An effective educational leader can create a wave of impact, empowering teachers to motivate and inspire students.
Are you ready to affect positive change and improve educational outcomes for learners in your school? Have you ever suspected that you’re ready to advanced through the field of education in a leadership role? Taking on the role of a team leader, principle, vice principle, or superintendent is no small task. Only the most fortified and equipped leaders in education will find success in this prestigious and noble endeavor. In today’s world, strong communication skills and the ability to manage behavior are not the only skills required to effectively lead. Today educational leaders must understand how to use data and assessment to ensure your campus meets establish goals, and also become well versed in technology, fund raising, and the laws that govern that which is considered to be “ethical leadership.” A master’s degree is an absolute must-have for the individual who is ready to take on the leadership of an educational institution. We selected the following online master’s degrees in educational leadership because these programs will ensure that you acquire the most cutting-edge skills required for the 21st century educational atmosphere. We love these programs for their affordable tuition rates, flexible online formats that often include multiple concentrations, the academic prestige, and the number of graduates who are forging their way through online programming. If you are ready to affect positive change in your district, region, and school, then we highly recommend the following top 10 best online master’s degrees in educational leadership.
- Affordability (1/3): an institution’s cost per credit hour for out-of-state residents provided by the degree program or institutional website.
- Flexibility (1/3): the number of options—including acceptance of prior college credits, self-paced learning initiatives, accelerated courses, and number of specializations—that allow students to complete a program at a pace of their choosing.
- Student Support Services (1/3): an institution’s rank for providing student support service such as digital library assistance, virtual office hours, and access to career services.
1.) Drexel University
Drexel University is a private research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There are 24,232 students who benefit from small classrooms as well as the student to faculty ratio which is just 10:1. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits Drexel to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Drexel is known as a trailblazer for Co-op learning, technological advancements, and its diverse range of research initiatives. According to U.S. News , Drexel University ranks as the 96th best university in the nation and along with it the 65th best value school and 84th for best online graduate education programs. In fact, when it comes to online courses, Drexel University offers nearly 60 programs that include bachelor’s, master’s, and professional certifications. As a world-class comprehensive institution, Drexel is highly involved in cutting-edge research across several disciplines like health sciences, engineering, biotechnology, media arts, and education.
Drexel University (DU) offers a M.S. in Educational Administration. This calendar is quarterly and requires 45 credit hour for completion. We selected this program for its flexibility- it offers four areas of concentration- as well as its academic prestige. DU is a top 100 nationally ranked institution. The areas of concentration include four tracks: MS in education administration and a school principle certificate, a special education leadership and principle (K-12) certificate, special education leadership certificate without the principle certificate, and a non-certification track. This 45-credit degree includes course material on leading in urban, rural, and suburban settings, resource management, school leadership and decision making, mentoring and more. The program includes a 6 credit hour internship as well as two 3-credit elective courses. The cost of this program is $400 per credit hour.
2.) University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) is a public 4-year institution founded in 1903 as a normal school- the nomenclature of a teacher’s college of the day. Today UNK enrolls 6,788 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UNK to award comprehensive degree programming. There are 4 colleges including the college of business and technology, education, fine arts and humanities as well as natural and social sciences that offer over 170 degree programs and pre-professional programs. According to the U.S. News , UNK ranks as the 56th best regional university, 12 top public school as well as the 35th best school for online education programs. Additionally, UNK is known as the 34th best college for veterans and includes affordable degree offerings like military science, aviation systems, chemistry, criminal justice, education and more. When it comes to online degree programming, UNK offers nearly 20 bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a M.A. in Education for Curriculum Supervisor. This program prepares individuals for effective school leadership, and requires 36 credit hours for completion. We selected this online course for its flexibility, high level of academic prestige, and the percentage of graduate students taking engaged in online learning. When it comes to flexibility, there are 5 related programs also available online: M.A. in School Principalship 7-12, M.A. in School Principalship PK-8, School Superintendent, and a M.A. in Supervisor of Special Education. The core components of this curriculum include social foundations of education, educational research, EDAD assessment leadership, human resource management, school/community relations and more. This program also includes an internship for a total of 36 credit hours. The cost of the course is $417 per credit hour- yet another reason this course made it to our top ten, the value.
3.) Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University is a public research institution located in Jonesboro, Arkansas and is the flagship university of the Arkansas State University System. There are 14,085 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Arkansas State to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. According to U.S. News , Arkansas State ranks as the 59th best college in the South, 34th best college for veterans and 20th top public school in the region. Arkansas State is known for its diverse student body including their high numbers of international students. There are more than 150 degrees available including via a thriving online university program. In fact, there are over 30 distance learning programs that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level as well as a number of professional certification courses offered all completely online. The most popular online degree offerings are in the fields of business and education.
