Affordable Educational Leadership Degrees

Scroll down to see the most affordable educational leadership degrees, as well as info on the different types of educational leadership degrees and educational leadership program accreditation.

Advertisement This search widget accesses a list of schools that help sponsor this website by paying a small fee for student inquiries. They are all accredited institutions. Some may be included in our rankings, but that is not related to their participation as an advertiser. In general, evaluating as many schools as possible (whether through this widget or through other sources of information) will help you find the best fit.

Find online programs

Tell us what you're looking for and we'll get you started!

School Rankings

1

New Jersey City University

The Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at New Jersey City University offers a Master of Arts in Urban Education with a specialization in educational administration and supervision, as well as a supervisor's certificate. The M.A. in Urban Education with a specialization in educational administration and supervision is intended for certified teachers who want to become school principals or supervisors. Students in the program complete 36 credits of coursework, including two three-credit internships. Students entering the standalone supervisor certificate program must already hold a master's degree, have teaching certification and have three years of full-time teaching experience. The certificate requires the completion of 12 credits in subjects such as supervision and human resource management, curriculum development and evaluation, and measurement and supervision of learning and teaching.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

CAG Score 97.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,136 Students

2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The School of Education at UNC Chapel Hill offers an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership degree. The program leads to either North Carolina Level I (Entry-level Principal) or North Carolina Level II (Advanced Principal) licensure. The curriculum prepares students for leadership and administration at the district office level of a K-12 school system and includes a Superintendent Concentration. The school also offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership degree. Students accepted into either program who are not yet licensed school administrators are encouraged to obtain their license during the course of their studies. The school considers applicants with a minimum of three years of school teaching experience or equivalent school site experience such as social work or counseling.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 97.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

29,135 Students

3

CUNY Queens College

CUNY Queens College offers two post-master's level programs that lead to New York State certification as a School Building Leader and as a School District Leader. Every candidate's program of study is individually planned to make sure the courses reflect and support their professional goals and interests. Candidates accepted to the Post-Master's Advanced Certificate in School Building Leader program are required to have a minimum of three years of full-time teaching experience at the college or university level. Students who wish to be admitted to the Post-Master's Advanced Certificate in School District Leader program must have a teaching certification from New York State.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 97.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

19,310 Students

4

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College

The School of Public Affairs at Baruch College offers an MSEd in Higher Education Administration and an MSEd in K-12 Educational Leadership. The MSEd in Higher Education Administration is offered in two tracks of study: a specialization in institutional research and assessment or a generalist program. The program curriculum fluctuates between 36 and 39 credits depending on whether students have administrative work experience. Students without administrative work experience are required to complete a three-credit internship. The MSEd in K-12 Educational Leadership requires 33 credits of coursework and prepares students for initial School Building Leader (SBL) or professional School District Leader (SDL) licensure. The School of Public Affairs offers various scholarships to its students, including the Clark Foundation Student Scholarship ($1,000-$2,500) and the Hagedorn Scholarship ($1,000-$5,000).

CAG Score 97.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

18,090 Students

5

Texas A & M University-College Station

TAMU's Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development offers Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Higher Education Administration degrees. The MS program has a specialization in Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education. The PhD program allows students to concentrate their studies on areas that support their personal interests and professional goals. The department also offers the following degrees in Public School Administration: Master of Education (M.Ed.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), and a PhD. The M.Ed. in Public School Administration program prepares students to obtain a principal certification from the state of Texas. Degree candidates seeking superintendent certification should pursue either the Ed.D. or the PhD in Public School Administration program.

CAG Score 96.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

61,642 Students

6

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

University of Minnesota Twin Cities offers Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development degrees. Both degree programs allow students to choose an Educational Policy and Leadership Track. The MA program has an accelerated option that allows full-time students to complete the program in one calendar year. Areas of emphasis include education finance and budgeting, educational policy, elementary and secondary school administration, general administration, and personnel administration. The PhD program offers a traditional or executive plan of study. The university also offers a Master of Education (M.Ed.)/Professional Studies in Leadership in Education program, which focuses on contemporary educational issues and on leadership.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

51,147 Students

7

Texas Woman's University

The Department of Teacher Education at Texas Woman's University offers two graduate degree programs in Educational Administration - a Master of Education (M.Ed.) and a Master of Arts (M.A.). The curriculum includes courses in education law, administrative processes in schools, leadership in educational settings, and curriculum development, assessment, and evaluation. The department also offers coursework leading to recommendations for Texas Principal Certification or Texas Superintendent Certification. In order to be recommended for these certifications, candidates must have the following: a Master's degree, valid Texas Teaching Certificate, and three years of teaching experience. The Texas Superintendent Certification also requires candidates to have a valid Texas Principal Certificate.

