Online Educational Leadership Degree Programs

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What Is an Online Educational Leadership Degree Program?

Are you interested in leadership in education? If so, then pursing an Online Educational Leadership degree program could be a good path for you. What do these programs entail? Well, in a typical Online Educational Leadership degree program, you will cover the theory and practice of leading within schools. This means you will study how to run an educational institution or department. What would you cover?  You can expect to learn about everything from hiring and training teachers to managing budgets.

Leading in a school often calls for you to have business knowledge, such as finance. You will also build on your past teaching knowledge and experience. For instance, you could study educational technology. Or, you could study classroom management. In conclusion, you would combine the elements of business leadership and teaching. What is the goal of this type of role? To help your school become more effective overall.



M.Ed. in Educational Leadership

In this program, you will delve into leadership skill areas. This is so you can learn to guide your school to success. You can choose from three concentrations. Those include Teacher Leadership, School Leadership, and School Leadership if you wish to pursue principal certification.

Course Examples:

  • Principles of Instructional Supervision
  • School Improvement
  • Financial Management for Schools

Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership (K through 12 Leadership)

This program could help you prepare to lead in diverse settings. This could include departments, schools, and districts. You will study and apply leadership behaviors and strategies. And, you will explore the trends, policies, and challenges at play in K through 12 education.

Course Examples:

  • History and Politics of K through 12 Education
  • Strategic Planning and Change

Graduate Certificate in School Leadership

In this 9 credit program, you will gain the leadership knowledge you need in order to solve problems in educational settings. You will study ethics and contemporary issues. You will also study how to lead in diverse settings.

Course Examples:

  • Leadership and Supervision in Education
  • Contemporary Issues in Educational Policy

Online Educational Leadership Degree Programs

In an online educational leadership program, you will learn how to prepare for new responsibilities. So, you will often come across graduate programs which build on your past learning and experience. You can expect to study what it takes to go beyond the classroom. As such, you will learn to lead a department, school, or district.

Master’s in Education Leadership Programs

At the M.Ed. level, you will study how to apply organizational leadership concepts. In this case, you would focus on your school setting. What does this mean for you course wise? Well, for one, you could explore human resources as it applies to faculty and staff. Or, you could take courses such as school law and finance. These can help you get a handle on running your educational organization. And often, you will learn to organize from the ground up.

Your program should also touch upon elements of teaching and learning. As a school leader, you will do more than manage operations. You play a role in curriculum planning and student performance. So, you could take courses in  instructional design. Or, you could focus on building community relationships. Your goal is to learn how to foster student success.

Finally, your program could offer concentrations that may help you prepare for your target career path. Are you interested in principal preparation? Or, perhaps you want to learn more about teacher leadership. You could be intrigued by education policy. With all of the different learning technologies on the rise, you could study that, too. Your options are plentiful.

Master’s in Education Leadership programs may include:

  • M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership
  • M.Ed. in School Leadership
  • M.S. in Education Improvement and Transformation
  • M.A. in Educational Leadership

Doctorate in Education Leadership Programs

If you pursue a Ph.D or Ed.D in education leadership program, you would build on what you learned at the M.Ed. level. In some cases, you could potentially enter your Ed.D program with just a Bachelor’s. In any case, you will take advanced courses. And, your emphasis will be on research.

However, your program may have you focus on different areas. For example, your Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program may center on solving problems. Those problems could be in your schools and beyond. In that case, you would study research techniques specific to education. Also, you will delve into new discoveries. You will be part of the effort to help future education leaders. And, you will gain the knowledge to better serve your school.

On the other hand, you will find that Ed.D. in Education Leadership programs take a more practice based approach. In other words, you would be in the field. While research would be part of your studies, you may focus more on applying theory within educational settings. Are you hoping to lead a school or district some day? Then, pursuing this path may be the perfect option for you.

What Courses Could You Take in an Educational Leadership Degree Program?

Are you wondering what you will study on this track? Your courses will typically apply organizational leadership concepts to education. So, you will study subjects related to how schools run. As such, you could cover how you handle staffing and operations. And, how to plan your curriculum.

Beyond the practical side, you could also take courses where you delve into theory. You could cover trends and research. If you take classes like these, it could inspire you to solve contemporary challenges in education!

School Finance: Education leaders must ensure a school runs smoothly with its available resources. A course in financial management covers the essential of planning and preparing a budget…and making it work for your goals!

Theories of Teaching and Learning:  This course takes a big picture approach to how learning works. You’ll study psychological research and teaching theories that can be applied to learning challenges in your department or school.

School and Community Partnerships:  It takes a village to ensure learners are successful. This course focuses on nurturing the relationship between your school and its environment. You’ll learn how to do a better job connecting with parents, outside organizations, and other learning partners.

School Law and Policy:  This course covers the legal basis of education. You’ll study the foundations of school law and how it impacts policy. And, you’ll delve into practical considerations – like common school legal situations and preventive measures.

