2024 Best Online Masters in Teacher Leadership Programs

By Kelly Smeby
Edited by Tania Staley
Updated on April 21, 2024
Edited by Tania Staley
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Teacher leadership programs are often a good option for teachers who want to further their skills in the education setting.

Best Online Masters in Teacher Leadership Programs

A masters in teacher leadership program can help you learn how to become a leader in your field even if you don’t want to leave the classroom.

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Teachers who go through teacher leadership development programs often become mentors or counselors in their field and help not only students but other teachers as well. Teacher leaders can make a difference in schools.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Teacher Leadership Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Elmhurst University

Elmhurst University’s MEd in Teacher Leadership can be earned in a hybrid online and partially on-campus format. The program can be started in the fall, spring, or summer. Students can typically finish in 2 years of full-time study or 4 years part-time. Students may also earn an ESL and Bilingual endorsement or an LBS1 Special Education endorsement.

Elmhurst University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Lamar University

Lamar University offers a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership online. The program requires the completion of 36 credit hours and usually takes 18 months to complete. There are multiple start dates each year to help accommodate busy professionals. Courses include Research and Current Issues in Education, School Law, Diverse Learners, and more.

Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana State University – Shreveport

Louisiana State University—Shreveport offers an online program for a Master of Education in Educational Leadership. The program requires the completion of 34 credit hours and is designed with working professionals in mind. Coursework includes Technology Leadership in Schools, Legal and Ethical Issues in Education, Utilizing Data for School Improvement, and more.

Louisiana State University – Shreveport is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Northwestern College

Northwestern College offers an MEd in Teacher Leadership. This 30 credit program can typically be completed in 2 years, or 5 semesters. Students usually take two classes that are 8 weeks long at a time, and classes are 100% online. Coursework includes Trends and Issues in 21st Century Education, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Teacher as Leader, and more.

Northwestern is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University offers an online program for a Master of Arts in Education, Teacher Leadership. The program usually takes 12 to 14 months to finish. Course options include Leading Equity in Schools, Leading Teams to Use Evidence-Based Practices, Organizational Engagement, and more. GRE and GMAT scores are not required to apply.

SDSU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville offers an online program for a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership that is intended for Kentucky-certified teachers. Along with their degree, students may pursue an endorsement in English as a Second Language, Instructional Technology, or Classroom Reading. The program can potentially be finished in just 2 years.

The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Southern Maine

The University of Southern Maine offers an online program for a Master of Science in Education in Teacher Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum Instruction and Assessment. The program requires the completion of 30 credit hours and can potentially be finished in just 10 months. There are multiple start dates every year to help accommodate students’ schedules.

The University of Southern Maine is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership online. Courses are just 7 weeks long. The program can potentially be finished in just 10 months. Coursework includes Cultural and Linguistic Sustainability and Transnational Contexts, Technology for Leaders in Education, Evidence-Based Instructional Practices, and more.

UTRGV is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Virginia Wesleyan University

Virginia Wesleyan University offers an online program for a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership. The program is designed to be flexible and can potentially be completed in just 16 months. To graduate, students must complete 30 credit hours of courses. Course options include Characteristics and Adaptations for Exceptional Student Populations, Research Methods in Education, and Assessment for Equitable Instruction.

Virginia Wesleyan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University offers an MS in Education with a specialization in Teacher Leadership (Grades K-12, non-licensure). Students on the traditional track can typically graduate in 20 months, and students on the accelerated track can typically graduate in 1 year. Applicants must have professional teaching experience.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Online Masters in Teacher Leadership Programs

Teacher taking her Masters in Teacher Leadership online

Masters programs in teacher leadership can help you learn how to improve your classroom or prepare you to take on leadership roles in your school. It may be a good option for you if you want to make more of an impact but don’t want to become an administrator or principal.

This program can help you gain skills in designing and leading learning experiences, advancing social justice, and making sure students have the best educational outcomes possible. You may choose to stay in the classroom with these skills or pursue higher leadership roles. You might become a curriculum leader, an instructional coach, a mentor, or an assessment leader.

Getting a masters in teacher leadership online can help you pursue a career as a curriculum designer, department head, school improvement facilitator, or district-based instructional team member. Some of these roles can be pursued while remaining in the classroom.

