Is Master’s in Educational Leadership Worth it?

Is Master’s in Educational Leadership Worth it? male student smiling

When deciding if any postsecondary education, not to mention a master’s in educational leadership, is a right fit for you, there is a great likelihood that many questions haunt your mind. 

To kickstart your decision, it’s wise to systematically cross-examine your doubts and divide them into two separate categories. 

The first one should put question marks behind your inner motivations, capabilities, and preferences. Try to answer things like:

  • Why is educational leadership important to me?
  • Is it the best master’s degree for me to get in education?
  • How difficult does the programme’s coursework seem to me?

Then, of course, there are pragmatic considerations, dealing with a string of questions such as:

  • What can I do with a master’s in educational leadership in terms of career advancements?
  • How much does a master’s in educational leadership cost?
  • Will the degree increase my salary?
  • How long does it take to get a master’s in educational leadership?

Only after you get your hands on these answers will you be able to decide whether this M.Ed. degree is worthy of your pursuit. 

Here’s something to help you out with that. 

Setting The Priorities: Should I Get a Master’s in Education?

There isn’t a single career out there that’s worth pursuing just for the sake of it. That is not to say that practical reasons are less important, but if you don’t have a passion for the subject, a salary increase will probably not make up for the overall job dissatisfaction. 

And this is particularly true in the field of educational leadership.

Precisely because M.Ed. professionals usually advance into more responsible roles, where they have the power to influence education on a whole new level, educational leadership entails a great deal of stress. 

In other words, administrative roles in education are best suited for people that genuinely have an inner drive to make a difference in the lives of others. Take note that you’ll probably have many eyes staring at you. Educational leaders, depending on the particular job they perform, may be expected to: 

  • Provide an appropriate work environment for educators
  • Implement the newest research in education
  • Oversee special departments
  • Help at-risk students
  • Make strategic decisions on a school, district, regional, and state level
  • Develop curricula
  • Implement rules, procedures, and laws

Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list but a way to glimpse into your M.Ed. future. 

In general, if you don’t mind this much responsibility but see the job as an opportunity to put your ideas in reality, a master’s in education might be the perfect degree for you. 

If, of course, you pass the “coursework test.”

Should I Get a Master's in Education? male student

“The Coursework Test”: What Will You be Learning?

The second step in your decision should involve scrutinizing the particular programmes of interest and inspecting their curricula.

Taking the “Coursework Test” that we mentioned earlier means researching what is exactly included in a master’s in education leadership. 

Generally, the M.Ed. studies are designed as a hybrid programme that merges two separate fields: education and business (leadership, management). Therefore, be sure to familiarise yourself with the details of the selected programme, learning outcomes, and the skill set you acquire upon graduating.

Although this can all sound complicated, the “Coursework Test” is fairly straightforward and easy to conduct. Just go through the curriculum, and if the majority of the courses listed raise your intellectual butterflies, you’re on the right track.

Take note that not every master’s in educational leadership is the same, meaning they vary widely in terms of specializations, focus, and plans of study. 

Typical M.Ed. coursework may include: 

  • Qualitative methods in educational research
  • Communication methods in instruction
  • Philosophy of education
  • Learning theory
  • Foundations of curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Learning principles in instruction
  • Theories and models of instructional systems design
  • Emerging trends in technology and distributed learning
  • Educational leadership – theories and strategies
  • Educational leadership – challenges and opportunities
  • Governance and administration in education

Of course, the coursework is usually crowned by the research project (master thesis) you should write independently, as a way to showcase the creative implementation of the acquired knowledge. 

Once you go through the curriculum scenario and make sure you can do it, go to our next question and see if you and M.Ed. are a perfect fit. 

Who is a Master’s in Educational Leadership For?

Although a master’s in educational leadership is primarily designed for licensed teachers looking to advance to administrative or leadership roles, the skillset you got to hold on to while studying can be applied across different sectors. 

In other words, M.Ed is a very versatile degree that can, aside from education, be useful in:

  • Government sector (especially in policymaking)
  • Private agencies (the field of educational counseling)
  • Lobbying
  • Cultural organizations (museums, libraries, etc.)
  • Community organizing
  • Religions leadership

Obviously, most educational leaders still work in school surroundings, whether in K-12 institutions or higher education. 

