Master of Education in Professional Leadership

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

School board administrators, directors or principals are often required to be licensed and, as such, must qualify for and pass licensure examinations. Some universities offer leadership specific master's programs in order to prepare graduates to earn principal or superintendent certification in their individual states. Students attend seminars that highlight the concepts of organizational leadership, education and ethics, and education and law. Some programs include components that emphasize the importance of interpersonal communication, financial accounting, management and negotiation principles. Program participants also learn how to develop and implement models of learning. Prior to admission for the master's degree, a bachelor's degree and working experience may be required at some institutions.

Master of Education in Professional Leadership

Graduate students enrolling in a Master of Education in Leadership degree program often come from a variety of backgrounds, although most are required to have at least a baccalaureate degree. Some common undergraduate fields of study that can be appropriate precursors to an educational leadership program include elementary education, secondary education and educational administration. Some schools require incoming graduate students to have professional work experience in these fields as well. Graduate degree programs in professional and educational leadership offer advanced seminars and courses that primarily cover concepts of organizational leadership, educational policy and theories of learning. Some specific examples include:

  • Educational administration and management
  • Education and organizational theory
  • Ethics and educational leadership
  • Education, law and policy
  • Education and finance
  • Organizational communication

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Graduates of a master's degree program in educational leadership can go on to gain several upper-level positions within local school systems. These include:

  • Principal
  • School administrator
  • Assistant principal
  • School superintendent
  • Director of educational development

From 2019-2029, the number of employed education administrators in elementary and secondary schools was predicted to rise 4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This rate was as fast compared to the national average of 4% for all occupations. As of 2020, education administrators in elementary and secondary schools earned median annual wages of $98,490, per the BLS (

Continuing Education

The majority of U.S. states require school principals and superintendents to hold licensure before they can work in the field. Each state has its own requirements for licensure, but most demand applicants to hold at least a master's degree from a state-approved university. Many master's degree programs in the field offer courses that prepare students to sit for state principal or superintendent licensure examinations.

Master of Education in Leadership degree programs equip students with necessary skills to oversee the day-to-day operations of entire schools and even school districts through advanced coursework and seminars. Graduates can gain several upper-level positions such as principal, school administrators, director of educational development or they can opt to take state licensure examinations as per the requirements of each US state.

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