Educational leadership is a popular field of study among online colleges and schools offering distance learning programs. This type of program can help to prepare you for a career as a teaching aide or administrative assistant in an educational setting. Classes for students enrolled in an educational leadership certificate programs online may include child development, learning psychology, current issues in education, classroom management, education law and ethics, and learning design, to name a few options. This course work can also serve as a stepping stone to introduce students to the field if they are considering pursuing further study to become teachers or educational administrators.

Types of Educational Leadership Certificates

Educational Leadership

If you are interested in earning an educational leadership certificate online, you will likely find a variety of options. Courses commonly include literacy, child development, classroom management, learning psychology, current issues in education, and learning design, among others. Students may also be required to demonstrate their communication skills through English composition and/or speech classes. It is important to verify specific admissions requirements with the individual school, but here are a few common eligibility criteria to consider when preparing for your application:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Official transcript or GED test scores
  • Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
  • Application form and fee

Vocational educational leadership certificate programs are typically designed to prepare students for careers as teaching assistants or entry level administrative assistants in schools. You should expect a six month to one year program. Of course, this can all depend on how many courses are required, any breaks taken from the program, and how many courses you take at once. Online students can take advantage of the asynchronous class schedule to tailor their study schedule to their personal needs. Some students even work full or part-time jobs while in school. This is also particularly convenient for students with busy family schedules or travel restrictions. Students can access the virtual classroom at any time and from any location with internet access. Interactive discussion boards, streaming video, chat, and web conferencing software help to keep students engaged and communicating regularly with fellow students and instructors.

K-12 Educational Leadership

Students interested in earning an educational leadership certificate online may choose to specialize in K-12 education. This is most popular among those who want to pursue careers as school principals. Common courses include school administration, resource management, instructional leadership, supervision, and education law and ethics. While not all schools have the same admissions requirements, below are a few common criteria to consider while researching programs:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited school
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
  • Letters of recommendation (if required)
  • Application form and fee

Most post-master’s educational leadership certificate programs will take less than one year to complete. Of course, this will vary based on the number of classes required, your level of enrollment, and any breaks taken from the program. The asynchronous format of most online programs gives students the flexibility to work around busy professional or family schedules as well as travel restrictions. Despite a lack of face-to-face interaction, students can communicate regularly with fellow students and their instructors through video chat, e-mail, and virtual meeting technology.

Postsecondary Educational Leadership

A specialization in postsecondary education can also be a great option, especially since job prospects in this area are expected to be stronger than at the elementary and secondary level. Classes in this type of curriculum may include trends in higher education, organizational management, leadership in higher education, and functions of higher education, to name a few options. Some classes in research fundamentals may also be required. Please note, it is important to check with the individual school for admissions standards, but here are a few common ones to review as you prepare to apply:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited school
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
  • Letters of recommendation (if required)
  • Application form and fee

This type of curriculum is designed for students who have already earned a master’s degree. While each program is unique, most can be completed in less than one year. Most online programs allow students to access the virtual classroom 24/7. This asynchronous format frees students of the limitations that scheduled course times put in place. This is ideal for working adults who don’t want to quit their jobs to pursue further education or those who cannot travel regularly to campus because of family or other responsibilities.

Education Policy

Another potential area of focus for those researching educational leadership certificate programs online is education policy. Students can typically expect classes in public policy and politics, current issues in education, public education finance, the history of education, and education law. Below are a few common admissions criteria you might expect to see. Of course, each school will have their own requirements.

  • A master’s degree from an accredited school
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Minimum GPA (as outlined by the school)
  • Letters of recommendation (if required)
  • Application form and fee

Most programs like this take around six months to a year to complete, but this will depend on how many credits are required, your level of enrollment, and any breaks from the program. Online students are not restricted by mandatory class times. Instead, they can log in, complete assignments, access course materials, participate in discussion boards, and review instructor feedback through the virtual learning platform at any time and from any location that works with their schedule. Streaming video and audio, chat, and virtual meeting technology also help to keep the curriculum engaging for distance learners.

What’s Next for Certificate Holders?

Graduates with a vocational certificate in educational leadership may pursue entry-level positions as teaching aides or administrative assistants in an educational setting. This could be with either public or private schools or non-profit organizations. Statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show average job prospects for teacher’s assistants. The demand for workers in this occupation is anticipated to increase by 15% from 2010 to 2020. This is about on par with the 14% growth expected for jobs overall during this projection period.

The BLS also reports that the average annual wage for teaching assistants in 2012 was $25,310. Most jobs were found with elementary and secondary schools, followed by child day care services. Please note, these figures may vary based on where you live, your professional experience, and the specific type of employer.