Online Master’s Programs in Gifted and Talented Education

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Pursue a Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education

Graduates with a master’s in gifted and talented education understand how to effectively work with students with high abilities, creativity, and unique learning styles. Most master’s in gifted and talented education students already hold a teaching license and professional experience. Some programs accept applicants without a teaching background, allowing them to work toward licensure while pursuing their master’s degree.

Some schools offer an MS/MA in gifted and talented education, but many offer the subject as a specialization of another master’s program, such as a master’s in education with a specialization in gifted and talented education or a master’s in educational psychology with a concentration in gifted education.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Program?

Students in master’s in gifted and talented education online programs gain advanced knowledge and skills for working with exceptional children and young adults. Most programs build on a foundation of previous teaching experience and knowledge. Students learn about the history of gifted and talented education, as well as the field’s major theories, principles, practices, and current problems.

Gifted and talented education majors learn to effectively create programs and teach, manage, and assess exceptional learners. Students also learn to advocate for exceptional children and work with their families.

Most online and on-campus master’s in gifted and talented education programs offer the same curricula and courses. In some cases, on-campus and distance students receive instruction from the same teachers. On-campus programs may include more in-person internship or professional experience requirements, but many online programs allow students to complete these requirements in their own communities.

What Courses Are Offered in a Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Program?

Specific course offerings and titles for gifted and talented education master’s programs vary. However, most master’s in gifted and talented education programs cover common topics. See below for a sample curriculum.

  • Advanced Psychoeducational Assessment of Exceptional Students: This class explores various theories and techniques for assessing highly gifted and talented students. These include criterion-referenced, ecological, norm-referenced, psychoneurological, and curriculum-based assessments. Gifted and talented teachers must know how to assess exceptional students in the classroom.
  • Management and Motivation of Gifted and Talented Students: Learners in this class look at classroom management and techniques for motivating exceptional students. The class explores topics such as psychoeducational approaches, applied behavior analysis techniques, and social skills training. Gifted and talented educators need these management and motivation skills to succeed on a daily basis.
  • Instructional Approaches for Exceptional Populations: This course examines various instructional approaches known to work well with exceptional learners. Aspiring teachers learn how to use a variety of strategies and respect individual and cultural differences in learning. Students can use the skills and knowledge they gain from this class in careers working with gifted and talented learners, including as an instructor, curriculum designer, or instructional coordinator.
  • Transitional Programming for the Adolescent Exceptional Student: In this class, students learn to create and implement programs for exceptional adolescents. The course covers educational programs, community resource coordination, advocacy, and career and occupational education. Students gain relevant skills for working with gifted and talented students in middle and high schools.
  • Working with Families: This class provides an overview of effectively working with diverse families with exceptional learners. Students explore issues such as multicultural education, family systems theory, and education of at-risk children. This class provides a good foundation for any educator to better understand how to work with families.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Most master’s in gifted and talented education online programs do not require students to pass a cumulative exam to graduate. The field does not require gifted and talented education professionals to pass a specific exam to find employment, though public school teachers in all states need to complete exams to obtain teaching licensure.

Gifted and talented education master’s programs typically require a final capstone or practicum project or thesis. Students must typically complete an internship or professional experience in an educational setting where they work directly with gifted and talented children.

How Much Can I Make With a Career in Gifted and Talented Education?

Salaries for master’s in gifted and talented education jobs depend on several factors, such as type of job, employer, and experience level. Earning a master of gifted and talented education does not guarantee any specific wage, but the table below provides an overview of master’s in gifted and talented education salary projections.

  • High School Teachers

    High school teachers teach academics and other skills to high school students. They help learners prepare for life after high school. High school teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree, but those with master’s degrees often earn more and qualify for more jobs. All states require public high school teachers to also earn teaching licensure.