There are many things masters programs in teacher leadership may teach to prepare you for school leadership roles. They will likely cover how to:

  • Develop school improvement plans, teacher evaluations, and district-level school budget plans
  • Lead other teachers to become better educators
  • Enhance leadership skills
  • Identify high-quality instruction
  • Improve parent involvement
  • Improve student achievement results

A teacher leadership program can help you gain the skills needed to become a leader who can make a lasting impact on your school.

Teaching and Leadership Careers & Salaries

Teaching and Leadership Careers & Salaries

Getting a masters in teacher leadership can allow you to pursue many careers in education and leadership. Aside from becoming a teacher, you might become a leader in your school, such as a counselor or teacher mentor.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the careers that can be pursued with a master’s in teacher leadership:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $98,420
Postsecondary Teachers $79,640
High School Teachers $61,820
Special Education Teachers $61,820
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $61,350
Middle School Teachers $61,320
Career and Technical Education Teachers $61,160
School and Career Counselors and Advisors $60,510
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers $59,720
Preschool Teachers $30,210

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that jobs in education mostly have an average job growth rate. High school teachers, for example, are seeing a job growth rate of 8%.

MA in Teacher Leadership Curriculum & Courses 

Group of peaople taking MA in Teacher Leadership

While the curriculum will vary from program to program, these are some of the courses commonly found in a masters in teacher leadership program.

  • How People Learn: This course explores how students learn and make sense of things and how you can create systems to support students’ learning and professional growth.
  • Leading Equity in Schools: This course discusses the biases and inequities in schools that affect students.
  • Leading Change: This class aims to help you develop the essential knowledge and tools to lead change in an organization.
  • Mentoring, Coaching, and Collaboration: This course teaches ways of training, coaching, mentoring, and collaborating to promote school improvement.
  • Leading Teams to Use Evidence-Based Practices: This class explores how to identify and implement evidence-based instructional practices in schools.
  • Organizational Engagement: This course teaches principles of implementation science and how to use them to promote organizational change.
  • Evidence: This course covers how to identify different types of evidence and strong and weak evidence, how to distinguish fact from fiction, and how evidence informs education decisions.
  • Dynamic Teacher Leadership: This class discusses the value of teacher leadership and how to use self-assessment and analysis to become a leader.
  • Equity and Opportunity: This course explores the dimensions of social identity, such as race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class, within an educational setting.
  • Designing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment: This class examines learning theory, different assessment methods, and grading systems.

Different schools may offer different courses. You may want to check information on what each school offers before picking a program.

How to Know if an Online Masters Degree in Teacher Leadership is Right for You 

Two teachers checking on Masters in Teacher Leadership Programs

There are a few things you may want to think about if you’re trying to decide if a masters degree in teacher leadership online program is right for you.

  • Do you want to become a leader in your school, such as a coach or mentor for new teachers?
  • Do you want to become a better teacher and improve the schooling system without leaving the classroom?
  • Do you want to network with colleagues from different subjects and grade levels?

A masters in teacher leadership program can help you gain opportunities to become a teacher leader who can solve different problems students and teachers face. If this interests you, then this master’s program may be right for you.

Teachers Leadership Admissions Requirements

Teacher preparing requirements for Masters in Teacher Leadership

Admissions requirements for a masters in teacher leadership program can vary based on the school. There are some general requirements that most schools will likely have, though, such as:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (if required)
  • Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.7 or higher depending on the school
  • 2+ years of teaching experience
  • Statement of purpose showing your background and future plans

In addition to these requirements, you may need to fill out an application with a fee and submit transcripts, a resume, and letters of recommendation.

Teacher Leadership Programs Accreditation

University offering Teacher Leadership Programs

When choosing a masters in teacher leadership program, it is beneficial to check that the program is regionally accredited. If a program is regionally accredited, a third party has reviewed the program and confirmed that it meets certain quality standards.

Accreditation can affect transfer credits and whether you can transfer them to a different school later. Some employers may use accreditation to determine whether a graduate is qualified for a job. Accreditation status may also affect eligibility for employee tuition reimbursement plans. To learn more information about regional accreditation, click here.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for Teacher Leadership Programs

While a master’s degree is expensive, there are resources available that may help pay for it. You may qualify for financial aid through loans, grants, and scholarships.

Scholarships and grants offer money to those who qualify to help with college expenses and never have to be paid back if they are used appropriately. There are many scholarships around to help students in specific majors, including teachers.

