If you have a teaching license and you are eyeing an educational administrative job, one important question for you is whether earning a Master’s in Educational Leadership is worth the time and money it entails. Principals, superintendents and college administrators all require at least a master’s level degree, but do you need an educational leadership specialization to get an administrative position? If you earn the degree, how does that change your career outlook?
You Need a Master’s Degree
The master’s degree is increasingly becoming today’s bachelor’s degree. What that means is that careers require increased levels of education to manage advanced technology. Bachelor’s degrees no longer open wide the doors to lucrative positions, but usually land entry-level positions. That is as true in education as it is in industry. A bachelor’s degree usually will not allow you to move up the professional ladder.
Careers with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership
With this degree, you might become an assistant or head school principal, a district administrator or supervisor, a university registrar or a college dean. The specialization you declare will influence which courses you take in the degree program. Generally, however, you will study subjects like leadership, school finance, educational law and other courses pertaining to the management or administrative aspect of education. For many of these positions, you do not specifically need a Master’s in Educational Leadership, but you do need some type of educational master’s degree. If you have a M.Ed., you can add a certification in leadership.
Weighing the Cost
You usually must have some type of work experience to get into a graduate program. In the case of a Master’s in Educational Leadership, you should hold a teacher’s certification. If you are a teacher wanting to increase your earning potential, getting a master’s degree is probably worth the cost. Master’s programs in the U.S. can cost anywhere from about $30,000 to more than $120,000 depending upon the school and program you choose. In 2010, the average college instructor in economics earned just over $94,000. The average high school teacher earns $56,760. The salary you earn depends upon the geographic area in which you work, the school setting and your years of experience. In some areas the wages will not differ greatly between teacher and administrator. In general, however, the return on investment (ROI) on the graduate degree that enables a teacher to work in a post-secondary school is enough to manage well the student debt associated with the degree. That ROI increases with experience. A school administrator with one to four years experience will make approximately $67,000 a year. That amount increases to just under $100,000 with twenty or more years of experience. In terms of time spent earning the degree, you will spend approximately two years.
The Worth in Other Considerations
It has been already noted that someone entering graduate school has teaching experience. If you earn an online degree so that you can keep your teaching position while pursuing your degree, you must consider the burden on your family life in terms of hours spent in study on top of hours on the job. Burnout is also a factor. If you study full-time, you will have the added stress of managing mortgages and other expenses as well as your educational costs. If personal satisfaction is one of your career goals, earning the degree to distinguish yourself from others with baccalaureate degrees may be well worth the effort. You have an opportunity to influence the educational system at an administrative level that doesn’t exist for teaching faculty.
Earning a graduate degree in education enables you to further your career, to achieve personal satisfaction and to affect change in the system. It also may result in significant growth in your income and job outlook. Employment for school administrators is expected to rise in the future because of increased enrollment. There are financial, emotional and personal costs to consider when deciding whether to pursue the degree. Your choice, when made carefully, taking all aspects into consideration, may prove that getting a Master’s in Educational Leadership was worth the cost for you.