Education impacts economic development, public health, and quality of life. Few jobs are as meaningful as leading a school. School administrators affect teachers, students, families, the community, and beyond.
Whether you want to lead an elementary, middle, or high school, or even get involved in higher education, these master’s programs will help you reach your goals.
What kind of Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Administration should you get?
Most master’s degree programs in educational administration allow students to specialize in an age group or area of administration. Having a specialty can increase your chances of success during the hiring process.
Programs of this kind are available both online and in person. Of course, earning your degree online gives you increased flexibility. And if you’re like many students in these programs, you’re currently a teacher, so flexibility is a must.
In addition to being conveniently online, each program on this list is affordable. If you’re looking for affordability and convenience, but unsure if educational administration is the path for you, check out our list of “Most Affordable Online Graduate Schools for a Master’s Degree.”
How much money do people make with an Online Master’s in Educational Administration?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for K-12 principals is $94,390 (as of 2017). Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York offer the highest salaries for school principals. These states are closely followed by California and Washington.
In 2016, there were 251,300 jobs for K-12 administrators. Over the next decade, projected job growth for school administrators is 8 percent, about average.
You can also become a postsecondary administrator, although this may require a doctorate. The BLS reports very similar salaries for post secondary administrators. However, college deans at large schools can earn hundreds of thousands annually.
What can you do with an Online Master’s in Educational Administration?
A master’s in Educational Administration qualifies you to become a vice principal, principal, or other administrator in a K-12 school. Alternatively, you can work at a district level position supervising many schools.
If you’re interested in a postsecondary administrative position, you’ll likely need to pursue your doctorate. Either way, earning your master’s is an essential step in the right direction.
As a school administrator, you’ll create budgets, hire and evaluate teachers, measure student progress, and approve learning standards and curriculum. You’ll also set goals and a unifying mission for your school. And of course, it’s your job to ensure the school runs smoothly.
What are the requirements for an Online Master’s in Educational Administration?
Typically, admission requirements for these programs include:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A teaching certificate
- 2-3 years of classroom teaching experience
- GRE scores
Most online master’s in educational administration require 30-36 credits. Generally, it takes about 2 years to fulfill these requirements. Some programs offer accelerated tracks, allowing you to complete the degree at a faster pace.
Once you earn your degree, there’s just one more step! You’ll need to pass the tests required by your state to become a licensed school administrator. After that, you’re ready to start applying for jobs.
What are the best Online Master’s in Educational Administration?
Below, we’ve put together a list of the 20 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Administration. Extensive research goes into each of our rankings to ensure that our recommendations are top-notch.
Our data comes only from trusted sources, including:
- the Bureau of Labor Statistics
- the National Center for Educational Statistics
- U.S. News and World Report
These programs will fit any schedule and won’t break the bank. Plus, all College Choice schools are accredited. Check out any of the programs listed here for affordable, quality education on your time.
New Mexico State University
Average Net Price: $10,213
New Mexico State University tops our list as the most affordable online Master’s in Educational Administration. Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the university offers over 180 degree programs. It’s also known for its many distance learning opportunities. NMSU is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s top public universities.
NMSU offers an online Master of Arts in Educational Administration through two separate programs. One is focused on community college and university administration. This program is 33 credits and all classes are online. The other program focuses on PK-12 administration. Coursework is online, but students must attend monthly seminars in Las Cruces. Courses include:
- Multicultural Leadership in Education
- Public School Law
- The Principalship
- Management of Educational Change
Even from a distance, NSMU is committed to creating a learning community for students. Network with other students in your program to enhance your leadership skills. These programs also keep students informed about the latest trends and policies in educational administration. Graduates pursue their PhDs, become school leaders, or work in federal or private sector agencies with educational interests.
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Average Net Price: $10,403
Founded in 1891, UNC Greensboro is a public research university in Greensboro, North Carolina. UNCG offers 85 undergraduate and over 100 graduate degrees. It has been named one of the “Best Colleges” by both Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report for two decades straight. Additionally, UNCG’s online programs are nationally recognized for quality and affordability. The university offers an affordable online master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
The Master of School Administration in Educational Leadership requires 42 credit hours. It can be completed in two years. Credit hours include 24 required course credits, six elective credits, and 12 credits of field experience. Students learn through engaging assignments, observation, and hands-on tasks. Required courses include:
- Culturally Responsive Leadership
- The School Principalship
- Teacher Rights, Recruitment, Retention, and Evaluation
- Schools as Centers of Inquiry
- Engaging the Public in Education
As part of the required coursework, students must complete an internship. The internship is the equivalent of one year of full-time administrative field experience. Students who plan to be principals in North Carolina can receive a scholarship loan from the state legislature. The loan must only be paid back if the graduate doesn’t work for at least five years as an administrator in North Carolina.
