As a teacher or someone planning to enter the education field, you want to make a positive impact on your district, school, and students. To effect the greatest change, consider earning an online education administration degree. Although many programs accept students without relevant experience, many students earn an online education administration degree only after working as a teacher, counselor, or other education professional. Once you decide to pursue this degree, you may focus on online programs. Online programs boast immense flexibility, low tuition, and many other benefits.
Many learners who complete this program often pursue careers as principals, which commonly requires at least a master's degree. A bachelor's in education administration helps prepare graduates for higher-level work.
Overview of Education Administration Degrees
Education administrators create and lead professional development for teachers, manage their schools' day-to-day activities, and make decisions that affect both employees and students. Education administration programs prepare graduates to perform these tasks at schools and school district offices from the kindergarten to postsecondary levels. Online education administration degree programs teach students to work solely in the education setting. However, as with many professions, degree holders with significant experience can use their expertise in other fields.
This degree trains students for their future careers through courses in education administration best practices, theories of education, and childhood development. Although students must complete practicums and internships at schools, students finish all other coursework online. Many students start their degrees after gaining experience as teachers or school counselors.
This degree appeals to students who plan to pursue careers as principals, vice principals, or instructional designers. These professions boast impressive projected growth in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that from 2016 to 2026, the need for principals at all levels will grow 8%, and the need for instructional coordinators will grow 11%. These and other careers boast excellent median salaries, as well.
Earning an online bachelor's in education administration begins with applying to programs. Although some requirements may vary among schools, your application packets should contain many similar components. Expect to submit high school transcripts and standardized test scores. Your program may waive the latter if you are over a certain age. Letters of recommendation should come from your high school teachers or current work supervisors, if applicable.
Nearly all schools also require undergraduate program applicants to submit at least one essay. They may also require you to write a personal statement where you can freely discuss your academic and personal accomplishments, explain low grades, or discuss anything else you think admissions counselors should know. Other essays may include prompts. Common prompts include explaining your academic and professional goals.
Finally, most applications have an application fee, typically $45-$70. Some schools may waive fees for applicants who can prove financial need.
What Will I Learn?
Students in top online education administration degree programs learn many of the same concepts and principles common to teacher preparation programs. Some programs stress teacher education courses so that graduates can apply for teacher licensure or certification in their home states. Otherwise, these teaching fundamentals help graduates work alongside the teachers and other support staff they manage as education administrators.
Education administration and teacher preparation programs diverge in higher-level coursework. Education administration students take multiple management courses that resemble those in business or management majors. These courses stress leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Like many undergraduate programs, students are required to earn around 120 credits. This commonly consists of general education, major, and elective or minor coursework. Full-time online students can graduate in four years, less if they already possess some credit from another accredited college or university.
Human Resource Management
This course introduces students to human resources fundamentals. Students learn how to identify and nurture talented employees while analyzing how human resources best practices align with relevant laws. Through class activities, students hone their motivational and communication skills.
Education administration students take one or more childhood development courses so they may understand how biological and social forces drive children's development. This course covers biology, sociology, and psychology topics. In these courses, students learn alongside education administration majors and teachers in training. This mix of students can foster long-term professional relationships. These courses prepare graduates to work with teachers and students.
Curriculum Planning and Design
This course, common to both education administration and teacher preparation programs, instructs students how to create curricula that benefit children of all ability levels. Students analyze the latest research on curriculum development best practices. Curriculum planning skills help graduates evaluate teachers' performance and provide constructive feedback.
Special education services play an important role in schools at all levels, so education administrators must know how to provide the best education to special needs students while following all applicable laws. Course topics include special education legislation, how to create inclusive classrooms, and the latest research into the most common physical and mental disabilities.
Issues in Education
In this introductory course, students learn about education as a profession and how modern teachers and administrators perform their jobs successfully. This and similar courses include lessons in classroom management, student success best practices, and professionalism. This course often emphasizes academic research and writing skills. Students use these skills throughout their college education and careers.
Group Behavior In Organizations
Education management students take this higher-level course during their final year or semester. The knowledge and skills this course emphasizes — group dynamics, decision-making, resolving group conflict — all play an essential role in graduates' future careers as they manage groups of employees and children. In class, students analyze research studies and may even perform action research at a school.
What Can I Do with an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Education Administration?