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,071 Students

8

University of Florida

The School of Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education (HDOSE) at the University of Florida offers Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master of Arts in Education (M.A.E.) degrees in educational leadership. The M.Ed. program is available online. The curriculum includes coursework that cover a wide range of topics that include educational policy development, communications in educational leadership, public school law, and organizational leadership in education. Students can pursue a master's program that leads to Florida Principal Certification or one that does not lead to certification. Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in educational leadership are also available. The Ed.D. degree is offered online. Ph.D. candidates have the option of pursuing a concurrent degree in law (JD/PhD).

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

49,459 Students

9

California State University-Long Beach

The doctorate program in educational leadership (Ed.D.) at CSULB is an interdisciplinary program designed for professionals who seek to become leaders in P-12 educational settings or in community colleges. Two areas of concentration are available: elementary/secondary education and community college/higher education. A 60-unit cohort program, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership degree can be earned in three years with summer study. The curriculum includes courses such as survey methods in educational research, teaching and learning in post-secondary settings, organizational culture and community engagement in education, and policy, politics, and power in educational settings. Students can apply for the following scholarship programs: Dr. Stuart L. Farber Merit Scholarship ($1,150), Mary Jo Lass Award for Educational Leadership ($500-$1,200), and the EDD Social Justice Scholarship ($1,000-$1,750).

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.6

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,809 Students

10

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

The College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle offers both Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in the areas of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations in K-12 Systems and in Leadership in Higher Education. M.Ed. degrees (only) are available in the areas of Education Policy and in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership. There is a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program for professionals currently working in K-12 school systems who want to become school system superintendents or district central office leaders. There is also a Principal and Program Administrator Certification program available. Upon completion of this program, graduates are qualified to apply for the Washington's Residency Principal Certificate and/or the Professional Administrator Certificate.

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

44,784 Students

11

Buffalo State SUNY

Buffalo State has two programs in Educational Leadership. The Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Educational Leadership is a post-master's degree program that leads to certification in New York as a School Building Leader. The 33-credit program includes field experiences and an internship in educational leadership. The Educational Leadership Combined School Building Leader/School District Leader CAS program leads to New York certification both as a School Building Leader and a School District Leader. It is a 38-credit program and includes internships at the school and district leader level. Either of these CAS programs are open candidates who have a master's degree and at least three years of teaching or supervisory experience in a preK-12 school.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

11,083 Students

12

CUNY Hunter College

Hunter College offers a Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership designed for teacher leaders, department chairs, and administrators who want to put research findings into practice. Hunter's program is designed for working educators and uses a part-time cohort model. Required courses include 15 credits in the instructional leadership core, 12 credits in research foundations, 12 credits in research on effective practice and curriculum, and 12 credits in special topics classes. Students take courses in the fall, spring and summer semesters for three years, then spend the next two years completing their dissertation. Classes are typically scheduled after 5 p.m. on weekdays, with some classes offered in an intensive weekend format, or in an online or hybrid format.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,112 Students

13

CUNY Brooklyn College

Brooklyn College offers a Master of Science in Education degree in educational leadership. Completing the 36-credit, three-semester program enables candidates to apply for both the New York State Building Leader certificate and the New York State School District Leader certificate. The program is designed for currently licensed educators who work in public or private schools serving any K-12 grade range. Students can enter the program in the fall or spring semester, and the curriculum is structured to create small, cohort-based groups. Candidates must complete the program within three years, and they are required to complete a capstone fieldwork portfolio project to finish the degree.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

17,390 Students

14

University of California-Los Angeles

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership degree offered at UCLA is a 36-month cohort program designed for education professionals who are committed to the improvement of educational practices through research, technology, and the application of sound leadership principles. The curriculum includes coursework in the foundations of organizations and leadership, the legal aspects of educational management and practice, case-study research in education policy and practice, and procedures in evaluation. A cohort is comprised of about 25 to 30 students who take classes together one evening a week and two to three Saturdays each month. Educational Leadership students are eligible for the Federal Stafford Students Loans. The maximum amount available each academic year for this loan program is $20,500.

