Top 15 Cheap Educational Leadership Master’s Online Degree Programs 2018

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If you’re a licensed teacher with a few years of classroom teaching experience under your belt, you might want to consider going back to school and earning an advanced degree. Pursuing a master’s in educational leadership online opens the door to many new career opportunities, and you can continue to work while furthering your education. Many graduates of educational leadership master’s programs go on to work as principals of elementary, middle, or secondary schools, where they coordinate curricula, oversee teachers, and improve the safety and learning environment for young learners. In addition to increasing your ability to shape a school or district, a master’s degree can dramatically improve your earning potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for principals in 2017 was almost $100,000 per year.

The 15 Best Cheap Online Master’s in Education Administration Ranking Methodology

Selection Criteria

Only public and private non-profit/not-for-profit colleges were eligible for consideration in this ranking. Because this article emphasizes affordable online programs, we also only considered schools with average* tuition and fees of less than $20,000 a year.

Also, we limited our analysis to colleges with at least one master’s degree program that has been awarded “national recognition” from the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC). The ELCC, which “evaluat[es] administrator preparation programs that train candidates for school and district level educational leadership positions,” is part of the National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA) and has been recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

*We took into account both in-state and out-of-state rates/fees for public colleges

Ranking Factors

For this ranking of M.Ed. degrees in educational administration and supervision online, we focused on three metrics. In each category, schools could earn a maximum of 15 points for a maximum total score of 45 points.

First, we looked at the number of master’s degrees in educational leadership and administration that each school conferred in the 2015-2016 academic year. A high value in this category indicates a graduate program that has successfully attracted (and retained) a large number of students. Schools that graduated 1-9 students earned 1 point, 10-19 earned 2 points, up to 10 points for 99 students. Since the number of degrees conferred makes less of a difference for very large schools (would you notice if the college graduated 125 students vs. 150?) we adjusted the point range for values above 100. Schools that graduated 100-129 earned 11 points, 130-159 earned 12 points, and so on. Finally, any college that conferred over 300 education leadership master’s degrees in 2016 received the maximum 15 points.

Second, we looked at the number and type of educational administration graduate programs at each school that have been nationally recognized by the ELCC. We awarded six points for master’s degrees that have ELCC recognition, three points for post-master’s/specialist programs, and 1.5 points for doctoral and certificate programs.

Lastly, we awarded points based on each college’s average annual tuition and fees. We did this by subtracting this annual cost from $21,000 and dividing the result by $1000. So, a school with tuition and fees of $13,600/year would earn 6.4 points.

In the end, we took the 15 schools with the highest overall scores (all of which earned at least 20 points) to include in this ranking.


Henderson State University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Henderson State’s cheap online educational leadership master’s degree program offers a rigorous curriculum rich in high-value courses.

15. Henderson State University

Online Master of Science in Educational Leadership

Website
Graduate students enrolled in the educational leadership program at Henderson State University can choose to pursue a master of science in education degree (for building-level administrative licensure) or an educational specialist degree (for district-level administrative licensure). Faculty at HSU deliver online coursework using Blackboard Collaborate. As part of their course of study, candidates must put together portfolio and complete an exit interview. Up to six approved transfer credits can be brought into this program, and all applicants must hold a valid teaching license.
Score: 23.8

University of Texas of the Permian Basin Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
If you’re anxious to enroll in an accredited M.Ed. degree in educational leadership online, note that UTPB’s program offers six start dates a year.

14. University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership

Website
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin hosts a popular master of arts in educational leadership program, which learners can pursue online. Students complete 36 credits of coursework by taking 12 three-credit courses, and participants can earn their diploma in as little as 12 months. Coursework addresses important topics like cultural proficiency, conflict resolution, and organizational theory. Before graduating, students must also carry out a supervised practicum in administration in a school setting. To provide graduate students with extra flexibility, this master’s in educational leadership online program features six start dates each year.
Score: 25.3

University of Southern Mississippi Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
This affordable online master of education administration degree consists of 34 credit hours and takes four semesters to complete.

