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What Can I Do With a Master's in Educational Leadership

Newsroom | Articles May 13, 2019
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While some educators remain in the classroom throughout their careers, creating significant impact on students’ lives, other educators seek leadership opportunities to understand classroom learning more fully or to effect change on a broader scale. By stepping into a leadership role, education professionals can manage faculty and staff, set goals, engage in long-term planning, and create a positive work and learning environment for colleagues and students. For teachers wondering what they can do with a master’s in educational leadership, the degree can equip them to rise to the challenges of today’s changing educational landscape and make a broad, positive impact on colleagues and students alike.

What Are the Characteristics of a Master’s in Educational Leadership?

Because education is continually changing with the emergence of new policies, technologies, and trends, some teachers want to learn more about their field to create stronger communities. A Master of Education (MEd) in educational leadership can be an excellent choice for these professionals. An MEd in educational leadership is an advanced degree for professionals who’ve already attained a bachelor’s degree and teaching experience.

The curriculum varies between universities, but generally it broadens a teacher’s knowledge by diving into topics such as educational leadership, curriculum instruction, gifted education, special education, and counseling. Additionally, classes are often offered in topics such as ethics, administration, and applied research.

After graduating from an MEd in educational leadership program, professionals are even better equipped to help students succeed in the classroom, lead the charge in impactful changes within their schools, and inspire colleagues. Additionally, they’ll have gained the necessary qualifications to advance into a school leadership role, if desired.

What Jobs Can You Hold With a Master’s in Educational Leadership?

Earning a master’s degree is a requirement for many leadership positions in the education field. By focusing on educational leadership, candidates can prepare themselves for a wide array of job opportunities.


Superintendents supervise an entire school district; they oversee principals and other administrators, and they report to an elected school board. It’s vital that superintendents have an attention to detail as they manage a district’s daily operations and also a broad vision for the future. Leadership, communication, mediation, advocacy, decision-making, and management skills are among the necessary skills they must have, and hiring, evaluating, budgeting, and communicating with constituents and stakeholders are among the job responsibilities. To be a competitive candidate for this role, many superintendents gain not only a master’s degree but also a doctoral degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage for elementary and secondary school administrators was $98,750 in 2018. Those in the 90th percentile—or the top 10%—earned $144,950. The states with the most competitive pay included New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Washington. In addition to geographic location, the factors that impacted pay included education level and years of experience. While the BLS doesn’t provide job outlook data for primary and secondary school administrators, it does anticipate 8% job growth from 2016 to 2026.

In addition, postsecondary education administrators had a 2018 median pay of $94,340, per BLS data, with higher salaries reported in colleges, universities, and professional schools than in junior colleges. The BLS anticipates 10% job growth from 2016 to 2026.

School Principal

School principals oversee the day-to-day and long-term success of schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. They may work in the public or private sector. Principals must have an understanding of performance standards and seek to meet and exceed those; as such, they set goals, evaluate teachers, and keep an eye on student achievement. Their duties include supporting faculty and staff; hiring; communicating with students and parents; managing budgets; prioritizing security; reporting to the district superintendent; overseeing class schedules; maintaining facilities; and developing school programs—such as counseling, athletics, and afterschool learning. Principals must have a master’s degree, years of experience, and licensure. In some schools, assistant principals support principals, often specializing in a particular age group, academic area, or task group.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage of elementary, middle, and high school principals was $95,310 in 2018. Elementary and secondary public school principals had a median annual wage of $96,760 versus $84,990 for elementary and secondary private school principals. The BLS anticipates 8% job growth, or 19,800 new positions, between 2016 and 2026.

Instructional Coordinator

For teachers who enjoy developing a curriculum, meeting standards, and keeping students on track for success, a career as an instructional coordinator may be a natural next step after earning a master’s degree. Instructional coordinators are responsible for creating and helping teachers to implement a curriculum, gathering and assessing student performance data, approving textbooks and resources, training educators, and more. Some instructional coordinators specialize in developing a curriculum for certain subjects or age groups, and others keep their impact broad depending on work environment and preference.

The BLS reports that the median annual wage for instructional coordinators was $64,450 in 2018. In public and private elementary, middle, and high schools, the median wage was $69,900. Due to the increasing focus on educational standards and learning metrics, there’s a rise in demand for instructional coordinators. The BLS projects 11% job growth—adding 17,200 jobs to an existing pool of 163,200—between 2016 and 2026.

Learn More About What You Can Do With a Master’s in Educational Leadership

The evolving educational landscape requires bold change and dedicated leadership. If you’re seeking to advance your career, deepen your understanding of education, and create a wider impact, it may be time to enhance your education. When you enroll in LSU Online’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership program, you’ll be able to sharpen your skills in as little as 15 months, from anywhere in the world. You can even continue working as you study. Learn more and apply today to take the next step in your journey.

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