FAQ: Master's In Educational Leadership Online

Three smiling educators in a school library

A master's degree in educational leadership can help you achieve your career goals whether you plan to become a principal, assistant principal or remain a teacher with a leadership role. The best practices you'll learn can prepare you for administrative positions at the specialist or coordinator level as well.

Graduates with this degree are instilled with the vision and expertise required to increase student performance and improve teaching and learning. They also understand how to engage the local community and foster relationships with parents that can help students succeed.

Regardless of the role you choose, a master's in school leadership will give you broad knowledge of K-12 administration, as well as the professional skills needed to supervise other educators working with children and youth. You will learn how to address the real-world issues that schools and students are facing at any campus where you serve. An advanced degree may also help you step up to a higher pay grade or promotion in your district if you are a K-12 teacher who wants to remain in the classroom.

Follow the links below to learn more about master's programs in educational leadership, and how working educators can benefit from earning the degree online.

What Is a Master's in Educational Leadership?

The MSEd. in Educational Leadership prepares teachers and other school professionals for administrative roles

A Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership (MSEd.) is a degree for K-12 teachers and other professionals who are ready to take on a leading role in their school or district. Some MSEd. degrees are tailored to specializations such as special education, curriculum and instruction, or literacy, but a master's in school leadership is different. Instead of focusing on one area, students delve into the broader range of management skills required to become a licensed school administrator overseeing personnel, programs and operations.

The first step for teachers who desire to take on the role of principal, assistant principal or even superintendent is to graduate from an accredited master's program in educational leadership or administration. It's a good idea to look for programs that emphasize actionable research and how it can be used to support student success.

Northwest Missouri State University's prepares students for advanced practice in K-12 administration. The program's focus on management, communication, innovation and data literacy helps master's students envision the future of education. Coursework and practicums also give students the opportunity to research effective solutions to current challenges schools face and create new initiatives on their own campus.

Northwest graduates have an outstanding pass rate on the Missouri state principal exam, with close to 100% of students achieving certification. The program's coursework may meet certification requirements in other states as well. Check with your state education agency to learn more before enrolling.

What Will I Learn in a School Leadership Master's Program?

Icons for education research, law, leadership and management

Students develop broad knowledge of education theory and best practices for K-12 campus and district administration. You'll learn to create school policies, supervise staff and operations, design and implement curriculum standards and evaluate student performance. You can also gain key management skills in budgeting, planning, scheduling and program oversight that will help you become an effective school administrator.

Northwest Missouri State's online MSEd. in Educational Leadership prepares students to practice holistic school management. Courses prioritize communication, critical thinking and research along with strategies to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. Master's students develop a range of administrative skills through the field experience they receive in each Northwest course as well.

Every component of the program is designed to give graduates the tools they need to lead and inspire their school community.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_David Kiene
From the very first-class, students evaluate the vision and mission statements of their building and how effective they are. And they do a school culture survey and interview teachers. We want this degree to be very personalized to a student's own situation so that they get an opportunity to do some leadership [projects] in their building.

Do I Have to Become a Principal If I Earn a Master's in School Leadership?

Educational leadership careers are also available in K-12 research, policy, curriculum and advocacy

No. A master's degree in educational leadership does not limit you to the role of assistant principal or principal. You can pursue many different jobs in K-12 administration.

  • If you enjoy developing school curriculum, teaching materials and techniques, there are many different opportunities available in education. Most districts have a number of instructional specialist, supervisor, coordinator and director positions for graduates interested in working outside the classroom. You can even train faculty on new programs.
  • If you like analyzing data and doing research, there are opportunities at the school and district level. Campus site coordinators and assessment directors gather student data, help implement new programs and work on learning initiatives to improve achievement. District evaluation staff work on large-scale projects, completing research and issuing reports. Their efforts can give principals insight on student progress and help schools allocate resources.
  • If you prefer to work on K-12 policy or programs, you'll find many interesting roles available. State agencies, local governments and nonprofit organizations all need master's graduates with school leadership experience. You might work in district oversight, education advocacy, as a teacher's union representative, for a regional education authority or as an education program manager.

Regardless of the career path you choose, a master's degree in educational leadership can prepare you for a host of professional roles in the vast field of education.

