What is an Education Administration Degree?
Some educators enjoy challenges beyond the classroom and want to lead a school. Becoming an education administrator means combining a foundation in education with high-level management and communication skills. Administrator jobs can be found in the following places:
- Elementary, middle, or high schools as principals and assistant principals
- Preschools as education directors
- Job-training organizations
Education administration professionals are principals, child-care program directors, college deans, and admissions directors. Some may also choose to implement education policy at the district, state, and federal governmental levels.
These careers are both emotionally and financially rewarding, but to get there, professionals need a master’s degree that can be hard to pay for on a teacher’s salary.1 Fortunately, scholarships, loan forgiveness programs, and increases in salaries can help.
What Types of Occupations Benefit from Getting an Administration Degree?
Earning an education administration degree offers elementary and secondary teachers, counselors, and others with education-related degrees a path to higher-level careers. With a master’s degree in education administration, graduates can move forward with strategic vision and the professional tools they need to make real change for school staff, students, and the broader community.
What Are Some Education Administration Jobs?
Graduates of an education administration degree program can pursue careers like these:
- School principals
- Supervisors of special education
- Admissions professionals
- Directors of training and educational programs
- And many more.
Prerequisites to Getting an Education Administration Degree
An education administration master’s degree program includes rigorous academics that build on the student’s existing knowledge. Prerequisites to admission will vary by program, but generally include:
- A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher
- A state-issued teaching or counseling certificate
- A completed application
- Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions attended
- Letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources
- An essay describing reason for interest
How Much Does an Education Admin Degree Cost?
The cost of an education administration degree depends upon a number of factors:
- Whether the program is taught in person in a traditional campus setting or offered online
- Whether the school offering the program is public or private
- The school and faculty’s reputation
- Whether the student is considered in-state or out-of-state. On average, an in-person graduate program will cost between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, while an online graduate school program will cost between $8,000 and $23,000 total.3
Tuition always represents the most costly portion of pursuing an education administration degree, but students evaluating their expenses also need to include additional fees. Where room and board may not be an issue for students who choose an online program, these same students may incur additional technology fees or at home office equipment.
Is an Online Education Administration Degree Cheaper?
There is a general assumption that online education administration degrees will cost significantly less than attending in-person. For many programs, that is the case, but not always.
Programs offered by the most prestigious schools do not dramatically decrease their tuition costs, citing the high cost of software, increased bandwidth, and technical support,4 while others offer online programs at a significant discount.
Additionally, students deciding between online and in-person programs should consider their existing responsibilities. Online education programs offer the added benefit of being able to continue working and earning income or attending to family or social obligations while also advancing their education.
How Do I Get Financial Assistance for an Education Administration Degree?
The prospect of paying for an advanced degree can be intimidating, but there are many resources available. Here are just a few options that can ease the burden and help students achieve their dreams of earning an education administration degree.
Tuition reimbursement is a popular employer benefit in which a company offers to help their employees pay for their education. Some organizations will limit this offer to coursework related to the employee’s job responsibilities or industry, while others will offer the perk without limitations as a way to promote employee satisfaction and retention or as a recruitment tool.
Teachers and other school employees interested in an education administration degree should investigate whether their school district offers tuition reimbursement for their teachers.
Not only is this benefit common, but some schools go even farther, negotiating reduced tuition with local institutions on behalf of their employees. School districts also often pay higher salaries to teachers who have earned advanced degrees.5
Most teachers will find that tuition reimbursement is specifically referenced in their employment agreement, which will also spell out the criteria for eligibility. It is common for schools to require a minimum of two years of employment and to have a tuition and fee cap that limits the amount they’ll provide to a specific dollar amount or percentage of tuition per semester or year.6
Notably, the shortage of qualified teachers and education administrators has affected some states more than others. In response, districts and governments in those locales are using pay-related benefits like tuition reimbursement as recruitment tools. Teachers pursuing advanced degrees who work in high-needs states like Kentucky and West Virginia will likely benefit from these added incentives.7
Schools and school districts are not the only organizations offering tuition reimbursement benefits to employees. There are scenarios where a non-academic institution may be willing to reimburse an employee seeking an education administration degree. Since education administration programs focus on leadership development and address topics such as conflict management, budgeting, and decision-making, the education gained could provide significant benefit to a corporation.
