Teachers who want to advance their careers beyond the classroom to become principals or school administrators need to acquire leadership and management skills by completing an advanced degree. Choosing one of the programs on this list of the best online master’s in education management degrees means you will get a high-quality program without having to take time away from work to upgrade your own education.

This ranking was created to help identify the top 20 best online accredited institutions offering online master’s in education management, education leadership, or education administration degrees. We looked at approximately 270 accredited colleges and universities listed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) College Navigator and the most recent publication of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs. We narrowed our list by applying the following criteria: one or more available concentrations, specializations, or endorsements; national, regional, or program rankings with major publications like Forbes magazine or U.S. News and World Report; and affordability. Schools with the lowest in-state graduate tuition/fees were awarded a higher position on our list.

Below are the resulting selections for the top 20 best online master’s in education management degree programs for 2017 ranked in order of affordability.

#20 – Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

University Park, Pennsylvania

Website

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Penn State’s online master’s in education is for working teachers.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,832

To help ensure a role as school or teacher leader, an online master’s in education administration or educational leadership is needed. Pennsylvania State University World Campus offers an online master’s in educational leadership with three available emphasis areas. All classes are delivered online and taught by university professors with experience and expertise in the field. Some of the online courses include introduction to teacher leadership, principles of instructional supervision, school improvement, and teaching as inquiry. Penn State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 50th best national university and 14th top public school. Also, the graduate education programs have earned recognition among some of the best education schools in the country.

#19 – Michigan State University

Online Master’s in Education – P-12 School and Postsecondary Leadership

East Lansing, Michigan

Website

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Michigan State University’s online master’s in education emphasizes school leadership.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,122

Michigan State University’s College of Education offers an online master’s in education with six areas of concentration, including P-12 school leadership. This program is designed for those interested in seeking online master’s in educational leadership or management degrees. All courses are delivered online and include adult learning, case studies in educational leadership, issues and strategies in multicultural education, leadership and organizational development, program planning and evaluation in postsecondary contexts, and training and professional development. Michigan State is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #11 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#18 – University of Dayton

Online Master’s in Education Leadership

Dayton, Ohio

Website

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The master’s in education management online program from University of Dayton is a top-ranked program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,764

The University of Dayton’s online master’s in educational leadership is a program designed to prepare students for work in all levels of leadership in pre-kindergarten to grade 12 public and private schools. Several degree concentrations are available, including educational leadership with a Catholic school leadership focus. Classes are delivered conveniently online and explore topics in community relations, curriculum, educational leadership and management, instructional leadership, leadership in diverse communities, and school law. The university is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 111th best national institution and 52nd best value school. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #25 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#17 – St. John’s University

Online Master’s in Education – School Building Leadership

Queens, New York

Website

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St. John’s University’s online master’s in education emphasizes school building leadership.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,706

Founded in 1870, St. John’s University is a private Roman Catholic institution open to students of all faiths. The school offers an accredited online master’s in education management degree program designed for those interested in school building leadership. The program can be entirely completed on your computer by taking courses in the virtual classroom. Courses may include administrative leadership and planned change, introduction to educational administration, leadership in instructional supervision, and school-based business administration. Nine credits are required for those who enroll in the administration specialization offered through the program. St. John’s is a nationally ranked university, recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #11 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#16 – University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

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The online master’s in educational leadership from University of Cincinnati is for working teachers.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,468

University of Cincinnati offers an accredited online educational leadership program designed for those interested in pursuing online master’s in education administration or management. Several concentration areas are offered so that students may tailor their courses to suit specific career goals and personal interests. All courses are delivered online and include 30 total hours of leadership-focused credits. Program courses include curriculum development and data analysis, educational leadership theory, leadership for social justice, school and community partnerships, school finance, and school law. University of Cincinnati is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 135th best national university in the country. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #30 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#15 – University of Massachusetts

Online Master’s in Education Administration

Lowell, Massachusetts

Website

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University of Massachusetts offers an online master’s in education administration that is accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,799

One of the top online master’s in education management degree programs on our list is the online master’s in education administration offered by University of Massachusetts. The ten-course M.Ed. is designed to prepare students to become leaders in various school settings. Degree candidates must have five years of current K-12 teaching experience in order to be accepted to the program. Courses are delivered online and include leading the professional learning community, managing resources and finances, principles of supervision, and school policy and law. University of Massachusetts is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and public school. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #9 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#14 – University of South Carolina

