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What Is an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership?

School administrators and principals are responsible for providing educational leadership. People in these roles work to improve the school, the community, and their students’ lives by creating positive change in policies and processes.

Some states require that educators earn a master’s degree to move into administrative roles. Pursuing a general Master of Education will most likely fulfill the requirement; however, a program that offers educational leadership as a specialty can help the educator gain the skills and expertise to secure leadership opportunities outside of the classroom.

An M.Ed. in Educational Leadership may lead to a pay increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for principals in 2016 was $92,510. The job category will add 6 percent more jobs between 2014 and 2024, which is average by national standards.

Moreover, the National Center for Education Statistics has found that education is one of the top three fields for master’s degrees. Educators holding a M.Ed. may have a better chance of landing the job they want than those who do not. An M.Ed. in Educational Leadership can benefit educators who want leadership roles in an academic setting.


The curriculum varies based on the program. For example, Louisiana State University Shreveport’s M.Ed. in Educational Leadership explores schoolwide planning, appropriation and allocation of public financial resources for education and logistics of technology implementation and management. The program requires earning 36 credit hours, which students can complete in as few as 12 months.

In an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program, students may learn the following:

  • Leadership theories and planning models.
  • Ways to improve educational programs.
  • Research methods for interpreting education literature.
  • Concepts of American school law to address potential legal and ethical issues.
  • Practices for improving student motivation, engagement and achievement.
  • Concepts and practices for managing community involvement with public schools.

Students completing coursework in the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program may pursue careers in the following roles:

  • Superintendent.
  • Lead teacher.
  • Teacher mentor.
  • Department head.
  • Educational administrator.
  • Instructional coordinator.
  • Principal.
  • Assistant principal.

Enrollment Requirements

Admissions requirements depend on the university offering the online degree program. For instance, LSUS requires that applicants have an undergraduate grade point average of 2.5. If the student has completed any previous graduate degree coursework, the program requires a 3.0 GPA with no “D” or “F” grades. A student also needs to be in good academic standing at the most recent institution attended.

LSUS waives the GRE requirement for those who already possess a master’s degree or have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Otherwise, the university wants to see a GRE score of 288 or higher. Students also need to have a current teacher certificate, which can be from any state.

In investigating online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership programs, ensure the coursework aligns with both national and state standards. The Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) manages national standards. The Standards for School Principals in Louisiana (SSPL) sets the standards for Louisiana.

Enrolling in a master’s degree online gives educators the flexibility of completing coursework on a schedule that works best for them. Those who currently work in teaching roles will be in a better position to fulfill the internship and capstone requirement and put their knowledge and skills to work in the real world.

Learn more about the LSUS online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership program.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

National Center for Education Statistics: Graduate Degree Fields

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