in educational leadership program is an opportunity to specialize in facets of degree level education. Ethics and conflict resolution are important aspects of this program.
  • The Ph.D. in higher education administration drills down on the specifics of different leadership styles with an eye towards high-level educational careers, such as superintendent.
  • Finally, students can opt for the graduate certificate in school leadership, which touches on administrative skills as well as how to work with policies and regulations.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (program)
 
5

Florida State University

Tuition & Fees
$5,656
Distance Education Participation
42%
Number of Programs Offered
14
School Type
4-year

In the field of educational leadership, online students at Florida State University can choose to pursue the Master of Science in educational leadership & administration, designed for those who want to work as administrators at the K-12 level. Though all courses for this program are online, students must attend one mandatory Face-to-Face Orientation prior to beginning the program.

The program requires 33 credit hours, which can usually be completed within six semesters. The program is open to those who have at least two years of experience teaching in Florida schools, excellent performance evaluations and a teaching license in good standing. Students can choose between a program that includes Florida certification or one that does not.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (program)
 
6

Creighton University

Tuition & Fees
$39,916
Distance Education Participation
40%
Number of Programs Offered
24
School Type
4-year

With a strong foundation of Ignatian values, the online programs at Creighton University make it a priority to teach humility, reflection, compassion and relationship-building. The Master of Science in educational leadership is offered entirely online and combines theory with project-based, hands-on learning. This 36-credit hour program is suitable for students looking to become teachers and/or administrators, and it can be completed in as little as two years.

Students can opt for tracks that are designed for either public or private schools. Those who choose to add on courses in Catholic education, strategic resourcing, school law, and strategic and political leadership in Catholic schools can also earn the school's Catholic School Leader graduate certificate.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (institution)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (program)
 
7

Texas Tech University

Tuition & Fees
$9,080
Distance Education Participation
50%
Number of Programs Offered
52
School Type
4-year

Those with an eye toward leadership positions in their school district or area college may be interested in Texas Tech University, which has five online options to choose from: two master's degrees, two doctorates and one graduate certificate in leadership.

Both master's programs are designed to take two years to complete (including summer work). The Doctor of Education in higher education administration requires an additional 60 credit hours beyond the master's, and the Doctor of Education in educational leadership requires 96-99 credits. The graduate certificate program -- which is only available to students who have already earned a license and a bachelor's degree -- requires 15 credit hours of study.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (programs)
 
8

Arkansas State University-Main Campus

Tuition & Fees
$8,607
Distance Education Participation
56%
Number of Programs Offered
38
School Type
4-year

While Arkansas State University was founded as an agricultural school in 1909, it has blossomed into a public research university that serves as the flagship university of Arkansas State University System. The university offers a selection of online degree programs that are available to students all over America, and among the subjects available is educational administration, through the following programs:

  • Master of Science in Education in educational leadership degree program, focused on building, managing and improving learning communities.
  • Master of Science in Education in curriculum & instruction degree program, which helps students develop personal career-oriented skills and professional growth.
  • Master of Science in Education in educational theory and practice degree program, which focuses on developing and refining current and upcoming educational practices and preparation for the National Board Certification process.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

Location:

2105 E. Aggie Rd.
Jonesboro, AR 72401
9

Northwest Nazarene University

Tuition & Fees
$29,800
Distance Education Participation
35%
Number of Programs Offered
22
School Type
4-year

No fewer than seven online degree programs in educational leadership are available through Northwest Nazarene University. These programs are designed with a cohort model, and they come at the master's, specialist and doctoral levels. Let's take a look at each level in turn:

  • The M.Ed. in Educational Leadership: Building Administrator emphasizes organizational structure and admin responsibilities. Graduates can be recommended for a K-12 principal's certificate in Idaho (though not necessarily in other states).
  • The Ed.S. degree program comes with several possible specializations: Building Administration; Leadership and Organizational Development; Director of Special Education; or Superintendent. All four are designed for working educational professionals who have already earned a master's degree.
  • Finally, at the doctoral level, a Ph.D. or an Ed.D. in educational leadership can be pursued. Part of this program is a two-week on-campus summer session to help students plan out their dissertation and research activities.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (institution)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (programs)
 
10

Appalachian State University

Tuition & Fees
$7,364
Distance Education Participation
20%
Number of Programs Offered
26
School Type
4-year

The options for an online educational administration degree program are robust at Appalachian State University. The Ed.S. in educational administration requires 30 credit hours and leads to sixth-year superintendent licensure. Meanwhile, the MSA in school administration requires 36 credit hours, and graduates should be eligible for principal licensure.

Finally, the Ed.D. in educational leadership takes students to the pinnacle of their educational journey with 60 credit hours delivered in a hybrid format. Six concentrations are offered to diversify this program: educational administration, interdisciplinary studies, higher education, expressive arts education (hybrid only), higher education, instructional technology leadership and literacy in exceptionalities.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (institution)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (programs)
 

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

Childcare Directors
Average Salary
$53,990
Projected Job Openings
5,800
Projected Job Growth
7.2
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree

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
Average Salary
$98,750
Projected Job Openings
22,900
Projected Job Growth
4.1
Entry-level Education
master's degree

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.

Admissions Directors
Average Salary
$111,210
Projected Job Openings
16,800
Projected Job Growth
7
Entry-level Education
master's degree

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.

Distance Learning Coordinators
Average Salary
$89,570
Projected Job Openings
4,200
Projected Job Growth
7.8
Entry-level Education
Bachelor's degree

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.

 
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