By Susan Ott
While some teachers choose to spend their entire careers inside the classroom doing what they love best, others get to a place in their careers when it’s time to move on and embrace new challenges. If you are focused specifically on moving up to a job as a principal or district administrator, a masters in education administration is a degree that’s targeted at those career goals.
Almost all administrators must be practicing teachers first, and the transition to a building principal or district administrator can be a rewarding one. It can allow the teacher to get a chance to put all his or her field knowledge into helping other teachers and students succeed by improving policies, curriculum and more.
This degree is narrower in scope than some others, though it does have a lot of similarities with a masters in educational leadership. The coursework mainly focuses on the specific skills it takes to be a building principal or district administrator, such as a superintendent. In-depth education classes are mixed with leadership classes to give you a core curriculum that both focuses intensely on educational needs and trends as well as how to manage a building of teachers and students, including their parents.
While some of the courses will be familiar to you from your undergraduate teaching degree, this type of program will basically take the information to a deeper level. You’ll not only understand educational theory, trends, and practice more intimately, you’ll also learn how to translate that knowledge to help others. Instead of simply applying what you’ve learned to your classroom, you’ll be expected to use it to effectively manage a building full of teachers, helping them teach more efficiently through better curriculum and standards. This means that you must learn how to effectively implement policies which are truly helpful and help the school run more smoothly as a whole.
Keep in mind that in addition to your coursework, all public school administrators are required to earn an administration licensure from their state. This is similar to teacher licensure, and requires a series of tests to earn the certification. Your academic adviser or department head will be able to give you more specifics on the requirements you must meet in your state.
What Specific Jobs Can Your Earn With This Degree?
Unlike a masters in educational leadership, a masters in education administration really only prepares you to be a principal or district administrator. If this is the path you know you want to pursue, then this degree has the advantage of being specifically tailored to your career goals, giving you the advantage of very focused training. Certainly there are advantages to being an administrator, including freedom from the structure of the classroom (though you will have meetings and other duties which will somewhat dictate your schedule), higher pay, and the ability to really change an entire school by helping to make it more effective. So if your mind is set to become an administrator, then this degree will definitely help you get there.
Specific Courses For a Masters in Education Administration Degree
Schools that offer a masters in administration may call their courses by slightly different names, however, the courses below outline the majority of topics you’ll cover in your program. Be sure to check your school’s course catalogue for more specifics, such as exact course names and numbers, as well as credit hours earned for each.
- Trends in Education
- Race & Ethnicity in Education
- Education & Information Technology
- Management in Education
- School Law
- Curriculum Development
- Issues in School Leadership
- Community Relations in Education
- School Finance
- School Principal Internship