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Online Masters in Higher Education Programs

Pursuing an online masters in higher education could be a great degree option for people who want to pursue a career as leaders in universities, colleges, nonprofits and

other educational settings. This degree program may train people to solve the problems that face institutions of higher education and related organizations. Graduates may have an opportunity to learn to take charge in difficult situations and help institutions grow. If you’d like to pursue a career getting behind the scenes of higher education and potentially make a difference for everyone involved, an online masters in higher education degree program could be the perfect choice for you.


We asked Karen Gorback, Ph.D:What are the benefits of pursuing Higher Education?

"Higher education helps families realize greater economic opportunities. Adult students are powerful role models for their children."
Karen Gorback - Online Masters in Higher Education
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- Karen Gorback, Author, Ph.D


Who Might Choose to Earn an Online Masters in Higher Education?

Many different sorts of people choose to pursue a masters in higher education. Some students might wish to jumpstart a career in the development and fundraising business, keeping in touch with alumni and benefactors who can make a difference in the financial future of a college. Other students may be interested in pursuing an administrative career. After they complete their Online Masters in Higher Education degree program, they might pursue the career path of registrars, deans, managers, advisors or administrative supervisors. Some people might choose to seek employment outside the academic world, in government agencies or international corporations—all of these types of jobs typically call for excellent leadership skills.[i]

Typical Coursework for a Masters Degree in Higher Education

Every school has a slightly different approach to the curriculum for an online masters in higher education program. A typical core program might look like this: [ii]

  • Foundations of Higher Education
  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Higher Education Law
  • Campus Operations Management
  • Customer Service Management
  • Governance and Administration
  • Strategic Planning and Evaluation
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Outcomes and Assessments

The core program may be augmented with secondary concentrations or electives. Choices of secondary concentrations might include international and global education, community college administration, learning technologies, enrollment management or student development.[iii] The online masters degree in higher education program may conclude with a personalized capstone course or a master’s thesis written by the student.

What Skills Should I Possess to Pursue a Career in Higher Education?

A career in the higher education field depends on a number of personal strengths. These are some of the skills that may be necessary in the post-secondary educational administration field, according to data compiled by O*Net:[iv]

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods and coordination of people and resources.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

A masters degree in adult education online program is typically designed to help prepare students for both the technical and the human aspects of administration. A dean or registrar might have to deal with a malfunctioning database at one moment and then offer counseling to a struggling student just a few minutes later. A degree program in higher education may offer the complex skills needed for this balancing act.

Potential Salary and Projected Job Growth Information

Salaries in the higher education field are determined by a number of different factors, including education, institution, and previous experience. Current figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that postsecondary education administrators earned a median wage of $88,390 per year in 2014.[v] There are currently (as of 2014) a total of 175,100 American jobs in this field.[vi] The job outlook for the coming decade is a projected increase of 9 percent from 2014 through 2024, adding approximately 15,200 additional jobs.[vii] The most typical education for an entry-level position in this area is a master’s degree,[viii] although some people may choose to go on to a doctorate and pursue their education further in the administrative or research field.

Every college and university needs a strong, well-trained administrative team to keep the wheels turning. If you’re interested in pursuing a higher education career that uses your problem-solving skills and your people skills, higher education administration might be a perfect choice for you. Consider getting in touch with schools to find out more about possible financial aid options, which may be available to qualified students.

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