If you are reading this, you have probably worked hard very hard to earn your Bachelor’s degree and become a teacher. It is also safe to assume that you have invested a very large amount of time and money pursuing this goal. And if you are fortunate enough to have secured a teaching position, you already spend the majority of your time “at school.” Going back to school for an advanced degree is probably not at the top of your “to-do” list, but it is something that you should seriously consider.
First, let’s be honest and upfront. Can you continue to be a K-12 classroom teacher and renew your teacher certification without ever completing a Master’s degree? The answer is almost always YES! Nearly every state has on-going professional development requirements for renewing teacher certification, and most of these states only require a teacher to take a specific number of additional graduate-level college courses to remain current. Only a very few states (Massachusetts and New York) require the completion of a Master’s degree in Education to receive a professional license or tenure.
The bottom line is this…you are probably going to be required by your state’s education department to successfully complete a specific number of graduate-level courses anyway! Why stop with simply “credits” on your transcript, when you will have to journey more than half-way there already? There are many career advantages and opportunities for you as an educator if you complete your Master’s degree in Education and earn the official “alphabet soup” of M.A. or M.E.:
- Are you a good teacher? One of the common characteristics of nearly every educator I know is their desire to be a lifelong learner. The best teachers at every level know that there is ALWAYS more to know. Pursuing a Master’s degree in Education will help you stay connected with the new trends, technologies and methods and keep you current in your chosen field.
- How do you feel about R-E-S-P-E-C-T? Completing a Master’s degree in Education is not easy and will earn you the respect of many administrators, colleagues, parents and board members. It is a visible demonstration of your dedication as a professional educator and can be a deciding factor when deciding tenure.
- Do you like money? This one is simple, even if you aren’t a math teacher. Earning your Master’s degree in Education places you higher on the pay scale rubric, so you will earn more over time by completing your advanced degree.
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Most educators begin their career as classroom teachers, but many teachers pursue an advanced degree in order to move to another education-related role. The following positions usually require a minimum of a Master’s degree in Education:
- School Counselor
- School Administrator
- Content/Subject Area Specialist
- Curriculum Director
- Testing/Evaluation Director
- What else can you do with a Master’s degree in Education? There are many additional career possibilities both in and out of the traditional K-12 educational system for educators who have earned their advanced degree:
- Educational Consultant
- Textbook Author
- Educational Researcher
- Community/Two-Year College Instructor
- Corporate Trainer
Lastly, I encourage you to use my thoughts and ideas as inspiration, but don’t take my word for it. Seek out other teachers and administrators and ask them what they think. Finding a mentor who can offer specific advice regarding your field of interest, your school district, your state and your profession will be invaluable. I wish you much success as you begin your journey!