Top 25 Schools for Online Education Administration and Leadership Degrees

At SuperScholar we believe strongly in the value of leadership in education. Few people will have a greater impact on the future of our society than those responsible for leading and administrating our educational institutions. It’s vitally important that these leaders are well prepared and properly trained for such a demanding and important task. That’s why we’ve put together our first annual Smart Choice ranking of online Education Administration and Leadership degree programs.

Featured Online Programs

The Value of a Degree in Educational Administration and Leadership

Due to the diversity of jobs, tasks and responsibilities involved in being an education administrator, there are many different paths and experiences that lead people into the position. The vast majority of education administrators begin their careers as teachers and then move into an administrative role after completing a master’s or doctoral degree in education administration or education leadership. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master’s degree is a prerequisite for most positions in education administration beyond the preschool level.

The Advantages of an Online Degree in Education Administration and Education Leadership

The constraints of time, family commitments, and work often make it difficult for aspiring education administrators to complete a traditional graduate degree program. Most online degree programs in education administration and education leadership are designed with just such people in mind. Students are able to complete their classes and assignments at a time that is convenient for them, and from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows students in online education administration programs to maintain their commitment to family and work while completing their degree.

How We Selected the Smart Choice Schools for Online Education Administration and Leadership Programs

Only regionally accredited colleges and universities listed in the National Center for Education Statistics database and offering graduate degree programs in Education Administration or Education Leadership were considered. Schools that passed this initial criterion were then evaluated based on publicly available data related to market reputation, degree selection, academic quality, student satisfaction, and cost. We believe the resulting list is a great place to begin your search for the online education administration or education leadership degree program that is best for you.

#1. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is a private university with campuses in Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University was originally an accounting school before being chartered by the state of New Hampshire and reconstituted as a non-profit institution. Today the university remains an acclaimed business school and is ranked highly by US News and World Report as a regional university.

Program Details: Southern New Hampshire University offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership. This 36-credit hour program is designed for licensed educators desiring an extra endorsement, and can be completed in as little as 18 months with only two courses per 11-week term. Students completing the program qualify for Principal certification in New Hampshire, though requirements differ by state. This program combines theoretical and practical learning in curriculum development, assessment, technology, and leadership.

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Click here to request more information from Southern New Hampshire University

#2. Walden University

Walden University was founded by two teachers in 1970 as an experiment to provide working adults an opportunity to complete their higher degrees while also working toward positive social change. Eventually moving from Florida to Minnesota, Walden was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and grew into a unique and acclaimed online university.

Program Details: Walden University offers an accredited online Master of Science in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership. This program is designed to help experienced and novice teachers (with a teaching certificate) improve student outcomes and motivate educators to improve learning opportunities. However, the program is not approved to lead to licensure as a principal or assistant principal; students must consult the department of education in their own states for information on salary advancement, licensure, or endorsement.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Click here to request more information from Walden University

#3. Drexel University

Founded in 1891 by financier and philanthropist Anthony J. Drexel, Drexel University is a private research university in Philadelphia PA. Drexel is known for its cooperative education program, possibly the best in the nation, with a broad range of corporate partners. Students at Drexel follow a unique 5-year track that includes 18 months of real internship, giving them an exceptional degree of experience and a wide network of contacts upon graduation.

Program Details: Drexel University offers an accredited online Master of Science in Educational Administration: Collaborative Learning. Drexel’s program emphasizes collaboration and team leading, in keeping with Drexel’s commitment to cooperative education practices. In addition to the 45-credit hours of coursework, students will also take part in a 4-term, 600 hour internship as an educational administrator, part of Drexel’s uniquely in-depth, hands-on approach to education. This demanding program will provide students with confidence, contacts, and authority.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

[Click here to request more information about this program from Drexel University]

#4. Liberty University

Founded in 1971, Liberty University has grown tremendously in its relatively short existence into the largest private university in the nation. As a SACS-accredited institution, Liberty ensures that it meets all standards accreditation entails, while also maintaining an evangelical commitment to conservative Christian values. Liberty’s campus is located in Lynchburg, VA, but the majority of its students take classes online.

Program Details: Liberty University offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision. This 36-credit hour program is designed for educators seeking leadership credentials for K-12 institutions, or as a stepping stone for students pursuing a Doctorate of Education. Students will also take a 3-credit hour internship with an educational institution, practicing in real life the community building, legal, budgetary and administrative skills they have learned theoretically. Students may qualify for principal, assistant principal, and curriculum instructor licensure in their state.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

[Click here to request more information about this program from Liberty University]

#5. University of New England

The University of New England is a post-secondary trade school with campuses in Biddeford and Portland, Maine. Originally founded as a Catholic boy’s high school and junior college, the University of New England grew into a university by merging with the New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1978. The Franciscan order withdrew as administrators in 1974. The University of New England has Maine’s only medical school.

