‘Leadership’ written on a white table surrounded by reaching hands.

What are the Advantages of a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership?

What is a Master’s in Educational Leadership?

The goal of the master of arts in education in educational leadership (MAEd) at Concordia University St. Paul is to build a solid foundation for administrative licensure candidates. Cohorts of educators learn about leadership styles, practice new skills, develop a deeper understanding of educational institutions, and apply this learning to professional roles. Continuing on to become an administrator is definitely encouraged; however, the program offers a wealth of knowledge and leadership skills, both of which greatly benefit a teacher who desires to stay in the classroom.

Cohorts delve into the following content areas. Each is the focus of one M.A.Ed. course:

  1. Historical and contemporary issues
  2. Leadership and human resources management
  3. Legal and ethical issues
  4. Qualitative and quantitative research methods
  5. Curriculum design and implementation
  6. Collaborative teacher supervision procedures
  7. Cultural and linguistic diversity and special education
  8. Fiscal management tools
  9. Roles of the school leader in educational policy
  10. Critical analysis of educational research.

The coursework aids in gaining effective communication, extensive research abilities, and confident presentation skills. Cohorts examine issues and topics as though already in the role of leadership, considering all stakeholders: students, families, staff, and community. Another goal is to offer flexibility for those taking on higher education while working full-time. Examples of this are instructors willing to adjust deadlines to accommodate busy schedules, various times and days for cohort options, and online assignment submission.

What You’ll Learn in an Educational Leadership Program

This program is the perfect prerequisite to become an administrator or to expand one’s knowledge and skills for application in another educational role. The ample opportunities for deep conversation on the topics listed above and leadership skills practice within each M.A.Ed. course is ideal. Specific leadership skills of focus include:

  1. Collaboration with colleagues
  2. Communication, both written and oral, with special consideration given to difficult-to-deliver material (i.e., critical feedback for teaching staff or contacting a family about student behaviors)
  3. Presenting confidently to colleagues (so much different than a classroom full of youth)
  4. Professional research with emphasis on finding credible and relevant qualitative or quantitative studies
  5. Discernment of best practice, free and appropriate education, rigor, and considering stakeholders in all areas of education
  6. Application of knowledge through questioning, discussion, and real-life scenarios.

In addition to the skills mentioned above, a multitude of strategies help cohorts practice skills, learn new information, and productively function. Discussion is at the heart of the M.A.Ed. experience. Whether in partners, small groups, and as a whole class, opinions are valued and questioning is safe.

Each course requires reading; this is done with a variety of scholarly articles, case studies, textbooks, and instructor-experienced scenarios. Most instructors act as facilitators versus lecturers, keeping the courses cohort-driven and engaging. Videos, often in the form of TedTalks, provide a great supplement to the course content and enhance the learning experience.

Individual and group projects with a presentation component push cohort members out of comfort zones and into confidence. Peer review and editing is mutually beneficial, especially during the Capstone course. Written reflections at the beginning and end of each course helps gauge personal and professional growth throughout. Finally, the cohort format creates a community of colleagues to lean on and gain perspective from for the duration of the program and beyond.

Advantages of an Educational Leadership Degree

There are several advantages of a master’s in educational leadership including, but not limited to, networking with amazing educators, lane-changes on a teacher contract, and professional growth that could take a career in a positively unexpected direction.

The connections made as a cohort member are priceless. Career-wise, M.A.Ed. graduates are eligible to continue on to become administrators. Several of the M.A.Ed. instructors are educational leaders in the Twin Cities Metro Area and are willing to write reference letters, help set up administrator internships, and facilitate introductions to other valuable contacts. The same is true about fellow cohort members. Many are already leaders in their schools, and some are future administrators making it quite valuable to stay in touch.

Graduate coursework can mean a significant raise for teachers. Depending on the teacher contract and district human resources policies, teachers can apply for a lane change as soon as 10 credits of graduate study are complete. Subsequent lane changes can occur after 20 and 30 credits, as well as upon completion of the master’s degree. Many M.A.Ed. graduates program see a return on their investment just months after graduation. Of course, administrator contracts include even higher salaries than those on teacher contracts.

Because of the varied educational topics within the M.A.Ed. program, one might experience a completely unexpected professional change. One might go into it thinking ‘I’m just doing this for the lane change,’ then find a passion for leadership and push to become an assistant principal. Similarly, one might decide after the curriculum and instruction course an instructional coach is the next move. Or perhaps during the legal and ethics issues in education course, one might realize there is vital work to be done in educational law and make a shift towards law school. Regardless of the direction a career may take, colleagues and administration will see a cohort member as someone who wants to continue to learn and grow professionally. A master of arts in education in educational leadership guarantees graduates new confidence in their leadership skills, opening doors wherever they head next.

Ready to step into a leadership role or bolster your leadership skills while still in the classroom? Concordia University St. Paul’s M.A.Ed. in Educational Leadership is the right fit to make it happen. Explore our program and enroll today!