Affordable online master’s in educational administration degrees are an “A+” way for certified, full-time teachers to access courses 24/7 that satisfy advanced endorsements and help transition into management. An educational administration master’s is the teaching field’s MBA equivalent that sharpens organizational skills to leave the 5-by-5 behind and gain school-wide authority. Though administration jobs involve less student contact, this master’s-level career evolution reaps more autonomy, better pay, and greater reach to influence hundreds of growing minds. The Brookings Institution found that nearly 66 percent of teachers leaving the profession move into administration or retirement. Currently, 72 percent of public and 56 percent of private school principals have at least a master’s. According to The Condition of Education 2016 report, administrators in today’s $70.7 billion education market oversee 520 students on average in 98,900 schools nationwide. Practice managing a tight budget while climbing the PK-16 ranks by shopping for low-cost master’s in education administration online degrees.

Methodology

The Grad School Hub staff decided on the principal universities for cheap online master’s in educational administration programs by accessing the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool. Our search criteria demanded only public or private nonprofit graduate schools where degrees in educational or school administration, not leadership, were available at least 80 percent online. After consulting Google to ensure no master’s degrees were missed, we began cutting down the initial pool of 137 by affordability. We used the 2016-17 NCES data to sequence the list from highest to lowest mean in-state graduate cost and kept the 10 cheapest. For example, the average price of $10,937 for the Online M.Ed. School Administration at Indiana Wesleyan University caused its elimination. Lastly, we checked CAEP accreditation status to certify the quality of the remaining 10 master’s in educational administration online programs charging less than $8,500 annually!

Ranking Low-cost Online Educational Administration Master’s

10. Northern State University

Leadership & Administration (M.S.Ed.) Online

Aberdeen, SD

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,032 per year

Attracting 3,622 Wolves from 42 nations to “Join the Pack,” Northern State University is a public, civic-engaged master’s-granting liberal arts school founded by Senator Lawson in 1901 that’s endowed for $29 million to educate on its 72-acre Brown County campus and online via Desire2Learn. The U.S. News & World Report ranked NSU the 99th best Midwest school and 26th top public university. Nationally, Northern State was declared the 21st best online college on Niche, 44th best teacher preparation value by College Factual, and 237th top baccalaureate institution in Washington Monthly. The CAEP-accredited Millicent Atkins School of Education draws on 100+ years of experience for the Leadership & Administration (M.S.Ed.) Online. Chaired by Dr. Kelly Duncan, the 35-credit curriculum certifies K-12 principals under Educational Leadership Constituent Council guidelines. Teachers with minimum 2.75 GPAs receive funding, such as the Bob Lehr Memorial Scholarship, to complete online courses like public school finance and the internship or thesis research option.

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9. University of Southern Mississippi

Online M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision

Hattiesburg, MS

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,549 per year

 

Linked to 58,469 LinkedIn alumni, including Phil Bryant, Cat Cora, and Brett Favre, the University of Southern Mississippi is a public, coeducational RU/H doctoral institution of Conference USA that’s endowed for $116 million to train 14,479 Golden Eagles in Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Gulfport, Gautier, and online via Blackboard. The Social Mobility Index ranked USM 62nd nationally. Southern Miss was also crowned America’s 136th best online graduate school by the U.S. News, 180th best teachers college on Niche, and 242nd top public university in Forbes magazine. Known for its Mississippi Hearing-Vision Project, the CAEP-accredited College of Education & Psychology offers the Online M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Supervision affordably. Organized by Dr. Trent Gould, the 34-credit, four-semester program begins each July with internships at two local schools embedded. Certified teachers with 2+ years of experience follow ELCC-aligned curriculum with online courses from organizational effectiveness to socio-political issues. Southern Miss launched a Special Education Administration M.Ed. Online too.

