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Master of Arts (MA) Degree Program in Instructional Leadership Overview

Majors Overview July 27, 2015

This article talks about Master of Arts (M.A.) degree programs in Instructional Leadership and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and licensure choices.

Master of Arts (M.A.) Programs in Instructional Leadership

Teachers who seek an advanced grasp of classroom management and instructional programs might benefit from enrolling in a master’s degree program in instructional leadership. Given that teachers are working professionals, incoming students to master’s programs are often allowed to enroll part-time to allow them to complete the degree while employed. In some programs, coursework is offered in an online format.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to have a bachelor’s degree in education, apart from teaching experience and credentials.


Coursework is devised to enable the transformation of skills learned in the program into administrative strengths. Courses cover the leadership theory, and practical knowledge students would need in leading districts and schools. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Assessment and evaluation of programs and schools
•Educational finance
•Educational law
•Curriculum development
•Special program administration
•Leadership in the educational environment

Career Choices

Program graduates can expect to gain the leadership skills and administration knowledge necessary for seeking advanced positions in educational institutions. Multiple career levels may exist in administration areas depending on the size of the district or school. Program graduates may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Assistant principal
•Departmental Administrator
•School principal
•Program administrator

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth of six percent has been predicted for school principals in elementary, middle and high schools (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these education administrators brought in an average annual wage of $87,760 (BLS).

Continuing Education and Licensure Choices

The program is devised to help graduates satisfy most states’ licensure norms for school principal positions. However, each state may have its requirements such as the passage of a test and gaining of on-the-job training to meet school administrator licensure requirements. Program graduates who seek continuing education may enroll in doctoral programs in instructional leadership.

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