CAG Score 96.5

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

41,845 Students

15

CUNY City College

City College of New York offers several educational leadership programs, including a Master of Science in Education - School Building Leader program. Other programs are an Advanced Certificate in Educational Leadership - School Building Leader; Entry Level Leader Certification program, and an Advanced Certificate in School District Leader. The educational leadership program uses a cohort instructional model, in which all students begin the program at the same time and work through the program as a group. Each cohort is assigned a faculty liaison who serves as an adviser. Classes are held one day a week, either on campus or online. The M.S.Ed. program requires candidates to complete 11 courses, including a Building Level Internship and Seminar.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.4

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,579 Students

16

University of Washington-Bothell Campus

The School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington-Bothell offers a Master of Education (designed for professional educators or teachers who already have an endorsement), Leadership Development for Educators (LEDE), and Expanding Capacity for Special Education Leadership (ECSEL). The LEDE program is a principal preparation program that will honor your work as leader in education. The program is a combination of face-to-face learning and online learning. The ECSEL program is a two-year program that incorporates the most recent research on special education and also leadership.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

4,962 Students

17

Appalachian State University

The Department of Leadership and Educational Studies in Appalachian State University's College of Education offers master's programs in higher education and school administration, as well as an educational specialist's program in higher education. The MA in Higher Education and the Educational Specialist (EdS) in Higher Education offer concentrations in adult and developmental education, community college and university leadership, and teaching. The Master of School Administration prepares students for initial licensure as a school administrator in North Carolina. Additionally, the College offers a doctoral program in educational leadership that includes optional concentrations in educational administration, higher education, reading and literacy. Scholarships available to students in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies include the Jim Jackson Scholarship ($500-$1,000) and the Mary Kistler Scholarship ($500-$600).

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

18,026 Students

18

Iowa State University

Iowa State University's School of Education offers several master's, doctoral and certificate degree options in educational administration and higher education. The master's program in educational administration allows student to earn either MEd or MS degrees in educational administration and receive principal certification. Students working toward a PhD in Educational Administration can earn principal or superintendent licensure, or, if they already have licensure, complete additional advanced coursework. Students interested in studying higher education can earn an MEd, MS or PhD degrees in community college leadership, as well as a community college teaching certificate. Additionally, students can earn a PhD in Higher Education Administration, an MEd in Leadership and Learning or an MEd in Student Affairs.

CAG Score 96.3

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

34,435 Students

19

The University of Texas at El Paso

The College of Education at the University of Texas at El Paso offers a Doctor of Education degree program in Educational Leadership and Administration. This program is designed to prepare students for leadership positions within educational and academic setting. The program is meant for professionals within education who wish to pursue positions in three career areas: leadership in educational evaluation and policy, school-site and central-office leadership, and leadership in higher education and other educational settings. Students in this program will take courses such as Evaluation/Accountability/Policy Analysis and Educational Research Methods.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,079 Students

20

Texas A & M University-Commerce

The Educational Leadership Department at Texas A&M University Commerce offer a Bachelor of Science in Global e-Learning, an M.Ed. in Educational Administration, an M.S. or M.Ed. in Educational Technology - Leadership, an M.S. or M.Ed. in Educational Technology - Library Science, an M.S. in Higher Education - Administration, an M.S. in Higher Education - College Teaching, and an M.S. in Global e-Learning. The department also offers a higher education doctorate degree. The Department of Educational Leadership is the largest graduate department at the school, graduating over 400 students every year. The school has the highest graduation rate for doctoral programs among Texas public institutions, and the department is the top department in Texas in the preparation of K-12 Principals.

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,111 Students

21

SUNY College at Oswego

Educators who are interested in becoming administrators at the school building or school district level can prepare for certification in those areas through SUNY Oswego's program leading to a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration. The program is open to applicants who already have a master's degree. Students are expected to take six credit hours each semester and can complete the program in two years by taking courses in the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The university offers core classes in the evenings in the fall and spring semesters. Depending upon demand, courses are offered in Central New York, Rochester/Finger Lakes and Watertown. Students must complete at least 33 credits to earn the school building and school district certifications.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,034 Students

22

Saint Cloud State University

The Department of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at Saint Cloud State University offers degree programs in educational administration and leadership, as well as higher education administration. The Educational Administration and Leadership program offers MS, EdS and EDd degrees, along with three post-master's graduate certificates. The Higher Education Administration program offers MS and EdD degrees. The MS in Educational Leadership and Administration requires 31 to 36 credits of coursework and can be taken on a full or part-time basis. The EDd in Educational Leadership and Administration is a cohort-based program that requires 72 credits of coursework. The MS in Higher Education Administration is a 36-credit program that allows students to choose three tracks of study: a thesis track, a portfolio track or a comprehensive exam track.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.2

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

16,076 Students

23

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers a Master of Education in Educational Leadership as well as a Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. The Master of Education in Educational Leadership is also available in an accelerated online program, which is a 30-hour program that takes place over ten courses, taught in eight-week terms. Graduate Assistantships are provided to graduate students on an extremely competitive basis. These programs are specifically meant for those who are seeking advancement in school districts or other educational institutions as administrators in schools or in other leadership positions. The College of Education was ranked 13th in the country by U.S. News and World Report for Best Online Graduate Education Programs.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