Leading in a Diverse Society: In this course you could focus on concepts and techniques of leadership for learning and organizational theory, the changing roles of a leader in a diverse society, and the use of strategic planning and data analysis.

Basics of Educational Supervision: Learn about the components of effective school and teaching theories that lead to school improvement.

How Long Does It Take You to Earn a Degree in Educational Leadership?

An M.Ed. leadership program may take you about two years to complete. A PhD or Ed.D. program in educational leadership could take you three to five years.  It could take you longer, depending. Your program length will depend on factors like whether you study full time or part time.

Online Degree Length
Online Degree Length

Educational Leadership Degree Program Examples

SchoolDegree Level# of CreditsStart DatesMin. Months
Western Governors UniversityM.Ed.VariesMultiple12
Concordia UniversityM.Ed.30Multiple12
George Washington UniversityPost Master’s Certificate18Multiple12

The Cost of Earning an M.Ed Leadership Degree

According to DataUSA, you will find the median in state tuition of a public, four year school is $7,510. If you attend a private or for profit school, the median tuition is $32,954. Below, you can compare the tuition for these schools offering educational leadership programs:

School# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Penn State World Campus30$903$27,090
Colorado Christian University36$533$19,188
George Mason University30$852 (out of state)$25,560

Top Schools That Offer Educational Leadership Online Degree Programs

You can see the DataUSA lists 754 institutions with general educational leadership and administration programs. From those schools, you will find the students were awarded 32,837 degrees in 2021 (the most recent data). The most common educational leadership degree awarded, you will find, was an M.Ed.

School2021 Degrees awarded2023/24 Graduate Tuition (Out of State Unless *)
Lamar U1,871$18,482
The College of Saint Rose1,076$37,452
Grand Canyon U883$17,450*
American College of Education1,235$6,240
Liberty University523$21,222
The University of Texas at Arlington276$29,660
Concordia U Irvine118$41,390
Concordia U Chicago405$36,258
Western Governors University563$8,300*
National University161$13,320*

How Do You Choose an Accredited Program?

How do you go about choosing an accredited program? Firstly, it is important that you do so. What does it mean for you? Well, if you graduate from an accredited education leadership program, you can be assured that your education meets the standards in your field. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits schools with education leadership programs. You will find they may also accredit individual programs.

In any case, you are wise to look for a college or university that is regionally accredited. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes seven regionally accrediting organizations. These, you can be sure, meet CHEA’s expectations. What does this mean for you? It means your school is properly assessed for academic quality. It also means your potential school is measured for improvement, and accountability. In conclusion, it is important for you to choose an accredited school. This will help you very much in your career path.

What Can You Do with an Educational Leadership Degree?

Are you wondering what you can do with an educational leadership degree? You will have options. You can see that, according to the most recent data, there are over 5 million education degree holders in the workforce. And, you will be happy to know, this includes educational leadership degree holders.

You will find that the average degree holder in is 46.2 years old. Also, you can see, 66.6% of degree holders were female.

Now, you can understand that education leadership roles are growing. If you are interested in elementary, middle school, and high school principal jobs, you are in luck. You will find these roles are projected to grow 4% by 2028.

So, are you interested in pursuing this path? Perhaps you are wondering what your job prospects are. Well, your ability to find job openings may depend on some factors. These could include your state and local budgets. Also, you can find new hiring opportunities if principals in your district retire.

At the college level, you will find more education leadership opportunities. These jobs, you can see, are growing fast. Why? Well, you see, increasing enrollment means the need for more professionals. This is where prospective like you step in. Your interest in serving the future is a needed one. Another thing you should know regards postsecondary admin roles.  You can see, those jobs could grow by 7% come 2028.

Top Salaries by State

If you take a look at the table below, you can see the states with the highest employment levels for School Principles.

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
New York18,860$145,530
New Jersey11,090$141,310

What Kind of Jobs Can You Get With An Educational Leadership Degree?

School Principal

Are you interested in leading? As a School Principal, that’s what you will do. You would be in charge of a school at the elementary, middle, or high school level. Your role is to manage faculty and staff. You will oversee the school’s budget. Also, you would lead operations. In addition, you may plan and manage the curriculums in your school.

In essence, your job is to reach goals across your school. You would meet with students often. You could also meet with parents and teachers to provide counseling. Finally, you may be called upon to provide discipline when needed.

According to 2023 BLS data:

Median Salary: $103,460 per year
Job Growth Through 2032: 1% (Little or no change)
Entry Level Degree: M.Ed.


As a Superintendent, you would function as a higher level education administrator. You could be in charge of several public schools. Or, you could oversee a whole school district. In essence, you would play a big picture role. Also, you would be the go to when it comes to oversight. You would be involved in everything from academics to school operations. As a superintendent, you would oversee school principals. They would report to you. You do need an M.Ed. degree for this role.

According to 2023 BLS data:

Median Salary: $88,460 per year
Job Growth Through 2032: 50% (as fast as average)
Typical Entry Level Education: M.Ed. degree

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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