Best Online Master’s in Educational Leadership Programs 2022

Updated March 28, 2022 | Genevieve Carlton

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An online master's in educational leadership prepares learners for roles as school principals and school administrators. Graduates can also become higher education administrators. All of these professionals make sure the education system runs smoothly.

Learners in educational leadership programs gain administrative, supervisory, and management skills. The degree can help teachers secure administrative roles or become college-level educators. People often earn a master's in educational leadership degree online to increase their earning potential.

The following list ranks the best online master's in educational leadership programs. Prospective graduate students can use the rankings to find a program that fits their schedule, budget, and career goals.

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Questions About Educational Leadership

What kinds of jobs can I get with an educational leadership degree?

A master's degree in educational leadership can lead to careers as instructional coordinators. Degree-holders can also pursue roles as school principals or higher education administrators. These positions offer higher salaries than many education careers.

Do educational degree-holders need a license or certification?

Many public school districts require administrators to hold a license or certification. Depending on the state, professionals may need a school administrator or principal license.

What do you study in educational leadership?

Students in educational leadership programs explore educational administration. Coursework also covers curriculum development, instructional supervision, and school budgeting.

Why Get a Degree in Educational Leadership?

Teachers can earn a master's degree in educational leadership to enhance their career. The degree can also help professionals transition to a career in higher education.

Teachers often pursue an online master's in educational leadership to increase their earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teachers earn a median salary of $62,870 per year. School principals earn a median annual salary of $98,490.

Online learning can help working students balance school with other responsibilities. Many educational leadership programs feature academic schedules based around the school calendar to make scheduling easier for teachers.

How Much Does an Educational Leadership Degree Cost?

According to 2021 data from the Education Data Initiative, a master's degree costs an average of $66,340. However, costs vary widely by school and program. A master's in education costs an average of $55,200, less than some master's degrees.

Many students save money by choosing an online master's in educational leadership program. Online programs may cost less than in-person programs. Distance learners often save on transportation, commuting, and relocation costs. Additionally, online students can choose from affordable programs nationwide.

Additional Online Student Fees

Along with tuition, graduate students should budget for fees and expenses. Many institutions charge distance learning and graduation fees. Online students may need to upgrade their technology to meet program requirements.

Degree-seekers should also consider the cost of books and supplies. Learners may need to cover travel expenses for in-person program requirements. Some students may need to pay for licensure costs depending on their career goals. For example, school principals need a license in many states.

How Much Do Educational Leadership Graduates Make?

A master's degree can help educators increase their earning potential and get supervisory roles. Salaries of educational leadership master's degree-holders vary by role.

For example, instructional coordinators earn a median salary of $66,970 per year. Other roles offer higher salaries. School principals earn a median salary of $98,490 per year. Each of these roles requires a master's degree.

Master's degree-holders can also pursue positions at the college level. Postsecondary education administrators earn a median salary of $97,500 annually.

Courses in a Master's in Educational Leadership Program

Master's in educational leadership programs help learners develop leadership, analytical, and organizational skills. Graduate students complete coursework on instructional supervision, school finances, and curriculum development. Classes blend theoretical and practical approaches to prepare students for education careers.

Master's students earning an online degree in educational leadership often choose a specialization. Examples include college administration or curriculum and development. Many programs offer tracks for aspiring school principals.

Each master's in educational leadership program features a unique curriculum. However, many include the following classes.

  • Instructional Supervision

    Educational leaders play a key role in supervising instructors. This course introduces methods for evaluating teaching and assessing student learning. Learners explore instructional supervision models. Degree-seekers learn how to help teachers improve their instructional methods. The course prepares learners for careers as instructional coordinators and school principals.
  • Curriculum Development

    Learners examine curriculum planning research and study how to implement and evaluate curricula. Participants also explore the role of instructional coordinators in curriculum development. Students learn how to analyze test data and interpret student assessments.
  • Public Education Law

    Public schools must follow specific laws and regulations. This course introduces the legal responsibilities of school officials. Learners review key judicial decisions relevant to public education. Topics include the rights of students, policy formation, and religion in public schools. This course prepares degree-seekers for leadership positions in public schools.

Career and Salary Outlook for Educational Leadership Students

A master's in educational leadership prepares graduates for administrative roles in education. Master's degree-holders often work as instructional coordinators and school principals. Educational leadership graduates can also work as college-level administrators. Example roles may include student affairs coordinator, admissions director, and financial aid director.

The following table highlights salary potential and job growth projections for educational leadership careers.

  • Instructional Coordinators

    These professionals oversee curriculum materials for schools and districts. They create educational content and discuss teaching methods with educators. Instructional coordinators use student test data to evaluate a curriculum's effectiveness. They may recommend changes to the curriculum or new teaching methods to improve student learning.
  • K-12 Principals

    These principals manage daily operations at elementary, middle, and high schools. They oversee teachers and staff, implement curricula, and set long-term goals. Principals also manage school budgets and meet with superintendents and school boards. Most principals have a master's degree and classroom teaching experience.
  • Postsecondary Education Administrators

    Also called college administrators, these professionals manage college departments. They can work in a school's admissions department, student services department, or financial aid office. Postsecondary education administrators manage staff and help students access services. They also analyze data to recommend new services and procedures.
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Instructional Coordinators$66,97010%
K-12 Principals$98,4908%
Postsecondary Education Administrators$97,5008%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Best Online Master's in Educational Leadership Programs 2022

