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Is a Master’s in Educational Leadership Worth It?


If you’re considering a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, you probably already have a wealth of classroom experience. You’re passionate about education and are keen to learn new skills, unlock new professional opportunities and make a lasting impact in the field. But you may still be wondering: “Is a master’s in educational leadership worth it?” 

Three adults have a discussion in the hallway of a school.

Returning to school for a graduate degree is a significant investment of time, money and energy. Let’s explore why earning this advanced degree could be a transformative step in your personal and professional journey.

5 Reasons to Earn a Master’s in Educational Leadership

1. To Grow Your Skillset and Become a Solutions-oriented Leader.

Effective classroom teachers are already natural leaders. But, at the master’s level, you learn about what it takes to run an entire school building and solve problems on a much larger scale. These advanced management, administration, and collaboration skills are critical to your success as a leader — and to the success of your school or organization.

In the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program at Saint Louis University (SLU), students undergo extensive professional development inside and outside the classroom, according to Karen Hall, Ed.D., assistant professor of educational leadership at SLU.

“My job is to prepare students for an in-depth internship at a real school,” she explains. Under the guidance of SLU faculty and on-site supervisors, students identify a problem, articulate it and create a plan to address it.

“It’s a chance for really deep learning and thinking,” Hall goes on to say. “They are collecting data, writing logic models, measuring the effectiveness of programs and interventions, and giving important feedback to the schools they work in.” This emphasis on connecting theory to practice is an essential component of any SLU program. 

2. To Learn From Your Peers and Make Lifelong Connections

In a graduate-level program, you expect to learn from professors who are experts in their fields of study. But you can also gain an incredible amount of knowledge from collaborating with your peers, who bring diverse life and work experiences to the table. 

In a cohort model of learning, like the one at SLU, students go through the program as a group. You get the chance to bond with your classmates and create deep, meaningful relationships that often last your entire career. 

Classes are intentionally set up to push students into conversation with one another and work together, according to Robert Vogelaar, Ed.D., assistant professor of educational leadership at SLU. 

“There’s a natural synergy when people with diverse backgrounds and experiences unite to tackle a simulated problem,” he shares. “It naturally leads to exploration of different perspectives, applications of best practices and approaches to leadership.”  

3. To Expand Your Professional Network

In addition to your cohort, SLU students have a plethora of opportunities to build professional relationships that could help breed success in your career or even connect you with job opportunities. This includes your professors, on-site supervisors, guest speakers and the powerful network of SLU alumni. 

One of the hallmarks of our educational leadership master’s program is the emphasis on building networks of leadership communities in practice. “Graduates know they are only a phone call away from people who know their name, work ethic, and experience — people who have a genuine desire to help their careers,” Vogelaar says.

4. To Advance Your Career and Increase Your Salary Potential

A master's degree in educational leadership can open doors to advanced positions that generally come with higher salaries. Whether you aspire to become a lead teacher, department chair, coach or principal, this degree can boost your chances of securing a prominent role.

At SLU, many of our master’s in educational leadership students are focused on becoming a principal in Missouri or intend to work in private, charter or parochial schools in the state. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to apply and sit for the Missouri Initial Principal Certification exam.

5. To Promote Equity in the Classroom

As an institution of higher learning rooted in Jesuit values and social justice, all of SLU’s programs emphasize the importance of equity in action, not just rhetoric. Understanding and addressing inequities is the first step to changing harmful and discriminatory classroom practices that hinder fair and equal access to education.
 “The concept of equitable classrooms is infused into all my courses,” Hall says, who specializes in equity-centered leadership and antiracist teaching practices. “I want teachers to ask themselves ‘Who is underserved in my school and why? How can I meet the needs of all kids in a systematic way?’”

Become a Leader Who Shapes the Future of Education

So, is a master’s in educational leadership worth it? Only you can decide that for yourself. But many SLU alumni have proven it to be a worthwhile investment in growing their skills, advancing their careers, and making a positive impact on students. As educational leaders, they understand that they play a crucial role in changing paradigms and making schools safer, more supportive and welcoming for all students. 

Get the training you need to become a transformative force for good and learn more about SLU’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program today.

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