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8. University of South Dakota

Master of Arts in Educational Administration Online

Vermillion, SD

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,516 per year

 

Sitting pretty atop the Missouri River bluffs on a 216-acre Vermillion campus with eLearning available on Desire2Learn, the University of South Dakota is a public, state-funded arts and science institution founded in 1862 that’s now endowed for $213 million for supporting 2,538 post-grad Coyotes. Washington Monthly honored USD for the 96th most service participation and 156th best faculty. South Dakota also has America’s 120th best education school on the U.S. News survey, eighth top online programs on Niche, and 431st best value in Money magazine. The CAEP-accredited School of Education extends beyond the Delzell Center for the Master of Arts in Educational Administration Online. Led by Dr. Karen Card, the 32-39 credit program accepts $35 applications year-round from certified teachers seeking experiential leadership wisdom for state licensure. Fieldwork supplements didactic learning in Adult & Higher Education, PreK-12 Principal, and School District Superintendent specializations. Online courses like instructional supervision and school law culminate with graduate research too.

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7. Indiana State University

Online School Administration and Supervision M.Ed.

Terre Haute, IN

Average Graduate Tuition: $7,128 per year

 

Hosting the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute since 2013, Indiana State University is a public, service-oriented teaching college of the Missouri Valley Conference that’s endowed for $56.5 million to employ 674 faculty and train 13,584 Sycamores from 50 states on its 72-building “Queen City” campus and online via Blackboard. Forbes named ISU the 239th best public university and 250th top research institution. Indiana State also boasts America’s 141st highest-paid education grads on College Factual, 365th most diversity on Niche, and 43rd best graduation rate in Washington Monthly. Headed by Dr. Janet Buckenmeyer, the CAEP-accredited, four-star Bayh College of Education grants the Online School Administration and Supervision M.Ed. in 24 months full-time. Offering financial aid like the Edgar L. Morphet Scholarship, the 33-credit, non-thesis major accepts Indiana teachers to strengthen managerial skills for the Building-Level Administration License. Although courses like improved student performance are virtual, graduates attend three Saturday residences per term and complete AASA-recognized internships.

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6. Lamar University

Master of Education in Educational Administration Online

Beaumont, TX

Average Graduate Tuition: $6,048 per year

 

Enrolling one-third of its 15,022 Cardinals online via Blackboard, Lamar University is a public, space-grant doctoral TSU System member of the Southland Conference established in 1923 that’s endowed for $106.8 million with a 292-acre Beaumont campus off Highway 29 near Jack Brooks Airport. Washington Monthly recognized Lamar for the 157th best faculty and 166th highest graduation rate. Lamar was deemed America’s 49th best college on the Social Mobility Index, 115th best online graduate teaching school by the U.S. News, and 11th best value for ROI on PayScale. Reporting a 96 percent TExES pass rate, the CAEP-accredited College of Education & Human Development awards the Master of Education in Educational Administration Online. Coordinated by Dr. Diane Mason, a Calcasieu Parish School Board member, the 36-credit, non-thesis program fosters aspiring principals’ academic decision-making authority. Accelerated, five-week courses online span from human resources to curriculum design before the 300-hour internship and Lamar Competency Exam.

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5. Emporia State University

Online Master of Science in Educational Administration

Emporia, KS

Average Graduate Tuition: $5,922 per year

 

Home to the National Teachers Hall of Fame, Emporia State University is the Sunflower State’s third-oldest public, coeducational MIAA teachers college founded in 1863 that’s budgeting $91.8 million annually to instruct 5,732 buzzing Hornets atop its 70-building Kellogg Circle campus and online via Canvas. The U.S. News & World Report recognized ESU for the 99th top online graduate teacher programs. Emporia State stands out for America’s 104th best academics on Niche, 254th best opportunities on the Social Mobility Index, and 95th top doctoral completion rate in Washington Monthly. Mandating minimum 3.0 GPAs, the CAEP-accredited School Leadership/Middle & Secondary Teacher Education Department provides the Online Master of Science in Educational Administration. Chaired by Dr. Dan Stiffler, the 35-credit curriculum has one PreK-12 Principal Concentration for the Building-Level Leadership License. Two field practicum are integrated within virtual courses like educational psychology to school relations. For 18 more credits, teachers could add the District-Level Licensure Program online.

