The difference between a master’s and an MBA in educational leadership

Successful educational administrators possess a diverse skillset. Balancing the priorities of standardized tests, recruiting teaching talent and encouraging the collective success among students, their classrooms and the larger districts they learn in, are only some of the responsibilities with which they are challenged.

Policy changes at the local, state and federal level can all impact the expectations placed on administrators as well as the amount of funding that education leaders have available. Additionally, rapid shifts in technology can add considerable value to classrooms, leading to new funding challenges for school districts hoping to leverage the latest advancements in EdTech.

An advanced degree, such as a Master of Education in educational leadership (M.Ed.) or an MBA in educational leadership (also known as an MBA in educational administration or an MBA in education management) is an excellent choice for current and aspiring educational administrators looking to advance their careers and accomplish what their communities need to thrive.

But which of these advanced degrees is right for your academic and professional goals? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

MBA in educational leadership

Like any business-oriented master’s degree, an MBA in educational leadership focuses on best practices in operations, finance and marketing. Graduates of these programs will be prepared to inspire teachers and students while meeting fiscal objectives set forth by schools and school districts.

Those who seek an MBA in educational leadership will learn a more general curriculum with core coursework in business, including accounting, marketing, and supply chain management. Students may benefit from expertise gained in courses like advanced management and economics; however, these courses may not be framed with the typical educational hierarchy and leave less room for graduate students to focus on courses specific to the education field.

Earning an MBA in educational leadership can help administrators to develop a general skillset needed to weather constant operational and budgetary changes in education; however, this advanced degree is, in some cases, tailored to state-specific exams and school districts, which can make it challenging for distance learners and those seeking education-oriented leadership knowledge outside the classroom.

Some MBA in educational leadership programs require that professionals are already employed within a particular school district and that applicants receive nominations from their districts for preliminary acceptance.

Master of Education in educational leadership

Like the MBA in educational leadership, an M.Ed. leadership prepares students for state-specific exams; however, the M.Ed. typically doesn’t require that applicants receive formal recommendation from their employers or school districts to apply.

In fact, the M.Ed. is not always restricted to a specific geographic area. Obtaining an M.Ed. in educational leadership is not only a great option for school administrators, but also for educational leaders in nonprofit and corporate organizations.

The typical coursework in this degree covers the business aspects of administration through every course in the curriculum, including finance, budgeting and operations while leaving opportunities for students to learn about other aspects of educational leadership like performance improvement and e-learning and instructional design.

An M.Ed. in educational leadership may include coursework that provides students with solution-based knowledge in school or organizational leadership, safety, ethics, achievement, technology, and data collection and evaluation. Data-driven decision making, for example, can help administrators to balance performance improvement measures with student and teacher needs.

An M.Ed. in educational leadership from Lynn University

The online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in educational leadership helps graduates advance their careers and make a positive impact on a greater number of learners—whether in the school system, non-profit or corporate organizations. Lynn’s program offers an optional specialization in training and development for individuals who want to maximize their career mobility outside of the education sector.

The M.Ed. in leadership is an attractive master’s degree for working teachers; however, the coursework is designed for professionals from diverse backgrounds and who are interested in working in a variety of educational settings.

Faculty will assist students with internship placement at a local school or with a career-focused project. It’s offered entirely online and can be completed in as little as one year, enabling students to earn an advanced degree without putting their career on hold.

Students seeking state certification will be prepared to pass the Florida Educational Leadership Examination (FELE), which, due to Florida’s reciprocity agreements, will qualify most* students outside of the state of Florida to be certified as educational leaders in their home states.

*Not all states have reciprocity agreements with the state of Florida. We encourage you to review your state’s educational leadership reciprocity agreements to determine if the FELE is the right exam for you.

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