Earning an online math education degree can launch a fulfilling, and well-paying career as a math teacher, instructional coordinator, or mathematician. Math education students learn the philosophies and theories of education, best practices for the classroom, the fundamentals of pure math, and age-appropriate strategies for teaching math. According to the U.S. Department of Education, math education is a high-need area in many states, meaning math teachers often have more opportunities than other educators.
Students pursuing a bachelor’s in math education online can take courses while working and caring for a family. These learners complete practicums, classroom observations, and student-teaching assignments at approved locations near their homes. Since many school districts face a shortage of math teachers, generous financial aid packages can help pay most, or all, of the cost a bachelor’s in math education.
Many math education graduates teach at the elementary, middle school, and high school level. Some graduates begin their careers as classroom teachers before becoming administrators or teacher educators. Others become mathematicians. As the table below illustrates, annual median salaries in the field range from $57,000-$100,000. Most careers in education or mathematical science are growing, so math education majors can enter a field with above-average salaries and consistent Job Growth 2016-2026. Of course, no degree guarantees a specific career or salary, but the table below includes a few typical math education careers and the corresponding median salaries.
Postsecondary math teachers work in community colleges, universities, and liberal arts colleges. They plan and deliver lectures, grade evaluations, and counsel students. They may also sponsor their institution’s mathematics club. Many college professors conduct research in math, education, or mathematics education and present their findings in publications and at conferences.
High school teachers prepare lessons, conduct classroom activities, manage student behavior, and evaluate academic performance. They often sponsor after-school clubs, provide one-on-one counseling and tutoring, and sit on school committees. Math teachers may help lead extracurricular activities such as a robotics program or a competitive business team. Classroom teachers spend most of their day instructing students and complete preparatory work after the school day ends.
Middle school teachers instruct students in grades five through nine. These teachers prepare lessons, deliver lectures, oversee classroom projects, manage student behavior, and evaluate learner performance. They may meet one on one with students throughout the day, sponsor math-related clubs, and watch hallways and detention rooms. Middle school teachers often prepare lessons and grade assignments during the evenings.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Projections Central
The list belows shows the salaries and Job Growth 2016-2026 data for postsecondary mathematical science teachers in the United States. Salaries vary significantly depending on factors including location. College math teachers typically earn higher salaries in New England, the central midwest, and Alaska. However, most Job Growth 2016-2026 in the field are concentrated in the West, New England, and the mid-Atlantic. In addition to geographic location, a professional’s credentials and performance impact salary.
An online math education degree requires coursework in general education subjects, pure mathematics, educational theory and practice, and elective subjects. Some education courses cover general pedagogical topics, while others focus on topics for math educators. In addition to classroom work, math education students often complete practicums, observations, and student-teaching experiences. Although each school’s curriculum is different, the courses below are common in many math education programs.
Students in this course gain fundamental math concepts and skills. The course reintroduces prospective teachers to arithmetic, numeration, and problem solving. This course is often the earliest math education course in the curriculum.
Students access the latest educational software and hardware. Learners consider how to use technology in light of various educational philosophies and learning theories.
Students in this upper-level education course explore how culture influences learning. Students consider diversity of language, race, culture, ethnicity, economics, and intellectual backgrounds.
In this introductory course, students learn about polynomials, inequalities, and linear and quadratic equations. They also study logarithmic and exponential functions. This course serves as the foundation for other pure math courses.
This course introduces collegiate-level statistics and covers topics such as the normal curve, displaying and describing data, regression, statistical inference, and probability. Students learn to test hypotheses with practical applications.
Students choosing a school at which to pursue a bachelor’s degree in math education should consider factors including cost, reputation, accreditation, program requirements, faculty, and logistics. Students should also select a regionally accredited institution to ensure employers will recognize their degree. Travel considerations and other practical limitations are also important. Ultimately, prospective students should choose the program that best aligns with their practical needs and academic goals.
An online math education degree can prepare students for classroom teaching and for other education-related careers, such as instructional coaching, curriculum development, and tutoring. Some students teach for a few years before becoming accountants or actuaries, while others pursue graduate education and teach at the college level. Others work in specialized private schools, such as Montessori, Waldorf, or classical schools.
Any student pursuing teacher licensure through a traditional route must complete student teaching. Learners pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in math education often complete student teaching at an approved school near their home. This approach requires diligence from both the student and the lead teacher.
Some education courses require students to observe a math classroom, and some schools require learners to observe several classrooms. Most online programs allow students to conduct observations at local schools. Online learners contact schools and set up the appointments with approval from their professor.
Like most other undergraduate programs, an online math education degree includes free electives. Some students take easy courses to boost their GPA. Others enroll in subjects that interest them. Taking electives in hard sciences or social sciences that overlap with math, such as physics or economics, can be a good choice for math education majors.
Three factors establish the background of a good math education professor: classroom experience, formal education, and depth of research. The best professors have spent time teaching math classrooms; hold a terminal degree such as an Ed.D. or a Ph.D.; and have published several articles or books on pure mathematics, math education, or teaching.
Higher education can be costly, but there are many ways for students to pay for an online bachelor’s degree in math education. While student loans are common, borrowers have to repay those loans with interest on a first-year teacher’s salary. Grants and scholarships are more valuable, since students do not have to pay them back. Some financial aid packages cover most or all of a student’s expenses.
AFCEA is an information-exchange agency that funds a $2,500-$5,000 scholarship for individuals pursuing a graduate degree or a teaching license in a STEM-related field. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field; must have a minimum 3.5 GPA; and must submit a transcript, a resume, and letters of reference.
Funded by the Texas Instruments Demana-Waits Fund and managed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, this scholarship provides up to $10,000 for aspiring math teachers who have two to three years of coursework remaining. Students may apply the funds toward tuition, course materials, fees, or other expenses. The extensive application packet requires supporting documentation; applicants should begin completing the packet well in advance of the June 3 deadline.
This federal grant supports students who plan to teach in high-need fields and low-income areas. The grant awards up to $4,000 per year. Recipients must teach in a high-need subject, such as math education, in an approved area for four years of the first eight years after graduation. Recipients who do not complete this requirement must refund a portion of their TEACH grant through a direct, unsubsidized loan.
The National Institute for Labor Relations Research sponsors this $1,000 scholarship, which recognizes three Michigan teachers. Applicants must be undergraduate or graduate education majors at any accredited U.S. institution. Applicants must demonstrate scholarship and an interest in teacher union issues. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay and a transcript demonstrating academic potential.
The National Federation of the Blind offers scholarships to blind students throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The organization provides $120,000 in scholarship funds through 30 merit-based scholarships, each worth $3,000-$12,000. Applicants must demonstrate academic prowess, leadership skills, and a commitment to community service. Applicants can be studying many fields, including math education.