13. University of Southern Mississippi

Online Master of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision

Website
Students interested in earning a fully online M.Ed. in educational administration and supervision can enroll at the University of Southern Mississippi. This 34-credit distance program typically spans four terms, with students entering in the fall and graduating by the end of the next calendar year. Graduates qualify to hold leadership positions in elementary and secondary schools around the world. In addition to traditional coursework, participants undertake internships during the last three terms of the program, gaining experience at two or more school sites. Applicants to this program should hold an active teaching license with 2-3 years of teaching experience.
Score: 27.6

Concordia University Chicago Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Unlike other accredited online educational leadership master’s degree programs, Concordia’s program does not include an internship component.

12. Concordia University-Chicago

Online MA in Educational Administration

Website
Concordia University Chicago — a liberal arts school rooted in the Lutheran tradition — offers a master of arts in educational administration that students can complete online. Depending on their enrollment status, participants can finish this 30-credit program in 12 or 24 months. Although this program does not lead to state licensure, it prepares graduates to serve as ethical leaders who can manage diverse educational environments. All master of arts candidates must also complete a culminating capstone experience.
Score: 27.8

Nova Southeastern University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
With three start dates per year, you won’t have to wait long to start earning one of the top M.Ed. degrees in educational leadership online.

11. Nova Southeastern University

Online Master of Science in Educational Leadership

Website
Nova Southeastern University hosts a master of science in educational leadership program that students can complete entirely online or through a blended online/on-site format. Learners complete at least 36 credits of coursework, including classes related to human resources and management. Students also undertake a six-credit educational leadership internship to gain practical experience. This master’s in educational leadership online program uses a rolling admissions format throughout the year, and applicants must hold a valid professional teaching certificate.
Score: 28.5

University of North Texas Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Whether you just need your principal certification or want to earn a full 30-credit M.Ed. degree in Educational Leadership online, UNT has you covered.

10. University of North Texas

Online Accelerated Master’s in Educational Leadership

Website
The University of North Texas offers several accelerated online programs, including a 30-credit master of education in educational leadership. Additionally, individuals who already hold a master’s degree in a related field can enroll in the school’s 21-credit principal certification program. Educators seeking advancement into leadership or administrative roles may find this M.Ed. especially attractive. Classes last eight or 10 weeks, and learners choose from five available start dates each year. Participants can opt to enroll in one or two courses at a time, and students who take two classes each session can graduate in as little as 12 months. Students also complete an internship that includes at least 160 hours of administrative or leadership-related experiences.
Score: 29.8

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
UTRGV’s affordable online master of educational leadership offers unique classes like “Instructional Leadership for Diverse Learners.”

9. University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership

Website
Students can earn a master of education in educational leadership online by enrolling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Participants of this accelerated program complete 10 three-credit classes, each of which lasts seven weeks. Coursework aims to develop culturally responsive educational leaders capable of serving diverse populations, and the program emphasizes working with English language learners. Graduate students can finish this degree track in as little as 10 months. Applicants must hold a teaching certificate and at least two years of classroom teaching experience.
Score: 30

Arkansas Tech University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Graduates of ATU’s top online master of educational leadership program are eligible for licensure as building-level administrators (i.e. school principals).

8. Arkansas Tech University

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership

Website
Arkansas Tech University delivers a 34-credit master’s in educational leadership online program that prepares graduates to earn licensure as a principal or assistant principal at the building level. Students complete coursework online, which is supplemented through on-campus experiences. Learners must also complete a year-long administrative internship and put together a professional portfolio, which is reviewed by a committee. Students can transfer up to nine graduate credits into this program. Applicants should hold a valid Arkansas teacher’s license and at least two years of teaching experience.
Score: 31

Stephen F Austin State University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Anyone who take their education seriously will recognize that SFA has one of the best online educational leadership master’s degree programs in the country.

7. Stephen F Austin State University

Online Master of Education Degree in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification

Website
Stephen F. Austin State University offers a 30-credit master of education degree in educational leadership that leads to principal certification. Additionally, learners who already have a master’s degree in a related field can complete an 18-credit principal certification program. Each course features a field-based component that connects class work with leadership experiences in a school setting; therefore, students must have access to a Texas-accredited school for the duration of the program. Applicants should also hold an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher (or a minimum 2.75 GPA over their last 60 credits), a valid teaching certificate, and at least two years of teaching experience.
Score: 31.2

Northern Arizona University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Enroll in NAU’s cheap M.Ed. degree in educational leadership online and pick from three tracks: Higher Education, Principal, and K12 School Leadership.