36,486 Students

24

SUNY College at Plattsburgh

The Teacher Leadership Graduate Certificate program at SUNY Plattsburgh provides teachers with the skills to serve as instructional leaders without completely leaving the classroom. Another program, the Certificate of Advanced Study in School Building Leader, qualifies graduates for the New York State Administrative Certificate at the building level. This program accepts credits from the Teacher Leadership Graduate Certificate program which allows students to complete the program at an accelerated rate. Students can build on their School Building Leader Certificate to earn the School District Leader Graduate Certificate with just another semester of internship experience. Coursework for all these programs are available on campus as well as online, and students can choose to pursue the programs on a full-time or part-time basis.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

5,968 Students

25

CUNY Lehman College

Lehman College offers three graduate programs in educational leadership. The Master of Science in Educational Leadership/School Building Leader is a 33-credit program designed to prepare candidates for positions such as principal, assistant principal, or department chair. Graduates of the program are eligible for New York State Certification as a School Building Leader. Students move through the six-semester program as a cohort, and most classes are offered in the late afternoon or evening. The Advanced Certificate in Educational Leadership is a 30-credit program leading to New York State Professional Certification as a School District Leader, such as a superintendent or assistant superintendent. The program takes five semesters. The Advanced Educational Leadership/District Leader Extension program requires 12 to 15 credits.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,398 Students

26

Michigan State University

Michigan State University's College of Education offers graduate degrees in higher education, K-12 educational administration, student affairs administration, teacher education and educational leadership. The Master of Arts in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education is a 30-credit, professional development program that is offered in an online and hybrid format. The MA in Student Affairs Administration is a 40-credit program offered by the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education unit. Through MSU's K-12 Educational Administration program, students can earn a master's degree, Doctor of Educational Leadership or PhD. Students enrolled in the PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education program are guaranteed assistantships for up to five years and also have opportunities for fellowships and scholarships. Other scholarships available to education students include the College of Education Alumni Fellowship.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

CAG Score 96.1

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

50,081 Students

27

Marshall University

The College of Education and Professional Development at Marshall University offers a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). This degree has three areas of emphasis: Public School Administration, Community College Administration, and Higher Education Administration. The goal of the program is to prepare students to be ethical, reflective educators and researchers. The faculty in the program are dedicated to establishing a community of scholars through engaging in collaborative research, mentoring, and maintaining a concentration on sound educational practices.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

13,381 Students

28

Holy Family University

Holy Family University offers a Master of Education Degree in Educational Leadership (with PA Principal certification or Principal certification with no degree). Candidates who have previously obtained a Master's degree are eligible to pursue the Principal certification alone. The degree is meant for teachers who have at least three years of experience teaching and strong leadership skills. This program is also ideal for those who are eager to take on the challenges associated with being an educational leader in an elementary or secondary school setting.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

2,658 Students

29

SUNY College at Brockport

The Department of Educational Administration at the College at Brockport offers Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) programs leading to the certifications required in New York for school leaders. The CAS in Educational Leadership, which requires students to have earned a master's degree before entering the program, prepares students to take the School District Leader test and the School Building Leader test. The 60-credit program grants enrolled students 24 credits for their master's degree, leaving 36 credits required for the degree. The CAS in School Business Administration allows students without a master's degree to earn it as part of the 66-credit program. Upon completing the degree, students can seek certification as a School District Business Leader.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,106 Students

30

SUNY at Binghamton

The Graduate School of Education at Binghamton University offers an Educational Leadership program that leads to a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership. The certificate program is designed for experienced PreK-12 teachers who already hold a master's degree and want to attend school part-time. The program curriculum requires 32 credit hours of graduate coursework that includes seven required courses and one elective. In order to be admitted into the program, students must have at least three years of paid, full-time classroom teaching experience. After completing the program, students are eligible to receive School Building Leader and School District Leader certification.