What Courses Will I Take for an Online Master's in School Leadership?

Smiling educator studying with laptop computer and open textbook

Online master's courses in ed leadership help aspiring administrators understand the role that education theory, research and experience can play in all aspects of school services. Whether you are studying operational systems and procedures, school policies or instructional methods, you can begin to identify challenges and make plans for improvement.

Northwest Missouri State's online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program aligns with standards, ensuring graduates have the preparation they need to become effective K-12 administrators. Here are some of the you'll take:

  • Visionary School Leadership emphasizes the importance of mission and vision as part of each school's improvement plan.
  • Relational School Leadership highlights communication and advocacy skills, along with strategies for family and community engagement.
  • Instructional School Leadership introduces best practices in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.
  • Managerial School Leadership covers strategic operations, safety and facilities management for K-12 campuses.
  • Innovative School Leadership highlights best practices in human resources, from hiring and professional development to creating a positive work culture and adapting to the ever-present changes in the environment of education.
  • Data Literacy and Assessment for Schools focuses on analytics and other forms of data-based research for education.
  • Multicultural Education for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion highlights the importance of creating an inclusive school culture, and the administrator's commitment to helping all students succeed.
  • School Law addresses the legal aspects of public-school governance and operations, at both the campus and district level.

New MSEd. classes begin six times a year at Northwest, which allows online master's students to move through degree requirements at a steady pace. Students also have the unique opportunity to do fieldwork in every class, from their first course to their final practicums. This blend of rigorous education and continuing hands-on experience allows students to expand their current leadership skills, applying new knowledge at every step of the learning process.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_David Kiene
When students finish our program, they have the general knowledge they need for educational leadership. They're ready to start on that path to becoming a transformational leader
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Nick Crouse
There's value in every single piece of this program. There's something that every person can take from it. It's definitely worth the investment.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Nick Crouse
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Nate McDonald
When people think of leadership, they usually think of the management aspect. Becoming a visionary and identifying a school's short and long term goals was truly eye-opening for me. The unique part of [the degree] was each class offered something different.

Spotlight: NELP Standards for School Leaders

Graduate in cap and gown, reaching for a shining star while standing on a stack of textbooks on a cloud

National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards for building-level and district administrators provide a framework for degree programs in school leadership. The National Policy Board for Educational Administration (NPBEA) developed the standards in 2018, in alignment with the organization's comprehensive Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL).

The NPBEA argues that changing economics, demographics and family structures call for innovation in educational institutions, beginning with K-12 leadership. The eight NELP standards serve as a model for best practices in degree program design, accreditation and review. They also set high expectations for new school leaders, based on comprehensive NPBEA research.

NELP-aligned programs focus on the following areas of administrator preparation, which are reflected in the standards:

  • Mission, Vision and Improvement
  • Ethics and Professional Norms
  • Instructional School Leadership (introduces best practices in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment)
  • Equity, Inclusiveness and Cultural Responsiveness
  • Learning and Instruction
  • Community and External Leadership
  • Operations and Management
  • Building Professional Capacity
  • Internship

Master's programs that incorporate these standards ensure their students understand the full range of responsibilities administrators have, and the commitment required. Graduates are prepared to guide their school or district to higher achievement and create accessible, equitable learning environments for all students.

How Does an Educational Leadership Master's Degree Benefit Teachers?

Math teacher studying on a laptop in her classroom

An MSEd. in educational leadership gives classroom teachers the administrative skills necessary to take on leadership roles such as principal or assistant principal. You can also explore opportunities in other areas of learning support. Graduates with this degree hold a range of campus and district administrative jobs, such as instructional coordinator, site coordinator, curriculum director or academic dean.

Teachers who want to earn more while remaining in the classroom can also benefit. The reports that 88% of large districts offer additional compensation for a master's degree. This can take the form of a raise, an annual stipend or credit for extra years of service.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Christina Diederich
Everything was applicable. All of the assignments and all of the discussion questions were centered around what you were doing in your own classroom
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Elizabeth Moreland
I have been able to use the leadership skills in my current position. The initiatives we are doing in our district applied directly to the things I was learning in class. I could learn about it one day and apply it the next day in the classroom.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Elizabeth Moreland

Are Educational Leadership Degree Programs Accredited?

