What can I do with a Master’s in Educational Leadership degree?

If you have a heart and passion for bringing reform to our schools, school leadership is for you.  Earning a Master’s in Educational Leadership is the first step into various positions.  Odds are, if you’re reading this, you are a teacher seeking to move into positions within your school or district.  

There is a real need for excellent leaders, and research and common sense confirm this.  The Wallace Foundation, through the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research And Educational Improvement and the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for

Studies in Education, report that only teachers are more important regarding student learning.  Effective leadership makes the biggest difference in schools with the most need. An interesting finding in this report (click here to view) is that we need to decrease "leadership by adjective."

For example “democratic leadership” or “instructional leadership” and focus more on what it means to lead in general.  Leaders cast a vision, empower others, and inspire people by their character.

The most significant factor that a Master’s in Educational Leadership prepares you for is licensure.  Without this, all your ideals for being a change agent will come to naught.  Certification may become a part of the program, or the program may exist to prepare you for certification after your graduate; either way, to be a principal in public school, for example, you must be licensed.

Mostly the degree allows you to pursue leadership positions in public schools, elementary, middle, high, and college, as well as private schools.  Some of the Catholic schools had a religious/parochial or public school track that shared the same core requirements.  It’s not only schools. However, it is school districts, nonprofits, and universities that offer positions with this degree.

Some positions a Master’s in Educational Leadership lead to include

  • Principal - the day-to-day leader of the school charged with overseeing hiring teachers and staff, supervision of learning, managing the budget, facilities, and materials for a school to operate, and the face of the school to the community.
  • Superintendent- the leader of a school district given responsibility for all aspects of the district's operational policies, objectives, and initiatives.
  • Assistant Principal- the leader directly accountable to the principal for carrying out the day-to-day responsibilities related to teachers, curriculum, discipline, and organization.
  • Academic Dean - the leader primarily responsible for managing and developing faculty and academic staff at an educational institution.
  • Curriculum Director - the leader, charged with designing, implementing, adapting, and assessing curricula working with the schools, district, and staff to improve education
  • Teacher Leader/Instructional Coach - help oversee school curriculum, instruction and teaching standards working with teachers and principals.
  • College Administrator - much like a principal but in a university setting.  They oversee staff and faculty, business operations, marketing, interdepartmental communication, and facilities.
  • District Administrator - works to oversee the administration, curriculum, services, and resources at a school or of a particular program offered by the school.
  • Business and Industry Professional Educator -  this leadership role is for enterprising educational leadership graduates who want to help businesses, all to willing, in professional development.