The Master's in Teaching Education Degree
Becoming a teacher is one of the most rewarding careers. Nearly all teachers at least have their Master's in Education (M.Ed.) or Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.). A graduate level education degree in teaching is beneficial for many reasons. First, you get more teaching knowledge and experience to better teach your audience. There are teaching methodologies and theory that you can learn with your Master's degree that you simply do not specialize in with a Bachelor's in Education degree. Thus, your students should learn more from you!
Second, with a Master's in Teaching, you should have more career opportunities. There are many teachers searching for some of the best jobs in the school districts or private settings - you can help yourself stand out with a Master's degree.
What makes a Master's in Education Degree unique?
If you want to reach the top levels of the field of education and maximize your earning potential, earning your Master's Degree in Education (MEd) can help open doors for several career opportunities. For current teaching professionals who already have an education focused bachelor's, this is a common next step in their career path.
Master's programs can vary in focus, giving you an in-depth understanding of a specific area of interest. For instance, MEd programs can help you become a specialist in such areas as education policy, administrative management, psychological aspects, leadership, special education, technology, counseling, and many other areas.
Another benefit to Master's Programs is the inclusion of certification as you earn your degree. For instance, some programs will help you achieve certification to teach elementary, middle or secondary classes within 12 months of starting your programs. Just as programs can be designed by topical interest, you can plan your degree to focus on the various grade levels from pre-K through higher education.
The information below will help spell out the benefits of earning your Master's in Education and important considerations you should make when choosing the right MEd program. The best way to move forward from here is to contact schools in your area, and compare their programs with online paths that can offer credible, effective learning outcomes as well.
What are the career options for graduates of a MAT or MED?
Of course the career opportunities in the field of education are expansive for those who earn their master's in education. Not only can you prepare to teach at all levels, and become an expert in particular areas, you can work outside of the classroom, if you want to branch out. Many school districts need outside consultants to come in and improve inefficiencies and effectiveness in many areas, including budgets, policy, classroom curriculum design, media and technology, and more.
Many master's degree holders move into such roles as principal, school administration, and roles that impact curriculum, extracurricular program design, special education instruction to students who face particular health and wellness challenges.
Organizations that focus outside the area of education sometimes require educators to help with training and leading seminars that lead to better employee outcomes. This can be especially true for those who focus on psychology and counseling related areas. Companies across the US spend millions every year trying to increase employee relations, satisfaction and learn ways to inspire their workers. Professionals with counseling backgrounds can be great resources for companies wanting to improve.
Common Courses for Master's in Education Programs
Your courses will likely include a mix of elective and foundation courses, as well as a capstone course that you can read about in the next section. Elective courses are going to be more focused and higher level than what you experiences at the bachelor's level. Still, these will be critical to your program, so make sure to discuss each course decision with your assigned counselor.
Elective courses may cover such areas as current trends in technology, reading assessment, discipline strategies, and communication tools. You can expect to take about 15 hours of electives in most programs, which can sometimes be completed in as little as 12 months time. When comparing programs, you will want to consider how many classes you will have time to take. Every student has their own unique circumstances. Some programs are more flexible for students who have families and full-time work schedules.
Many M.ED. programs are designed for particular certificates that include foundation courses before the final capstone or equivalent type of experience. The foundation courses will be very specific to your certification and help you become more proficient in your chosen area. These can enhance understanding of curriculum design, diversity in the classroom, administrative effectiveness and other specific tracks.
The Capstone Course for your Degree
Your capstone experience is the last step in earning your master's in education. This will prove your skills by applying what you learned in your program. Think of this as your dissertation for your degree. Schools have their own models for capstone's but you can expect to choose a topic that aligns with your desired career outcome and degree focus. This can be in-depth research about theories in all sorts of areas, including behavior, types of teaching techniques, administrative topics- virtually any area of education can be explored.
Not only will your analytical, writing and research skills be evaluated, you will most likely work with a professional mentor to help guide your successful completion of the project. Capstone projects can take 1-2 semesters for completion. When you compare programs be sure to inquire about this part of your program.
Career Outlook for Masters in Education Graduates
The career prospects for those with their Masters in Education degree are much higher than those with bachelor's degrees. The unemployment rate was 3.4% for master's graduates.
Salary outlook for graduates can vary by state, job type, and other factors. Postsecondary Education Administrators earn a median wage of $88,390 per year, with 9% expected growth between 2014-2024 (BLS).
When you speak with schools about your desired career outcome, be sure to discuss potential earnings you can expect upon completion and hiring.
How do Online programs compare to brick and mortar programs?
Almost every school nowadays offers online programs for current professionals and busy students. In the past, online programs were looked at with skepticism until accredited universities jumped on board with credible programs that produced results.
Deciding whether to enroll in an online vs. brick and mortar program should really depend on your schedule, budget, and desired degree. If you are self-motivated, you can succeed in online learning. But some students prefer the real life classroom experience to remain motivated and inspired.
Associations & Organizations for additional resources
Aside from speaking with schools directly, you should make note of the various organizations and associations that help master's students navigate their career paths. Start with the Department of Education (source), which has a resource page for students earning their masters.
The American Federation of Teachers (site) is also a resource that can get you informed as you learn, no matter how far you are along in your education. Also, most states have their own teachers associations you can join.
If you are serious about becoming successful in the field of teaching, it only makes sense to look at Masters in Education programs and compare their benefits, costs, and effect on your career outcome.