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Questions to Consider: Online Master's Degree in Educational Leadership

Questions and answers about master's degree in educational leadership programs

You've been searching for the right online master's degree in education, but the amount of information out there can be too much to sift through. To alleviate the stress of research, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers to help you gain the knowledge you need to make a decision.

Want to skip to a specific section? Click one of the link below:

What Is an MSE in Educational Leadership?

An MSE in Educational Leadership is a Master of Science in Education degree that focuses on leadership at all levels of education. This degree is a practical one that will help improve your teaching skills and also give you the educational background you need to move into leadership roles.

What's the Difference Between an MSE and an M.Ed.?

Work with a mentor during your internship

Both degrees will increase your knowledge and skills as an educator, but the MSE is geared more toward educators who want to add to the practical skills they already have. Students in an MSE program will learn assessment tools, advanced classroom management models, cutting-edge teaching techniques and other academic strategies. MSE in Educational Leadership graduates know how to manage a changing education landscape, and they are great collaborative decision-makers.

In contrast, an M.Ed., or Master of Education, is often seen as a more research-focuseddegree. Though M.Ed. holders are also prepared for K-12 and higher education teaching, they may not gain some of the practical solutions to real-world issues that MSE graduates do. Arkansas State online MSE Educational Leadership students will even complete hands-on activities to bolster their experience and skill sets.

Arkansas State educational leadership professor Dr. Annette Hux

Within this coursework are multi-internship activities you will complete. When completing these activities, you will need to work closely with a mentor within your school district (principal or superintendent).

Dr. Annette R. Hux, Associate Professor at A-State

What Will I Learn in an Online MSE in Educational Leadership Program?

Study educational research, theory, leadership, law and more in an online master's in educational leadership program

Each online MSE in Educational Leadership program is a little different, though they generally focus on the same skills and practical knowledge that building- and district-level leaders need. The Master of Science in Educational Leadership program at Arkansas State University covers these topics in depth:

  • Research -- methods and techniques used in research as well as the statistical treatment and interpretation of research data.
  • Educational theory -- a wide range of philosophies of education, including their implications for theory and practice.
  • Ethical leadership -- professional behavior for educational administrators.
  • Education law -- constitutional and statutory law as well as court decisions relating to education.
  • Community relations -- techniques for building positive relationships with the community and stakeholders.
  • Resource allocation -- planning and budgeting for public schools with a focus on site-based management.
  • Instructional theory.
  • Teacher evaluations -- evaluating teacher performance with a focus on development and supervision.
  • Administrative aspects of special education.
  • Curriculum management -- managing and formalizing curriculum for the decision-making process.

A-State online Ed Leadership graduate Kevin Hazelrigg

It has been so enlightening. If I never become an assistant principal or a principal, it was still worth it … I've become such a better teacher because of these courses I've taken.

Kevin Hazelrigg, online MSE – Educational Leadership graduate, 2017

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get with a Master's in Educational Leadership?

There are many careers available to an educator with a master's degree in ed leadership -- some require certification or licensure while others don't. Here are just a few of the jobs available to MSE graduates:

Become a principal or superintendent with a Education Specialist degree
  • Principal
  • Assistant principal
  • District administrator
  • Instructional coordinator
  • Dean of students or faculty
  • College provost
  • University registrar

After graduating from the Arkansas State MSE in Educational Leadership online program, Russell Stokes worked as the Advanced Placement Coordinator and Instructional Specialist for the Curriculum Department at Jonesboro Public Schools. He now serves as an assistant principal at Douglas MacArthur Junior High.

Learn more about our MSE Ed Leadership online!

How Much Do Educational Leadership Graduates Make?

According to PayScale as of July 2019, the average salary for person with a general Master of Science in Education degree is $60,000. The average salary for a teacher without a graduate degree is $51,000, per PayScale. The advancement opportunities for teachers increase with a master's degree in educational leadership. The largest salary increases typically occur with a change in role.

The following roles and national median annual salaries are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2018:

  • Principal: $95,310
  • Education Administrator, Elementary and Secondary School: $98,750
  • Instructional Coordinator: $64,450
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator: $94,340

Here's a breakdown of salaries by state:

Occupation Arkansas Mississippi Missouri South Carolina Tennessee
Education Administrator, elementary and secondary $79,630 $77,330 $90,740 $87,280 $82,300
Instructional Coordinator $58,380 $58,730 $59,400 $58,040 $56,220
Postsecondary Education Administrator $101,870 $95,160 $115,110 $95,680 $104,790

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Does Arkansas State Offer Career Placement Services for Its Online Students?