Arkansas State University offers a M.S. in Education in Educational Leadership. We selected this program for its affordable tuition rate, academic prestige, and flexible online options. Coursework may be completed in as little as 20 months and is designed to equip leaders ready to tackle educational needs in today’s professional atmosphere. Individuals are welcome to select one of the following three specializations: elementary school curriculum, middle school curriculum, and secondary school curriculum. The core components of this course include statistics and research, philosophies of education, ethical leadership, school law, planning and resource allocation, theories of instruction, supervision and evaluation of teaching and more. The cost of this program is just $288 per credit hour and requires 36 credit hours for completion.
4.) Capella University
Capella University is a private distance learning university with headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are 37,569 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 22:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Capella University to award bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral degrees, and professional certification. As a distance learning university, Capella provides all of its education online. There are hundreds of online courses offered in career-ready fields like business, health, information technology, and education. Students may select online degrees that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level as well as professional certifications. Capella University is also known for its military-friendly benefits that include discounted tuition, transfer credits for military training, flexible military leave of absence policy as well as their military spousal support. Capella offers two paths to degree completion: the FlexPath which is self-paced and the GuidedPath where the pace is set by the university itself.
Capella University offers a M.S in Educational Administration Leadership. We selected this course for its high percentage of online graduate students, flexible format, and affordable tuition rate. The aim of this course is to empower individuals as ethical leaders in the field of education. This course is divided into two key components core courses, and specialization courses. The core components include foundations in education, a survey of research methodology, assessment and improvement of instruction, and strategies for eliminating the achievement gap. The specialization includes some elective courses as well as courses for all like: school leadership and management practices, education and the law, the funding of educational institutions, P-12 Principalship, and personnel administration. The course culminates with a capstone experience. The cost for this course is one of our most affordable at just $288 per credit hour. This program requires and requires 46 credit hours for completion.
5.) Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is a private Roman Catholic liberal arts university located in Saint Leo, Florida. Founded in 1889, Saint Leo is now one of the largest Roman Catholic universities in the United States. There are 14,649 students enrolled who benefit from small classes and a student to faculty ratio of just 15:1. The Southern Association of College and Schools accredits SLU to award comprehensive degree programming and professional certifications. According to U.S. News SLU ranks as the 62nd best school in the South, 26th best value school, and highly for both their online bachelor’s programs and online graduate education offerings. In addition to a vast array of degree offerings ranging from accounting to social work, SLU has robust online learning opportunities. In fact, there are over 50 courses available completely online from the associate to doctoral level. Criminal justice, business administration, and educational leadership are among the most popular online degree programs. SLU is also a military-friendly university.
Saint Leo University offers a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. This program effectively prepares educators for leadership positions in schools and in their community. We selected this course for its academic prestige as well as for the high percentage of graduate students engaging with the online course material. The curriculum at Saint Leo examines educational leadership through the following courses decision making for instructional leadership, leading curriculum for special populations, data driven instructional design, managing the learning environment, leadership in a learning culture, school operations, building school/community relations, school management and much more. We like the comprehensive curriculum and the great value for this highly prestigious degree. The cost of this program is just $465 per credit hour and requires 36 credit hour for completion.
6.) Concordia University – Saint Paul
Concordia University- Saint Paul (CUS) is a private liberal arts university located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. There are 4,582 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The Higher Learning Commission accredits CUS to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. According to U.S. News CSU ranks as the 103rd best school in the Midwest, and highly for their online bachelor’s programs, graduate business degrees, and graduate education offerings. CSU has a growing online presence with nearly 50 degree and certification programs that include online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as professional certifications. The adult and continuing education program enrolls just as many non traditional students as traditional students. This may have to do with the wide range and flexible accessible programs offered online including some of the most popular online offerings like a master’s in human resources, master’s in educational leadership and administration.
Concordia University Saint Paul offers a M.A. in Educational Leadership. We selected this program for is accelerated and flexible online format, affordable tuition rates, and high percentage of graduates perusing this program online. Courses are 7-weeks in length and may be completed in 2 years or less. No GRE is required for admittance to this program. This degree is designed to prepare educators for leadership and administrative roles in today’s K-12 learning environment whether in a school setting on in a community setting. The curriculum focuses on educational issues, education research and application, leadership in education, legal and ethical issues, curriculum and instruction, human resources and diversity and more. This degree culminates with a capstone experience. The cost for this programs is just $378 per credit hour and requires 30 credit hours for completion.
7.) Lamar University
Lamar University is a public 4-year institution located in Beaumont, Texas. There are 15,001 students enrolled, and the student to faculty ratio is 18:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Lamar University to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. There are over 100 programs of study in fields that range from accounting to theater. The online learning platform offers nearly 30 online courses in fields like business administration, industrial technology, foreign languages, and education. As a member of the Texas State University System, LU accommodates a number of transfer credit hours from in-state universities as well as those out-of-state. When it comes to online programming, U.S. News ranks LU highly for their online criminal justice programs, online graduate nursing program, online bachelor’s degrees, online MBA programs, and best online graduate education degrees.
