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Information on Master’s Degree Programs for Principals

Majors Overview August 15, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs for principals and their education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs for Principals

A master’s degree such as a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Administration is a requirement for principal jobs. Aspiring superintendents, principals, and college deans among other administrators can prepare for work with various age groups, including preschool and postsecondary education by enrolling in a master’s degree program in education administration.

Numerous organizational and managerial skills, including strategic planning and operational efficiency are developed by program graduates. Studies of the latest theories and research that influence educational institutions are also in the program. Principal internships are included in many programs, providing students with the opportunity to develop their practical skills in an actual school setting.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree, though most schools do not require a specific undergraduate field of study. With many experienced administrators and teachers among applicants for admission to this degree program, individuals with work experience in education may be preferred.


Future principals and other administrators are ready for their roles through research and lecture-based training in many subjects. Courses are available in on-campus as well as distance education formats. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Personnel management in education
•Ethical issues in education leadership
•Education financial management
•Leadership in education administration
•Curriculum development and theory

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, nearly 161,800 individuals were employed as education administrators, including assistant principals and principals, in secondary and elementary schools (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). A growth rate of 15% has been predicted for jobs in the field, over the 2012 – 2022 decade (BLS). The growth is expected to be driven by rising enrollments. Job growth is expected to vary from region to region. In May 2014, education administrators in elementary and secondary schools brought in an average annual wage of $91,780 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

While licensure is compulsory in most states for principals in public schools, there is no such compulsion for principals in private schools. Each state may have its requirements for licensure; commonly, applicants for licensure are required to earn a master’s degree, complete supervised work experience and pass a state-administered licensing exam. Program graduates who seek career advancement may enroll for a doctoral degree in education administration.

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