What Does It Take To Become an Educational Leader?

Being an educator has never been more challenging. The classroom dynamics are different today and evolving. There are new methods for teaching and higher expectations for teachers. There’s a shortage of educators — and for those who are still working in education, the demands put on them have never been weightier.

With all of this, it’s no surprise the topic of teacher burnout has jumped from the school breakroom to media headlines. And even though many educators love what they do, they often yearn for more — more money and opportunity, for example.

Getting a master’s degree has always been an option for teachers who want better pay and the chance to compete for more meaningful work. Many teachers today want to think beyond the classroom, aspiring to be an administrator or working in an educational leadership role.

What is Educational Leadership?

If you’re new to the educational leadership focus area, at a high level, it brings teachers, students and their parents, public policymakers and the public together with the goal of improving academic quality and educational systems. How this is accomplished and by whom is where educational leadership becomes truly meaningful and exciting.

An educational leader’s work can occur in the classroom or outside it, where they address issues and champion improvements at the local, district, state or national levels. These individuals combine their experience and training with an in-the-field understanding of what works in education and tie that knowledge to their passions for bettering education and leading others.

Essential Elements of Educational Leadership

The traditional idea of a leader working in education is a principal or superintendent, but the opportunities are much broader. There’s a greater demand for administrators and leaders who can effect changes in the education system that take into account the collective (and diverse) needs of teachers, students, parents and policymakers.

Loosely defined, a leader in any field is someone with the desire to have influence and make a difference. They use their skills and abilities to lead and inspire and demonstrate an unfailing commitment to their cause, institution or organization.

More specific to the field of education, an educational leader is someone who:

  • Considers themselves to be both an educator and perpetual learner.
  • Believes it takes various skills to lead and works on areas that include communication, empathy, collaboration and strategic thinking.
  • Knows it takes more than a single stakeholder (other educators, for example) to make improvements in the multi-faceted world of education.
  • Isn’t content with the status quo and is willing to disrupt it, passionately believes there’s a better way and is willing to put in the work.
Is a Masters in Educational Leadership Right for Me?
Alumna Kristie Kamphaus - Master of Educational Leadership Grad
Meet Kristie Kamphaus, MEd in Educational Leadership program graduate and math teacher at Grant Career Center and learn about her UC experience

Do you consider yourself a leader — or a leader in the making? Working toward a master’s degree that’s centered on educational leadership can be a career accelerator. And when the program is fully available online, flexible with your lifestyle and customized to your interests, such as our Master’s in Educational (MEd) Leadership program, it’s an even better option!

Our program is designed for licensed educators looking to further develop their knowledge and skills to enhance learning and expand their earning potential through higher-level academic administration or leadership education roles.

With three main concentrations in our Online Masters in Educational Leadership program, you choose the track that best fits your career goals and interests. Concentration areas include Special Education Leadership, Principal Leadership and Non-Licensure. In Special Education Leadership, you’ll focus on the legal and ethical roles and responsibilities of a professional within the field of special education. You’ll gain the tools to be a successful principal within a school or school district in the Principal Leadership concentration. And in Non-Licensure, you’ll study educational leadership with or without an educational/professional background.

Here are more benefits of University of Cincinnati (UC) Online’s Educational Leadership master’s program, which you can complete on a full- or part-time basis:

  • It’s ideal if your goal is to move into an administrative or leadership role. Educational leadership jobs include principal, academic director or supervisor, college provost, curriculum developer, tutor, educational consultant, special education specialist and athletic director.
  • The program is fully accredited by the Ohio Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation and meets the standards of the University Council for Education Administration.
  • The master’s level curriculum is structured so you can position yourself to increase your earning potential after graduation.
  • You’re well-positioned for numerous leadership roles and career-advancing opportunities and are also eligible to take the Ohio Assessment for Educators licensure exam.

Here’s what a recent MEd in Educational Leadership graduate, Kristie Kamphaus, said about her experience:

“I contacted a lot of schools about this program and ultimately decided on UC because of cost and proximity to where I lived. I also wanted a good school that everyone knows provides a great education. Every single professor communicated well with the students. They all replied in a timely manner and were open to using whatever means necessary. Using the discussion boards was a great way to communicate with other students and get to know them and their ideologies,” Kristie says.

When we asked Kristie if she was happy with her choice to attend UC, she replied, “Yes! 100% yes.”

Take the Next Step

If you believe our educational system needs more leaders and want to know how our master’s program will equip you for a leadership role, contact an MEd Program advisor. You can ask them questions about the program and find out about the support you will get in the program from the Educational Leadership faculty and the Student Success Coordinator who joins you when you begin the program and supports you through graduation.

birds eye view of students working at a round table with laptops and study materials
Need additional student resources?
Already an online student? UC Online has additional tips and tricks to ensure you are on the path to success. Check out our Student Resources section for what you need to maximize your learning.
Corporate Taxation professionals having a meeting
Helping You Build a Better Business Through Continuing Education
Employee recruitment and retention is crucial for the growth and profitability of an organization and should be a high priority for every business. At the University of Cincinnati Online, we want to help develop and retain your employees through our Business Partnership offering.

Sign up for updates from UC Online

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.