West Virginia University
Average Net Price: $10,814
West Virginia University is a spirited public university in Morgantown, Virginia. It’s a land-grant and space-grant institution with a focus on research. The university is also nationally ranked for prestigious scholarships. Notably, WVU offers over 600 online courses and programs. This includes an extremely affordable master’s program in Higher Education Administration.
The Master of Arts in Higher Education is a personalized program of study, allowing students to pursue a core area of interest. The program is 30 credit hours and is typically completed within 2 years. However, students are allowed up to 8 years to finish. Students take 18 credit hours of required courses, then select 15 credit hours of electives. Required courses include:
- History of Higher Education
- Higher Education Administration
- Contemporary Issues in Higher Education
- College Student Development
- Introduction to Research
In addition to the coursework described above, students are required to complete a capstone (3 credit hours). This consists of placement at an internship site. Students also take part in weekly journaling, monthly discussions, and development of a portfolio. Graduates who don’t pursue a PhD hold positions in academic affairs, student life, and business administration.
Angelo State University
Average Net Price: $10,943
Founded in 1928, Angelo State University is in San Angelo, “the heart of West Texas.” It has been ranked as one of Princeton Review’s “Best Colleges” each year since 2010. ASU offers over 100 majors through their six colleges. This includes an online Master’s degree in Educational Administration.
The online Master of Education in Educational Administration requires 36 credit hours. The program offers 8-week courses and can be completed in two years. Courses prepare students for careers as superintendents, principals, or other school administrators. You’ll take classes such as:
- Social and Cultural Influences
- Structure and Organization of the School System
- Personnel and Fiscal Management
- School-Community Relationships
Although this program is 100 percent online, all faculty are available to meet with students as needed. Students gain field experience through internships and practicum opportunities. A Comprehensive Program Review is also required. Students may elect to take the Texas Examination of Educator Standards for professional certification, but this is not required.
University of Houston-Victoria
Average Net Price: $10,995
For over 40 years, the University of Houston-Victoria has offered quality education at an affordable price. In fact, UHV is ranked the seventh most affordable university in Texas. Classes in 70 degree programs are available, with plentiful online options. Students can earn an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the School of Education.
The Master of Education in Administration with an Emphasis on the Principalship requires 30 credit hours. Students may choose to fast track the program and complete it in just one year. The program requires 12 core credit hours. An additional 18 credit hours are devoted to the principalship concentration. These courses include:
- School Business Management
- School Evaluation
- Principles of Instructional Supervision
- Internship in Educational Leadership (160 hours)
Students can start the program at the beginning of any semester. It’s available in online, in-person, and hybrid formats. To successfully complete the program, students must take the Master Comprehensive Exam. Graduates go on to careers as principals, assistant principals, central office members, and head coaches.
University of Houston-Clear Lake
Average Net Price: $11,628
The University of Houston-Clear Lake was founded in 1974. In 2014, it began offering freshman and sophomore level courses for the first time. It is recognized as a top college and Best Value school by the Princeton Review. Ninety two percent of graduating students would recommend UHCL to others. The university’s online graduate programs are nationally recognized. This includes the MS in Educational Management.
UHCL’s Master of Science in Educational Management provides students with innovative, workable solutions to today’s educational challenges. It provides both academic and fieldwork experiences aligned with national certification standards. Students complete the Professional Education Core (6 hours), Administration Core (21 hours), and the Capstone Experience (3 hours). Courses include:
- School Resource Management
- School Law
- Appraisal of Teaching
- The Principal and School Community Relations
The nationally recognized MS in Educational Management program is available online, in person, or in a hybrid format. Students learn to conduct meaningful assessments, develop curricula, and become inspired and effective educational leaders. The student-centered program is designed to help you meet your individual career goals.
Average Net Price: $11,755
Lamar University is one of the fastest-growing colleges and universities in Texas. It’s located in Beaumont, just outside of Houston. LU offers over 100 programs of study and is nationally recognized for the quality of its core curriculum. It also provides many affordable and online options for students. The College of Education and Human Development offers an online master’s in Education Administration.