Northwest is accredited by AAQEP and the Higher Learning Commission

Most school leadership master's programs are accredited by an independent national authority in K-12 education. Often it's the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), formerly known as the National Council for Teacher Accreditation (NCATE). Colleges and universities are also evaluated by regional authorities, specifically those recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Northwest Missouri State's online MSEd. in Educational Leadership is AAQEP-accredited. The university is also regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Why Does Program Accreditation Matter?

Accreditation helps guarantee that educational leadership master's programs meet high standards, as well as established criteria for principal preparation. Reviewers examine professor qualifications, teaching methods, student resources, certification exam pass rates, graduation rates and more. Continuous program improvement is also expected, and often mandated for reaccreditation if a program is not in compliance with established standards.

What If My Master's Program Is Not Accredited?

Enrolling in a master's program that is not accredited renders you ineligible for financial aid or military education benefits, as well as state or federal public service loan forgiveness programs. You'll also be out of the running for many employment opportunities in education, since most school districts require principals and other administrators to have an accredited degree. Many states also require an accredited degree for administrator certification.

What Are the Basic Requirements for Principal Licensure?

Smiling principal in school hallway

Most states require a master's degree from an accredited educational leadership program, or completion of a state-approved principal certification program. You'll also need 2-5 years of teaching experience in many states, practice experience (via a practicum or internship) and a passing score on your state's principal certification exam.

As the has noted, licensure laws also vary across the nation and can change over time. For instance, Missouri currently requires candidates to complete a course in child psychology as part of principal preparation. Iowa requires completion of an evaluator approval program. Nebraska requires special education and human relations training for licensure.

While these states in the same region have slight variations in policy, the differences can be even more significant. This is why it is important to verify the specific certification requirements in your state before you enroll in a school leadership master's program. If your degree program's coursework and field experience requirement do not align with your state's principal preparation standards, licensure there is not guaranteed.

What Are Missouri's Principal Certification Requirements?

Outline of the state of Missouri in a green circle

Revised state standards effective August 1, 2020 require that candidates have all qualifications on the following list to earn an initial K-12 school leader certification:

  • A Missouri teaching certificate (permanent, professional or career education)
  • A minimum of three years teaching experience approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • A passing score on the
  • A master's degree in educational leadership from a regionally accredited college or university (or a certificate of completion from another state-approved educational leadership program)
  • A completed course in Psychology/Education of the Exceptional Child
  • A recommendation for certification from the candidate's master's program or principal preparation program

How Can I Check Principal Licensure Requirements in My State?

The has a helpful contact list of state education agencies across the country. Check in with yours to get the most current information on certification requirements for principals in the state where you live.

What Is a School Leadership Practicum?

School leadership practicums give master’s students direct experience in key aspects of K-12 administration

Practicums are courses that give students some form of practical experience, and the chance to apply what they're learning. A school leadership practicum helps students accumulate administrative knowledge and proficiency and also test their skills. Some school leadership programs require an internship as part of the practicum, while others separate the two aspects of administrative experience.

Northwest Missouri State requires that master's students in education leadership complete two practicums. One is a project-based course focused on K-12 curriculum analysis. The other is an extended on-site internship in an education setting. The additional field experience associated with each course in the online program culminates in a final capstone project during the second practicum that includes a comprehensive assessment under the direction of your site supervisor.

Do All Online Master's Programs in Educational Leadership Require an Internship?

Most do, because an administrative internship is required for principal licensure in many states. There are a few exceptions, but keep in mind that the time you get to spend in the field with students and professional peers is always valuable. It gives you the chance to apply new knowledge and skills in the school environment, and to receive mentoring from others with leadership expertise. For these reasons, it's wise to choose an online master's program that offers an internship opportunity.

How Can Online Master's Students Complete a School Leadership Internship?

GPS symbol for school on a map

Online master's students usually arrange their own internship placement and supervisor locally, often at the K-12 campus where they currently work. In the latter case, responsibilities must be different than your regular job duties, but your school principal or another administrator can still oversee your internship.