Program Details: The University of New England’s U-Online offers an accredited Master of Education degree with a concentration in Educational Leadership. The 30-credit hour program is designed for K-12 educators who wish to move into positions of leadership and administration, focusing not only on educational theory and practice, but on the skills for motivating and directing educators. Fifteen hours of focused coursework in Educational Leadership prepare students for the challenges of legal, budgetary, and organizational issues in administration. Students should consult the department of education in their states to determine their eligibility for assistant principal and principal certification.

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

[Click here to request more information about this program from the University of New England]

#6. Concordia University-Portland

Concordia University Portland is one of the ten-member Concordia University System, a university system overseen by the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. This private, Christian university was founded in 1905 and has developed a strong focus on educator training.

Program Details: Concordia University Portland offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership. This program is designed for experienced educators working full-time to obtain a higher degree while still practicing their skills every day in the classroom. Student educators in K-12 who want to take on managerial responsibility and enter administration will learn about planning, policy, and professional development. Courses are five weeks long, and assignments may be turned in when convenient for students. Students who wish to seek certification or licensure should consult their state’s department of education.

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

[Click here to request more information about this program from Concordia University-Portland

#7. Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University was founded in 1929 in New Haven, CT; today it is located in Hamden. Originally a small commuter school, Quinnipiac University has grown in the last twenty years into a highly respected private university, ranked at the top of its category by US News and World Report and accredited by the AACSB. It is also known for the Quinnipiac Polling Center, a source of public opinion frequently cited by major news outlets.

Program Details: Quinnipiac University offers an accredited online Master of Science in Teaching Leadership program for established, experienced teachers who wish to move into administration, with an eye toward improving education quality. This 30 credit program offers three possible areas of specialization: Literacy, Mathematics, and Program Improvement. Teaching students will learn to improve and transform school culture by studying curriculum development, diversity, and behavior, while practicing administrative roles with real peer colleagues and practicing research skills. The culminating project is a grant proposal designed to meet the needs of a specific school or district.

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

[Click here to request more information about this program from Quinnipiac University]

#8. Keiser University

Keiser University is a private, non-profit institution located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Originally founded in 1977 as a career college, Keiser University was formerly a for-profit school until investigation of for-profit colleges by the Florida Attorney General prompted founder Arthur Keiser to sell Keiser University to Everglades College, Inc, a non-profit organization that also operates Everglades University.

Program Details: Keiser University offers an accredited online Master of Science in Education with specializations in Leadership and Career College Administration for educators who wish to move into administration positions. These programs provide students with a grounding in assessment, curriculum design, governance, and decision-making.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

[Click here to request more information about this program from Keiser University]

#9. University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university located in Cincinnati, OH, part of the University of Ohio system. Ranked by US News and World Report as a Tier 1 university, UC consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the nation.

Program Details: The University of Cincinnati offers an accredited online Master of Education in Educational Leadership. UC boasts an impressive 100% pass rate on Principal Licensure exams, and its flexible, convenient online format allows working educators to prepare for administrative positions while retaining their current jobs. This 54-credit hour program can be completed in only two years, while the cohort model provides students with a stable group of peers who can offer support and variety of experience. While the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership meets the qualifications for Principal licensure in many states, students should check with the department of education in their own state.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

[Click here to request information about this program from the University of Cincinnati]

#10. Florida State University

The first state university in Florida, Florida State University is a comprehensive public university with a space grant (for outer space research) and sea grant (for oceanographic research). Located in Tallahassee, Florida, Florida State was founded in 1851. Florida State has been rated a best value by USA Today and The Princeton Review, and named in the top 50 public universities by US News and World Report.

Program Details: Florida State University offers an accredited Master of Science in Higher Education, General Administration. This program is designed for educators who wish to move into intermediate management positions in higher education, but who need to keep their jobs and cannot move or commute for a degree. Part-time students can finish the program in seven semesters with only two courses per semester.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Click here to request information from Graceland University

#11. University of the Incarnate Word

The University of the Incarnate Word is a private Catholic university located in San Antonio, Texas. Founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the university has maintained a commitment to its mission with campus extensions in China and Mexico, 93 sister schools throughout the world, and an unparalleled study-abroad program. The university is the largest Catholic university in the state of Texas.

Program Details: The University of the Incarnate Word offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Teacher Leadership. This 36-credit hour program is designed for K-12 instructors who wish to continue teaching while also taking on managerial and administrative roles in their schools as department heads, team leaders, or curriculum designers.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

[Click here to request information from the University of the Incarnate Word]

#12. Ottawa University

Ottawa University is a private, non-profit liberal arts university located in Ottawa, Kansas and affiliated with the American Baptist Church. Originally founded in 1865 to provide education for the dislocated Ottawa Indians, Ottawa University still offers tuition-free undergraduate education for members of the Ottowa Tribe. This small university also has adult education campuses in several locations in Kansas.