#10 Minnesota State University

Mankato, Minnesota

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 11

The Minnesota State University offers an online degree in educational leadership that prepare students to take on effective leadership roles in K-12 schools and college settings. The 34-credit hour program includes courses like leadership studies, equity and education, organizational and systems change, multicultural leadership, and women in leadership. Students can also opt for the hybrid instructional model that has conveniently scheduled courses for Saturdays and weeknights. Students can take their time or opt for an accelerated format to complete the course in a shorter time. Minnesota State is ranked as the 103rd best regional university in the Midwest and 29th top public school by the U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition: $13,222.6


#9 Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 11

Indiana University offers a master’s in educational leadership degree online that prepares students to take on leadership roles in educational organizations, schools, and districts. The 36-credit program includes courses like educational leadership principalship K-12, data-informed decision making for school leaders, legal perspectives on education, public school budgeting and accounting, introduction to educational leadership, and school community relations. The 100% online program is flexible and affordable and comes with concentrations that train students for real-world administrative experiences. The university is ranked as the 86th best national university by the U.S. News and World Report and its online graduate education programs are ranked #22.
Tuition: $17939.16

#8 University of New England

Biddeford, Maine

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 11

The University of New England offers an online master’s in educational leadership that allows busy K-12 teachers to get an advanced degree while they are working. The 30-credit program provides a comprehensive curriculum that prepares them for senior-level jobs in school administration. Courses include organizational theory and strategic planning, school law, school finance, supervision and evaluation of instructional personnel along with the fundamentals of educational leadership. The expert faculty is the same as the on-campus program as is the rigor of the curriculum.
Tuition: $16,800


#7 Concordia University

Portland, Oregon

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership

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Points: 11

Concordia University offers a master’s degree in educational leadership online that is designed for future leaders in education, both in the K-12 and the higher education spaces. The 34-credit program includes courses like Character and the Ethics of Leadership, Theories of Teaching and Learning, Community of Learners, Contemporary Educational Thought, School and Community Partnerships, Case Studies in Law and Ethics, Strategies for Enhancing Student Achievement, Organizational Change. Students need to complete research-based capstone projects to get their degrees. The 100% online course is taught by an expert faculty and combines theories with best practices to prepares students for their career in senior administration.
Tuition: $23,698


#6 Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration

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Points: 12

Florida State University offers an accredited online master’s in school administration program that prepares education professionals to gain advanced knowledge and progress in their careers. The 100% online master’s program helps them provide leadership for future teaching and learning. The 33-credit program includes courses like leadership for diversity, data-driven school improvement, resource management for educational leaders, planning effective instruction, and teacher leadership development. Florida State is ranked 92nd best national university by the U.S. News and World Report and its online graduate education programs are ranked #3. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges (SACS), and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE.)
Tuition: $15817.56


#5 University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 12

The University of Florida offers an online master’s in educational leadership degree program that is designed for educators and teachers who want to gain more knowledge and experience to become leaders in their professions. The 36-credit program includes courses like educational organization and administration, communication in educational leadership, supervised practice in educational administration, administration of school personnel, and technology leadership. The 100% online program is taught by experienced principals and superintendents along with their nationally recognized faculty. Students have the option of the Florida principal certification track and the Doctoral Degree in Leadership in Educational Administration (LEAD) for high-achieving students. The university is ranked 48 out of 201 universities by the U.S. News and World Report and its online graduate education programs are ranked #1 in the nation.
Tuition: $26,424


#4 Louisiana State University

Shreveport, Louisiana

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 13

Louisiana State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program that is designed for working teachers and educators. The flexible program can be completed in as little as 15 months. Students can also opt for an accelerated format to complete the course in a shorter time. The 13-course program includes topics like introduction to school improvement, administration of school personnel, best practices of principal leadership, advanced school improvement and action research, and understanding and applying research in education. The courses are taught by nationally recognized faculty, and each run seven weeks in length. The university ranks high as one of the top national universities, and its online graduate education programs have earned recognition.
Tuition: $11,374


#3 Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, Florida

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 14

Saint Leo University offers a master’s in educational leadership degree online that prepares existing teachers to assume leadership roles in public and private educational settings. The 100% online program is one of the most affordable and boasts of a comprehensive curriculum. The 36-credit program includes courses like building school and community relations, decision making for instructional leadership, data-driven instructional decisions, leadership in a learning culture, school management, leading curriculum for special populations, and values and ethics in educational leadership. The faculty consists of university professors with years of experience in the field. The University of Iowa is ranked as the 62nd best regional university in the South and the 26th best value school by the U.S. News and World Report, and its online graduate education programs are ranked #149.
Tuition: $17,820


#2 West Texas A&M University

Canyon, Texas

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 15

West Texas A&M University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program that is designed for working teachers who want to become principal or superintendent in the future. The 30-credit program includes courses like introduction to educational leadership, educational leadership and technology, educational law, instructional leadership development and teacher evaluation, multicultural education, along with school business management and finance. The 100% online and flexible curriculum is taught by the same professors who instruct on campus. West Texas A&M is ranked s a top public school and best regional university in the Westby U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition: $13,950


#1 Penn State World Campus

University Park, Pennsylvania

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

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Points: 16

Penn State World Campus-Pennsylvania State University offers an online master’s in educational leadership program that equips educators and teachers to become the future school leaders. The 30-credit program includes courses like introduction to educational leadership, curriculum design theory and practice, leadership for inclusive education, school improvement, principles of instructional supervision, and application of technology in educational leadership. Students need to complete an internship at the end of the program. The 100% online program is taught by the same faculty as the on-campus program.
Tuition: $26,580

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