While earning an educational leadership degree can qualify you for work as a school superintendent or principal, you need to first know how to select an online college for your degree. Online programs come with benefits like letting you work as a full-time teacher until you finish your degree and offering a flexible schedule that you can follow while in school. While there are some big benefits to studying educational leadership online, there are also some things you should look for when choosing a school.
State and Regional Accreditation
Would you visit a doctor who did not have a medical license? Enrolling in a college without solid accreditation is akin to doing the same thing. Regional accreditation means that you earn a worthwhile degree after finishing your classes and that the university has approval to offer federal financial aid. Regional accreditation often comes from an organization associated with the Higher Learning Commission. State accreditation often comes from the Department of Education in your state, which means the college has approval from the state to offer that program.
When you look at two or more educational leadership programs, you should compare those programs in terms of the courses available. Most master’s programs in this subject include 20 or more credits in core education and teaching programs like introduction to educational leadership, becoming a school leader, race and/or community relations and curriculum development. You’ll then take nine credits or more of classes related to leadership and work as a principal. Prospective students should look for online colleges for their master’s in educational leadership that include a practicum or a thesis that lets them do some independent research.
Ability to Customize Your Degree
Before you choose an online college for your master’s in educational leadership degree, look for one that gives you the option to customize your degree plan based on your career goals. Some online schools now let you decide whether you want to work as a principal in an elementary, junior high or high school. The advanced courses that you take relate to one of those school types. Others will let you choose a concentration in an area like general school leadership or curriculum development. You may even want to look for an online college that will let you gain credit for fieldwork or an internship in a local school district.
Statistics and Support
U.S. News & World Report author, Kelsey Sheehy, compiled a list of things that students should look for when choosing an online college, which includes statistics and overall support. She recommends that students look at the statistics related to how long it took students to graduate, the number of students who actually completed the program and how many of those students now work in that field. Sheehy also suggests looking for online colleges that offer support services for students such as tech support on the weekends and career guidance leading up to graduation.
Educational leadership degree programs teach you how to lead teachers and students as a principal or superintendent. Some programs give you practical experience through the use of fieldwork projects or internships. When you choose an online college for a Master’s in Educational Leadership degree, look for one that offers many classes, lets you customize your degree and has accreditation.