Online Master of Education in Educational Administration

Columbia, South Carolina

Website

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University of South Carolina’s online master’s in ed administration is ranked #22 in the country.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,784

University of South Carolina offers a fast track online master’s in education management degree program designed for certified teachers in the state who aspire to move into leadership roles, principal positions, or administrative careers within school settings. A total of 36 credit hours are required and may be completed in just 24 months. Courses are delivered online and include introduction to educational administration, legal basis of educational organization and administration, school leadership, school personnel administration, and supervision of instruction. School principal tracks are available for those who wish to pursue certification as elementary or high school principals. University of South Carolina is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 107th best national university. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #22 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#13 – University of Florida

Online Master’s in Education Administration and Policy/Educational Leadership

Gainesville, Florida

Website

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The University of Florida offers online master’s degree programs in education administration and educational leadership.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,737

University of Florida’s College of Education offers blended, on-campus, and online programs designed to prepare students for leadership roles in all levels of education. Individuals interested in an online master’s in educational leadership can earn a master’s in education administration with emphasis in policy and leadership. The program is ranked and accredited, offering Florida principal certification options or preparation for a doctoral degree in leadership or educational administration. The program and school are highly ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 50th best national university and 14th top public institution. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #1 in the country.

#12 – Northern Illinois University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

DeKalb, Illinois

Website

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Northern Illinois University’s online master’s in educational administration is top-ranked and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,362

Northern Illinois University’s educational administration program may appeal to individuals interested in an online master’s in education management degree. This graduate level program offers online options and principal and superintendent endorsement options. Courses may be completed online to give busy and working students the flexibility needed to complete their degree. All students must complete an internship that provides opportunities to serve as leaders and decision-makers within a school setting. Northern Illinois is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges ranks the school 214th among best national universities and 122nd among top public schools. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #5 out of more than 1,200 programs.

#11 – Central Michigan University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Website

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Central Michigan University’s online master’s in educational leadership has four specialization options.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,770

Central Michigan University offers a type of online master’s in education administration that focuses on educational leadership. There are four areas of specialization offered so that students may tailor their graduate degree to suit career goals and interests. These specializations include charter school leadership, rural education leadership, supervision, and virtual education leadership. All courses are delivered online and include a total of 30 credits to satisfy the degree program. Central Michigan is ranked by major publications as a top national university. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #17 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News and World Report.

#10 – Florida State University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration

Tallahassee, Florida

Website

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Florida State University’s online master’s in educational leadership and administration is great for working teachers who want to move into leadership roles.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,543

Florida State University’s College of Education offers several online programs, including the online master’s in educational leadership and administration. The program is approved by the Florida Department of Education and is designed to provide individuals with professional knowledge and skills required of the practice of leadership. Students must complete a total of 36 hours, including a comprehensive portfolio that must be finished during the final semester. Courses are delivered online and include leadership for diversity, legal aspects of public school administration, and teacher leadership development. FSU is a nationally ranked institution. In fact, major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank the school a top public university. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #3 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#9 – Auburn University

Online Master of Education – Educational Leadership Graduate Certificate

Auburn, Alabama

Website

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Auburn University offers an accredited online master’s of education with a certificate in leadership.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,418

While the M.Ed. program is designed to be completed on campus, the graduate certificate in educational leadership from Auburn University may be completed online. The program is specifically designed for those with an interest in online master’s in education administration degrees. All courses are delivered online and include 12 credit hours of required study and 3 hours of elective courses. Online classes include ethics for leaders, multiprofessional leadership, personal and professional development, and trends and issues in educational administration. Auburn is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 99th best national university and 43rd top public school. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #7 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#8 – Indiana University

Online Master’s in Educational Leadership

Bloomington, Indiana

Website

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Indiana University’s online master’s in educational leadership is affordable for in-state residents.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,743

The accredited online master’s in educational leadership degree program at Indiana University is designed for students interested in school leadership and administration. Indiana principal’s license requirements are embedded in the master’s coursework so that interested individuals qualify for the principal’s license upon graduation. In order to qualify for the license, a student must have taught as a licensed teacher or worked as a counselor for two years. All classes are delivered online and include introduction to educational leadership, legal perspectives on education, and public school budgeting and accounting. The university is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 86th top national university in the country. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #22 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#7 – Graceland University

Online Master’s in Education–Management

Lamoni, Iowa

Website

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Graceland University’s online master’s in education has an option to focus on management.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,440

Graceland University is one of the few schools to offer an accredited and affordable online master’s in education management that focuses on the best practices of effective classroom management. This 30 credit hour program is open to all licensed K-12 teachers who currently teach in the classroom. The program may be completed entirely online with no residency requirements. Courses include choice and responsibility–managing student behavior, classroom of choice–managing the learning environment, differentiated instructional strategies, gaining parental support–building home-school relationships, and introduction to choice theory–teaching students responsible behavior. Multiple start dates are available for busy and working students. Graceland is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 113th best regional university in the Midwest.

