Educational Leadership (MEd) Frequently Asked Questions



  • The “typical” student in a master’s degree program in educational leadership is an educator deeply committed to leading schools. The M.Ed. in Educational Leadership leads to clearly renewable Tier I Leadership Certification, and is an excellent preparation for the performance-based leadership educational specialist. Degree candidates have indicated their belief that the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership makes them more attractive candidates for school leadership positions. Additionally, many of our students are in or pursuing leadership positions in non-traditional autonomous schools (independent or public charter) in which a M.Ed. may be all that is required for leadership.

  • Yes! The master’s degree in educational leadership is a state-approved program that, upon completing all degree requirements, leads to a renewable Tier I Leadership Certification in Georgia. As a state-approved program, the M.Ed. may, through reciprocity, yield leadership certification in states that also award that certification at master’s degree level. If you have questions, please check with the certification office of the state in which you are interested.

  • “Yes, the current M.Ed. in EDL does lead to a renewable Tier I certification and initial leadership certification at the L5 level.

  • Yes. The Bagwell College of Education offers one of the state’s sole remaining PSC-approved Master’s Degrees in Educational Leadership. This ensures that program completers who move to other states in which leadership certification is conferred at the master’s degree level (as opposed to the specialist level, as in Georgia) may be eligible to acquire leadership certification in that state through interstate reciprocity.

  • This completely depends on whether your school district, independent school, or charter school/system awards such raises. In a purely “traditional” Georgia school district (not IE2 or “charter”), by state law, candidates with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership will not receive an automatic salary lane increase unless the educator is in a position that the Georgia State Board of Education considers to be a “leadership position,” or a position requiring the candidate to hold leadership certification (again, assistant principal, principal, et cetera) (please see O.C.G.A. § 20-2-212). Charter schools and systems, as well as “IE2” systems, may except themselves from state rules regarding compensation and may encourage candidates to pursue the Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership by offering them salary increases regardless of whether the educator is in a leadership position (which, in light of the shortage of school administrators, some have done – candidates in these schools/districts are encouraged to check with their employer). Similarly, independent (or “private”) schools have the ability to offer educators salary increases for obtaining graduate degrees in educational leadership, and in our experience, most do so.

  • The Georgia Professional Standards Commission  defines a “leadership position” as:

    Leadership Position – a position in which an individual has the authority and/or responsibility, in a supervisory role, for LUA [Local Unit of Administration, e.g., school district] approved educational programs and/or personnel required to hold certification for their assigned job as determined by Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC).
    Ga. Reg. 160-5-2-.05(1)(j).  As you can see, this definition is capable of varying interpretations (for example, if a school district has an after-school program and an educator occupies a “supervisory role” in it, that might appear to be a “leadership position” under this definition).  However, the “safest” – and most frequent – interpretation relates to whether the position is one in which a candidate is required to hold “leadership certification” by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

  • Historically, the PSC has “required” educators to hold leadership certificates for those positions in which the educator “supervis[es] . . . a school system, school, or school program.” (Please see Ga. Reg. 505-2-.002). However, given the fluidity of this definition, educators are strongly recommended to contact the Georgia PSC.

  • We strongly believe KSU’s Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership makes educators interested in pursuing leadership positions far more attractive candidates for those highly competitive jobs.  While Georgia does not require candidates to hold a master’s degree in educational leadership as a precondition to entering a performance-based leadership program at the educational specialist level, the prevailing candidate for highly competitive leadership vacancies almost always holds a master’s degree in educational leadership in addition to any further certifications she/he holds.  Logically, this makes a fair amount of sense – superintendents are generally very bright and accomplished individuals who are largely accountable for the performance of those to whom they delegate the responsibility of operating schools (assistant principals and principals).  If you were a superintendent looking for someone to lead a multi-million dollar school, supervising hundreds of employees and thousands of students in a field as legally regulated as the production of nuclear energy, might you not prefer an educator with thirty-six (36) graduate hours of specific preparation in that field to someone who does not have that preparation?

    In addition, our independent and charter school/system partners have the latitude to place educators in leadership positions after they acquire their master’s degree in educational leadership.  Unlike a “traditional” public school, a specialist degree in leadership may not be necessary.

  • Leadership & Technology – This concentration is designed for educators who wish to utilize technology to make their leadership practice more effective.  Candidates in this concentration take an additional six (6) hours of coursework from faculty in the Department of Instructional Technology.

    Ethics & Multicultural Leadership – This concentration is for educators who desire a deeper understanding of the ethical and multicultural issues in modern leadership practice.  Candidates in this concentration take an additional three (3) hour course in ethical leadership and leadership in multicultural contexts.

    Charter & Independent School Leadership – In 2012, KSU became the state’s first university with a specific preparation strand for charter & independent school leaders.  Working with nationally- and Georgia-recognized heads of school and chief educational officers, our Master’s Degree program was reconfigured to prepare leaders for any sector in which they chose to practice.  Educators in this strand are offered six (6) specific hours of coursework relating to the successful management of charter and independent schools (e.g., The Financial Management of Non-Profit Organizations and Institutional Advancement.

  • Financial aid is available. Please contact our Graduate Financial Aid Counselor Ms. Donna Tuitt at or 770-423-6074 for more information.