Research projects are often assigned during the internship period as well, allowing online students to spend time addressing specific issues in school administration. You may perform data analysis, a curriculum audit or an evaluation study, for example.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Ryan Sweeney
Not everyone is comfortable with an online setting, but this one is productive and interactive. It ties directly back into your internship practicum hours. That's where you get a lot of your value with the conversations with the people you are going to be following who will mentor you. The connections are pretty great.

How Many Field Experience Hours Are Required for Principal Certification?

Smiling principal in front of school lockers

Field experience requirements for principals are often set by individual states. Nebraska requires that candidates for principal licensure have 250 hours of field experience. Illinois and Iowa do not require a specific number of hours, leaving that decision to university programs in ed leadership instead. Some states do not require field experience at all.

Each of these examples highlight why it's important to understand your state's policy on field experience for principals, and that of any state where you wish to work after graduation.

Students in Northwest's online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program complete a total of 300 field experience hours, as required under Missouri law. Each core course has a 21-hour fieldwork component, and the remaining hours are split between two leadership practicums. This structure allows master's students to easily meet state standards by the time they graduate.

Spotlight: Leadership Qualities of Highly Effective Principals

Smiling principal and student, principal wears a shirt that reads: SUCCESS Starts Now!

For two decades, the has been studying diverse aspects of K-12 principal practices, preparation and influence on schools. The foundation's cumulative research efforts have over time led to a fundamental conclusion: School leadership is second only to instruction among critical factors affecting student learning.

Leadership practicums help prepare teachers and other educators to become the highly effective principals K-12 schools need to be successful. Internships provide aspiring school leaders with the right experience to address diverse needs and challenges on their campus. Understanding how to give faculty and parents a voice in decision-making is also important, the foundation notes, because these stakeholders bring unique perspectives to the conversation. Their engagement is often essential to helping students meet academic goals.

Practicum projects that address curriculum, operations and strategic planning can help future principals see the big picture of administration. Working directly with leadership and instructional staff at a school site, master's students also learn the importance of supervisory skills, compliance with state and federal law and other aspects of campus management.

Wallace Foundation research identifies five key practices for principals as well, which school leadership practicums and internships emphasize:

  • Shaping a vision of academic success for all students
  • Fostering an educational climate that's hospitable to learning
  • Cultivating leadership in faculty and staff
  • Continually improving instruction
  • Managing people, data and processes efficiently

Master's graduates who understand these essentials are both valued by school districts and equipped to create the safe and productive learning environment students need to do their best.

What Are the Admissions Requirements for Online Master's Programs in Educational Leadership?

Laptop keyboard with large red admission key and tiny graduation cap

Most master's programs in school leadership have several of the same basic requirements for admission. They include a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, official transcripts and an application. Each program will have its own minimum GPA for admission and some require recommendation letters, district service records or personal essays. You may also have to submit GRE or MAT scores.

Admission to Northwest Missouri State's online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program requires an accredited bachelor's degree with a cumulative 2.75 GPA, plus official transcripts from each college or university attended.

Applicants must also demonstrate that they meet at least one requirement from the following list:

  • Valid teaching certificate (or two years prior teaching experience with a valid teaching certificate)
  • Completion of a nationally normed education performance assessment or content assessment
  • Master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Analytical writing assessment provided by the department, with a minimum score of 4.0 on the modified CUNY scale

Applicants with a bachelor's GPA of at least 2.5 may be also accepted on a conditional basis. See the full for details.

Do Online Master's Programs Have Admissions Deadlines?

Yes, but unlike traditional on-campus programs, many review applications throughout the year. Online master's programs also tend to offer more start dates for new students. However you will still need to turn in your application materials by your program's published deadline for the term you'd like to begin.

Northwest offers six start dates a year for incoming master's students in educational leadership. You can fill out your application, send your official transcripts and submit all other required documents online.

What Is the Career Outlook for Master's in Educational Leadership Graduates?

Smiling teacher standing in her classroom

School administrators will see steady job growth of 8% through 2028, according to Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market analytics firm. An increase in demand is possible as well, given rising K-12 enrollment in many parts of the country. The need for assistant principals, instructional directors and coordinators, and other administrators is also likely to increase in the decade ahead.

Employers outside of the education industry are hiring master's graduates with school leadership expertise as well, often in fields such as public administration and nonprofit management.

