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Best Education Administration Degree Programs in 2021

March 5, 2021 | Staff Writers

Education Administration Degree
Degree Finder
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“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.”  — Woodrow Wilson

The former President might not have been thinking exclusively of educators when he made that statement, but his words certainly can resonate with those who are.  Whether your goal is to run a daycare or oversee staff at a post-secondary institution, an education administration degree can help you inspire hope and empower students, teachers, and staff to achieve even more.

Not sure which degree is best for your career goals? Maybe our list below can help.

We’ve compiled 21 institutions that have an education administration degree, including certificates, associates, bachelors, and master’s. Using key words like educational leadership and administration (see Our Ranking Methodology for complete details), we searched the NCES College Navigator system, removed any that weren’t regionally accredited (the highest level of accreditation), then ranked the remaining by lowest tuition. To make the master’s degree level easier to evaluate (there were 500+), we narrowed our search to just public, private non-profit, and 2-year institutions, then ranked by total tuition costs.

Though this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, it will give you an idea of the benefits and opportunities for each degree level. Take a look.

Certificates in Education Administration

Most certificate programs are intended for students interested in early childhood leadership roles in places like preschools, recreational centers, after-school programs, Head Start facilities, or home-based childcare centers. Some are stand-alones, while others require an associate’s, bachelors, or master’s degree (or years of experience) to enroll, are an emphasis on a current degree, or an endorsement for an existing diploma. 

1. Central New Mexico Community College

Students who pursue an Early Childhood Program Administration certificate at Central New Mexico Community College are also encouraged to pursue an associate’s in Early Childhood Multicultural Education with an emphasis on program administration. The largest community college in the state and ranked the highest in the nation in associates and certificates for Hispanics and Native Americans, CNM also offers an associates in teacher education for elementary/special education or secondary, as well as an accelerated early childhood associate’s program.

  • Total Tuition: $672
  • Credits: 16

2. 7 North Carolina Community Colleges

With tuition costs set by the North Carolina Community College System and each offering an Early Childhood Administration certificate, we lumped together seven postsecondary institutions for the number two spot in this category. Central Carolina Community College, Davidson County Community College, Haywood Community College, Isothermal Community College, Johnston Community College, Richmond Community College, and Surry Community College all provide a two-year certificate program that includes courses like child, family, and community; health, safety, and nutrition; and others that build leadership skills. And each requires some pre-requisites or successful completion of a placement exam to apply, and essential standards to be met for success in the program.

  • Total Tuition: $1,216
  • Credits: 16

3. Delaware County Community Colleges

The Early Childhood Director certificate at Pennsylvania’s Delaware County Community College requires an associate’s in early childhood education or completion of 45 hours toward one to enroll. The three courses — administration and supervision, current trends, and financial strategies — teach students how to effectively manage an early childhood program and its teaching staff, understand financial aspects, and implement policies that address early care and education trends.

  • Total Tuition: $2,250
  • Credits: 9

Associates in Education Administration

Much like a certificate, an associate education administration degree is intended for those who are looking to head up a childcare or home facility. But unlike the certificate, the two-year associate’s preps the student for teaching, as well as leading, and can be used toward a more advanced degree.

Hudson Valley Community College

This once vocational school for returning World War II and Korean War vets is now a technical, health science, business, and liberal arts institution that’s part of the State University of New York College system. Included in the curriculum for Hudson Valley Community College’s associate’s in Early Childhood Administration is 30 hours of classroom observation, 175 hours of student teaching, a 90-hour internship, and accounting, nutrition, and public speaking classes.

  • Total Tuition: $4,800
  • Credits: 62

Bachelors

With a bachelor’s degree, students will have a more in-depth understanding of the educational facility and staff, and how to oversee and manage them. Coursework will focus on learning techniques to evaluate teacher performance, improve teaching methods, and supervise staff development, along with evaluating, creating, and planning curriculum. Most grads become principals — though, some states may require a master’s degree for public institutions; private schools may vary.

Rivier University

With the four-year Bachelor of Arts in Education and Community Leadership at Rivier University, students will have the opportunity to study abroad, engage in community service, and gain real-world experience with challenging internships. Courses include technology in educational organizations, family and community leadership, stewards of the living world, and philosophy. The private, New Hampshire Catholic institution also offers a master’s in early childhood administration or teaching, as well as an EdD in leadership and learning. 

  • Total Tuition: $133,640
  • Credits: 120

Masters in Education Administration

Grads with a master’s degree in education administration on their resume typically land jobs as principals, academic deans, school lawyers, pupil personnel, education researcher, private college administrators, or community college professors. Typically, courses center around leadership, facility management, and instructional methods.