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4. Chadron State College

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration Online

Chadron, NE

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,803 per year

 

Founded in Administration Hall in June 1911, Chadron State College is the Cornhusker State’s youngest public, coeducational teaching school that’s endowed for $21.5 million to serve 2,977 Eagles across 50+ majors on its 281-acre Panhandle campus in Pine Ridge and online via Sakai. Among baccalaureate institutions, Washington Monthly placed CSC 58th for research expenditures or 98th financial aid. Chadron State was also America’s 222nd safest college on Niche, 59th most focused education school on College Factual, and 11st top veteran-friendly university in Military Times. Headed by Dr. Donald King, the CAEP-accredited Education Unit charges low-in-state tuition for every Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration Online student. Requiring the Praxis II test, the 36-42 credit curriculum has three emphases: PK-12 Principal, Special Education Supervisor, or Curriculum Supervisor. Eight-week online modules let teachers with GPAs above 2.75 quickly progress through topics like educational philosophy and personnel administration to the 250-hour capstone internship.Website

3. Wayne State College

Online Master of Science in Education – School Administration

Wayne, NE

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,731 per year

Labeled a GetEducated “Best Buy,” Wayne State College is a public, civic-engaged teachers school founded by the NSC System in 1910 that’s endowed for $19.1 million and keeping 79 percent of its 9,600+ alumni in Nebraska after 90 academic programs on the 128-acre Wayne campus and online via Sakai. College Factual congratulated WSC for the 92nd best teacher preparation value. Wayne State was also declared America’s 235th best public school in Forbes, 83rd best master’s institution by Washington Monthly, and 220th most conservative university on Niche. Located in Brandenburg Hall, the CAEP-accredited School of Education and Counseling offers the Online Master of Science in Education – School Administration. With an optional Athletic Administration Focus, the 36-45 credit curriculum organized by Dr. Craig Pease prepares for the Praxis II Principal Endorsement exam. At least 380 PK-12 internship hours are mandatory between asynchronous online courses from facility management to instructional leadership and school finance.

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2. Western Carolina University

Master of School Administration (MSA) Online

Cullowhee, NC

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,348 per year

 

Partnered with Jackson County Schools for The Catamount School (Grades 6-8), Western Carolina University is a public, master’s-level UNC System member founded in 1889 that’s endowed for $66 million to enlighten 11,043 Catamounts from 48 states on its 589-acre Cullowhee campus, at the Asheville Graduate Center, and online via Blackboard. The U.S. News & World Report named WCU the 38th best Southern college with the 59th best online graduate programs. Western Carolina was America’s 152nd top teaching college on Niche, 58th best public value in Kiplinger’s, and 272nd best university in Washington Monthly too. Led by Dr. Heidi Von Dohlen, the CAEP-accredited College of Education and Allied Professions launched the Master of School Administration (MSA) Online. The 36-credit, five-semester graduate degree accepts applications from Class A teachers until June 15th annually. Leading to the NC Administrator/Principal License, online courses like student learning assessment blend with four face-to-face meetings in Asheville and a competency-based internship.

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1. University of Wyoming

Online Master of Arts in Education: Educational Administration Option

Laramie, WY

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,338 per year

Included in The Princeton Review’s “Best 382 Colleges,” the University of Wyoming is a public, research-intensive APLU member founded in 1886 that’s endowed for $422.3 million to charge 13,992 Cowboys and Cowgirls our ranking’s lowest in-state price in Laramie, at nine regional centers, and online via Blackboard Collaborate. Forbes ranked UWYO the 124th best public university and 215th top value. Wyoming was also applauded for America’s 35th best professors on Niche, 112th best graduate teaching programs by the U.S. News, and sixth most affordable school on WalletHub. Accepting applicants until February 1st or September 1st annually, the CAEP-accredited College of Education grants the Online Master of Arts in Education with an Educational Administration Option. The 33-credit, non-GRE program chaired by Dr. David Hvidston aligns to Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards for K-12 principal preparation. Online-only courses immerse educators in content from curriculum evaluation to school culture before the 435-hour, 11-week supervised internship.

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Which Jobs Need a Master’s in Educational Administration Online Degree?