Arkansas State offers career services for online master's in education students

Having a resume that showcases your experience, accomplishments and education can be the difference in getting an interview versus being skipped over. A-State has professionals available who can help you craft an ideal resume for educational leadership positions.

Career Services at A-State is available to online students as well as on-campus. They will help you answer questions about specific careers, create a stunning resume, review and apply for jobs, and prepare for interviews. Check out for more information or call 870-972-3025.

How Much Does an Online Master of Science in Education Cost?

The tuition for A-State's online MSE – Educational Leadership is $331 per credit hour, including fees. For this 36-hour program, the total tuition cost is $11,916. There is a graduation fee of $85, and a non-refundable application fee of $30 may be applicable; however, all other fees are included.

The average cost of an online master's degree in education is $40,000, according to For-profit schools can cost even more, though many of these schools lack accreditation. Often, you can't transfer credits from for-profit schools, and employers may be less than impressed with this type of degree.

Is the Tuition the Same for In-State and Out-of-State Students?

Not at all schools. It's important to check with each university you are considering. At Arkansas State, in-state and out-of-state students pay the same low tuition for the online MSE program.

Where Are A-State MSE – Educational Leadership Students From?

A-State students come from across the country, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missoui and South Carolina

A-State has MSE – Educational Leadership students from across the U.S. In fact, we had 473 students from 30 states. Here is a breakdown of the top five states from 2018.

Arkansas – 186

Mississippi – 94

Tennessee – 61

Missouri – 31

South Carolina – 22

Are There Financial Aid Options for the MSE – Educational Leadership?

Financial aid options for online master's in education students

All students at A-State are eligible to apply for scholarships from the university, businesses, charitable organizations, school districts and others. Scholarships do not need to be repaid. They are often awarded based on merit and need.

Grants, which also do not need to be repaid, are available, too.

Federal student loans are also available to A-State students. To start the process for all financial aid options, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

For more information on student financial aid, go to A-State's Financial Aid & Scholarships page or call 870-972-2310.

Learn more about our MSE Educational Leadership online program

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership?

The amount of time it takes to earn a master's degree online depends on you and your schedule. In general, the average program can be completed in about two years. Students can complete the MSE – Educational Leadership online program at A-State in as few as 20 months. The A-State program consists of 12 courses at seven weeks each.

How Many Hours Will I Need to Study Each Week?

Study time for online master's program is typically 9 hours per course

Most sources agree that students who spend three hours per credit hour will do well in online courses. For a standard three-credit-hour class, you'll spend nine hours a week studying.

The truth is that it depends. Some classes are more difficult than others. You may not be as comfortable with the material as you are with other subjects. These classes will take more time. You might want to start with four hours of study time per credit. Conversely, easier courses or those with which you feel comfortable may only take two hours of study per credit hour.

"When considering our program at Arkansas State University, think about what type of learner you are. This is a totally online program, with 30-36 hours of coursework, depending on the program you are in." – Dr. Annette R. Hux, Associate Professor at A-State

Can I Transfer Credits?

Yes, you can transfer credits from prior graduate work. You will need to submit an official transcript and fill out the Graduate Transfer Credit Evaluation Form. After your transcripts have been evaluated, you'll receive an email from the Office of the Registrar letting you know which of your previous credits will be accepted.

Is There Assistance for Military Members and Veterans?

Military support at A-State

A-State is proud to support veterans, active duty military and their families. Our Veteran Affairs Representatives are here to help. We help students apply for Chapter 30, Chapter 33/Post 9/11, Chapter 1606, Chapter 1607 and Chapter 35. After students are certified as eligible, we will send the hours to the VA for payment processing. We also assist with the GI Bill Kicker for National Guard members.

Please contact us at 870-972-2031 for questions and assistance.

Why Does Accreditation Matter in Master's in Education Programs?

When a university or college is accredited by a respected accrediting body, it shows that their programs live up to rigorous academic standards. Many employers are looking for candidates who went to accredited schools.

A-State is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), formerly known as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The CAEP is the gold standard in educator preparation accreditation.

Is the Faculty the Same as the On-Campus Program?

Yes! At Arkansas State, the faculty who teach online also teach in the on-campus programs. The education faculty at A-State are both practitioners and academics. Dr. Jackie McBride, for example, worked as a K-12 teacher, a principal and a superintendent before making the transition to higher education.

