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Syracuse University Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited ALA-accredited. Multiple professional pathways or specializations available. No GRE required to apply. Complete in as little as 18 months.
University of Denver Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
ALA Accredited ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required. Complete in as few as 21 months.
St. John's University Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited ALA Accredited, 24 months to complete. 4 specializations and 2 certificate options.
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Instructional leadership degrees have been designed for existing educators to gain the additional skills and abilities to advance their careers to serve in leadership roles. Educational leaders manage people (students, faculty, and staff) and implement processes to improve school effectiveness and efficiency. Sometimes there is an option to tack on a certificate or concentration in Instructional Leadership for your MLIS program.

Graduate Instructional Education degree programs focus on teaching competencies necessary for educators, often in Pre-K-12 settings, to progress into school and education administrative positions. Many of these programs emphasize student-centered classroom innovation, community collaboration, advocacy, policy, and research.

What can you do with an Instructional Leadership degree?

Educators with instructional leadership experience may become leaders within schools, school systems, agencies, or organizations with an education focus. In Pre-K-12 education, leadership opportunities exist in public, private, and charter schools. A Pre-K-12 teacher may be interested in becoming an assistant principal, principal, or dean, which would require demonstration of leadership skills and in some cases an additional degree or certificate.

Instructional leadership degree programs also create other unique leadership opportunities. School administration, curriculum specialists, peer mentoring and coaching, and community engagement are all roles requiring advanced leadership abilities. Earning a degree in instructional leadership may also prepare the graduate to become a school superintendent, overseeing Pre-K-12 initiatives at the state level.

Click to find featured online library science programs currently accepting applications for 2024.

Are there online programs in Instructional Leadership?

Yes. There are graduate degrees, in particular Master's degrees, in instructional leadership are being offered online. This is to accommodate the needs of teachers who are typically working full-time and may be raising families or serving as caregivers. Courses may be offered synchronously or asynchronously depending on the school.

These online programs will indicate whether they satisfy state-specific licensure or certification requirements and whether students are required to pass a Praxis exam to earn the degree. Praxis exams are tests designed to measure teacher knowledge and skills.

Sponsored Online Library Programs

School Level Program
Syracuse University
Master Online MS in Library and Information Science
ALA-accredited. No GRE required to apply. School Media Specialization available.
University of Denver
Master Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)
ALA-Accredited, No GRE Required.
St. John's University
Master Online M.S. in Library and Information Science
ALA Accredited. Complete in as little as 2 years.
University of West Alabama
Master Online Master of Education in Library Media
Develop knowledge and skills in school library media with our online library media specialist degree.
University of West Alabama
Doctorate Online Ed.D. Rural Education: Library Media
Explore the essential role of library media within rural schools and districts.
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Review of Online Instructional Leadership Masters Degree Programs

Online master of education (MEd) in instructional leadership degree programs continue to grow in popularity. These flexible and specialized programs serve to prepare working teachers for management and administrative roles. It is important to research whether a degree program satisfies specific state requirements for licensure or certification, as this will vary by school.

Tennessee Tech - Instructional Leadership Master's

The Master of Art in Instructional Leadership (MAINSL) is an online or hybrid degree option for graduate candidates seeking Tennessee state licensure for roles in school administration. The program requires 33 credit hours. Completion of the degree also requires passing the Administrator's Praxis Exam.

Students complete a variety of courses to prepare for examination and future leadership roles. Courses include Technology for Administrators, Instructional Leadership, School Leadership and Supervision, and School-based Management & Community Relations. Additionally, students complete research and curriculum coursework.

No MAT or GRE scores are required for admission to the MA program. To be considered for admission applicants must have a valid Tennessee teaching license, at least two years teaching experience, and a completed candidate form. Tennessee Tech also offers education specialist degrees, doctoral programs, certificates, and licenses. These programs may be offered online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format.

University of West Alabama - Instructional Leadership MEd

UWA Online's MEd in Instructional Leadership emphasizes preparing leaders who are focused on student achievement and advocacy. Students complete both professional courses and coursework in the certification area. The 34 credit hour program leads to Alabama state teaching certification.

Professional courses include Counseling Multicultural Populations, Educational Statistics, Technology and Education, and a one credit portfolio. Examples of coursework in the certification area are School Law, School Business Management, and an internship and residency. Courses run for 8 weeks and students participate in a mentor program to support their education.

This program has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and can be completed in 1-2 years. The cost per credit is $429 for all students. Additionally, the University of West Alabama offers an online Education Specialist degree program.

University of South Alabama - Instructional Leadership for K-12 Administrators

The University of South Alabama's Educational Leadership (Instructional Leadership) for K-12 Administrators is a fully online program. The university offers three program options: the 30-hour MEd Degree in Educational Administration and Class A Certification, the 30-hour Instructional Leadership Class A Certification, and the 21-hour Instructional Leadership Class A Certification.