Your program and specialization affect what you can do with an online bachelor's degree in education administration. In a bachelor's program, you gain core skills through foundational coursework and electives. You can differentiate yourself from other students by minoring in a related subject that conveys a teaching certificate.
Leadership skills play an important role, as education administrators must work with stakeholders in their communities (e.g., parents, business owners) to provide students with the best educational experience possible.
Education administration programs instruct students in many of the same skills that classroom teachers use. This way, administrators can readily identify teachers' weaknesses and provide useful feedback during teacher evaluations. These skills include classroom management and pedagogy best practices. Bachelor's in education administration programs emphasize these skills, as students likely possess no prior teaching experience.
Depending on your minor or concentration, you may learn additional skills such as how to develop new curricula, lead school improvement plans, or how to interpret state learning standards.
Potential Careers and Salaries
Your future career and salary potential depend on your personal preferences, education, career goals, relevant experience, and the job market where you plan to work. This degree prepares you for many careers where you can use your knowledge and skills. Educational administration graduates often work as advisers to government officials, contractors who help improve a schools' success, and teachers who lead an academic department.
An online education administration bachelor's degree prepares you for entry-level careers that, with experience and perhaps further education, lead to upper managerial positions. The annual mean salary takes into account salaries from all over the U.S. Employers in major metropolitan areas typically offer higher salaries to compensate for a larger talent pool and a higher cost of living.
Annual Mean Salary: $40,524
Preschool directors oversee staff members, ensure children's safety, and design academic programs that promote children's academic and social development. Unique job duties include preparing and following budgets. Preschool directors either work independently — founding their own daycare centers — or work for established daycare centers.
Director of Alumni Relations
Annual Mean Salary: $62,603
Directors of alumni relations ensure that alumni maintain a positive relationship with their alma mater. Common job duties include soliciting donations, coordinating alumni networking events, and planning reunions. This career appeals to applicants with a flexible schedule; directors of alumni relations often work evenings and weekends.
Will I Need a Graduate Degree for a Career in Education Administration?
Many positions require a graduate degree. The typical education administrator possesses both a graduate degree and at least five years of relevant experience. Many school districts and private schools require these degrees for principal, vice principal, and other education administration positions.
Fortunately, some private schools and public school districts provide tuition assistance to aspiring administrators earning their graduate degrees. Schools and districts that offer tuition assistance often stipulate that graduates continue to work at their current school or district for a specific period after graduation. For this reason, consider starting your career as a teacher or counselor at a school that offers this benefit. Doing so may require you to select a bachelor's program that conveys teacher licensure.
Accreditation for Education Administration Bachelor’s Programs
Part of choosing the best online education administration program involves determining if schools on your shortlist possess regional accreditation. Regional accreditation agencies review programs to ensure that schools provide an education that meets established academic standards. Many employers reject candidates whose degrees come from unaccredited schools.
If you plan to earn your degree online, your school should have both regional and national accreditation. National accreditation agencies, such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, focus on an online programs' ability to provide students with the same quality of education that is found on campus. You can check other agencies' credibility by consulting the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CHEA acts as a self-regulating body of universities that evaluate accrediting agencies' trustworthiness.
Finally, you should pay close attention to programs that possess field-specific accreditation. These agencies focus on a single academic subject, and their evaluators represent experts in their fields. In online education administration degrees, look to those accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation.
Education Administration Professional Organizations
Membership in a professional association or organization can provide tremendous help with your education. Organizations and associations, like the three below, can offer benefits including networking events, private job boards, and mentorship programs. As you research these and other organizations, focus on those that provide the best value for your membership fee. Many organizations boast affordable fees for student members.
National Association of Secondary School Principals
NASSP brings together thousands of middle and high school administrators throughout the U.S. One of the association's core missions involves improving education administration best practices. Members receive online and in-person professional development courses, publications, and professional liability insurance. Students join NASSP as associate members and still enjoy all active member benefits.
The School Superintendents Association
AASA advocates for school district superintendents at the federal level and mentors the next generation of district leaders. Membership benefits include subscriptions to multiple publications, liability coverage, and discounts on life and auto insurance. Education administration students with some teaching experience join as associate or basic members.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Principals and teachers of all experience levels join ASCD to become better supervisors or educators. ASCD's mission involves improving education through advocacy, professional development, and networking among members. Students can select from three membership tiers, all of which include access to an exclusive online library boasting over 15,000 resources.