Accreditation: Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Accreditation Committee

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

16,695 Students

31

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University's Department of Professional Education offers Master of Science in Education and Specialist in Education degrees in education leadership. Students can earn an M.S.Ed. in Education Leadership with concentrations in elementary, K-12 and secondary education. Education leadership Ed.S. degrees are available in elementary school principalship, secondary school principalship and superintendancy. The Specialist in Education degrees are post-master's degrees that require 32 credits of coursework in school law, school supervision, school and community relations and the philosophy of education. Students are also required to complete a field study experience, internship and two seminars. The K-12 education leadership M.S.Ed. program is a 32-credit program that includes a three-credit practicum.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,720 Students

32

Ferris State University

Through its School of Education, Ferris State University offers a Master of Science in Educational Leadership that is designed for secondary and elementary teachers looking to become school administrators. The M.S. curriculum includes seven core courses in subjects like educational leadership, curricular supervision, school business management and administrative practices. Core requirements also include a three-credit, two-semester internship in which students receive administrative mentorship from local school districts. Additionally, M.S. students are required to complete courses in school law and data-driven decision making, as well as a capstone project in the form of a portfolio or thesis. After students complete the program, they can apply for a School Administrator Certificate from the Michigan Department of Education.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

14,600 Students

33

University of California-Davis

The Capital Area North Doctorate in Educational Leadership (CANDEL) program is designed for working professionals with at least seven years of experience in a leadership position. A one-week leadership seminar begins the program in August and classes are held every three weeks throughout the academic year. The curriculum includes courses that cover topics such as diversity issues for educational leaders, history and theory of educational policy, ethical and legal issues in education, and organizational structures and change. The CANDEL program is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The UC Davis Financial Aid Office works with CANDEL students with demonstrable financial need to identify available resources that can help pay for the cost of the program.

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

34,508 Students

34

California State University-Fullerton

Students accepted to Cal State Fullerton's doctorate program (Ed.D.) in educational leadership can choose from two areas of specialization: P-12 leadership or community college leadership. The Ed.D. is a 60-unit cohort program that can be completed three years (including dissertation). The program has a partnership with the Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (C-REAL), which provides Ed.D. candidates with the opportunity to participate in ongoing local and global research projects, write grants, and publish their work. Students who present their research and findings at regional and national conferences receive financial support from the program to cover costs for conference registration, travel and lodging. Additionally, the program provides approximately $180,000 each year to students in the form of need-based aid.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

38,128 Students

35

California State University-Stanislaus

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership degree at Stanislaus State University is a three-year, cohort-based program that offers specializations in P-12 leadership and community college leadership. Each cohort is typically comprised of only 15 to 20 students. Accepted doctoral candidates can transfer up to a maximum of 12 units completed at the post-master or doctoral level. The program explores theories of leadership, promotes systems-thinking and inquiry-based problem solving, and addresses real-world problems on the local, regional, and national levels. The curriculum includes courses in applied quantitative and qualitative research, educational leadership in diverse communities, adult learning theory for professional development, and social foundations of education. Financial aid and graduate assistantships are available each year for qualified doctoral students.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 96.0

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

9,045 Students

36

University of Wyoming

The Department of Professional Studies at the University of Wyoming offers a Master of Arts in Educational Administration, K-12 Educational Leadership; an Ed.D. in Educational Administration, K-12 Educational Leadership; and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, K-12 Educational Leadership. Students in the M.A. program will take such courses as Leadership for Curriculum Development and Special Education Law, and they may qualify for scholarships such as the William G. Berube Scholarship and the Elnora Brooks Memorial Scholarship. Students in the Ed.D. program will take such courses as Educational Leader as Resource Manager, and students in the Ph.D. program will take courses such as Practicum in College Teaching.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,820 Students

37

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations at UNC - Greensboro offers a Master of School Administration, Specialist in Education degree in Educational Leadership, doctoral degrees in educational leadership and educational studies with a concentration in cultural studies, and three post-Master's certificates. UNC is a member of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), an organization on a mission to improve the development of educational leaders and administrators. The ELCF department offers several scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships to students in need of financial assistance.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

18,647 Students

38

Stony Brook University

Through its Professional Education program, Stony Brook University offers an advanced graduate certificate in educational leadership with three tracks of study: educational leadership traditional, educational leadership online and school district business leadership. The certificate in educational leadership is designed for students who hold advanced management degrees, such as an MBA, but not for professional teachers. The program can be completed on-campus or online, and students are required to receive certification at the school-district and school-building levels to graduate. Educational leadership students are also required to complete a mentored internship experience.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

24,607 Students

39

Chadron State College

Chadron State College offers a Master of Education in Educational Administration that qualifies students for administrative endorsement in Nebraska. The M.Ed. in Educational Administration is available in four certification areas: elementary/secondary/PK-12 education, middle school education, special education curriculum supervisor and curriculum/assessment supervisor. Students in the educational administration M.Ed. program complete 12 credits of core courses in research design, educational philosophy, curriculum development and school law. Students are also required to complete administrative requirements in school administration, supervision of instruction, leadership and personnel administration, as well as an internship or practicum. Students entering the educational administration M.Ed. program must be eligible for or already hold teaching certification.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,033 Students

