In this article, we review the 15 most affordable accredited online master’s in educational leadership degree programs.
In the fast paced, ever changing environment of education, those seeking to move into leadership positions must have their finger on the pulse of modern movements in the field. Most states require school administrators and principals to have a degree in educational leadership or administration. A good program prepares prospective administrators for both the licensure exams, and the challenges of managing the affairs of schools.
This is a list of the fifteen cheapest graduate degrees in educational leadership and educational administration at institutions that are accredited by major regional or national accrediting bodies. These schools offer both quality programs, and affordable tuition. Many of the public universities on this list offer reduced rates for online students, and the cheapest, offer online students resident tuition rates. All tuition rates are taken directly from the website of each individual university. The rates as we have recorded them are the cost of the full program, divided in two. The assumption is that on average it will take students two years to complete the degrees. Thus the tuition of the full program can be accurately calculated by multiplying the tuition listed here by two.
This 35-hour program starts off our list of the cheapest graduate degrees in education leadership and administration. Even though it’s the most expensive program on our list, it’s still an incredibly cheap program overall. The program is designed to qualify students for licensure as principal, assistant principal, or athletic director.
Sam Houston State University offers a program specifically designed to meet the needs of students seeking to work toward a Principal Certification. The program emphasizes general leadership strategies, and covers the fundamental technical knowledge necessary for effective business management, and meeting local and federal regulations.
The Master of School Administration program at N.C. State is both high quality and affordable. The primary focus of the program is to train education leaders to implement strategies that improve the learning environment of their students and improve their performance.
It is very much a sign of the times that even California public universities are starting to offer a standard low rate for online students from out of state. This program has an option to pursue the California Preliminary Administrative Credential, which is an extra 12 credits. With tuition this low, if you are planning on working in California, it’s an easy decision.
Purdue University at Calumet offers students a strong educational leadership program. Program graduates have a very high pass rate on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment exam. The Purdue System’s Center administers the program itself for Educational Leadership, which is housed on the Calumet campus.
The Educational Leadership program at the University of Arkansas is designed to emphasize summer courses, as this is the period where education professionals tend to have the most flexibility. The program itself is GRE exempt, though students must have a valid teaching license. The program is accredited at the highest level for education programs by NCATE.
The Texas A&M University system is a very strong system within the greater Texas Public University System. Though WTAMU does charge more for non-residents than residents, the tuition is still incredibly low. Pair that with the quality Educational Leadership program, and students attending this school online can’t lose.
19 visionary former governors in the mid-1990s founded this very successful grand experiment and venture, when the Internet was just starting to come into its own. The billing at WGU is semester based, so the faster you get your degree done, the cheaper it is. However, though the billing structure rewards fast completion, the tuition is still incredibly low even for students that take the standard amount of time.
The Educational Leadership at Columbia College features both a School Principalship and an Instructional Leader track. While the principal track does not guarantee students principal certification, the program does qualify and prepare students to pursue principal certification in the state of Missouri.
ULM offers students a program that focuses on adaptability. American values regarding education are changing and administrators need to be ready to change along with those values. The program also offers students the chance to earn over eight different certifications.
One of many affordable online programs coming out of the state of Texas, Lamar offers a program that can be completed in 18 months. The program focuses on providing students with the tools and skills to apply critical research based data in ways that will meet the needs of their schools.
The University of North Dakota was one of the public universities that pioneered the practice of allowing out of state online students to attend at residential tuition rates. This practice is quickly becoming the standard for many of the up and coming online programs in the country. The M.Ed. program at UND can be completed in as little as one year. The program prepares students to assume a significant leadership role in any K-12 setting.
The Instructional Leadership program at HPU is designed to cause minimum disruption in the busy life of the education professional. The program does this without sacrificing quality. The program meets the Texas standards for principal certification, though this varies from state to state so out of state students should make sure to research the program and see that it fits their needs.
The online M.S. in Educational Leadership program at Fort Hays State University is specifically designed for students seeking to become school principals. This is a high quality program, made available at the resident tuition rate for all online students.
UTPB is a fantastic example of why the future of distance education is so bright. A public school with low tuition, that extends resident tuition rates to online students, making it possible to earn a graduate degree for well under $10k is a game changer in education. Each course for the M.Ed. program is just seven weeks long, and the degree can easily be earned within 24 months.