Program Details: Ottawa University offers an accredited online Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership. This 39-credit hour program is designed for licensed educators with at least three years of experience who are ready to move into administrative positions. While endorsements and certification vary from state to state, the Educational Leadership concentration will prepare students to deal with the legal, financial, and political complexities of education administration.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

[Click here to request more information about this program from Ottawa University]

#13. American College of Education

The American College of Education is a private online graduate school offering graduate degrees in education. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, ACE was founded as Barat College in 1858, a women’s academy. Following a partnership with DePaul University, Barat College was purchased by the American College of Education in 2005 to provide quality, affordable education degrees online.

Program Details: The American College of Education offers an accredited online Master of Education in Educational Leadership degree designed for experienced educators who wish to take on more leadership responsibility at school, district, and state levels. This program will prepare educational leaders to deal with the complexities of social and political pressures on the educational system, to lead with vision for improving educational standards, and to utilize the most advanced teaching technology to make the most of educational opportunities. Students in the M.Ed. program may also work toward a dual degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Click here to request more information from American College of Education

#14. University of Scranton

A private, co-ed, Catholic liberal arts university, The University of Scranton was founded in 1888 by the Diocese of Scranton and is currently operated according to Jesuit tradition, the Society of Jesus having taken over in 1942. The university has been positively cited by the Princeton Review, US News and World Report, and Newsweek, being named as an up-and-coming school by US News in 2010. It has also been named one of the Friendliest Schools by the Huffington Post.

Program Details: The University of Scranton offers an accredited online Master of Science in Educational Administration for educators who wish to move into administration, make a higher salary, and gain greater prestige. This 39-credit hour program can be completed in as little as 18 months by full-time students. Students will also complete two 150-hour practicums, one in elementary and one in secondary education. These intensive programs will provide feedback, experience, and the opportunity to gain principal certification.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

#15. DePaul University

DePaul University is the largest Roman Catholic university in the United States, and one of the 10 largest private universities, with over 25,000 students. Founded in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission, a monastic group dedicated to St Vincent DePaul, DePaul University was originally intended to educate the children of Catholic immigrants. Today it retains its dedication to serving first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color, even as it has maintained rigorous admissions standards and grown enormously. US News and World Report has twice ranked DePaul #1 for student satisfaction, and The Princeton Review has also ranked the college highly.

Program Details: DePaul University offers an accredited online master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Students may choose from a Master of Arts or a Master of Education, depending on their field and career goals. This 52-credit hour (13 course) program is for students who desire positions in administration and supervision, not necessarily for certified teachers, but can also be applied to leadership positions in business and human services. The Educational Leadership program prepares students not only in theory and practice, but in understanding the issues and problems facing administrators in contemporary education, and in researching specific administrative and supervisory positions for future employment.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

#16. Concordia University Wisconsin

Concordia University Wisconsin is one of the ten-member Concordia University System, a university system overseen by the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. Originally founded in 1881 in downtown Milwaukee, Concordia began as a classical educational institution for the preparation of Lutheran ministers. Originally all male, Concordia is today a coeducational university with five schools and colleges.

Program Details: Concordia University Wisconsin offers an accredited online Master of Education in Educational Administration. The program prepares students for administrative positions in elementary, middle, or high school, and may provide eligibility for a Principal license or Director of Instruction for a school or district. In addition to 33 basic credit hours, students will engage in a 100-hour practicum at the school where the student is already employed, or at another school. Assessment is done by a portfolio system, and students may opt for a thesis or a graduate seminar project to complete their degree.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#17. Arizona State University (ASU Online)

Arizona State University, founded in 1885, is spread over four campuses around the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, but they are one institution. While the university has typically ranked lower than the top 100 in standard lists (such as US News and World Report), recent advances in quality, such as those experienced by the Carey School of Business, have led to ASU’s reputation as an up-and-coming university.

Program Details: Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Educational Administration and Supervision with two possible concentrations: Principal Leadership or Teacher Leadership. Both programs are rigorous 36-credit hour curricula, that combines coursework with fieldwork. Students in the Teacher Leadership program will also engage in an administrative internship in the school where they work, applying the lessons in curriculum development, testing, and leadership in a real-world setting. The Principal Leadership program meets the requirements for Principal licensure in Arizona; students from other states will have to check with their own state’s department of education.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#18. University of Nebraska at Kearney

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is one campus of the University of Nebraska system. Located in Kearney, Nebraska, UNK was founded in 1905 as the Nebraska State Normal School, a teacher-preparation college. Ranked by US News and World Report as a Top 10 Midwestern public university, UNK uses is eCampus to further its commitment to affordable, high-quality education for everyone.

