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Information on Graduate Degree Programs in Education Administration

Majors Overview July 19, 2015

This article talks about different graduate degree programs in education administration and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and licensing and continuing education choices.

Information on Education Administration Programs

Experienced teachers who want to take on management responsibilities in leadership positions can enroll in master’s degree programs in educational administration that emphasize subject areas such as staff development and curriculum theory. Graduates are often required to complete a thesis.

The orientation of doctoral programs may be toward aspiring educational administration researchers or current school administrators. Coursework may include public finance in higher education as well as educational research and statistics.

A doctoral dissertation project may also have to be completed by learners. School administrators in a higher rank must obtain and maintain licensure by participating in continuing education and passing a qualifying examination.

Master’s Programs in Educational Administration

Individuals who seek careers as senior school administrators, among other professional roles in education, can complete master’s degree programs in educational administration. The focus of coursework is on curriculum evaluation, organizational development, and the science and art of encouraging efficient classroom instruction. A graduate thesis is usually a requirement.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited school. Given that senior school administrators usually have teaching experience in the classroom, applicants to many programs may be required to obtain teaching licensure in their state. Applicants for admission may also have to submit letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, and graduate test scores.


Apart from core coursework, the remaining courses include elective courses that the student chooses after consulting their academic adviser. These elective courses reflect the focus of the student’s field of study or concentration. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Technology and teaching
•Staff evaluation and development
•Curriculum theory
•Organization of the school system
•Education and Leadership

Job and Wage outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of six percent has been predicted for elementary, middle school and high school principals (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). During the same decade, postsecondary education administrators are expected to see a fifteen percent growth in jobs. Wages can vary by levels of education in which the professionals work. For instance, in 2012, those in secondary and elementary schools brought in an average annual wage of $87,760. During the same period, those in postsecondary education banked $86,490 on average (BLS).

Doctoral Programs in Educational Administration

Working educational professionals seeking to expand their employment opportunities and knowledge base can enroll in doctoral degree programs in educational administration. Some programs focus on individuals working in higher education while the focus of other programs is in the K-12 grade range.

While the Ed.D. programs are more common, schools offer this degree program in both Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) formats. Students usually take two to three years, excluding the time taken to present and complete the dissertation.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a master’s degree from an accredited school. In many programs, they are also required to have two to three years of administrative experience in an educational environment. They may also have to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, attend a personal interview and submit at least three letters of recommendation.


Coursework can vary according to the degree format and the academic interests of the student. School administrators may enroll in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program. Individuals looking to conduct research with regards to educational administration can complete the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Educational administration’s ethical issues
•Leading in a multicultural environment
•Curriculum assessment
•Higher education and public finance
•Educational research and statistics

Career Choices

Program graduates may seek careers that vary in accordance with their goals and by program format. Administrators can seek employment with educational facilities ranging from the university to day care, and anywhere else an educational program exists, such as libraries, correctional facilities, community centers and museums. They may choose from possible job options such as:

•Senior budget administrator
•District Superintendent
•High school principal
•Educational Researcher

Licensing and Continuing Education Choices

Licensure is mandatory for senior school administrators in nearly all states. Each state has its separate licensing process. Typically, candidates are required to have completed a graduate degree program or graduate training, and hold documentable continuing education credits and a competitive grade on an administrative efficiency exam.

Educational professionals can use these continuing education credits to help stay updated with the latest trends in educational development and theory. More information on educational licensure is available through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

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