What Is the Average Salary for Principals?

According to the latest data from the , the median annual salary for K-12 principals is $98,490.

Compensation can vary based on geographic region and school district, however. Principals in Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri earn the following salaries.

School District State Average Annual Base Salary
Woodridge 68 Illinois $142,253
Evanston/Skokie 65 Illinois $140,575
Liberty Missouri $128,674
Lincoln Nebraska $125,791
Hazelwood Missouri $125,650
Joplin Missouri $123,952
Millard Nebraska $122,895
Norfolk Nebraska $118,250

Source: Published school district salary schedules and compensation reports (2020-2021)

How Much Do Assistant Principals Make?

Many new graduates in ed leadership begin their administrative career as an assistant principal. The following table lists median salary figures for the position in Missouri and nearby states.

State Median Annual Salary Assistant Principals
Iowa $81,634
Illinois $81,202
Nebraska $79,649
Missouri $77,885

Source: Burning Glass Technologies (February 2021)

In some areas of the Midwest, assistant principals can make even more. In Missouri's Ozark R-VI school district for instance, base pay for the position averages $92,439 per year.

How Much Do Other K-12 Administrators Make?

Master's graduates who are not interested in pursuing the principalship can still choose from a variety of job options offering excellent compensation. Here are a few examples that illustrate what you might earn in other types of administrative positions.

School District Location Position Average Annual Base Salary
Barrington 220 Illinois Department Head $121,493
Republic Missouri Director of Elementary Learning $114,864
Smithville Missouri Director - Student Services & Special Education $102,310
Springfield Missouri Director III, Federal Programs $97,195
Champaign Unit 4 Illinois Program Supervisor $91,109

Source: Published school district salary schedules and compensation reports (2020-2021)

Which Midwest Cities Have High Demand for K-12 Principals and Administrators?

Smiling principal with a group of six middle school students, standing in front of a school bus

According to February 2021 job recruitment data from Burning Glass Technologies, demand for principals is especially strong in the following cities:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Omaha, Nebraska
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Demand is also high for all types of school administrators, including coordinators, supervisors and directors. Burning Glass data reveals that school districts in the following cities may have extra difficulty hiring for K-12 leadership roles, creating opportunity for new master's graduates.

  • Springfield, Missouri
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
  • Decatur, Illinois

Can I Earn a Master's Degree While Working Full Time?

Yes, because online master's programs in school leadership are designed with busy educators in mind. The flexibility of online classes allows you to work full time while earning your degree. You may even be able to complete your field experience requirement at your current campus, working hand in hand with your principal during school hours.

If keeping up with your master's courses becomes challenging or you need a break to catch up on family time, you can also pause your online studies at any point. Whenever you're ready to resume your coursework, just enroll for the next term and pick up where you left off.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Nate McDonald
I always wanted to go back and get my master's degree, but it was a time commitment I didn't have. I leaned toward Northwest because of the flexibility of the fully online format. That was a huge selling point. It was a dream scenario.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Nick Crouse
It has been unbelievably easy to maneuver and manage the workload of an online program with my job, which has the demands of being a coach. It's been very manageable.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Nick Crouse

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

Earn your MSEd in Educational Leadership online at Northwest in as few as 12 months

Typically, on-campus master's programs can be completed in two years of full-time study. Part-time students can usually finish in around three years. Online students are often able to complete their degree faster regardless of their enrollment status, because the courses are shorter and more intensive.

Northwest's MSEd. in Educational Leadership online features accelerated seven-week courses. Students complete the program at their own pace, based on their goals and the time they have available to study. If you are motivated to finish quickly, it's possible to earn your degree in as few as 12 months by taking two classes per term.

How Many Hours a Week Do I Need to Study for Online Master's Courses?

Study time can vary from student to student and program to program. For master's courses in educational leadership, you may need to study 10 to 12 hours a week for each three-hour course you're taking. For courses with a light workload, five hours per week may be adequate. After factoring in assignments, study habits and deadlines, you can adjust as necessary.