The 30 credit hour Master of Education (MEd Degree) in Educational Administration and Class A Certification includes a diversity course, a research and evaluation course, and a 6-credit internship. Coursework in educational leadership includes Theories of Instructional Leadership, Data Driven Instructional Leadership, and Business Management of Learning Organizations. In addition to coursework, students are required to complete a comprehensive examination.

Students must successfully pass the Praxis to earn the degree and be eligible for the state of Alabama Class A Certificate in Instructional Leadership. To be considered for the admission to the MEd program, applicants must have a bachelor's degree, valid Class B teaching certificate, and a minimum of three years teaching experience. Current Alabama teachers are eligible for a scholarship that reduces tuition.

University of Washington - Teaching, Learning & Curriculum: Specialization in Instructional Leadership

The University of Washington's Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum (TLC) MEd with a specialization in Instructional Leadership (IL) is for educators with a passion for the critical work of teacher-leadership. The program requires 45 credits, including core courses and a culminating inquiry project. With flexible start dates, the program can be completed in as little as two years.

Coursework in the TLC-IL degree program is spread across four core strands: Foundations of Education, Content-Focused Instructional Leadership, Equity-Driven Instructional Leadership, and Research Inquiry and Culminating Experience. The culminating inquiry project consists of the development of a project that addresses an issue relevant to the student's home school or district. Students may also choose a content area or educational focus to further customize their learning experience.

The TLC-IL degree program is cohort and performance based. The program offers a combination of summer, evening, and online courses. Scholarships are available for eligible enrolled students.

Are there Post-graduate certificates in Instructional Leadership?

Yes. A post-graduate certificate may be a good option for educators who have earned a master’s degree who seek to gain additional leadership skills, but who are not interested in completing another comprehensive degree program. Certificates offer graduate-level coursework that can be completed in a shorter period of time. These certificates may be required by a school district or system in lieu of an additional graduate degree. An instructional leadership certificate would be earned in addition to any state required certificates or licenses.

The Online Graduate Certificate in Instructional Leadership is a CAEP accredited program offered by the University of Tennessee. It has been created for those who have already earned a Master of Science or Specialist in Education degree in Education or related field. Asynchronous courses include Administrative & Organizational Theory, School Finance & Business Management, Supervision & Personnel Administration, and Curriculum for School Leaders. The 21 credit hour program costs $700 per credit for in-state students and $775 per credit for out-of-state students. The program admits students during the summer term and a 35-hour field experience is required for completion.

Harvard’s Graduate School of Education offers the Instructional Leadership Certificate for K-12 teachers. The program aims to prepare educators to assume roles as instructional coaches, mentor teachers, and departmental leaders. With a focus on professional development courses include Articulating the Intangibles of Teaching, Teachers Mentoring Teachers, Instructional Coaching Through Change, and Leading Teacher Teams. Asynchronous course modules, lasting six weeks each, are offered in June, October, January, and March. Tuition is $399 per course.

Are there Doctoral programs in Instructional Leadership?

Yes. With the goal of preparing educators to contribute to scholarship, doctoral programs in instructional leadership are appealing to those with an interest in research. Completing a doctorate of education (EdD) in instructional leadership may create new opportunities to work as a scholar or researcher in an academic setting. In addition to contributing in Pre-K-12 environments, the holder of an EdD may begin a career as a corporate trainer, university professor, researcher, or director.

The University of Memphis Global offers a 54 credit Doctorate of Education in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership – Instructional Design and Technology. Designed for those interested in leading through instruction and curriculum, the program emphasizes instructional design and educational technology. This cohort based program includes coursework in educational research and required major courses. Examples of required coursework include Introduction to Instructional Design and Technology, Developing Interactive Learning Environments, and Instructional/Performance Consulting.

Drexel University’s Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management has been designed to prepare leaders of the future for work in complex organizations. Students may choose from one of ten concentrations, including Creativity & Innovation, Education Policy, Global & International Education, Nursing Education, and Human Resource Development. The fully online program can be completed in three to five years when enrolled part-time. The EdD has no residency requirement and has been accredited by CAEP. There are also hybrid programs available for those in Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.

Typical Online Instructional Leadership Curriculum

Instructional leadership graduate degree programs prepare educators to apply administrative and management skills in diverse settings. As such, coursework in these programs often emphasize research, student-centered classroom strategies, organizational leadership skills, assessment, data-driven decision making, financial management, personnel supervision, and policy.

Programs will often require students to demonstrate knowledge and skills through internships, practica, or other field experiences. There may also be a portfolio or final project. While coursework will vary by program based on state-specific requirements, the following are examples of typical online curricula.

Foundations in Administration & Management for School Leaders – This introductory course offers an overview of the history, theory, methodology, and practical applications of leadership skills in learning organizations. Topics include Bolman and Deal’s four frames, hiring practices, support strategies, professional development, and review/evaluation techniques. By the end of the course, students will have the knowledge to establish standards for school faculty and staff based on student needs, school district requirements, and local, state, or federal regulations.