40

McDaniel College

McDaniel College offers a Master of Science in Educational Leadership for certified teachers seeking both a graduate degree and additional certification as a supervisor, assistant principal or principal. The M.S. program curriculum requires 34 credits of coursework, including five concentration courses, two core education courses, three synthesis courses and a one-credit capstone, which consists of a written paper, an interview and the revision of a portfolio created at the beginning of the program. After completing the program, students are eligible to pursue Administrator I or II licensure in Maryland or Pennsylvania. The program may also be adapted for those who which to pursue higher education administration licensure.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.9

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

3,206 Students

41

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNC Charlotte has two graduate programs in educational leadership, a Master of School Administration and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. The Master of School Administration program requires students to earn 39 credits, with 12 of those credits covering a yearlong internship under the direction of a principal-mentor. By earning the degree, students qualify for a Level 1 School Administrator's license in North Carolina. Students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Classes are offered on the Charlotte campus and at some distance education sites. Students in the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program select a school specialization or a community specialization. The program prepares graduates for mid-level and senior leadership positions in schools and colleges.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

27,238 Students

42

SUNY at Fredonia

SUNY Fredonia offers two programs leading to a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership. The School Building Leadership program is open to candidates who have teaching certification, a master's degree in education, and at least three years of teaching or related experience in a PreK-12 school. The program requires 30 credits in graduate level classes, at least 600 hours worked in an internship, a portfolio, and an exam. Gaining certification at this level allows candidates to become a principal, assistant principal, department head, or program coordinator. To enter the School District Leadership program, candidates must have already earned certification as a School Building Leader. The district program requires candidates to pass two leadership classes and an exam.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

5,215 Students

43

University of Nebraska at Omaha

UNO students who are interested in an educational leadership program can pursue the Master of Science (MS) in Educational Leadership degree offered by the College of Education. The program is designed for experienced certified educators who are seeking to complete the requirements for principal, curriculum supervisor or special education leadership certificate. Classes are offered in a blended format (50 percent online and 50 percent on campus). There is an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in Educational Leadership degree available. Candidates must have a master's degree and administrative certificate to be considered. The college also offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration program designed for students with an administrative certification seeking further expertise as a practitioner in their chosen field of education.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,227 Students

44

University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska-Kearney offers a Master of Arts in Education in the areas of school principalship PK-8, school principalship 7-12, supervisor of special education and academic area curriculum supervisor. An Education Specialist degree is also available in school superintendancy. All of these degree programs are available entirely online. The M.A.Ed. degrees require 36 credits of coursework and take about 2.5 to 3 years to complete. All four programs require foundation courses in the social foundations of education and educational research, as well as 24 to 30 credits of specialization courses. Students entering M.A.Ed. programs must hold teaching certification, and those entering academic area curriculum supervisor and supervisor of special education programs must also have endorsement in their area of specialty.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

6,902 Students

45

Winona State University

The Master of Science (MS) in Education Leadership program offered by WSU's College of Education has two paths to completion. One path leads to post-master K-12 principal licensure, where students choose a progression of courses that relate directly to K-12 principal preparation. The other path allows students to focus on their professional areas of interest, such as curriculum and instruction, educational technology, charter leadership, student assessment, etc. The MS program lets students choose a thesis or non-thesis option. The college also offers an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) program. Students admitted to the program can choose to complete the degree, earn a license as a K-12 Principal or Superintendent from the Minnesota Board of School Administration (MOSA), or both.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

8,684 Students

46

University of South Florida-Main Campus

The College of Education at USF offers a Master of Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) program that requires applicants to possess a Florida Professional Educator's Certificate and have at least two years of post-bachelor teaching experience. The college also offers an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree with three emphasis areas: turnaround school leadership, exceptional student educational leadership, and exceptional and diverse student education (available starting summer 2016). A Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership degree is offered as well. Doctoral students are required to complete coursework in the following: organizational leadership and systems theory, legal dimensions of school administration, policy analysis and implementation, and curriculum theory and analysis. Students can apply for the Dr. Myndall Hall Stanfill Memorial Scholarship in Education Leadership ($500).

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

41,938 Students

47

University of California-Santa Barbara

The Gevirtz School of Education at UC Santa Barbara offers a Master of Arts/Doctor of Philosophy program in educational leadership and organizations. PhD students must complete at least two years (six quarters) of full-time residency and pass a qualifying examination in order to advance to candidacy. Students are given the option of exiting the program with the MA degree after completing the master's level requirements. All students are required to take a combination of relevant courses in the following areas: language, culture and society, learning and teaching, policy, organization, and leadership, and development. Doctoral students are further required to take a course on research methods in education and five additional elective research courses that will help them prepare for their dissertation research.