Just be sure to give yourself adequate time to absorb what you are learning and ask questions. The better you understand the material, the easier each weekly module will be to complete.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Jennee Barnes-Gregory
Approach learning as learning, not an activity or an item on a checklist to acquire a grade. Treat tasks as a representation of you and what you have to offer. Allow them to truly represent your learning and capabilities.

How Much Does a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership Cost?

Green school pencil shaped like a dollar sign

Master's programs in educational leadership vary in cost. Much depends on where and how you plan to study, and your residency status. Out-of-state tuition may be significantly higher than in-state tuition, for example. The number of credits required is another factor in the cost equation.

On-campus programs can also be more expensive than online programs, for several reasons. Graduate students studying on campus may have to pay fees that support the school athletics department, health services or student activity center. They might also be assessed extra charges that go toward maintaining classroom equipment. Online students typically pay a distance learning fee, and in some programs that will be your only ongoing cost outside of tuition.

The table below features several school leadership master's programs available in Missouri. The range of costs represented illustrates the importance of choosing a program that fits your budget as well as your other needs.

Institution Format Credits Required Tuition Per Credit Estimated Total Tuition Estimated Fees* Estimated Total Cost
Western Governors University Hybrid 39 $415.38** $16,200** $2,225** $18,425**
Columbia College Online 36 $490 $17,640 $0 $17,640
University of Missouri Online 33 $395 $13,035 $2,259 $15,294
Northwest Missouri State University Online 30 $332.50 $9,975 $0 $9,975

Source: Published university tuition rates for 2020-2021

*In addition to standard application or graduation fees that may apply

**Based on published flat-rate tuition and fees charged per term, and the minimum required course load of eight units per term

Northwest Missouri State's online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program offers flat-rate tuition designed to help students budget the cost of their education, with no surprises. You'll also save money on textbooks since all course readings are available online, and free to students.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Ryan Sweeney
The value – especially for the cost – is second to none. Without a doubt, this degree will help open up some doors for me.

Can Online Master's Students Apply for Financial Aid?

FAFSA written in black marker on a white notepad

Yes. If you are a student at an accredited university, you can apply for financial aid regardless of whether you study online or on campus. Your eligibility will depend on your income, family size and the cost of your degree program. The first step to get started is to fill out the .

Graduate students often receive a combination of federal and state aid. You can apply for external grants and scholarships to help fund your education as well.

If you plan to stay in the classroom after earning your master's degree, you may qualify for the . Recipients must spend four years teaching in a high-need school specialization (such as special education) after graduation.

If you live and work in Iowa, you may also be eligible for the , which awards educators up to $4,000 a year. Recipients must be recent graduates and teach or serve in a designated shortage area identified by the Iowa Department of Education.

Will My Military Education Benefits Apply to an Online Master's Program?

Smiling service member wearing a camo hat and fatigues

Active-duty service members, veterans and their families can use military education benefits to pay for a graduate degree even if they attend school online. Just make sure your master's program is accredited and your university is eligible to receive military education funding through the . GI Bill benefits can help pay for tuition, housing, and even books and supplies.

If you want to check whether a specific military education benefit program is available at the school you're interested in, the can help. Just plug in your military status, the name of your prospective college and a few other details. The search result will even include your estimated benefits and out-of-pocket costs.

Can I Get Help Certifying My Military Education Benefits?

Veterans' organization VIQTORY has recognized Northwest Missouri State in its annual list of Military Friendly Schools

Yes. Most universities provide assistance to online students who would like to use their military education benefits to pay for a master's degree. This type of help is available whether you are still on active duty or a veteran. You can also get assistance with transferring education benefits to your spouse or dependents.

Northwest Missouri State's assists active-duty service members and veterans with every aspect of their education benefits, from application and certification to payment processing.

The university is also proud to be recognized as a . This repeat honor from veteran-focused media organization acknowledges Northwest's ongoing commitment to serving students from all branches of the armed forces.

How Do Online Courses Work?

Master's student video chatting with four classmates online

Once you're ready to begin studying online, just log in to your university's learning management system (LMS) to access your classes. If you are a K-12 teacher who uses an LMS such as Canvas, Blackboard or Moodle to work with your own students, online master's courses may look instantly familiar.

The weekly learning modules you'll complete may include readings, professor lectures on video, assignments and discussion board posts. You can also get feedback and check grades while working in your master's courses, or communicate with professors.