Lamar University offers a M.Ed. in Education Administration. This program is designed to empower education professionals to rise into leadership roles in schools and in the greater community. We selected this course for its affordable tuition rate, flexible range of online degrees offered, and large percentage of graduate students who engage with this course online. Other related courses include their M.Ed in Educational Technology Leadership, and the M.Ed. in Digital Learning and Leading. The M.Ed. in Education Administration focuses on educational research, fundamentals of leadership, instructional leadership, leadership for accountability, school law, human resource development, diverse learners, curriculum management and more. This program requires 300 hours of practicum for completion. The cost for this program is just $275 per credit hour and requires 36 credit hours for completion.
8.) Liberty University
Liberty University is a private nonprofit Christian University located in Lynchburg, Virginia. There are over 80,000 students enrolled at Liberty- the largest evangelical Christian university in the world. In fact, Liberty University is the largest nonprofit university in the world and offers over 245 distance learning degrees. Carnegie classifies Liberty University as a doctoral/research school. As you may have guessed, the largest non-profit university in the world offers a huge range of degrees. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits Liberty University to award associate, bachelor’s, mater’s, specialist, and doctoral degree programs. Degrees offered include everything from accounting to zoology for undergraduates, and master’s degrees include unique fields like design, theology and education. Online degrees offered are comprehensive and range from high school programs to doctoral to post doctorate and certificate programs. The most popular online degree programs are in business, theology, and education.
Liberty University offers a M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision. This program aims to equip individuals with effective communication and leadership skills useful in schools and other educational community settings. We selected this program for its flexibility and high percentage of graduate students who engage with this program online. Liberty University offers credit for life experience. Check with the admissions department to see if you qualify. The course curriculum is comprehensive in that it includes learning theory, research and assessment, foundations of exceptionality, foundations for educational leaders, curriculum development, school administration, law and more. This program requires a 3 credit hour internship. The cost is $615 per credit hour and requires 36 credit hours for completion.
9.) American College of Education
American College of Education (ACE) is a private 4-year distance learning institution that is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Higher Learning Commission accredits ACE to award master’s and doctoral degrees. When it comes to online courses, ACE offers a flexible experience including 24/7 accessibility to coursework, a vast online library of publications, periodicals, current research and more, 5-week master’s level courses that work in tandem with working professionals as well as a highly qualified faculty. In fact 100% of faculty have doctoral degrees. The learning platform is Canvas which offers student support, discussion boards, and interactive calendar, and the Canvas iOS app for on-the-go learning. All of their online degrees are in the field of education and include bilingual and multilingual education as well as health teacher education, educational leadership and more. Additionally, ACE offers a post-graduate certificate in educational leadership.
The American College of Education offers a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership. This program aims to prepare individuals for a myriad of educational leadership positions. We selected this course for its affordable tuition rate, as well as the percentage of graduate students who engage with this course online. The curriculum is comprehensive as it includes the following: creating safe and supportive learning environments, research methods for educational leaders, law and policy, assessment strategies, community engagement outreach and collaboration, diverse learners, strengthening literacy, developing teachers, school improvement and more. The degree requires the completion of an educational leadership internship. This is our most affordable pick as tuition is just $235 per credit hour and requires 34 credit hours for completion.
10.) Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is a public 4-year institution located in Trenton, New Jersey. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits TESU to award comprehensive degree offerings. There are 12,489 students enrolled who benefit from small classes as well as a student to faculty ratio of just 7:1. TESU primarily serves adult learners through their vast distance learning programming. In fact, online courses at TESU range from the associate to master’s level and include programming in the fields of business, education, engineering, liberal arts, military technologies and more. When it comes to student support services TESU offers academic and career counseling as well as military and veteran education support. TESU has specialized in providing education for US military for over 30 years and continues to do so as one of the country’s top ten military-friendly institutions according to Military Advanced Education .
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) offers a M.A. in Educational Leadership. This program aims to equip individuals with leadership and administrative skills that coincide with the national ISLLC standards. We selected this program for its flexible course offerings, as well as the high percentage of students attending this program online. Along with the M.A. in Educational Leadership, TESU offers the option to further tailor their degree to match their interests and passions with the Building Leadership program, District Leadership program, and the School Business Administration program. All courses require 36 credit hours for completion apart from the M.A. in District Leadership which requires 42 credit hours. For the building leadership area of specialization the focus is on curriculum design, evaluation, technology for instruction, budgeting and more. Those who select the path towards district leadership should expect a more rigorous course load for individuals seeking a position as a superintendent. The school business administration program focuses on management, financing and accounting, human resources, and more. All programs require a field-based practicum for completion. The cost of this program is $499 per credit hour and requires 36-42 credit hours for completion.