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Benefits Of A Master's Degree In Educational Leadership

Jan 25, 2021

What is educational leadership?

Education leaders play a critical, powerful role in learning. It is their responsibility to ensure students receive the educational foundation they need to achieve personal and professional growth—growth that can deeply influence the rest of their lives. Educational leadership transcends basic management functions. Educators in leadership positions establish, maintain, and oversee the directions of schools and staff them with the best-qualified teachers. With these school leader's unique understanding of educators' concerns and challenges, these learning leaders serve as mentors to teachers, providing them the support they need to perform their best so that ultimately students can excel. Educational leaders also build strong relationships between schools, teachers, students, parents, and the overall community. 

Professional roles in educational leadership include principal and assistant principal positions at the elementary and secondary school level; superintendent positions at the district level; and multiple postsecondary education administrator roles at colleges and universities. Specific educational and professional requirements must be met before stepping into any type of educational leadership role. Online programs such as an educational leadership master’s degree can prepare teachers who want to transition into leadership roles. This leadership degree helps aspiring education administrators meet minimum requirements and prepare them for certifications they need to become, for instance, a school principal or school district superintendent. Beyond earning a master’s degree and completing certifications, those pursuing educational leadership roles should also have a solid foundation of nonacademic skills. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most important of these include:

  • Communication skills

  • Critical-thinking skills

  • Decision-making skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Leadership skills

  • Problem-solving skills

Also, it’s critical that school leaders be confident in all these skills because they will apply them daily in interactions with fellow administrators, teachers, students, and parents. 

What are career opportunities in educational leadership?

A master’s degree in educational leadership paves the way for multiple exciting career options. Here are a few of them along with a selection of their typical responsibilities. 

Elementary, middle or high school principal. 

  • Manage school activities and staff, including teachers and support personnel

  • Establish and oversee class schedules in a leadership capacity

  • Develop, implement, and maintain curriculum and learning standards

  • Counsel and discipline students

  • Observe teaching and evaluate teacher performance

  • Meet with parents and teachers to discuss students’ progress and behavior

  • Assess and prepare learning reports on test scores and other student achievement data

  • Organize professional development programs and workshops for staff

  • Manage the school’s budget, order school supplies, and schedule maintenance

  • Establish and coordinate security procedures for students, staff, and visitors

School district superintendents

  • Serve as chief executive officer, responsible for the academic achievement of a district

  • Lead big-picture educational goals for the district 

  • Manage administrators, programs, budgets, resources, and a variety of other high-level tasks

  • Foster and manage relationships with government agencies and other stakeholders

Instructional coordinator

  • Develop and implement curriculums

  • Plan, organize, and conduct teacher training, conferences, or workshops

  • Analyze students’ test data

  • Recommend teaching techniques and the use of different or new technologies

  • Develop procedures for teachers to implement a curriculum

  • Train teachers and other instructional staff in new content or programs

  • Mentor or coach teachers to improve their skills

Postsecondary education administrator

This general title encompasses several positions at college or university, including leadership roles in admissions, the registrar’s office, student affairs, and as provosts/academic deans. 


  • Recruit prospective students 

  • Review applications to determine which students should be admitted

  • Analyze data about applicants and admitted students

Provosts/academic deans (also known as chief academic officers) 

  • Help college presidents develop academic policies

  • Participate in making faculty appointments and tenure decisions

  • Oversee faculty research 

  • Coordinate activities of individual colleges or schools


  • Maintain student and course records

  • Schedule course offerings

  • Oversee student registration for classes

  • Prepare transcripts and diplomas for students

Student affairs

  • Advise students on housing, personal problems, or academics

  • Communicate with parents or guardians

  • Create, support, and assess nonacademic programs for students

  • Schedule programs and services, such as athletic events or recreational activities

Job advancement opportunities.

While a master’s degree can put you on the path to increased career potential, it can also increase your professional credibility if you are already working in the field as a teacher or other educational leader. A master’s program in educational leadership includes (but is not limited to) the following curriculum that will prepare you for career advancement in an education setting. 

  • Foundations and ethics

  • School law

  • School financial leadership

  • Curriculum design and instruction

  • Systems management and school operations

  • Data literacy and evidence-based practices

  • Cultural competency and social-emotional learning

Job growth and stability.

The BLS projects a 4% growth in education administrator jobs by 2029. The demand for these positions is attributable to the following factors: 

  • More education administrators like principals and superintendents are needed to serve the needs of additional students

  • Additional admissions officers will be needed to process students’ applications

  • Registrars will be needed to direct student registration for classes and ensure that they meet graduation requirements

  • Student affairs workers will be needed to make housing assignments and plan events for students

  • Current school administrators retiring soon, leaving their positions open

Job perks and benefits.

For the most part, education administrators earn comfortable salaries and enjoy great perks and benefits such as health and life insurance, retirement plans, and flexible spending accounts. Depending on the institution or district they serve, they may also receive professional development assistance and loan forgiveness benefits. If they work at a university, they may receive access to campus facilities and tuition waivers or a discount on courses. Education administrators and principals in public schools, at every level, tend to receive great healthcare benefits from the government. 

Other benefits may include: 

  • Prescription drug insurance

  • Commuter assistance

  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

  • Disability insurance

  • Paid time off and family leave 

  • Wellness program

Why is educational leadership important?

Education is a hot-button issue in the U.S., largely due to the emotionally delicate nature that comes with developing young minds and helping people prosper. Leaders in education are brave navigators of our vast, often complex educational system. They are ready to face inevitable challenges because having a direct impact on a student’s future is, in a word, everything to them. 

Working with students and helping them reach their potential is one of the most meaningful and rewarding professions there is. If you have the courage to stand up for what’s right in education, have a vision and want to share it, and have the utmost respect for faculty, parents, and students, then you are definitely onto the right career. WGU can help you in your pursuit to become an education leader. Get started today!  

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