The Master of Education in Education Administration empowers students to become effective educational leaders. This includes designing and implementing programs for student achievement and building community support. Students are required to complete 36 credit hours. Course options include:
- Fundamentals of Leadership
- Diverse Learners
- Communication and Public Relations
- Organization and Management Issues
- Curriculum Management
This program was the first fully-online graduate program at Lamar University. It remains the largest of its kind at LU. In addition to course requirements, students must complete a 300-hour practicum and pass the Lamar Competency Exam. Most graduates pursue careers as superintendents or school principals.
University of Southern Mississippi
Average Net Price: $11,916
When it was founded in 1910, the University of Southern Mississippi was a small teacher’s college. Today, it has grown into a premier research university. Southern Miss offers over 140 undergraduate and 220 graduate degree plans. Its affordable education programs have received national recognition. Students have the option of earning a Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision online.
The Master of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision is a 34-hour program. It’s a “spiraling curriculum,” with concepts building on those introduced in earlier levels. The program maintains the integrity and rigor of in-person courses. At the same time, it allows for creativity and flexibility. Course options include:
- Foundations of School Leadership
- Leadership for Organizational Effectiveness
- Socio-Political Issues and Educational Leadership
- Transformational Leadership
This four-semester program is fully accredited through the Educational Leadership Constituent Council and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Students complete internship experiences at two or more sites. Graduates enjoy leadership positions in elementary and secondary schools around the world.
Fort Hays State University
Average Net Price: $11,993
Located in Hays, Kansas, Fort Hays State University is described as the leading forward-thinking university of the Midwest. The fast-growing university has 31 academic apartments. Ninety five percent of students find a job or placement in graduate school upon graduation. FHSU offers an online Master of Science in Educational Administration.
The Master of Science in Educational Administration-Building Principal prepares students to face the challenges of principalship and meeting student needs. The 36-hour program is regionally and nationally accredited. Classes can be taken in any order and include:
- Utilization of Technology
- Supervision and Evaluation of Personnel
- Special Education for School Leaders
- Educational Finance
- Curriculum Planning and Evaluation
The MS in Educational Administration is accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Each candidate is required to complete a Building Leadership Practicum ePortfolio. A practicum course is not required. However, if this is a requirement in your state, you may enroll in an additional three credit course.
Sam Houston State University
Average Net Price: $12,365
Sam Houston State University has been educating students for over 137 years. Located in Huntsville, Texas, SHSU boasts more than 130 degree programs. It was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as having some of the nation’s top online graduate programs. Additionally, its programs in Education are nationally recognized. SHSU offers a Master of Education in Administration.
SHSU’s Master of Education in Administration is 36 credit hours. It emphasizes school organization, effective leadership, campus business management, and federal, state, and local school regulations. Students also learn how to evaluate school improvement programs, improve instruction and curricula, and understand diverse populations. You can expect to take courses like:
- Culturally Proficient School Leadership
- Progress Evaluation for School Improvement
- Campus Business Management
- Administration and Organization of Public Schools
- Special Populations and Special Programs
This program is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best online graduate programs of its kind. It has been accredited by the NCATE since 1954. Part of the required coursework is a Principal Internship/Practicum (6 credit hours). A comprehensive examination is required during the final semester.
Emporia State University
Average Net Price: $12,939
With over 200 academic programs, Emporia State University offers something for everyone. Programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and many hold the highest available program accreditation. ESU is located in Emporia, Kansas and has a 98 percent placement rate for graduates. Among its many online offerings is an MS in Educational Administration.
The Master of Science in Educational Administration empowers students to reach their career goals in as little as 12 months. Courses are facilitated by experienced practitioners in the field. The NCATE-accredited program focuses on contemporary theory, methods, and practice in educational leadership. Students complete 33 credit hours in courses such as:
- Supervision and Evaluation
- School Leadership Theory
- Educational Law and Regulations
- School Systems Management
- Cultural Influences and Educational Practice
The program is designed for working professionals and conveniently offers multiple start dates. Tuition is extremely affordable, and all fees are included. Research, field experience, and a practicum are required. Graduates go on to roles as principals, assistant principals, athletic directors, coordinators, and lead teachers.
Ball State University
Average Net Price: $13,369
Located in Muncie, Indiana, Ball State is a public research university with two satellites. It has been named one of the best universities in the Midwest by Princeton Review for over a decade. Initially a small teacher’s college, Ball State now enrolls over 22,500 students. Its online graduate programs are ranked in the top 20 nationally. One of these programs is an MAE in Educational Administration and Supervision.
