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Online Education Administration Degree Programs Resource

An education administration degree focuses on the administration and management of education systems. Education administrators work in many areas, including admissions and data management, guidance and career services, and finance and human resources. The goal of an education administrator is to organize and manage their administrative department while facilitating the goals of the institution for which they work. Administrators work in daycares, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities, both private and public. An education administrator commonly has experience working as a teacher and in most cases has earned a master’s degree in education administration or a related subject. K-12 administrators must usually be licensed by the state in which they work. Individuals pursuing this career should be organized, detail-oriented, innovative, and enthusiastic. An education administrator should also have strong communication and interpersonal skills and able to work closely with staff, students, and parents.

How to Become an Education Administrator

There are both undergraduate and graduate programs for pursuing careers in administration, though most education administration programs are found at the graduate level. Courses that are usually offered in such a program include school leadership, school finance, school law, developing curricula, research design, politics in education, and courses on communication and counseling. Another requisite for becoming an education administrator in K-12 schools is state certification, the requirements for which vary by state.

Education Administration Degrees & Certification

A master’s degree in education administration or a closely related subject is typically the entry-level requirement for this career. Previous experience as a classroom teacher is required by some school districts. Common job titles in school administration include principal, assistant principal, academic director, superintendent, dean, and provost.

Top-Ranked Education Administration Degree Programs

The following schools were ranked by US News as having the best education administration graduate programs (2016).

1. Vanderbilt University (Peabody)
2. University of Wisconsin—​Madison
3. University of Texas-Austin
4. Harvard University
4. Stanford University
6. Teachers College, Columbia University
7. Michigan State University
8. University of Virginia
9. Pennsylvania State University-University Park
9. University of Washington
11. Ohio State University

Profiles of Education Administration Programs

Pennsylvania State University
Through its Department of Education Policy Studies, Pennsylvania State University offers a Master of Higher Education degree program as well as two doctoral programs in higher education that give students the knowledge needed to research, analyze, and manage others in postsecondary education. Graduates are prepared for careers as administrators, researchers, faculty, and staff officers in higher education institutions and in public and private organizations. Students work closely with program faculty and university professionals throughout the curriculum and also find opportunities through the school’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. Also housed at the College of Education are the Krause Innovation Studio for emerging technologies in education and the Institute for Research in Training & Development, which focuses on workforce preparation in Pennsylvania communities and beyond. The faculty of the College of Education are recognized for their editorial and research contributions, and US News & World Report has consistently ranked this master’s degree program among the top of its class.

University of Virginia
The University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education offers a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration that prepares students to assume leadership roles in postsecondary institutions. The theories that support current practice are emphasized throughout the program with a further focus on organizational and environmental factors that influence postsecondary institutions, including political and social forces. Full- and part-time options for study in the MEd program are available; with full-time study, the 36-credit hour degree can be completed in as little as one year. The cohort-based program includes a capstone project centered on original research in a topic of the student’s choosing. In addition to the core curriculum, students can choose from electives in specialist topics like Legal Aspects of College Administration or Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. Full-time students also complete a one-year internship in an area of student affairs administration.

Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University awards a Masters of Education in General Higher Education Administration that takes a generalist approach to the administrative specialization, allowing students to gain a broad overview of the field to prepare for careers in administration. Core courses in higher education administration, general higher education, access to higher education, and managing institutions culminate in a practicum and comprehensive examination prior to graduation. Individualized specialist courses of study can also be developed within the general administration track. The curriculum reflects the College of Education and Human Development’s mission to understand and enhance the various contexts in which learning takes place through research, new program implementation, and policy work. Graduate students may have the opportunity to pursue participation in the school’s various research centers, including the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools, the National Center on Performance Initiatives, and the National Center on School Choice.

Education Administration Degree Requirements and Coursework

A degree in education administration is a good fit for those who are seeking administrative roles in education, both in educational institutions and in public or private organizations involved in education and policy. An education administration degree program can also be a good fit for those looking to change careers from another field and enter the education space. As most education administration programs lead to a graduate degree, students typically have earned a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning the course of study.

Teaching and Education Programs

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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do I need to have teaching certification to pursue an education administration degree?

Answer: Many education administration degree programs are open to students of all academic backgrounds, including those who obtained an undergraduate degree in other fields and have not earned teaching certification. However, most K-12 school districts look for administrators who have prior teaching experience.

Question: Are education administration degrees offered in an online format?

Answer: Yes, many schools have recognized the need for flexibility for working professionals by implementing online programs. Many programs are offered fully online or in online/traditional classroom hybrid formats.

Question: What career opportunities are opened by a degree in education administration?

Answer: A degree in education administration can open the door to many career opportunities, including school administration, advising and counseling, and consulting. This type of degree program can also lead to administrative specialist certification in some states.

Question: How can I see if an education administration program is accredited?

Answer: There are two main types of accreditation for education administration programs: regional accreditation or national accreditation. Regional accreditation is typically preferred for earning certification. Additionally, there is a highly-regarded national certification given in addition to regional certification for teaching programs through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).