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,051 Students

48

California State University-Fresno

Fresno State offers a Master of Arts in Education degree with an option in educational leadership and administration. The program is accredited by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) and CCTC (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing). Students accepted to the program can choose either the P-12 leadership pathway or the Higher Education, Administration, and Leadership (HEAL) pathway. There is also a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in educational leadership available. The doctoral program offers students two focus areas from which to choose - Pre-K-12 educational leadership or post-secondary educational leadership (including community college leadership and administration). Designed as a small cohort program (only 10 to 12 students in each concentration), the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership degree can be completed in three years.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

23,179 Students

49

Arkansas Tech University

The Center for Leadership and Learning at Arkansas Tech University offers the following degree programs in educational leadership: Master of Education (M.Ed.), Education Specialist (Ed.S.), and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). The M.Ed. is a 34-hour program of study that prepares students for licensure as principal or assistant principal and follows the School Leader Licensure Standards adopted by the state. This program can be completed online. Students interested in applying for the Ed.S. program must hold a Master's degree in educational leadership, in addition to a standard teaching license and an administrative license. The 63-credit-hour Ed.D. in School Leadership program is designed for experienced practitioners who plan to use field-based research to improve learning and achievement in a school setting.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.8

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

12,002 Students

50

Minnesota State University-Mankato

The Master of Science in Educational Leadership degree at Minnesota State University Mankato consists of 24 credits and follows a hybrid delivery system. Students are required to complete 24 credits within the department by taking courses such as organizational and systems change, ethics and leadership, and equity and education. A Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership is also available. The program is comprised of 56 credits beyond the master's degree and designed for educational professionals seeking advanced administrative positions in school settings or in non-profit organizations. The university also offers a Specialist in Educational Leadership & K-12 Administrative Licensure degree. Students who complete this program are eligible to apply for the K-12 principal licensure or the Director of Special Education licensure.

Accreditation: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

CAG Score 95.7

  • Advanced Placement Credit
  • DSST Credit
  • CLEP Credit
  • ROTC Program

15,387 Students

Graduates of educational leadership programs are unique individuals. They may serve as principals in urban public schools, instructional coordinators in rural school districts or deans of students in universities. On a daily basis, they deal with thorny issues surrounding school finance, community relations, staff management and student welfare. They lead by example, demonstrating a superhuman ability to manage complex organizations. But they don’t do it by instinct.

Apart from being the baseline requirement for many jobs – including principalship – a degree in educational leadership is designed to prepare administrators for the tasks just outlined. In this guide, we cover the ins and outs of each degree program, what you need to know about regional and program accreditation, how advanced state licensure works and the latest on voluntary board certifications.

Types of Educational Leadership Degrees

Undergraduate Degrees in Educational Leadership

Educational leadership is usually reserved for graduate level-study. However, there are plenty of education degrees that offer undergraduate coursework in administration. These can prepare you for the road ahead.

For more information on earning a bachelor’s degree in education and a guide to initial teacher licensure, please see our article on Affordable K-12 Education Degrees.

Master’s Degrees in Educational Leadership

A master’s degree in educational leadership is a 1-3 year program that focuses on skills needed to lead a school or district. The majority of public school systems expect principals, assistant principals and school administrators to hold a master’s degree.

State Licensure

Before you can enroll in a master’s program, many universities will want to see proof of a bachelor’s degree in education (or a related subject such as school counseling), a K-12 state teaching license and/or substantial teaching experience.

After you have earned your master’s degree, you can then apply for state licenses and endorsements for leadership positions.

Degree Options

  • Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Science (MS) in Educational Leadership
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Educational Leadership

Because school leaders are – in one sense – running a business, you will also find joint Master of Business Administration (MBA)/MA in Educational Leadership programs available. These typically integrate courses and skills from the business school. Some degrees also include specializations – e.g. community college leadership – that may apply to your chosen field.

We outline the general differences between MEd and MA/MS programs in our article on Affordable K-12 Education Degrees. If you’re having difficulty deciding on which degree to earn, the best approach is to discuss your goals with each graduate school on your shortlist.

Coursework

Courses in a master’s degree tend to emphasize practical topics related to administration. For example:

  • Operations management
  • Curriculum and assessment
  • Professional development
  • Strategic and organizational planning
  • Financial management, including budgets
  • Technology integration
  • Community relations and student affairs
  • School law
  • Diversity concerns

In addition to traditional classes, you will usually have to complete a thesis or research-based capstone project. A number of universities will also arrange internships where you can put into practice all you’ve been learning.