Northwest students simply log in to the university's Canvas portal to get started. The online MSEd. in Educational Leadership program offer students a personalized learning experience, and plenty of interaction with professors.

[Northwest's MSEd. online] worked out well to do it on my own time. The modules were set up the same in every single course.

Are Online Courses Easier Than On-Campus Courses?

No. Online courses are designed to be academically equivalent to those on campus. This means you will study the same basic concepts and have similar assignments. You're unlikely to see much difference in class policies or grading either, since many professors teach both on campus and online.

One distinct advantage of 100% online courses is their flexibility. You can log in 24/7 and study at the times that suit you best. This makes it easier to fit a master's degree into your schedule.

How Will I Work With My Online Professors?

Study desk with coffee cup, smartphone, papers and an open laptop that shows a professor and student chatting online

Students are often surprised to learn that they can have just as much interaction with professors online as they might on campus. In fact, you may find it easier to meet with your instructor since you'll never have to wait for office hours to discuss assignments, talk about your grades or receive guidance on a research project. Just get in touch by email or make an appointment for a video chat. Some professors also work with students by phone as needed.

Professors in Northwest Missouri State's MSEd. in Educational Leadership program are accomplished online educators who work closely with students. Their extensive classroom teaching and administrative experience benefits aspiring school leaders from all professional backgrounds.

Northwest professors also understand the real-world challenges that come with working full time while earning a master's degree online. The ongoing support and mentoring they provide is tailored to each student's needs and schedule.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Christina Diederich
The best part of the whole experience was the professors. It was a fantastic group of people. They really care about your learning.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_David Kiene
Each one of our instructors creates videos. We offer web conferences. We talk directly with students. I know each student and what they understand, what they don't understand, and I can also give them feedback individually.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Elizabeth Moreland

Are Campus Learning Resources Available to Online Students?

In addition to remote library access, most colleges and universities offer a range of support for their online graduate students. Often you can access many of the same services available on campus.

At Northwest Missouri State, online MSEd. students have access to the following resources that support academic success.

  • The provides thousands of journals and e-books online, plus one-to-one research assistance via live chat or Zoom.
  • The offers online appointments for help with research papers, resumes and cover letters, and more.
  • The provides 24-hour tech support by phone, as well as live chat assistance through Canvas.

Can I Collaborate With Classmates Online?

Yes. In most school leadership master's programs you'll have the chance to work closely with educators from many different backgrounds and districts. You can share experiences, gain different perspectives on teaching and learning, and grow your skills together. Online projects and discussions offer ample opportunity for these exchanges. Students may even collaborate on research or form study groups.

NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_David Kiene
There's a lot of rich communication between students. On one hand they're working side by side with their principal and on the other hand they're working in a small group within their class, discussing the issues that are going on in their building.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Christina Diederich
We had [classmates] in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and even further out. It was nice to have that community. We were all going through it together. We were all in the classroom and in different places in our lives. It was very interactive.
NWMS_MSEd Ed Admin_Explore_Christina Diederich

What Kind of Technology Will I Need to Study Online?

What Kind of Technology Will I Need to Study Online?

The prospect of earning a degree online can feel intimidating, but it's likely you already have access to the basic technology necessities: a computer, internet access and a word processing program. You may need a spreadsheet program to complete specific assignments as well.

Some students also use their smartphones or tablets to access course content, or for chat if their computer lacks a built-in webcam and microphone. Handheld devices can make it easy to watch course videos, complete discussion board posts or meet with your professor when you're on the go.

If you don't feel your current computer setup is adequate, convertible laptops that double as tablets can be a budget-friendly option should you decide to upgrade. You may want to think about investing in file storage as well, to save important classwork such as videos, photos or presentations. Buying an external hard drive could be an easy fix. Affordable cloud storage (or free storage from your email provider) may also meet your needs.

Each university has its own requirements as well, so be sure to consult your master's program for the most accurate information regarding technology for online courses.

Learn more about the MSEd. in Educational Leadership online program!


Education Commission of the States, 50-State Comparison:

National Policy Board for Educational Administration:

Ozark R-VI School District:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

U.S. Department of Education:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: