Having a thirst for knowledge is standard in the Pacific region, with Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco regularly taking top slots among America’s most well-read cities. Graduates with cutting-edge degrees in fields like data science and IT security drive high-tech centers in Silicon Valley, the Silicon Forest of Portland, and the Seattle area. In more ways than one, creative thinkers here change the world on weekdays… then hit the slopes at Mammoth or Crystal to blow off steam come the weekend.
Due to the jobs and quality of life, well-educated people from across the country and around the world are drawn to this part of the United States.
And while the tech giants here make it a mecca for well-prepared college graduates from around the world, the Best Coast also definitely has some of the best colleges in the country right here at home.
Many of those same exceptional colleges prepare educators too and that means a lot of the educational leadership talent here is home-grown. Many of the most inspired and inspiring school leaders in Pacific region schools come right out of the universities here on our list of the top administrator prep programs.
You need every bit of that elite education and inspiration to be a school administrator out here. All the brilliant folks who drive the economy here have high expectations for their kids. And those parents aren’t going to settle for second best when it comes to their education.
And despite the wealth and industry, it’s a region where the schools contend with some serious challenges – from homelessness to the income inequality that is inherent when you have fishermen’s kids in the same classrooms as those of software engineers. That can create situations where leaders in even the wealthiest districts work overtime to keep kids safe and on track.
We’re confident you’ll come away from our top picks better informed of the kind of elite educational leadership programs available to help you make an impact here. You can see the criteria we used to build the list right here.
There is a wealth of impressive schools to choose from in the Pacific region—and these selections represent the ones we feel offer something extra special.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Educational Leadership Administrator Prep Master’s Degrees in the Pacific Region
MS in Leadership - Pre-K to 12 Education (online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $45,600
Pepperdine University’s MS in Leadership – PreK – 12 Education features a 32-credit course of graduate study that prepares educators to assume top positions in educational leadership and administration. Boasting a curriculum that emphasizes community leadership, collaboration, learning theory, instruction leadership, policy, and change management, this dynamic program is offered in a flexible and convenient online or hybrid format, with online coursework blending both asynchronous and synchronous study. Students of this program study in an engaging cohort that features a low, 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
University of San Francisco
MA in Organization and Leadership – Preliminary Services credential (Transformative School Leadership Program) (online, hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $45,600
The University of San Francisco’s Transformative School Leadership Program is the ideal program for aspiring principals, superintendents, teacher leaders, curriculum coaches, and more who want to elevate their leadership skills while they prepare for an Administrative Services credential. You’ll love this program’s many attractive features, which include a tightknit learning environment and a superb faculty of experienced school leaders. Its flexible, online/hybrid course format follows a Teaching Weekend Schedule – online study complemented with alternative, on-campus weekends that meet nine times per semester.
Santa Clara University
MA in Educational Leadership (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $36,990
Santa Clara University’s MA in Educational Leadership features 45 units, two years of study, and a superb course of graduate education leading to the Administrative Services credential. Grounded in the Jesuit tradition, this dynamic course of study is designed to produce top-notch leaders who transform educational organizations while promoting social justice and educational equity. Students flock to this program for its renowned faculty that expertly bridges theory, research, and practice and its unique, hybrid design that combines on-campus instruction and online study.
La Sierra University
MA in Administration and Leadership (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $32,850
La Sierra University’s MA in Administration and Leadership offers an exciting graduate pathway to a California Preliminary Administrative Services credential and a career as a school or district leader! This practical, research-based program of study is designed to elevate your ability to lead effectively and become a confident, ethical principal, superintendent, or other administrative leader.
University of Redlands
MA in Education - Educational Administration with Preliminary Administrative Services Credential (hybrid)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $29,268
The University of the Redlands is home to the exciting MA in Education – Educational Administration, which comes complete with a flexible hybrid format and a direct path to California’s Preliminary Administrative Services credential! Here you’ll be introduced to in-depth educational theories and topics in leadership, social justice, and organizational change. You’ll engage in a lively curriculum that features case studies and collaborative problem-solving experiences as you explore social and educational justice. This two-year program will prepare you to lead with confidence as a visionary educational leader.
Lewis & Clark College
MEd with Principal Licensure (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $38,950
Lewis & Clark College’s MEd with Principal Licensure allows aspiring educational leaders like you to earn the credentials you need to lead with confidence in today’s 21st century educational environment! This flexible course of graduate study allows you to work at your own pace. Part-time classes here are held in the evening, on the weekends, and during the summer for maximum convenience. Students here can also participate in Principal License cohort programs, which are available in Central, Eastern, and Northeastern Oregon and in the Willamette Valley. Lewis & Clark’s MEd is rooted in best practices and expertly designed to teach students how action leadership supports teachers, students, and parents.
Saint Martin's University
MEd in Principal/Program Administrator (on-campus)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $45,144
Grounded in the Catholic Benedictine tradition, Saint Martin’s University’s MEd with a specialized strand in Principal/Program Administrator is your pathway to career advancement and top roles in educational administration and supervision! This program features an engaging, non-cohort design that provides students with the freedom to choose the schedule that works best with their busy lives. Choose Saint Martin University for your master’s degree leading to Washington’s Principal or Program Administrator certification and you’ll be part of a university that was recently named among America’s Top 50 Most Transformative Colleges by Money Magazine!
Seattle Pacific University
MEd in Educational Leadership (on-campus, online)
Total Estimated Program Cost: $33,090
Offering online or on-campus study for maximum flexibility and convenience, Seattle Pacific University’s MEd in Educational Leadership features a dynamic path to Washington’s Principal or Program Administrator certification! This 45-credit course of graduate study is part of the university’s famed School of Education, which has been preparing confident, competent educators for more than 90 years. Students at the School of Education enjoy a rigorous curriculum that’s led by an esteemed faculty of expert educators. SPU’s reputation for preparing the region’s top leaders in P-12 education is simply unmatched!