The eight states in the Mountain region of the United States—Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona—stretch from the northern border all the way to the southern. They span mountains and deserts, contain thriving urban metropolises, and miles and miles of empty ranch land. They include some of the most diverse counties in the country, and also some of the least.
This may seem to leave these states without a lot in common when it comes to the demands placed on their educational systems. And in fact, you can find a wide range of different kinds of communities, income levels, and levels of educational attainment here. It’s a single region, but it’s anything but monolithic.
But one thing that all the Mountain region states have in common is a strong need for the best-trained, most thoughtful, and dedicated leaders they can find.
The Mountain west is a region going through change, with one of the highest rates of immigration and domestic relocation in the country according to 2021 Census Bureau data. Big cities are booming, with surging populations shifting schools quickly in terms of both size and culture. And rural areas, at the same time, are shrinking, with fewer kids and fewer resources for schools to work with.
They may be different challenges, but they are all significant. And you’re not going to meet them head-on without the best master’s degree in educational leadership you can find.
Lucky for you, that degree is somewhere on this list. We developed some tough criteria to identify the programs worth considering in each of the Mountain states, and you can see it creates a pretty elite group.
But when you’re looking for the best, there is no point in cutting corners. Those that remain here will equip you with all the skills you need to rise to any challenges you find in the mountains, cities, or deserts of this region.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Educational Leadership Administrator Prep Master’s Programs in the Mountain Region
MEd in Educational Leadership (online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $21,528
A convenient and flexible online format; multiple start dates throughout the year; and an accelerated design are just a few of the reasons why Prescott College’s MEd in Educational Leadership earned a spot on our list of the top programs in educational administration and leadership. This exciting course of study, which is ideal for busy, working educators, features a distance-based delivery that allows students to complete the required coursework leading to principal certification from the comfort of their home. In addition to meeting the requirements for certification, this program also features interdisciplinary courses from other leadership programs, thereby providing students with a truly well-rounded course of study.
University of Denver
MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $24,180
The University of Denver’s MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies prepares today’s educators for Colorado Principal licensure and for exciting and fulfilling careers in educational leadership and administration. This dynamic course of graduate study also features additional coursework in entrepreneurship, systems, culture, improvement, resource development, innovation, and transformative leadership for a truly well-rounded program. Students of the MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies are accepted into one of the principal licensure cohort models of the Ritchie Program for School Leaders: Executive Leadership for Successful Schools (Ritchie ELSS). Currently, the two cohort models include hybrid cohorts through Adams County, Aurora Public, Denver Public, and Jeffco Public Schools, and online cohorts through Mountain Area/Rural (serves educators in rural areas of Colorado), Teach for America (offered to TFA alumni), and Non-District Specific (open to anyone seeking a Colorado principal license).
Brigham Young University
MEd in School Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $28,954
Brigham Young University’s MEd in School Leadership is built on the School of Education’s strong reputation for academic excellence; grounded in the Christian faith as the flagship higher education institution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and expertly designed to produce tomorrow’s competent, ethical educational leaders. This exciting course of study features the flexible scheduling that today’s busy, working educators demand. Designed as a part-time program, this course of graduate study includes courses held in Utah County and Salt Lake County, with many evening courses available at local schools. Students of this program study together in a tightknit cohort of about 12-15.