1. Oglala Lakota College

With the mission of educating students “grounded in Wolakolkiciyapi-learning Lakota ways of life,” Oglala Lakota College has a very specific admissions policy, including the requirement of a Degree of Indian Blood. The MA in Lakota Leadership and Management with an emphasis in Education Administration requires 36 credits in courses like counseling theories and socio-culture foundations, Lakota environment management and protection, statistics, and survey design.

  • Total Tuition: $5,368
  • Credits: 36

2. Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University — one of only a few on our list to have a CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation) credential — offers two paths under one Master of Education Teaching, Learning, and Leadership degree. The Curriculum Administrator/Master Teacher Leader program prepares students to be classroom leaders, instructional facilitators, or district curriculum administrators.

  • Total Tuition: $11,096
  • Credits: 38

3. University of Arkansas — Monticello

With an NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) stamp, the University of Arkansas in Monticello places third on our list for a master’s education administration degree. Graduates of the ME Educational Leadership program will acquire skills in areas like culturally responsive teaching, using and understanding data for school improvement, and research and assessment.

  • Total Tuition: $14,213
  • Credits: 33

4. University of Central Missouri

The University of Central Missouri offers four education administration degrees at the master’s level — Elementary Principal, Middle School Principal, Secondary Principal, or Special Education Director. All of them at this CAEP-accredited institution are on an 8-week cycle, can be applied to rural, suburban, and urban districts, and require an advanced practicum at any school the student chooses.

  • Total Tuition: $14,382
  • Credits: 34

5. Delaware State University

Considered one of the country’s premier Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Delaware State University serves a diverse population with 44 bachelors, 18 masters, and 5 doctoral degrees. Among its master’s programs are an educational leadership program, plus a dual bilingual education/educational leadership degree that trains grads how to teach English to non-native speakers at home and abroad. Both degrees require 240 hours of internship experience and completion of a comprehensive exam.

  • Total Tuition: $15,480
  • Credits: 36

6. University of Mary

The M.Ed in School Administration at University of Mary prepares grads for a career as a principal or other leadership role, and has two emphasis options — thesis or research analysis. Both require courses in subjects like ethics in education, research and applied statistics, school law and finance, and management theory/personnel, and must be completed within seven years.

  • Total Tuition: $18,480
  • Credits: 33

7. Oral Roberts University

This Oklahoma-based, liberal arts university offers a masters in Christian, as well as public, school administration. A graduate degree from Oral Roberts University can open doors for careers as a principal, curriculum/instructional leader, educational or corporate consultant, education policy researcher or software developer, or higher ed professor… among others. The program prepares students for state certification, along with the PASL exam.

  • Total Tuition: $19,620
  • Credits: 33

8. Ohio State University

Graduates with an Ohio State University’s MA in Educational Studies/Educational Administration degree find jobs in academics, plus government or human services — across the country and around the world. The 30-credit program includes courses like history of education, multicultural issues in counseling, qualitative research for educators, and proposal development.

  • Total Tuition: $21,675
  • Credits: 30

9. University of Rio Grande

The unique Masters in Education at University of Rio Grande is part leadership, part coaching, based on Howard Gardner’s “Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” During this 33-credit program, students will take courses like literacy in technology; curriculum, research and evaluation; and grant writing, as well as training, conditioning, and nutrition; coaching skills and strategies; and injuries, prevention, care, and management. 

  • Total Tuition: $23,562
  • Credits: 33

10. Keiser University — Ft. Lauderdale

Keiser University in Ft. Lauderdale offers two masters in education degrees — leadership and a dual education/business administration. The leadership degree prepares grads to be institution heads and administrators, while the dual degree steers students toward roles as postsecondary leaders. The leadership option is 36 credit hours, with a final action research project related to their specialization. For the business admin path, students need to complete 60 credit hours with a capstone business strategies plan.

  • Total Tuition: $25,712
  • Credits: 36

Our Ranking Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator and program/majors of educational leadership and administration (general), educational administration and supervision (other), elementary and middle school administration/principalship, secondary school administration/principalship, superintendency and educational system administration, administration of special education, and higher education/higher education administration, we searched the database for certificate, associates, and bachelor’s degrees. For a master’s degree, we used the same programs/majors, but used only public, private non-profit, and 2-year institution types.

We then removed any institutions that weren’t regionally accredited, were TBD, or their last accreditation was before December 1, 2020. We were left with 12 certificate programs, 1 associate’s, 1 bachelor’s, and 10 master’s degrees. We ranked the certificate programs and masters by lowest tuition costs (minus fees, etc.), listing only the top 3 certificates (grouping 7 North Carolina community colleges in the second spot), 1 associate’s, 1 bachelor’s, and 10 master’s for a total of 21 institutions that offered an education administration degree.

If you’re employed by one of the schools listed and disagree with the information we’ve provided, please feel free to contact us and we’ll make the correction.

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