Attending graduate school for an educational administration master’s online generally takes two years to unlock most upper-level academic jobs, excluding college professor, dean, and usually school superintendent. Master’s curriculum online offers the flexibility to specialize leadership skills in diverse disciplines, such as daycare administration, student affairs, or international education. Each state has different endorsements that an online master’s in educational administration would become eligible for. For instance, the California Commission on Teacher Certification requires passing CPACE scores and master’s study for its K-12 Administrative Services Credential. The Kansas State Department of Education offers the School Leadership License for master’s grads with minimum 3.25 GPAs and five experience years. Nationally, the American Association of School Administrators also accepts regional cohorts of 25-30 for its 20-month Certification Program that costs $6,000 currently. Here are six sample careers where endorsements plus a master’s in educational administration online would be valuable:

School Principal- Names like Mr. Feeny and Mr. Belding might ring a bell as beloved fictional school principals who oversee effective learning environments. In real life, they’re administering education for 50.7 million school-age children according to the NCES. Principals motivate instructional personnel, develop school routines, coordinate building activities, improve curriculum, resolve behavioral issues, keep parents informed, and authorize funding.

University Registrar- From Ivy Leaguers like Harvard to state schools like Purdue, the 6,479 Title IV colleges nationwide need registrars to accurately process students’ schedules and grades. With an education administration master’s online, university registrars could act as record gatekeepers by compiling class rosters, filing transcripts, creating exam schedules, facilitating course enrollment, conferring diplomas, and implementing academic initiatives.

Chief Academic Officer- Founded in 2012, the Association of Chief Academic Officers currently has 124 members who hold at least a master’s in educational administration online to oversee higher education. Sometimes called Provost, the CAOs at community and senior colleges define performance standards, develop student success policy, evaluate learning outcomes, give faculty feedback, direct instructional training, and maintain accreditation.

Admissions Administrator- Postsecondary institutions have a mean acceptance rate of 65.5 percent, which means admissions administrators are needed to decide who stays and goes. Heading the recruitment office after an online master’s in educational administration degree would involve setting acceptance criteria, processing application portfolios, checking qualifications, interviewing entrants, addressing fraud, and making admission decisions.

District Business Manager- The Census Bureau reports that there are 13,506 school districts that need business managers to keep learning systems financially fit. Online master’s in educational administration programs would prepare district managers for the 12-month job of setting operational budgets, analyzing purchase data, overseeing payroll, coordinating investments, managing debts, submitting grant proposals, and negotiating vendor contracts.

Distance Learning Director- Online platforms have attracted over 2.7 million K-12 and 5.8 million college students, so consider using the cheap online master’s in educational administration for distance learning. Directors develop for-credit virtual courses, create online orientation, implement Internet marketing, coordinate distance student services, establish tuition rates, analyze software, supervise faculty, and perform departmental assessment.

How Much Do Online Master’s in Educational Administration Grads Earn?

Heading to the principal’s office might be scary for kids, but teachers sometimes aspire to it for more lucrative paychecks, superb benefits, and strong job security. Picking the cheap online master’s in educational administration programs costing under $8,500 per year generate epic ROI. SmartAsset reports that master’s graduates earn median pay of $1,341 weekly, or $69,732 annually, but this is low-balling for school administrators. The U.S. Department of Labor published a mean yearly wage of $95,390 for PreK-12 principals. Colleges and universities compensate administrators like registrars with $105,770 on average. On Salary.com, Chief Academic Officers bring home median income of $172,675. Other six-figure averages include $137,176 for student affairs directors, $148,810 for development officers, $138,778 for undergraduate deans, and $101,463 for assistant presidents. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, California, and Delaware are the five top-paying states for school administrators.

What is the Demand for Education Administration Master’s Online Programs?

One of colleges’ many motivations for putting master’s in educational administration online is encouraging more teachers into a needy niche. According to the NASSP, there’s a principal shortage that saw one of five administrators leave from Fall 2011 to Fall 2012! Turnover is high with nearly 50 percent of principals resigning from the helm before their third year. Vacancies are expected without enough qualified master’s-level candidates for the 8 percent job growth the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts by 2026. Positions for principals will expand by 19,700 for total U.S. employment of 271,000. Higher education is fittingly experiencing higher demand with full-time enrollment at public colleges passing 10.5 million on the College Board. A 10-year job outlook of 10 percent will require 18,000 more college administrators. Executive jobs in for-profit education corporations are growing quickly by 8 percent too. Penciling an online master’s in educational administration onto your résumé offers long-term employer appeal.

GSH Staff

January 2018

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 most affordable master’s in educational administration online programs for 2018.