Graduate Degree Programs in Educational Leadership Administration in Canada
What is a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership?
A Master’s in Educational Leadership (MEdL) studies the managerial side of education. It then applies key points to empower teachers. They'll often have the skills and knowledge to lead schools and student outcomes.
Some programs focus on business and day to day operations. These may ready teachers to take on school or district-level leadership positions. Others discuss what students learn and how to teach them. These often help teachers lead in positive change in policy and processes.
written by Rana Waxman
What Can You Do With a Masters in Educational Leadership?
A master’s degree in educational leadership will prepare you to join a workforce of over 5.05 million. Most are women between the ages of 36 and 45. Of these workers over half (56.9%) are teachers. Others are:
- 4.5% are Education administrators (Principals, Deans, Student Affairs Administration)
- 0.2% are Education Specialists
At the most basic level, educational leadership asks for a set of skills and actions. These promote things like how well students perform on tests or achieve goals. They also speak to teacher effectiveness and whether an institution succeeds.
Per BLS.gov, the job outlook for educational leaders is as fast as national averages through 2026. This is due to the impact of state and local budgets. Also, to the flux in student enrollment. Take a look at the demand for the following careers.
- Postsecondary Administrators: 10 %
- Education Specialists: 11%
- Elementary, Middle, High School Principals: 8%
Do You Need a Master’s in Educational Leadership?
There are three main reasons to pursue a master's degree in educational leadership.
The first is job opportunity. A bachelor's degree is often enough to begin teaching or go after an initial credential. But, to pursue the following administrative roles, you'll need a master's or PhD.
- Principal, Dean (PhD)
- School Administrator (Masters)
- School Superintendent (Masters)
- School/Guidance Counselor (Masters)
- Admissions Director (Masters)
- Financial Aid Director (Masters)
Another reason you’ll need a master’s degree has to do with licensure. In most states, public school principals need a license. The same is true for superintendents. It is common that the master's degree is a criterion for eligibility.
Third is the potential to earn more as you take on extra responsibility. One study, for instance, took a look at Education Administrators. They found that those with a master's degree earned 44% more than those with a bachelor's’ degree.
What Jobs can you get with an Educational Leadership Degree?
With a grad degree in educational leadership you might pursue a range of careers. Most of these are administrative such as school principal. Yet there are different ways to apply leadership skills:
- Student Affairs
- Content Specialist
- Oversee Faculty Research
Education leaders watch over students, staff and day to day business. Often, they are in charge of policy, budgets and student activities. Together, these skills may help a school, college or university be a place of growth and learning.
Depending on where you want to work, there are different requirements. For K-12 schools, administrators need a master's degree to pursue state licensure. In a university setting, leaders such as Chief Education Officers need a PhD.
|Education Administrators, All Other||$88,240||36,190|
Top States for Employment: Education Administrators, Postsecondary
Annual Mean Wage
Most Education Administrators (postsecondary) work full time. They work mainly in:
- Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
- Junior Colleges
- Technical and trade Schools
- Elementary and Secondary Schools
- Other types of schools and instruction
Popular Educational Leadership Degrees in Canada
|Metro Area||Annual Mean Salary||Employment|
|Lansing-East Lansing, MI||$155,870||Not Reported|
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC||$135,930||240|
7,122 degrees are reported by the National Center for Education Statistics under the category of Human Resources Management/personnel/administration. In fact, in the most recent update of the data (2009/10), across the U.S., there were 3,837 degrees awarded to graduate students. The majority (99%) of these programs were at the master's level.
Educational Leadership or Doctor of Educational Leadership?
A popular query among students is which degree in educational leadership to pursue. Both the Master's and Doctorate in Education Leadership offer unique courses and outcomes.
A MA in Educational Leadership often requires up to 36 credits. It may expose you research-based tactics. You’ll often learn how to apply make data-driven decisions. These relate to teaching, student learning and school leadership. Some such programs offer a pathway to licensure. A credential necessary for most principals and superintendents.
Such programs often feature internships and business classes. In tandem, they may help you hone your own style of leading. You’ll also be credits closer to a PhD or Doctor of Educational Leadership.
University settings often demand a higher level of education. Deans and university provosts generally need a doctorate degree. If this is your goal you might think about a Doctor of Education. These programs often span 54 credits and allow you to choose an emphasis. Educational leadership and Learning in Organizations is one example.
Such programs may help you make sense of industry research. Then apply findings to your classroom, school or course content. You may thus learn to identify, assess and resolve operations in the workplace. This may help if you are a current educator and want to refine your approach.