Introduction to Finance & Business Management for School Leaders – In this foundational course, students will investigate the principles of fiscal management in school settings. Both theory and practice are considered, with a focus on practical applications in public, private, and charter schools. Financial and budgeting issues relevant to school operations, resource acquisition, facility management, and transportation will be considered. Financial and business related policy and procedure at the local, state, and federal levels will also be explored.

Leading Across Diverse Organizations and Populations – Effective school leaders are those who can respond to the evolving needs of diverse students, faculty, staff, families, and communities. This course offers a study of contemporary trends and issues relevant to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). Through readings, case studies, and discussions, students will explore societal changes, multicultural trends, and lifestyle differences relevant to learning environments. Special emphasis will be placed on balancing theory and research with practical application.

Strategies for Supervision & Personnel Administration – Through a study of theory and methodology, this course provides future educational leaders and scholars an introduction to strategies for personnel supervision, administration, and evaluation. Topics include trends and issues in supervision, personnel training and development, review and evaluation, and overcoming personnel challenges. Special consideration will be given to state-specific requirements.

Advanced Curriculum Development – Curriculum development and instructional practices are central to teachers’ responsibilities in Pre-K-12 settings. This course dives into advanced topics relevant to curriculum and instruction. Special consideration is given to the role of administrators, managers, and supervisors in teaching practices. Topics include reform initiatives, instructional strategies, professional development facilitation, and learning assessment. Students will develop a framework for implementing and evaluating new curricula at their school, district, or system.

Advocacy and Community & Public Relations for Schools – This course introduces the history, methods, and practices of advocacy and community and public relations. Topics include reform movements, advocacy techniques, communication strategies, needs assessments, and community-based engagement methods. Students will develop the skills necessary for communication and relationship-building with families, caregivers, community organizations, media, and elected officials.

Policy, Law, & Ethics in Public Schools – This course introduces key contemporary policy, legal, and ethical issues relevant to school leaders. Consideration is given to how policies impact the classroom, relevant legal principles and court cases, the importance of instructional improvement goals, and ethical concerns. Topics are explored in relation to teachers and teaching, equitable student outcomes, and local, state, and federal requirements.

Assessment Strategies for School Improvement – This course explores trends and issues in data use for school improvement. Consideration will be given to various forms of data collection and analysis, data visualization strategies, and methods for ongoing evaluation. Through readings, discussions, and case studies, students will develop a data use framework that might be applied in their school, district, or system to address a specific instructional concern.

Instructional & Curricular Supervision – This course investigates the knowledge and skills necessary for school leader supervision of instructional and curricular efforts at the classroom and school levels. Topics include needs assessments, professional development, mentoring and coaching, instructional strategies, and emerging technology. Special focus is given to methods and practices aimed at ongoing school improvement.

Field Experience/Capstone Project – This culminating experience has been designed to allow the student to demonstrate mastery of program competencies. Under the supervision of a faculty member or approved Pre-K-12 teacher, the student will complete a comprehensive field experience or project addressing a specific problem or issue relevant to the student’s home school, district, or system. The final deliverables will consist of a reflection, written report, and presentation.

Are there specific licensure requirements?

Yes. Most states require Pre-K-12 educators to have at least a bachelor’s degree and state licensure or certification to teach. As these programs have been designed for working educators, it is likely graduates of an instructional leadership degree program will either have or be prepared to acquire a teaching license for the state in which they plan to work. Information on teaching requirements may be gained by contacting a state’s department of education.

Where can you work with a degree in Instructional Leadership?

Educators in leadership roles may be found in elementary, middle, and high schools, school boards, and teacher preparation programs. Many graduates of instructional leadership degree programs intend to advance their career within the school they are currently employed. Others may have plans to move into a different school, district, or system. Those with a graduate or doctoral degree may also teach at the university level, preparing the next generation of educators.

Educational leaders may also have opportunities to apply their Pre-K-12 knowledge and experience in other settings as subject matter experts (SMEs). Publishers, educational technology companies, and organizations offering curriculum development services may seek to employ graduates of instructional leadership programs. Additionally, educators with instructional leadership experience may support formal teacher professional development initiatives at the local, state, regional, or national level.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postsecondary teachers have a median pay of $80,840 annually and these positions are expected to grow by 8% by 2032 Postsecondary Teachers. By contrast the median annual salary for postsecondary education administrators is $99,940, though these roles are only expected to grow by 4% by 2032 Postsecondary Education Administrators. Finally, the median pay for elementary, middle, and high school principals is $101,320 per year, with no significant change in job outlook between 2022 and 2032 Principals.

Common job titles in Instructional Leadership include:

  • Postsecondary Education Administrator
  • Director of Instructional Coaching
  • Educational Leadership Professor
  • K-8 Principal
  • Professor, School Leadership Program
  • Education Program Director
  • Academic Dean/High School Director
  • Assistant Superintendent, School Leadership
  • Instructional Coach
  • Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership
  • Elementary Principal
  • Headmaster
  • Director of Development
  • Assistant Principal
  • Lead Coach, Professional Learning Education