Principal and School Administrator Master's Degree

A master's degree program in school administration provides you with skills and knowledge necessary to become a school principal, administrator or superintendent. Continue reading to learn what to expect from your degree program, what classes you may take and the career outlook for this field. Schools offering College Administration & Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a School Administration Master's Degree Program Like?

If you want to become a school principal, vice principal, department administrator or district superintendent, a master's degree program in school administration or educational leadership can help get you there. Typically, about two to three years in length, these programs prepare you to meet state certification requirements for school administrators. Internships are usually required, giving you the chance to observe and participate in real-world administration work.

Many schools in the U.S. offer master's degree programs in education administration both online and on-campus. Additionally, if you already have experience in an educational setting or a bachelor's degree in another area and want to switch careers, there are programs that can meet your specific needs. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits principal and school administrator master's degree programs that meet its standards (

Online DegreesDegree programs are available with fully online coursework
Other Program RequirementsAn internship may be required by the program
Common CoursesCurriculum issues, teaching models, school law and leadership
Job Outlook (2014-2024)6% growth* (for elementary, middle and high school principals)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Could I Take?

In a master's degree program in school administration, you take courses that teach you how to be a successful principal in various school settings. Courses cover topics such as school and curricular issues, different teaching models, education law and leadership. You might also gain an understanding of a principal's relationship with the school's community and learn how to supervise and manage staff. School financing and budgeting are also commonly discussed.

Hands-on learning is often an important component of a principal or school administrator master's degree program. Most states also require on-the-job experience for certification. Some programs include internships that can last up to a year. These opportunities could give you the chance to work in elementary, middle/junior high or high school settings.

What Is the Benefit for Earning This Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of principals and assistant was expected to increase six percent between 2014 and 2024 ( The BLS stated that most school principals face increased responsibilities in tracking student performance, and the number of qualified administrators wasn't expected to meet the vacancies left by retiring professionals. Some areas of the country might see more increases in demand for the profession due to higher population growth.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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