The Master of Arts in Education in Educational Administration and Supervision is a 36-credit program. Although it’s self-paced, the program can be completed in 18-20 months. It’s the largest program of its kind in Indiana and has a reputation for rigor and relevance. Required courses include:
- Educational Decision Making
- Human Resource Development
- Supervision of Instruction
- Educational Finance and Ethics
- The School Principal
The program is nationally recognized by the leading accrediting organization for principal preparation programs, the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). Students are required to complete a two-semester internship. This can be served at your workplace or a nearby second location. Both an elementary and secondary internship are required.
Stony Brook University
Average Net Price: $13,615
Stony Brook University is an internationally recognized public research institution. It’s ranked one of the Top 35 Best Value Public Colleges by Kiplinger and Money Magazine. Located in Stony Brook, New York, SBU has also been named a Top 50 Public University by U.S. News and World Report. The university offers over 45 graduate programs, including a Master’s in Higher Education Administration.
The 36-credit Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration can be taken online, in person, or in combination. It explores student affairs, academic affairs, and college and university administration. After completing a core 18-credit requirement, students choose a variety of electives. Course options include:
- Advising and Counseling in Higher Education
- Student Affairs Administration
- Crisis Management and Prevention in Higher Education
- Facilities Management in Higher Education
- Enrollment Management
Online students are never required to come to campus for any reason. Students must complete an experiential learning practicum and a master’s project. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required to earn the MA Graduates pursue PhDs or work in community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, and government agencies with an interest in education.
Iowa State University
Average Net Price: $13,623
Iowa State University is considered the nation’s most student-centered public research university. Located in Ames, Iowa, the university offers over 100 majors across 10 schools and colleges. Its mission is to make Iowa and the world a better place. ISU offers many courses for students with busy schedules. This includes a Master’s in Educational Administration.
The Master’s program in Educational Administration (Pre-LEAD) prepares students for leadership roles in schools, school districts, and educational agencies. The 30-credit program is taught by experienced practitioners in educational leadership. Pre-LEAD’s 10 courses include:
- Principles of Educational Administration
- Educational Research
- Supervision for Learning Environments
- Current Issues in Site-Level Leadership
- Leading School Reform
In addition to 10 courses, students complete a 400-hour clinical field experience. Six credits are divided between the elementary level and the secondary level. Both an M.Ed. and an MS are available. The difference is the end-of-program assessment: The M.Ed. requires a portfolio, while the MS requires a thesis or non-thesis/creative component in addition to the portfolio.
Michigan State University
Average Net Price: $14,970
Michigan State is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan. It was founded in 1855 as the prototype for land-grant universities. MSU is a nationally ranked university and a Best Value college. In addition, it’s known as one of the world’s top research universities. The school offers over 200 academic programs, including an MA in K-12 Educational Administration.
The Master of Arts in K-12 Educational Administration is a 30-credit program. Most students complete it in 2-3 years while working. Students complete 21 credits of core studies and choose three electives (nine credits). Elective courses should develop the skills and knowledge needed for individual career directions. These options include:
- Leadership for Urban Education
- Leading Teacher Learning
- International Education
- Adult Learning
- Special Populations
MSU’s program makes a point of preparing students to successfully interview for competitive leadership positions. Students develop leadership skills through ongoing apprentice learning activities. A year-long internship (designed for working educators) is required.
Louisiana State University
Average Net Price: $15,095
Louisiana State University is a public university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s home to 14 schools and colleges. Many of its graduate programs are nationally recognized in their fields. Students can earn an MA in Education with a variety of specializations, including Higher Education Administration.
The Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis on Higher Education Administration is 36 credit hours. Suggested completion time is 18-24 months, and all courses are online. The program helps students develop leadership vision, higher education knowledge, and management skills. In this program, you’ll take courses like:
- Foundations of Higher Education
- College Students in the United States
- Finance in Higher Education
- Student Affairs in Higher Education
- Student Development Theory
The MA in Higher Education Administration is designed and taught by practitioners and LSU College of Human Sciences and Education Faculty. All candidates are required to take a final exam and complete a web-based portfolio or reflective essay. Graduates assume leadership positions in areas including admissions, recruiting, orientation, financial aid, and much more. Others continue their education in pursuit of a PhD.
