Wherever they work, professionals with a master's degree in education administration earn a high salary while improving learning environments for thousands of children.
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Lucien Formichella
Noodle Expert Member

March 10, 2021

A master's in education administration is one of the only degrees that can prepare you for a six-figure career in education. More than that, it leads to engaging jobs and learning opportunities.

A master's degree in education administration is one of the few education degrees that can set you up for a high-earning career. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for education administrators at primary and secondary institutions is around $95,000. Those at the postsecondary level earn slightly more.

Education administration job titles include:

Education graduate degrees are popular among teachers, whose median annual pay hovers around $60,000. Educators earning a promotion to administration take on more responsibility but also receive more income.

Still, earning a master's in education administration means you need to return to school—even if you've already earned a teaching-focused master's degree. It's essential to consider not only what you can expect to earn with a master's in education administration but also the cost—including time—of earning it.

This article discusses the salary someone can with a master's in education administration expect It covers the financial aspects of earning this degree, including:

  • Do master's in education administration degrees have a good ROI?
  • What high-paying jobs can a master's in education administration lead to?
  • Other opportunities a master's in education administration can lead to
  • What other factors can influence master's in education administration salary?

Do master's in education administration degrees have a good ROI?

Most master's in education administration degrees fall under the title of Master of Education (MEd). However, an MEd in education administration isn't the only graduate degree that prepares you for an administrator's role. Earning an MEd with a concentration in curriculum and instruction, education policy and leadership, or school leadership can lead to many of the same jobs. You may even earn a Master of Arts in educational leadership. Course requirements vary among these degrees. They all take about two years of full-time study to complete—longer for part-time students.

You'll often hear the term return on investment in conjunction with master's degrees. If a degree costs more than the new salary it leads to, it may not be worthwhile. Taking two years off work to study full-time is not feasible for many people, and attending part-time for more years while working is a grind, too—and that's not even considering the actual cost of your degree.

The typical tuition for an online MeD is somewhere between $10,000 and $35,000, according to US News & World Report. Tuition for in-person programs is generally similar to online tuitions (at schools with both options).

Of course, you may not end up paying sticker price for your degree. Fellowships and other funding opportunities offer students ways to offset the cost of a degree. Schools like Texas Christian University and Merrimack College offer partial or fully funded opportunities to those pursuing education administration.

You can also save money by attending a local public university that offers in-state tuition rather than an expensive private institution. Michigan State University, the seventh-ranked school in the nation for education administration, costs the average Michigan student $14,144 per year in tuition to attend full-time. For out-of-state students, that number climbs to $27,792.

There are quite a few state schools on US News & World Report's list of best education administration programs, including:

ROI is heavily dependent on the job you get after school, but betting on an education administration degree isn't a bad idea, especially if you can reduce costs.

__What high-paying jobs can a master's in education administration lead to? __

Jobs you can get with a master's in education administration, and their expected salaries, include:

Assistant Principal

Assistant principals earn an average salary of $70,916; the top ten percent make over $100,000 annually. These professionals help with day-to-day operations in the school, including discipline. Experience as an assistant principal is also a great resume booster if you want to lead your own school one day—and earn even more money.


School principals earn a median pay of $96,400 per year; the top 10 percent make close to $150,000. Though these numbers are for all K-12 principals, the job differs from one level to the next. Elementary school principals interact with parents and teachers more frequently than secondary school principals, who deal more with student affairs and school administration.

Associate Superintendent

As an associate (or assistant) superintendent, you work with the superintendent to run the school district. Large districts can have more than one associate superintendent, which could involve taking on a specific role, such as developing education programs.

The median salary for associate superintendents who help oversee small school districts (between 300 and 900 students) is $101,000. Those who work in districts of over 100,000 students earn $130,000, less—surprisingly—than associate superintendents who steward 5,000 to 9,999 students ($135,000).


Superintendents frequently hold a doctoral degree, although it is possible to reach the position with an educational administration master's. Superintendents oversee principals the way principals oversee teachers. They are the face of a school district, which means they also work for parents, teachers, and principals. The most effective superintendents work in tandem with those below them to create a nurturing learning environment.

Those lucky enough to run a district earn great money. The median salary for a superintendent who oversees just 300 to 999 students is $117,500—this number usually increases with the number of students you have. Supervising between 5,000 and 9,999 students garners a median salary of $180,102. Superintendents of districts with 100,000 students earn a median salary of $338,709.


University deans earn an average salary of just over $92,000, with the top 10 percent earning over $160,000.

Universities employ multiple deans. As a dean, you may oversee the English department or even an entire college. Although you can become a dean with a master's only, many deans frequently doctoral degrees and teaching experience at the collegiate level.

Other higher education administration and leadership positions

A master's in education administration can lead to other administrative positions in higher education.

You may find management roles in sectors like:

  • Academic advising
  • Admissions
  • Residential life
  • Outreach programs
  • Financial aid
  • Student activities

Postsecondary administrators' median pay hovers around $95,000, though the number can fluctuate based on school and job title.

Other opportunities a master's in education administration can lead to

It's worth mentioning doctoral degree programs in any discussion about master's in education administration salary expectations. A Doctor of Education (EdD) or PhD can advance a career even further than a master's—meaning more responsibility and better pay. So, why is a master's in education administration relevant here? Firstly, those who stop at a master's may still compete with doctoral degree-holders—especially for roles like superintendent, dean, and principal. The positive news is EdD and PhD program admissions requirements frequently include a master's, making it a great degree to have, even if it's not your terminal degree.

Some jobs above the master's level include:

What other factors can influence master's in education administration salary?

Even if you already have your Master's of Education Administration, other issues impact salary—beyond years of experience.

Location is a primary factor that impacts salary. According to the BLS, the highest-paying states for education administrators are:

  • New York—$130,600
  • New Jersey—$129,990
  • Connecticut—$129,700
  • California—$128,880
  • Washington—$120,300

Keep in mind that living expenses—not to mention licensure requirements—differ significantly between states, so it's essential to do your research before planning a cross-country move.

It sounds simple, but who you work for can also impact your salary. As a rule, private institutions pay less than public schools. For instance, public elementary and secondary school principals earn $97,850 annually, while those at private schools earn $85,930, according to the BLS.

Beyond that, each industry has unique salary standards. Administrators who work in local government earn the most—an annual median wage of $110,450. Those at management companies and elementary and secondary schools both earn more than $100,000 per year. Grantmaking and giving services and religious organizations both pay in the upper $90,000s. School administrators make up the largest concentration of these professionals.

Wherever they work, professionals with a master's degree in education administration earn a high salary while improving learning environments for thousands of children.

This article was initially published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most recent data on the subject.

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com