Educational Leadership Guide
Master in Educational Leadership*
Doctor of Educational Leadership*
Length of Program: 22 months -
33 credit hours plus at least 200 hours of School Executive Internship
Length of Program: 3 years (average)
60 credit hours
Professional development to excel as a principal or administration leader. The program may ready you to resolve disputes and manage people and money in a school setting. In tandem, students hone a personal leadership style.
Professional development to excel as a university faculty member, policy-maker, senior level leader. The program has a core of education concepts like learning theory and exposes students to applied research and management
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) through CAEP
A PhD in Educational Leadership is a research degree. Unlike the EdD, a PhD involves forging new ideas through independent inquiry. Through a wide range of topics, it may help you learn ethical managerial skills. Also, it may be a useful and holistic way to develop as a problem solver and to: Develop subject matter expertise Plan and develop curriculums Learn analytical methods In some schools (Capella is one), the PhD in Educational Leadership comes with a choice of emphasis in school or district leadership. In others, you might focus on college administration and management (E.g. Purdue)
You might also choose a PhD to ready you to pursue licensure as a K-12 principal or superintendent. Apart from this possible outcome, the PhD is well known as a pathway towards:
- Thought Leadership and Independent Research
- Chief Executive in University Setting
- University Faculty Position
- Collegiate Teaching
If your end game involves any of these, a PhD may have a leg up on a Master’s in Educational Leadership. It may be worthwhile to keep all options open.
What Requirements Are Needed for Educational Leadership?
To enroll in an educational leadership program, you’ll often need three things. A bachelor’s degree, teaching certificate and experience.
In a typical program, classes focus is on being an agent of change. You’ll study a range of topics and complete a final project or internship. Along the way, you may learn about your own style as a leader and how to leverage it in a chosen setting. It all depends on which program you pick.
There is a full menu of Masters (MA, MS, MEd EdS) and Doctorate (EdD, PhD) programs to choose from. Each may further allow one to explore a specific area such as:
- Early Childhood Leadership
- Educational Leadership (Non-Licensure)
- Online Learning and Leadership
- Principal Leadership
- Special Education
If pursuing licensure is your goal, check program details and state board. Licensure may cover areas like building principal, assistant principal, or athletic director.
We’ll discuss a few programs and classes to give you a feel for where your interests lie.
This type of program may help in the pursuit of a PK-12 Reading Specialist/Consultant Certificate. Topics may include areas like reading difficulties and children’s literature.
This type of program is about teacher leadership. It may ready teachers to lead in their class, district or school.
This type of program may help in the pursuit of National Board Certification. It may cover curriculum theory in depth. As such, one may learn to improve student outcomes.
This type of program may look at the day to day operations in a university. It may help you grow skills as an administrator. Some topics focus on student affairs theories and diversity. These may cover areas like advising, student activities and life on campus.
This kind of program focuses the design, development, and uses of curriculums. One often learns to make sense of data and apply it to teach students. It may appeal to those who want to shape policy or train other teachers
This type of program often suits students with a master’s degree who want further credentials. It may ready you to lead and promote in the area of student achievement.
Classes may ready you to pursue senior level academic positions in private institutions. This type of program may boost skills as a manager and leader. It may cover areas like how to set policy. Also, you'll often study how take charge of resources, staff and outcomes.
What Classes Will I Take?
Some themes address administrative strategies and skills. For instance, school finance and scheduling. Others may touch on student assessment, community outreach and school law. These may help you excel as a principal, administration leader, researcher or teacher.
Education Law and Ethics: In this class, one might look at the legal aspects of leadership. In this class, one might look at the legal aspects of leadership. Topics may get into things like due process, search and seizure and sexual misconduct.
Curriculum Development: This class may ready you to plan and build curriculums. Topics may cover both theory and methods. The goal is often to uncover areas that need an upgrade.
Improving Instruction: In this class one may learn to use data to make decisions about how to teach. There may be a discussion of student outcomes and how to improve them.
Organizational Management: In this class you may look at how to line up all types of resources. Then use a systems approach to make a school safe place for teaching and learning.
Educational Leadership Theory: A central course which may bring up issues that modern school leaders face. It may touch on both theory and practice. You may for instance look at workplace behaviors in school systems.
What Should I know About Accreditation in Educational Leadership?
Accreditation is a form of control by an outside agency. Some universities maintain two kinds of approval. One speaks to the school as a whole. The other to the programs it houses.
It is important to look for an accredited school and educational leadership program. For one, these schools make it possible to apply for financial aid.
Also, they check things like student services and faculty meet standards. Since a review usually covers a set time frame (E.g. 7-10) years, schools need to re-certify to keep their status.