If an educator has left the field for corporate life but wants to leverage their teaching background while pursuing an advanced degree, their employee benefits may make their goals more financially accessible.
One of the most popular sources of financial assistance for an education administration degree is the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant, better known as the TEACH Grant.
The TEACH Grant is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. It is available to any student completing or planning to complete coursework needed for a career in teaching. The grants are valued at up to $4,000 per year and are offered in exchange for an agreement to complete four years of teaching. Those who do not complete their teaching service must repay the monies in full, with interest.
To qualify for a TEACH Grant, applicants must:
- Meet the basic eligibility criteria for the federal student aid programs
- Be enrolled as an undergraduate, graduate student, or in post baccalaureate coursework at a school that participates in the TEACH Grant program
- Be above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test or have maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25
The application and entry process for a TEACH Grant includes:
- Completing the FAFSA form
- Enrolling in a TEACH-Grant-eligible program
- Receiving annual counseling regarding the service obligations of the program
- Signing a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve, which binds you to teach in a high-need field at an elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency that serves students from low-income families. This service must last at least four years and be performed within eight years of completing or ceasing enrollment in the program for which the grant was provided.
There are several scholarships that have been specifically created to support students pursuing advanced degrees in education. The five presented below are national and available to applicants from all over the country who are attending an accredited education administration program.
It is worthwhile for students to also investigate whether there are any school or program specific scholarships at the school they plan to attend.
- AASA Educational Administration Scholarships – Sponsored by the School Superintendents Association, these scholarships are awarded to seven top graduate students in educational administration. Applicants must be recommended by the chair of the School of Education in which they are enrolled.
- “Save A Life” Scholarship for Students of Healthcare and Education – Sponsored by the American Academy of CPR and First Aid, these $1,500 scholarships are offered to students majoring in either healthcare or education in order to spread the word of the importance of first aid and CPR training.
- The Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship – Sponsored by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, this $1,000 scholarship honors three Michigan public school teachers who were fired for having refused to pay union dues. It is awarded to the education student who best exemplifies the dedication to principle and high professional standards of its namesakes. Applicants must be either graduate or undergraduate students majoring in education in the United States.
- PDK Educational Foundation Scholarship Program – Offered through Phi Delta Kappa International to members of Educators Rising Collegiate, Pi Lambda Theta, and Phi Delta Kappa honors societies who are pursuing undergraduate or advanced degrees in education. Awards range from $500 to $2,000.
- A. Harry Passow Classroom Teacher Scholarship – Sponsored by the National Association for Gifted Children, this award is given toteachers of gifted children in grades K-12 to help defray the costs of continuing education.
10 Best Education Administration Schools in the US
Any educators looking to move into administration could secure a higher salary or compete better against other applicants if they study at a great school. Based on our methodology, Universities.com considers these to be the 10 best schools in the US for Educational Leadership and Administration.
- Texas Christian University
- Boston College
- University of Georgia
- University of Florida
- University of Washington – Seattle Campus
- Saint Joseph’s University
- University of Maryland – College Park
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- New York University
- Salisbury University
How much does an education administration degree cost?
- The cost of an education administration degree will depend on several variables, including whether the program is in-person or online, whether the school is private or public, and whether the student is from in-state or out-of-state.
Will my company or school pay for my education administration degree?
- Many schools, school districts and corporations provide tuition reimbursement as a recruitment and retention incentive, as well as to advance the skills and knowledge of their employees.
Are there other ways to get financial assistance for an education administration degree?
- In addition to tuition reimbursement, there are many scholarships and grants available to students pursuing an education administration degree, as well as a federal program known as the TEACH Grant.
Do I need to already be a teacher to get my education administration degree paid for?
- There are education administration programs available for non-teachers, but most advanced degree programs require candidates for admission to have a teaching certificate. If you are accepted into a program, the funding that is available will usually be based on your pending education rather than your previous education or profession.