COVID-19 Update: To help students through this crisis, The Princeton Review will continue our "Enroll with Confidence" refund policies. For full details, please click here.


Through a blend of graduate level coursework, research, field experience, and career development activities, graduate programs in educational administration prepare individuals for careers as educational leaders, administrators, and policy makers. Typically, master's programs take about two years to complete (for full time students) and include core coursework in leadership theory, curriculum studies, educational policy, and school law and management. After completing core requirements, students take electives in areas such as legal issues, athletics administration, urban educational policy, or educational technology. Many programs also allow students with a specific vocational interest (such as elementary school principal or superintendent of schools) to pursue coursework that will prepare them to fill those roles.

In addition to class work, field experience is a key component to most educational administration programs. Many core courses include a practical component, training students in observation and research techniques, evaluation, and creative problem solving. In most cases, students are expected to participate in a long-term research project or internship as a requirement of graduation.

Degree Information

Master's programs in educational administration usually span about one or two years and require successful performance in advanced level coursework, as well as participation in a practicum, research project, or internship. Some schools also require students to complete a master's thesis.

After completing a master's degree in educational administration, students may choose to continue their studies in an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) program, designed for students who want to engage in advanced fieldwork, internship experience, or research in a specific area of education. Doctoral programs in educational administration usually focus on research or public policy as it relates to school leadership.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • Do you want to be a leader in a primary or secondary school, in higher education, in government, or in policy making? Will the school prepare you for the type of career you want to pursue?
  • Where is the school located?
  • Where do students do internships and fieldwork?
  • Does the program focus on techniques for metropolitan or rural school leadership?
  • How does the curriculum combine theory and practice?
  • How does the school train students to be leaders?
  • What electives or special programs are offered?
  • Are there special summer programs or internships?
  • Who are the faculty? What experience do they bring to the program? What is their professional and academic background?
  • Does the school offer distance learning (via the Internet)?
  • Does the program allow part time study?
  • Can students pursue administrator credentials while working towards a master's?

Career Overview

After completing a master's program in educational administration, most graduates go on to serve as leaders in local school systems and government bodies. Generally, graduates work in leadership roles such as elementary school principal, secondary school principal, community education director, or a staff administrative position, such as business manager or technology coordinator. Depending on their preparation, graduates may also pursue careers in high-level administration, working as superintendents, assistant superintendents, personnel at state departments of education, vocational education coordinators, curriculum coordinators, and administrators at institutions of higher learning.

Graduates of Ph.D. programs generally go on to serve as high-level administrators in public and private school systems, policy makers in state departments of education, and leaders in institutions of higher education.

Career/Licensing Requirements

In most states, school administrators must obtain an administrator licensure/certification. Though requirements for this certification vary, most states require a teaching credential and advanced level coursework in educational administration.

Salary Information

Most administrators with advanced degrees will earn between $60,000 and $80,000.

Related Links

American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
AASA is a national association of professional educational leaders. Their website contains a job board, industry related articles, membership information, and links to state associations.

U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education provides information for principals about school assessment programs, special education, civil rights issues, improving parent and family involvement, teacher recruitment programs, and teacher support programs.

Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a nonprofit association of administrators, policy makers, and parents dedicated to improving educational opportunities for at-risk children. Find case studies, publications, and educational news.

American Educational Research Association
AERA is a professional membership organization striving to improve scholarly research in the field of education. Check their website for industry news and research, as well as information about conferences, publications, and links.


  • Introduction To Educational Administration

  • Administration Of The K-12 Curriculum

  • Communications And Public Relations

  • Instructional Leadership

  • Leadership For Student Educational Services

  • Management Of School Resources

  • Organizational Change And School Improvement

  • Political And Community Leadership

  • Practicum/Fieldwork

  • Principles Of Supervision

  • Race, Class, And Gender Issues In Administration

  • School Law

  • Urban School Community Leadership