"Every question, concern and fear was answered by caring individuals who truly had my best interests in mind. The people, from admissions to my academic advisors, professors and my student coordinator, have been amazing."

Is an Online Degree Program Easy?

Online programs aren't easy, but are more flexible and convenient

The coursework in an online program is not any easier than it is in an on-campus program. It is, however, much more convenient. You study on your schedule as opposed to being in class at a certain time. Created with working teachers in mind, the MSE – Educational Leadership online program at A-State allows you to keep up with career and family responsibilities, all while achieving your academic goals.

What Are the Technical Requirements of the Online Master's in Educational Leadership Program?

Chances are you already have all the equipment, software and tech skills you need to complete an online master's degree program. Below are the requirements for the A-State online MSE program:


  • Laptop or desktop computer with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10 for PC, or Mac OS X 10 for Mac.
  • Broadband Internet Connection (DSL, cable, satellite)
  • Speakers/Headphones
  • Webcam – may be required for proctored exams using ProctorU Services


  • Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) or Open Office
  • Windows Media Player
  • Java
  • Google Chrome Browser (recommended)
  • Apple Quicktime
  • Anti-Virus Software
  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

Online students at A-State can call 866-881-3168 or email [email protected] with any questions they may have 24/7. Email questions regarding Blackboard to [email protected] or call 870-972-2012.

Is Tutoring Available for Online MSE Students?

Each student will have an experienced teaching assistant from the first day of class through graduation. These highly qualified professionals all have master's or doctoral degrees, and are available to answer any course-related questions and provide feedback.

A-State professor Dr. Jackie McBride

Students need to be organized, take care of business and avoid procrastination! Students will have the opportunity to learn more than is needed to make a good grade in the course. Most courses make additional resources available to students who want to learn more — take advantage of those resources and learn more than you are required to know.

Do Online Students Have Access to the Library?

online students have access to the library

Online A-State students have access to the library's online resources and services 24/7. From scholarly journals to ebooks, we have everything you need to complete your coursework. Here are a few of the services available:

  • Research Databases: Access to hundreds of research databases, covering almost any topic you can think of.
  • Interlibrary Loan: If you need an article or book we don't have, we can get it for you — even if we have to scan it ourselves!
  • 24/7 Research Assistance via Chat: If you're not sure where to look for a source (or even what to look for), chat with one of our librarians around the clock.
  • Video Tutorials: Our video tutorials will show you everything you need to know about using the online library.
  • Research Consultants: If you need help forming an effective research strategy, schedule a consultation via email or Skype with a librarian.

Can I Attend Graduation?

You can attend graduation as an online student, and we encourage it! You'll have the opportunity to meet some of your online classmates and your professors in person. Many online students do attend graduation and enjoy the experience.

Why Choose a Nonprofit School Over a For-Profit School?

As the name suggests, for-profit schools exist to make money, and sometimes that becomes the focus rather than education. Here are just a few reasons you want to choose a nonprofit university over a for-profit university.

  • For-profit schools usually have higher tuitions.
  • Credits from for-profit schools rarely transfer to other schools.
  • Students' financial aid options are limited at for-profit universities.
  • For-profit institutions are often cited as having questionable recruitment practices, high dropout rates and more unemployment following graduation.
  • For-profit schools have poor reputations, which can hinder your job hunt.

Will I Be Able to Talk to My Professors?

Talk with professors and fellow students via video chat

Of course! At the beginning of each term, you'll receive your instructors' contact information and instructions on how best to contact them. These dedicated professors pride themselves on replying to emails and returning phone calls quickly. Chat, Skype and text messages are also used. Ask your instructor for specific details.

What About Networking With Other Students?

Going to school online actually has some networking benefits not available to on-campus students. Your cohort live all over the country — and some even overseas. This level of diversity doesn't often happen when you go to a physical classroom. And though you don't see your classmates in person, you consistently interact with them online as part of your coursework.

Master's in educational leadership graduate Russell Stokes

I had several friends in my same learning community who were going back to school the same way. I think the thought is that online sort of divorces you from a community of learners — it doesn't. You just connect with them in different ways.

Russell Stokes, online MSE Educational Leadership graduate

When Can I Start the Online MSE – Educational Leadership Program at A-State?

A-State's online MSE programs have five start dates throughout the year, so you won't have to wait long no matter when you make the decision to continue your education. Check out our calendar for start dates and deadlines.

Learn more about our MSE Educational Leadership online program


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupattional Employment Statistics Master of Science (MS), Education Degree