Old Dominion University
Average Net Price: $15,218
In the coastal community of Norfolk, Virginia, you’ll find Old Dominion University. ODU is a forward-focused public research university ranked as one of the Best Southeastern schools by the Princeton Review. The university offers over 120 undergraduate and 130 graduate programs. It has three extended campuses and many online learning opportunities. ODU students may earn an online master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
The Master of Science in Educational Leadership-Administration and Supervision K-12 is a cohort-based online program. It requires 30 credit hours and can be completed in less than two years. This includes 24 credits of content coursework and six credits of clinical experiences. Program themes include data analysis and decision-making, strategic human resource and fiscal management, and leadership for school improvement. Expect to take courses such as:
- Leadership and Management for School Improvement
- Educational Politics and Policymaking
- Educational Finance and Budgeting
- Educational Law and Ethics
- Accountability and Organizational Improvement
ODU is ranked #22 for Top Online Colleges for Education. In total, 120 internship hours are embedded throughout the content coursework. Because the program is cohort-based, students take a specific sequence of courses with a defined group of fellow students. Students participate in live, regularly scheduled online class meetings. Virginia Public School educators may receive a 25 percent discount per credit hour.
Texas A & M University
Average Net Price: $15,455
Texas A&M was founded in 1876 as the first public institution of higher learning in Texas. Located in College Station, it stands today as a research-intensive flagship university. The school is known for its affordability and extensive alumni network. It’s also known for plentiful opportunities. In total, Texas A&M offers over 350 degree programs. This includes a highly affordable online Master’s in Educational Administration.
The Master of Education in Educational Administration is a 36-hour fully online course. The emphasis is on becoming a PK-12 principal. It’s a cohort model and can be completed in two years (five semesters). The program develops culturally-responsive educational leaders to be change agents for creating effective schools. Graduates are able to establish a vision, mission, and goals and cultivate a strong culture of instruction. They can develop an inclusive team and strategically evaluate the impact of comprehensive programs for greater effects. Courses include:
- Foundations of Education Administration
- Principles of Professional Practice in Education
- Administration of Special Populations and Special Programs
- Administration of Change in Educational Organizations
- Developing School-Community Partnerships
The program is comprised of coursework aligned to the Texas State Board of Educator Certification Principal Domains, Competencies, and Standards. It includes two semesters of internship to be completed in the second year. The program is designed to help candidates balance current employment while completing the degree.
Georgia Southern University
Average Net Price: $16,121
Georgia Southern is a public university in Statesboro, Georgia. It has been designated a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University and serves over 27,000 students. With three campuses and many online options, Georgia Southern can accommodate any location and schedule. GSU has been named one of the “Most Affordable Colleges in Georgia.” Many of its online programs are nationally ranked. The university offers an online master’s degree in Higher Education Administration.
The Master of Education in Higher Education Administration requires 36 hours of coursework and practicum experience. Students are exposed to an overview of academic affairs, student affairs, and business affairs and their distinct roles in higher education. The online program features interactive video conferencing. Courses include:
- American Higher Education
- Higher Education Law
- College Student Development
- Learning Theories and Application
- Technology for Higher Education Leaders
This program can be completed on either a part-time or full-time basis. Online courses are taught asynchronously, allowing students to work at their own pace. Students may start the program in any academic semester. The program also requires completion of a portfolio with the practicum. Alumni work in colleges and universities, governmental agencies, and consulting firms concerned with higher education.
University of South Dakota
Average Net Price: $16,502
Headquartered in Vermillion, South Dakota, the University of South Dakota is a public liberal arts university. USD is the state’s flagship university and is recognized as one of the best colleges in the Midwest. The Vermillion campus is notably beautiful, but the university is sensitive to career and family obligations. They provide a wide variety of off-campus and online programs to satisfy all learners. This includes an affordable online master’s in Educational Administration and Leadership.
USD’s Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Leadership has two tracks: a specialization in Adult and Higher Education and a specialization in PK-12 Principal. The programs combine online coursework and field-based experiences. Both require a total of 32 credit hours. Potential courses include:
- Educational Administration
- Instructional Leadership
- Curriculum Leadership
- School Law
- Leading School Improvement
Although these are online programs, faculty and advisors are highly accessible. The programs are designed to teach reflective decision-making. Graduates are empowered to make thoughtful decisions based on theoretical, ethical, and professional knowledge. They are sought after for employment and enjoy successful careers as school leaders.