Master’s in education in higher education programs are designed to prepare graduates to enter positions in administrative support, student services, and academic leadership in postsecondary institutions (universities and colleges). Postsecondary education administrators can be found in most areas of college life, running admissions, the office of the registrar, and student affairs, amongst other departments.
With a 9% projected rise in the number of postsecondary education administrators from 2014 to 2024, it’s also a good time to get into the field. And then there’s the pay: They earn an average $88,580 a year — well above the $36,200 national average. An M.Ed. in Higher Education is commonly considered to be an entry-level qualification. 
Earning potential and career advancement
In an academic context, having a master’s degree or above is commonplace for most professionals — especially those in leadership. An M.Ed. can prepare you to advance to senior roles and pursue higher earnings in higher education. Those who hold a master’s in higher education degree are likely to be considered more favorably ahead of undergraduates in the academic labor market. 
Salaries vary widely in higher education. The median annual wage for postsecondary education administrators (a role where a master’s is seen as an entry-level requirement) was $88,580 in 2015. That’s well above the national average of $36,200 across all occupations. 
The number of jobs in postsecondary education is projected to rise 9% between 2014 and 2024 – above the national average. 
By earning an M.Ed. in Higher Education, you can prepare to tackle some of higher ed’s biggest issues.
The typical entry level of qualification for postsecondary education administrators is a master’s degree. It’s projected there will be growth in the number of education administration jobs by 9% between 2014 and 2024, which is higher than the national average of all fields. 
There were approximately 175,100 jobs in the field in 2014, reflecting a rise by an estimated 15,200 roles in 10 years.  Between 2010 and 2021, enrollment of college students is projected to increase by 15%, amounting to 24 million students in the system.  According to the BLS, this means there will be a greater need for admissions officers to process student applications, for more registrars to register students for classes and ensure they meet the graduation criteria, and more student affairs staff to assist with housing, events, and student well-being.
You should delve into the statistics in your chosen state when considering your future career path — and choose the program which best supports your goals. For example, Alaska is expected to see a 1% fall in the number of postsecondary education administrators between 2014 and 2024 — whereas Colorado is projected to employ 27% more.  While this won’t give you the full picture, and may certainly change over the coming years, it’s a useful guide if you’re thinking about where you might have the best chances of finding employment in the field.
When choosing a program in which you may enroll, it’s important to be mindful of what the program has to offer. It’s a good idea to look into factors such as:
While each program will set its admission requirements based on its own criteria, many requirements are universal across all programs. No matter where you apply, you can expect to provide items like transcripts from previous degrees or coursework; standardized test scores; a personal statement or essay; letters of recommendation; and an overview of relevant work experience.
In certain cases, some of these requirements may be waived.
For more information about admissions, please visit our admissions requirements page.
There are alternative degrees leveraged by professionals to enter leadership positions in postsecondary education. Many senior faculty, deans, and provosts become leaders having occupied teaching positions (such as professorships), and they tend to have a Ph.D. in specialized subjects. Aside from this route, there are other common degree titles that higher education professionals can hold, including:
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of accreditation that an online or traditional college or university can receive. It is granted only after careful consideration by private, not-for-profit organizations tasked with evaluating educational quality.
Regional accreditation is particularly important if you anticipate that you might want to transfer credits from one online degree program to another or use those credits to pursue another degree. Most regionally accredited schools will only accept credits from other regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.
You can learn more on this topic at our< a href=”#”> regional accreditation page.
Higher education has a long history in the United States, starting with Harvard University, founded in 1636 and staking its claim as the country’s oldest higher learning institution.  It would take more than 200 years before the Department of Education would be conceived in 1867 to help govern the many schools and universities that sprang across the United States to follow in Harvard’s prestigious footsteps.  Now there are more than 7,000 institutes of higher education in the United States, requiring a more rapid influx of educators and administrators to lead students through meaningful studies. 
Higher education experienced a growth period beginning in the 1940s, which saw higher female enrollments as a result of World War II drawing male students abroad. Later, GI Bills would ensure that returning soldiers had the opportunity to go to school. This caused enrollment rates to spike by the end of the decade by more than half a million students, creating greater demand for leadership to steer colleges to accommodate them. By 1960, the number of college students had doubled, from 2 to 4 million.  Demand for degrees has only grown since then, with recent projections showing that by 2021, there will be 24 million students enrolled in the nation’s colleges.
The need for excellence in higher education administration has been met by professional organizations that ensure the nation’s colleges and universities are meeting high standards. In 1970, the American Association of University Administrators was founded to unite like-minded education leaders in furthering higher education. This includes standards for professional development of postsecondary education administrators, ethical rulers to measure what’s appropriate in postsecondary leadership, and actions to consider to support important progress in higher education.  Since then, the number of faculty roles in higher education has increased three-fold. 
Master of Higher Education programs prepare students for careers in higher education administration or leadership. 
Those who currently work in higher education or those looking to work in higher education administration will find this degree particularly useful. Higher education degrees provide a working foundation for those looking to work in student affairs, admissions, leadership positions, academia, and many other roles in higher education. 
There are several reasons that teachers pursue their M.Ed. Teachers with an M.Ed. can establish themselves as highly qualified experts in their field.  Others may pursue the degree as an opportunity to expand their knowledge of teaching and advanced coursework.  Many see the M.Ed. as a platform to raise their salary. According to a recent study, M.Ed. graduates can earn up to 10% more than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees. 
The largest provider of student financial aid in the nation is the Federal Student Aid office in the U.S. Department of Education. It supplies college-level or career school students with loans, grants, and work-study funds. You can apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA.
There are numerous other scholarships available, but you will need to research which opportunities you’re qualified to pursue. Many states, associations, websites, and businesses award scholarships based on specific criteria. Be sure to do your research and apply for any scholarships you’re qualified to be awarded. 
Start with a cost-benefit analysis based on the price of the degree and potential ROI. Weigh the full cost against the positive outcomes you expect as a graduate, which may include a boost in earning potential, upward mobility, or job satisfaction.
No. Most programs do not require an education degree, though those currently working in higher education may find the program more attractive.
Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.
Factors to consider include the following:
Typical programs will include coursework in history, law, administration, finance, leadership, and a variety of other topics as they relate to higher education. 
Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students who may be working around a busy work schedule or home life. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees.
The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and the course. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.
Many institutions offer higher education degrees online.
Most institutions do not indicate on the degree that it was earned online.
Yes, typically schools follow the same curriculum for their online programs as they do for their campus-based programs.
No — attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.
Accreditation helps determine if an institution meets or exceeds the minimum standards of quality set out by recognized regional or national accreditation agencies. A list of regional and national institutional accrediting agencies can be found at the U.S. Department of Education.
Accreditations are a strong indication of quality, but are also required for students who plan to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation ensures that your degree is recognized by employers, professional associations, and other accredited institutions of higher education.
ARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses.
Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students. 
Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.