In fact, many master’s programmes in education require a teaching licence as a necessary prerequisite. In contrast, others are more open to other professionals looking to make a meaningful contribution to education. (Read more about different M.Ed. admission requirements here).

If you’re still unsure about your eligibility (even after going through the programme’s details), the best thing you can do is contact the admission counselor directly. In most universities, these are approachable professionals that can disperse many doubts and answer questions by relying on first-hand experience. 

Pragmatic Questions: Costs, Jobs, And Outlooks With M.Ed.

Even though it’s true to say that no one ever went into education to get rich, having practical worries in mind is only natural. Visions and ideas that can make an impact in education are noble causes, but economic factors must play an important role in deciding whether you’d like to dedicate yourself to M.Ed studies. 

Here’s a quick rundown of facts to make things easier.

Is Master’s in Educational Leadership Worth it? female student working on laptop

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

In terms of career options, a master’s in educational leadership is a powerful tool to advance into higher positions. It offers you a chance to make a difference beyond the classroom and upgrade your impact to a whole new level. 

We’ve already written about all the things you can do with M.Ed., so we’re just going to give you a quick overview of job prospects here. 

Students who graduate from a master’s in educational leadership usually progress on to become:

  • Elementary School Principal
  • Head of an independent school
  • Middle School P|rincipal
  • Secondary School Principal
  • School Community Liaison
  • Special Education Director
  • Assistant Principal
  • District Administrator
  • Instructional Coordinator
  • Community College Programme Director
  • Director of Admissions
  • Director of Diversity
  • Director of Museum Education
  • Education-Focused Nonprofit Director
  • University Dean
  • College Provost

This is, once again, not an exhaustive list, but a piece of info that can give you an idea of what doors you can open with a master’s in educational leadership. 

Salary Ranges 

It is difficult to calculate precisely the salary increase intertwined with a master’s in educational leadership. With so many factors influencing the earnings, including years of experience, the employment region, and the position’s responsibilities, the exact amounts are hard to predict. 

However, the good news is that salaries in education are often directly related to the education level. This means that the raise is almost always certain, whether you advance to a higher position or not. 

As a general rule of thumb, earnings tend to be higher upon graduating but do not express themselves in mind-blowing figures. As we’ve said, going into educational leadership for the money’s sake is a wrong decision all away from the start. Do, however, expect a reasonable pay that will reflect your responsibilities.

Here are the median earnings for typical occupations that require M.Ed.:

  • Principal – $96,400
  • Assistant Principal – $73,593
  • District Administrator – $72,493
  • Instructional Coordinator – $66,290
  • Director or Supervisor – $64,571
  • Provost – $151,447
  • Postsecondary Education Administrators – $95,410
  • Educational Policy Analyst – $65,287
  • Nonprofit Programme Director – $76,817

(Sources include US Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale)

How Much Does a Master’s in Educational Leadership Cost?

The variation in study costs is highly dependent on the economic surroundings where the university is located.

In the US, for example, you cannot even think of enrolling without paying between $9,000 and $25,000 in total tuition (Source: US News: Weigh the Cost, Benefits of Graduate School). 

On the other hand, in Zambia, you can get the degree in two years and expect the cost between $4,000 and $5,000.

The good news is that most universities worldwide today offer open distance studies, meaning you can graduate from any institution on the globe without leaving your home country. That’s why it might be a good idea to do a little research and see if you can find cost-effective online programmes.

Take caution, though – always make sure that you enroll in a fully accredited and recognized university. After all, it would be best if you pursued the M.Ed studies to gain skills and competencies. The only way a university can guarantee this is through proper accreditation.

Final Verdict

In sum, a master’s in educational leadership is very well worth it, if:

  • You have a passion for the subject
  • Are willing to commit to responsibilities
  • You feel close to the course of the studies

And because:

  • It can allow you to translate your ideas into reality
  • You can make a significant contribution
  • You have a chance to advance in your career
  • It can lead to increased earnings

If you have any more doubts, don’t hesitate to contact us or download the UNZA prospectus to learn more about many educational paths.