School Business Management (Online)

What does a chief school business official need to know? The list is long: financial planning, cash management, facility planning and operations, debt management, collective bargaining, investments, budgeting, construction, insurance and risk management, safety and security, transportation, compliance and reporting, and even community relations.

Our 39-semester-hour M.S.Ed. in school business management, in partnership with the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, will prepare you to tackle all of these challenging issues and more. It's perfect if you're looking to become a chief financial officer, a director of finance or operations, a business manager or another type of business specialist. And we're ideal for working adults: Our program is online. We also offer a non-degree/certificate-only program for students who already hold master's degrees.

You'll need to submit:

  • Your application to the Graduate School
  • Your statement of goals
  • Two letters of recommendation from current supervisors or employers holding administrative endorsements

If you're seeking certification only, you'll need to apply as a student at large. Once you're accepted, contact us for a link to apply to our certification-only program.

You'll complete 300 internship hours over three consecutive terms while gaining experience in all 24 standards of school business management. You're assigned to a site supervisor at a public school district who will guide and mentor you. An NIU instructor will approve your site, review your progress, conduct site visits and also mentor you. You must earn an "S" for "satisfactory" during each of the three semesters, and you'll complete and present a portfolio for review in place of your comprehensive exam.

You'll need a computer, internet access, a headset with microphone and Microsoft Office. We provide MyNIU, Blackboard and Adobe Connect. You'll participate in:

  • An asynchronous learning environment as you meet deadlines
    • This includes readings, coursework, group projects and discussion board
  • Two to five synchronous (live) sessions in each course as required by the syllabus
  • Two required face-to-face meetings per course at a location central to the cohort
    • These meet from 6-9 p.m. Fridays and from 9 a.m.-noon the following Saturday

IASBO establishes ethics and promotes standards of our profession – and our partnership with that organization means you'll learn not only from nationally recognized faculty and instructors who are steeped in theory and practice, but quality practitioners in the field as well. You'll enjoy real-world projects and experiences, including guest speakers and networking opportunities.

Your eligibility (for six consecutive semesters) to Illinois ASBO student premier membership grants you access to 2,200 school business professionals and to the Illinois ASBO Job Bank, scholarships, free registration to attend all seminars and the annual conference, opportunities to attend regional meetings and all publications and communications.

If you already have a master's degree you must meet special requirements to be eligible for this 33-semester-hour program. Under the direction of an adviser, you'll plan a program of study including course work, internship and field experiences directly related to the school business management functions in educational systems.

View and complete the certificate-only application.

Requirements for the chief school business official endorsement include:

  • Master's degree awarded by a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • Complete a state-approved Illinois program approved for the preparation of school business officials and have two years administrative experience in school business management
  • You must pass the state-required content area exam and the test of basic skills

This is a professional development program. Instead of paying tuition to NIU, you pay membership dues directly to Illinois ASBO that cover the cost of instruction. Neither NIU nor Illinois ASBO provides a 1098T.

Please consult a tax professional. This program does not accept NIU tuition waivers/vouchers. Students in the certification-only program are not eligible for federal financial aid.

  • LEBM 501 - School Business Management (3 credits)
  • LEBM 521 - Accounting, Statement Analysis, and Budgeting (3 credits)
  • LEBM 550 - Financial Planning and School Budgeting (3 credits)
  • LEBM 721 - School District Fiscal Strategic Planning (3 credits)
  • LEEA 500 - Educational Organization and Administration: Principles, Concepts, and Structure (3 credits)
  • LEEA 520 - Education Finance I (3 credits)
  • Additional coursework in school business management or educational administration approved by the advisor (9 credits)
  • Coursework in educational research and educational foundations approved by adviser (6 credits)


Abhrant Singh

Northern Illinois University prepared me well for the business world. It gave me invaluable experience working through real-life business problems. Professors taught me critical skills, including skills that helped me become a proactive decision-maker and valued leader. Things I learned, I apply every day as the chief school business official at Hawthorn School District 73. I am forever indebted to Northern Illinois University for that.

Abhrant Singh, associate superintendent/CSBO, Grayslake 127

Contact Us

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations
Graham 223
DeKalb, IL 60115

Connect With Us

Back to top