You may also get financial aid through subsidized or unsubsidized loans. Loans need to be paid back after a program is completed. Subsidized loans will not accrue interest while you are in school. If you’re employed, you may want to talk to your employer about employee tuition assistance programs.

You can start discovering what you are qualified for by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What Is Teacher Leadership?

Teacher leadership is when teachers take on leadership roles and assignments that better the entire school. Teacher leaders use their leadership skills in and outside the classroom to take on school challenges.

They work with students, fellow teachers, administration and professional staff, and parents to improve their schools. They share their expertise about specific subjects or teaching skills while also constantly improving their expertise to help solve problems.

Teacher leaders are typically highly skilled at listening to others and understanding different viewpoints. Teacher leaders are change agents. They take up initiatives for change, which is essential in a field like education that is always being influenced by social, economic, and political issues.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Teacher Leadership? 

School Principal and teachers discussing

A masters in teacher leadership can help prepare you to take on leadership roles in your school. It may be a good program for you if you want to do more but don’t necessarily want to leave the classroom.

You may pursue a career as a PreK-12 teacher while possibly moving into a leadership role, such as teacher mentor, instructional coach, or counselor. This degree can also help you pursue a career as a curriculum leader or assessment leader. You could even potentially become a department head or school improvement facilitator.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MEd in Teacher Leadership?

Getting a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership online typically takes a year or longer. The specific length of time to complete an online teaching degree depends on several factors, including how many credit hours are required, whether you study full-time or part-time, and whether a thesis is required.

Many programs are around 36 credit hours or more. If you attend full-time and no thesis is required, you may be able to complete the program within a year (including the summer). If a thesis is required, it will likely take longer. It will also likely take longer if you only attend part-time.

What’s the Difference between Programs in Teacher Leadership vs. Educational Leadership? 

Programs in teacher leadership and programs in educational leadership have different focuses and outcomes.

Programs in Teacher Leadership Programs in Educational Leadership
  • Focus on teaching and leading within and outside the classroom
  • Typically focus on equity in schools, how people learn, and coaching and mentoring
  • Possible careers: high school teachers, middle school teachers, and special education teachers
  • Broader focus on administration and curriculum development and policy
  • Typically focus on the systems that support teaching, curriculum design and development, and educational leadership
  • Possible careers: principals, instructional coordinators, and superintendents

Educational leadership programs are more geared toward administrative positions and the whole education system, making it one of the best master’s degrees for teachers who don’t want to teach.

What’s the Difference between an EdS vs. Masters in Teacher Leadership Program? 

An EdS is a different level of education from a masters in teacher leadership.

Masters in Teacher Leadership EdS in Teacher Leadership
  • Master’s level program
  • Bachelor’s degree required to apply
  • Typically requires a thesis, competency exams, and research
  • Typically offers more fundamental courses, like learning theory and instructional design
  • Post-master’s level
  • Master’s degree required to apply
  • May not require a thesis, but may require an internship instead
  • Typically offers a more intensive course load, like educational politics and educational theory

An EdS in Teacher Leadership is a more advanced degree than a master’s degree.

Is a Masters in Teacher Leadership Worth it? 

Special Education Teacher interviewing parent and child

Yes, a masters in teacher leadership is worth it for many students. This degree can help you become a leader in your school and take on leadership roles. It can also help you improve your own classroom.

Education is an important field, and leaders are needed to push change in schools. The need for skilled teachers and leaders isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in teaching are growing at about the average rate.

It’s important to note that masters in teacher leadership programs usually don’t lead to teacher certification eligibility. However, a number of universities offer post-baccalaureate teacher certification online and on-campus programs for that purpose.

Getting Your Teacher Leadership Masters Degree Online 

Woman getting Teacher Leadership Masters Degree online

An online masters in teacher leadership program may be a good option for you if you want more advanced opportunities at your school. It can help you develop the skills and knowledge needed to lead other teachers and school staff and make positive changes.

Teacher leadership programs can help you learn how to mentor newer teachers and share your expertise with others. You may even pursue a career as an instructional coach, department chair, or curriculum leader. Earning your degree can help you learn how to change the lives of your students and help teachers and administration create positive changes in your school.

If you think a masters in teacher leadership may be right for you, you can start looking at accredited programs today.

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