Professional accreditors review programs. Their interest is in what students are learning. Education is a regulated industry that follows ethics and principles. As such, accredited programs keep up the standards for teachers and industry leaders.
One such agency is CAEP, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Their purview is to set and check standards in programs that ready teachers.
Another is The National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA). They are an alliance with a shared goal. To set the bar for education leaders in the school system. They are an alliance with a shared goal. To set the bar for education leaders in the school system.
Recently, they worked on a set of professional standards (PSEL). This guide for education leaders sets norms that state boards of education will use. It will help guide their licensure and professional programs.
Why Accreditation Matters? Going for Principal/Superintendent Licensure
After graduating from an accredited program, a teacher may seek state credentials. Each state varies in the demands it places on aspiring school leaders.
Yet, it is common you'll have to show you completed a ‘state-approved’ program. Such accredited programs prepare tomorrow’s leaders with suitable skills and knowledge.
How long is a Masters Program in Educational Leadership?
It may take about two years part-time to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership. If you study full time it may take about one year. The number of credits varies (30 - 36) and this also impacts program length and completion times.
# of Credits Required
Starts Per Year Dates
Minimum Months to Complete
Spring, Summer, Fall
Less than 2 years
Each course is 6 weeks, completion time N/A
How Much Does A Masters in Educational Leadership Degree Cost?
The average cost of a of a graduate degree from a public institution is $11,617 per year. This means you will be able to find programs both more affordable and more expensive than the average.
To give specific examples, this visualization shows graduate tuition costs of 4 institutions with Educational Leadership Graduate Programs as reported by the NCES. We have then compared those costs to the typically most affordable and most expensive college options, also as reported by NCES
Instate/Out Of State Tuition
What are the Costs per Credit for Masters in Educational Leadership?
Cost per credit of course is different at every College or University. State Universities are also likely to have in state costs vs out of state costs. Below are a few examples of the cost per credit as reported by each one of these institutions.
|University||# of Credits Required||Cost Per Credit||Tuition Cost|
Best 73 Educational Leadership Graduate Programs in Canada Below:
- Accredited online university.
- Capella University offers doctoral programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.
- Competency-based curriculum delivers both foundation knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.
Northcentral UniversityDoctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Education - International Education Education Specialist - Leadership in Higher Education Education Specialist - Instructional Leadership Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership Doctor of Education - Organizational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Organizational Leadership Education Specialist - Organizational Leadership Education Specialist in Educational Leadership Master of Education - Organizational Leadership
Queens University of CharlotteMaster of Arts in Educational Leadership
The George Washington UniversityMA in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration Education Specialist in Educational Leadership and Administration
Johns Hopkins UniversityMaster of Science in Research Administration
University of DelawareMaster of Education in Teacher Leadership
Walden UniversityMS in Education - Teacher Leadership (Grades K-12) MS in Education - Educational Leadership & Administration (International; Non-Licensure) Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (For Administrators) Doctor of Education (EdD) - Educational Administration & Leadership (Non-Licensure) Doctor of Education (EdD) - Community College Leadership PhD in Education - Education Policy, Leadership & Management Doctor of Education (EdD) - Higher Education Leadership & Management PhD in Education - Higher Education Leadership, Management & Policy PhD in Education - Organizational Research, Assessment & Evaluation
Concordia University-PortlandMEd in Curriculum and Instruction - Educational Technology Leadership MEd in Educational Leadership EdD in Professional Leadership, Inquiry, and Transformation EdD in Educational Leadership - Instructional Leadership EdD in Educational Leadership - Transformational Leadership EdD in Educational Leadership - Administrative Leadership
Purdue University GlobalM.S. in Higher Education - College Administration and Leadership
Grand Canyon UniversityM.Ed. in Educational Administration (ITL) M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (NITL) Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Behavioral Health Ed. S. in K-12 Leadership Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Organizational Development Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership in with an Emphasis in K-12 Leadership
Liberty University OnlinePHD Education: Educational Law Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration: Education Leadership Education Specialist: Educational Leadership EDD Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership
Capella UniversityMS - Higher Education Leadership and Administration EdD - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation EdS - Personalized and Competency-Based Instruction PhD - Management Education (ACBSP-accredited) EdD - Performance Improvement Leadership EdD - Personalized and Competency-Based Instruction EdS - Teacher Leader in K-12 Studies EdS - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation MS - Leadership in Educational Administration EdD - Educational Leadership and Management
Union Institute and UniversityPH.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies
Colorado Technical UniversityDoctorate of Management - Private Sector Higher Education Leadership
Saint Mary's University of MinnesotaEd.S. in Educational Administration Ed.D. in Leadership
University of the SouthwestMSEd: Educational Administration