Career Opportunities

Although some students earn this degree in order to become school principals or superintendents, career opportunities are varied. Graduates also work as school or district-level administrators, instructional coordinators, academic deans, department chairs, union leaders, staff in state education departments, directors of educational non-profits and heads of community colleges.

Add-On Certificate/Endorsement Programs

Add-on certificates and endorsement programs are designed for licensed teachers who wish to earn an additional endorsement on their state teaching license. We discuss these programs in-depth in our article on Affordable K-12 Education Degrees.

One thing to watch – be sure that your endorsement program is approved by your state before you apply. Universities should list this clearly on their websites.

Educational Specialist Degrees

Above a master’s degree but below a doctorate, the Education Specialist (EdS) is a practical degree that takes 1-2 years to complete. Candidates must usually hold a master’s degree and have teaching experience in order to apply.

You may wish to consider the EdS if you plan to:

  • Build credits for a PhD or EdD further down the track
  • Qualify for advanced state licensure
  • Meet re-certification requirements
  • Improve your career options and pay prospects

For more details, check out our section on EdS degrees in Affordable K-12 Education Degrees.

Doctoral Degrees in Educational Leadership

A doctoral degree in educational leadership is a 4-7 year program focused on advanced research and practice. As with the master’s, doctoral candidates are usually expected to have a teaching license and/or significant teaching experience.

Degree Options

  • Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Educational Leadership

We outline the differences between an EdD and a PhD in our article on Affordable K-12 Education Degrees. The general rule of thumb is that an EdD is focused on the practical application of existing research and the PhD is concerned with creating original research.

Coursework

Doctoral coursework builds on the skills and theory laid down in the master’s degree. You may find yourself going deeper into issues surrounding business and leadership, including resource allocation, budgeting, supervision and finance.

In later years, you’ll be immersed in advanced research techniques and expected to devise a research project or dissertation related to your field of interest.

Career Opportunities

A doctorate will set you up for top educational leadership positions, policy work, university teaching and high-level research.

Important Accreditations

Regional Accreditation

If you’re hoping to become a respected educational leader, we suggest you attend a college or university with regional accreditation. This “seal of approval” is granted to (mainly) non-profit and public institutions by one of six regional accrediting bodies (e.g. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).

You can learn more about the difference between national accreditation, regional accreditation and diploma mills in Accreditation: Understanding the Difference Between Real Schools and Diploma Mills.

Benefits of Regional Accreditation

There’s a reason for our insistence. A degree with regional accreditation is typically required to:

  • Qualify for teacher licensure (when state departments of education talk about “accredited schools”, this is what they mean!)
  • Transfer credits (many regionally-accredited institutions will not accept course credits from nationally-accredited schools)
  • Apply for student loans, scholarship, tuition reimbursement and funding opportunities
  • Be accepted to regionally-accredited graduate schools

If you’re interested in the quality of the program itself, you should also see whether it has CAEP/NCATE/TEAC accreditation.

CAEP (NCATE + TEAC)

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is a merger of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). This organization is responsible for accrediting teacher education programs.

All programs currently accredited by NCATE and TEAC will eventually be approved by CAEP. In the meantime, look for NCATE or TEAC accreditation on the university’s website.

Licensure & Certification

State Licensure

Before you can pursue a state license for school principalship or superintendency, you will usually be expected to earn your initial teaching license. We cover this procedure in our article on Affordable K-12 Education Degrees.

Once you have your initial license, you can look at advanced licensure and endorsements related to administration. Each state has a slightly different approach to school leadership, so we suggest you consult your State Department of Education for details. You will generally be required to hold an accredited master’s degree in order to qualify.

In Ohio, for example, you can obtain a:

  • Administrative Specialist License: Specific license fields include school-community relations, educational staff personnel administration, vocational education administration, etc. Requires a master’s degree or higher.
  • Principal License: Specific license fields include grades PK-6, grades 4-9 and grades 5-12. Requires a master’s degree or higher.
  • Superintendent License: Can be added to a principal or administrative specialist license. Requires a master’s degree or higher.

Ohio also offers an Urban Principal endorsement that can be added to the standard principal license or certificate.

Voluntary Certification

After going through state licensure, some education professionals choose to seek voluntary certification from independent organizations like the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Unfortunately, after spending $3.5 million on a five-year pilot program, NBPTS scrapped its effort to create board certification for principals in 2014. This decision created a lot of anger among participants.

Happily, as of 2015, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) continues to offer its National Superintendent Certification Program.

Early Childhood

View Colleges

Education

View Colleges

Instructional Technology

View Colleges

Special Education

View Colleges