Program Details: The University of Nebraska Kearney eCampus offers an accredited online Master of Education in Educational Administration with three possible concentrations: School Principalship PreK-8 or 7-12, Supervisor of Special Education, and School Superintendent. The School Principalship and Supervisor of Special Education are both 36-credit hour programs designed for educators who wish to move into positions of greater responsibility; the School Superintendent program is an advanced degree for those who already hold a master’s degree and desire the experience necessary to become a superintendent for a district. Coursework is presented online, with real-world practica supervised by experienced administrators.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

#19. University of Massachusetts (UMassOnline)

The University of Massachusetts is the largest public research university in New England, and one of the most respected, established in 1863 as a land-grant research university. Amherst, MA, is acclaimed as one of the best college towns in America, and the university is consistently ranked as one of the greatest in the nation.

Program Details: UMass Online offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Educational Administration. This 30-credit hour program is designed for certified K-12 educators who wish to take on positions of greater responsibility and leadership. Students should be experienced, licensed educators.

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

#20. Jones International University

As the nation’s first 100% online, fully accredited university, Jones International University® (JIU®) focuses on the needs of working professionals through programs developed specifically for online learning—without disrupting work or family obligations. Students also receive one-on-one mentoring from our elite, diverse faculty from some of the world’s most renowned academic institutions.

Program Details: The JIU School of Education offers MEd degree programs designed for licensed teachers and licensed principals/administrators who would like to enhance their knowledge and skills, and for students who would like to become licensed teachers or licensed principals/administrators in K–12 institutions in the United States.

The K-12 Educators and Administrators degree program specializations align with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE), and professional association standards. The CDE and CCHE recognize the high quality of JIU’s MEd preparation degrees and have designated JIU as a state-approved program of teacher and principal/administrator preparation. For most states, graduating from an approved program of preparation is an important step toward achieving educator licensure or certification.

Click here to request information from Jones International University

#21. University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a public research university located in Arlington, TX, a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Founded in 1885 as a military school, the university was first part of the Texas A&M system until joining the University of Texas system in 1965. UT Arlington serves over 30,000 students, the second largest university in Texas, and is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a high-research institution.

Program Details: UT Arlington offers an accredited online Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. This 36-credit hour degree program allows specializations in Principal Certification, Principal Certification in Dual Language, and Higher Education Emphasis and are designed for experienced, licensed educators who want to expand their career with administrative responsibilities.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

#22. Northcentral University

Northcentral University is a private, for-profit online university founded in 1996. Northcentral has four schools: the School of Business and Technology Management, the School of Education, the School of Psychology and the School of Marriage and Family Sciences.

Program Details: Northcentral University offers an accredited online Master of Education degree with a specialization in Educational Leadership. This 30-credit hour program prepares students for leadership positions in education with courses in diversity, law, finance, and safety. The program emphasizes a historical perspective to guide useful, appropriate educational reform in the real world. The Master of Education in Educational Leadership can be completed in 21 months.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Click here to request information from Northcentral University

#23. Kaplan University

Kaplan University is a for-profit distance-learning university owned by Kaplan, Inc, a subsidiary of the Washington Post Company; Kaplan University is also know as the Iowa College Acquisition Corporation. Originally founded in 1937 as Quest College, Kaplan was bought by the Iowan College Acquisition Corporation and changed to Kaplan College, in honor of Kaplan Test Prep founder Stanley H. Kaplan.

Program Details: Kaplan University offers an accredited online Master of Science in Education degree with a specialization in Educational Leadership. The MS Education degree is designed for both experienced K-12 educators who want to take on administrative responsibilities to improve the school environment, and for new educators who want knowledge and experience in finance, legal issues, curriculum development, and personnel management. The 46-credit hour program offers students a demanding, challenging mix of practical experience and coursework.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#24. Graceland University

Graceland University is a private liberal arts university in Lamoni, Iowa, with a second campus in Independence Missouri. Founded in 1895 as Lamoni College by the Community of Christ (an offshoot of the Latter Day Saints), Graceland University today is nonsectarian institution known for its large Korean War archive and its successful soccer team.

Program Details: Graceland University offers an accredited Master of Education degree with specialization in Management in the Inclusive Classroom, a curriculum based on the William Glasser psychiatric model. This program prepares educators who have a bachelor’s degree or teaching certification to take on administrative and management positions in education. Based on the Glasser model, Graceland’s Master of Education emphasizes personal choice and responsibility to transform student lives.

#25. Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University is a public research university located in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Founded as an agricultural school in 1909, the school became Arkansas State University in 1967 and is the flagship campus of the Arkansas State University system.

Program Details: ASU offers an accredited online Master of Science in Education degree in Educational Leadership. This 36-credit hour program can be completed in as little as 20 months. The Educational Leadership program is designed for licensed educators with at least two years of experience who want to learn skills in curriculum development, leadership, and motivation.

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

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