#6 – Ball State University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision

Muncie, Indiana

Website

Ball State University - Online Master's in Education Management

Ball State University offers an affordable online master’s in education management type degree that is great for teachers.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,904

Ball State University offers an affordable online master’s in education administration degree program that may be completed in just 18 to 20 months. According to the program website, the same faculty who teach on campus deliver the online courses so that students receive the same quality instruction as their on-campus peers. Requirements for the principal certification are embedded within the required courses. Some of these courses include educational decision making, educational finance and ethics, human resource development, introduction to educational leadership, and methodology of educational and psychological research. Ball State is a top-ranked national university and public school. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report have ranked the school’s online graduate education programs #11 out of more than 1,200.

#5 – University of Texas

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Arlington, Texas

Website

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University of Texas’ online master’s in educational leadership degree can be completed in just 18 months.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,517

University of Texas offers an affordable online master’s in educational leadership degree program that was collaboratively created by the institution and area school districts to prepare students to become campus or assistant principals. Individuals with a valid Texas classroom teaching certificate are qualified to complete this program in as little as 18 months. Five-week courses are delivered entirely online and include diversity in educational settings, educational governance, educational research and evaluation, leading learning organizations, political and legal aspects of education, and the principalship. UT-Arlington is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #30 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#4 – Emporia State University

Online Master’s in Educational Administration

Emporia, Kansas

Website

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Emporia State University’s online master’s in educational administration degree is ranked among the top 30 programs in the country.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,488

Emporia State University’s online graduate education programs include the master’s in education management and educational administration degree. This program emphasizes school leadership and is designed to prepare students for licensure as building-level and district-level leaders. All courses are delivered online and taught by qualified professors with years of experience in and out of the classroom. Courses include analysis of research, educational law and regulations, schools systems management, supervision and evaluation, and technological applications in school leadership. Emporia State is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top public school and best regional university in the Midwest. Also, the school’s online graduate education programs rank #30 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed.

#3 – Sam Houston State University

Online Master’s in Higher Education Administration

Huntsville, Texas

Website

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Sam Houston State University offers a master’s in education management online degree that focuses on higher ed.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,213

One of the most affordable online master’s in education administration programs on our list is offered by Sam Houston State University. Delivered 100% online, the master’s in higher education administration is designed to prepare individuals for mid-level leadership and administrative roles at higher education institutions or further doctoral studies. Online courses include assessment in higher education, contemporary issues in higher education, diverse student populations, research in higher education, resource development and allocation in higher education, and student services in higher education. Sam Houston is a nationally ranked university. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school’s online graduate education programs #30 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#2 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in School Administration

Greenville, North Carolina

Website

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East Carolina University’s online master’s in school administration is perfect for teachers wanting to move into leadership roles.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,857

One of the most affordable online master’s in education management degree programs on our list is the online master’s in school administration offered by East Carolina University. Part-time or full-time options provide flexibility for working students who desire completion of a school leadership program. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same university professors who teach in the classroom. Courses include ethical and legal decision-making for teachers, leadership and communication, and theory and application of technology for administrators. East Carolina University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best national institution and top public school. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #14 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#1 – University of Nebraska

Online Master’s in Educational Administration – Curriculum Supervisor of Academic Area

Kearney, Nebraska

Website

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University of Nebraska’s online master’s in educational administration is the most affordable program on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,481

The most affordable online master’s in education management degree programs on our list is the online master’s in educational administration from the University of Nebraska. This 36 credit-hour program is open to students who hold a valid endorsement in a specific academic area and have two years of teaching experience in the content area. All courses are delivered online and include advanced educational psychology, administrative theory, current issues in education, curriculum planning, introduction to educational administration, and supervision of instruction. The school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the most recent edition of Best Colleges lists University of Nebraska as the 56th best regional university in the Midwest and 12th top public school. Also, the online graduate education programs rank #25 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

By BMD Staff
January 2017