6. Northern Arizona University

Online Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership

Website
Northern Arizona University hosts four master’s in educational leadership online programs. Students can choose from degree tracks in educational foundations, principal (K-12), instructional leadership K12 school leadership, and community college and higher education. Depending on their area of emphasis, students take 30 or 36 credits, and they may also need to complete an internship experience. Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, and learners applying to the principal track must hold a standard or provisional teaching license.
Score: 31.8

Western Governors University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
The average student completes WGU’s affordable M.Ed. degree in educational leadership online in two years.

5. Western Governors University

Online Master of Science in Educational Leadership

Website
Students looking for a master’s in educational leadership online program can enroll at Western Governors University. This MS program teaches licensed classroom teachers the skills needed to become an instruction-based principal, vice principal, or assistant principal. Students complete a series of 10 courses. However, instead of adhering to a rigid schedule, participants move on to the next class once they successfully complete an assessment, which may take the form of a test, paper, project, or presentation. Some students graduate in as few as 10 months. This program culminates with a written capstone where students propose, develop, and evaluate a short-term school improvement initiative.
Score: 32.2

Sam Houston State University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Along with its accredited online master of education administration degree, SHSU also offers certificates in academic advising and institutional research.

4. Sam Houston State University

Online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration

Website
Students at Sam Houston State University can earn a master of arts in higher education administration entirely online. Graduates qualify for mid-level administrative and leadership positions at higher education institutions or they can continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Coursework –which consists of 30 credits — focuses on student services, academic affairs, information technology, and resource allocation. Participants can opt to complete a thesis or non-thesis track. Additionally, by taking six additional credits, graduates can add an academic advising or assessment and institutional research certificate to their diploma. Learners must also successfully pass a comprehensive exam during their final semester.
Score: 32.3

At UT Arlington, you can complete one of the nation’s most affordable and best online master of education leadership programs in just 15 months.

3. University of Texas-Arlington

Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Website
Students can earn a 30-credit master of education in educational leadership and policy studies online from the University of Texas at Arlington. This principal certification program prepares students to become campus principals or assistant principals. Classes last seven weeks and learners can finish the program in as few as 16 months. This master’s in educational leadership online program culminates with a capstone internship where students complete a professional portfolio and a research project. Applicants must hold an accredited master’s degree, a valid classroom teaching certificate, and at least two years of teaching experience as a classroom teacher.
Score: 32.6

Liberty University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
Liberty’s top online master of education administration degree requires students to complete 36 credits of coursework, including a three-credit internship.

2. Liberty University

Online Master of Education – Administration and Supervision

Website
Liberty University — a Christian school founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1971 — hosts an online master’s in education – administration and supervision program. Distance learners typically complete the 36 credits required to earn this diploma in two years. Coursework focuses on learning theory, human development, motivation, and teaching methodology. Students must pass a background check before taking some classes. Prior to graduation, participants must complete an internship experience and attend three intensives on Liberty’s campus in Lynchburg, VA. Liberty allows students to transfer in up to 50% of their credits for this degree. Applicants should hold an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Score: 35.5

Lamar University Online Educational Leadership Masters Degree Programs
In addition to our ranking, Lamar has been recognized for its top affordable online education leadership master’s degree program by U.S. News and GetEducated.com.

1. Lamar University

Online Master of Education in Educational Administration

Website
Lamar University offers an M.Ed. in educational administration. Participants can complete all of the coursework for this online program in as few as 16 months. Students take ten classes, each of which lasts five weeks, to learn best techniques and practices for supervision, curriculum, instruction in the leadership context. As a capstone, students complete internships where they gain experience working with supervisors and principles. Applicants should hold a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA and submit documentation of a valid, state-issued teaching certificate. They must also have at least two years of teaching experience.
Score: 39.6

Thanks for reading our ranking of the 15 best cheap M.Ed. degrees in educational leadership online!

Sources:
IPEDS Data Center
College Navigator
http://www.npbea.org/ncateelcc/
http://caepnet.org/provider-search?state=&program=ELCC&tab=program#progresults