    Median Annual Salary: $60,320

    Job Growth 2018-2028: 4%

  • Instructional Coordinators

    Instructional coordinators, or curriculum specialists, oversee teaching standards and curricula for a school or district. They also create, implement, and assess instructional materials and programs. Some instructional coordinators train teachers, coordinate workshops, and make policy recommendations to school boards. These roles typically require a master’s degree.

    Median Annual Salary: $64,450

    Job Growth 2018-2028: 6%

  • Middle School Teachers

    Middle school teachers provide instruction to students in grades six through eight. They plan and deliver lessons, assess student learning, and provide mentorship to students. They need at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license, but they can make higher salaries and qualify for more advanced career opportunities with a master’s degree.

    Median Annual Salary: $58,600

    Job Growth 2018-2028: 3%

Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Program Accreditation

When selecting an online master’s in gifted and talented education program, students should choose a school with programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP-accredited programs undergo rigorous evaluation to verify that they use an evidence-based curriculum that adequately prepares students to work as professional educators. Many states require prospective teachers to hold accredited education degrees to qualify for licensure.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Degree

Students in gifted and talented education master’s programs can pay for their degrees through many types of funding. These include student loans, grants, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and scholarships.

  • Student Loans: Many online master’s in gifted and talented education students take out loans to help fund their degrees. The federal government offers subsidized loans to eligible graduate students. Fill out the FAFSA to see if you qualify.
  • Employer Tuition Reimbursement: Many organizations, including school districts, offer tuition reimbursement to gifted and talented education master’s students. In some cases, employers stipulate that their employees must continue working for their current organization for a certain number of years following graduation to qualify for tuition reimbursement.
  • Grants: Federal and state governments, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities distribute grants to students pursuing master’s degrees in gifted and talented education. Like scholarships, grants do not require repayment.

Scholarships for Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Students

  • A. Harry Passow Classroom Teacher Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Teachers of K-12 students who demonstrate excellence in serving gifted students can apply for this scholarship from the National Association for Gifted Children. Applicants must submit a letter of nomination, two letters of recommendation, and evidence of acceptance into a program in gifted education.

    Amount: Varies


  • Inspire Our Future Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The website offers this scholarship to prospective teachers and teachers continuing their education. Applicants must submit an essay and demonstrate a minimum 3.5 GPA.

    Amount: $500


  • AASA Educational Administration Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must enroll in a school of education and receive a recommendation from their department’s chair. Applicants must intend to pursue careers in school superintendency.

    Amount: Varies


  • TEACH Grants

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must enroll in schools participating in the TEACH Grant Program. Candidates must typically demonstrate a minimum 3.25 GPA. Grant recipients must agree to teach for a certain length of time in high-need schools.

    Amount: Up to $4,000


  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

    Who Can Apply: Recipients must teach for five full-time years as a highly qualified teacher at schools serving low-income students.

    Amount: Up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness


Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations in the field of gifted and talented education offer many benefits, including networking, continuing education, and funding opportunities. Master’s in gifted and talented education online students should take advantage of the professional resources below to learn about resources and news in the gifted and talented education community.

  • Davidson Institute: The Davidson Institute serves profoundly gifted students ages 18 and younger. The institute offers scholarships to gifted youth, provides educator training, maintains a database of resources for gifted students, and runs a summer institute for gifted children.
  • Institute for Educational Advancement: IEA advocates for the creative, intellectual, and personal growth of gifted children in the United States. The group organizes events, offers information, and provides a scholarship to gifted children.
  • National Association for Gifted Children: NAGC participates in education, advocacy, research, and community-building to support gifted and talented children. The group offers professional learning opportunities, publications, and networking.
  • National Society for the Gifted and Talented: A nonprofit organization advocating for the importance of gifted and talented education, NSGT offers educational resources to professionals and the public. The society also provides information about gifted and talented programs in the United States.
  • World Council for Gifted and Talented Children: A worldwide nonprofit group, WCGTC supports and advocates for gifted children across the world. Researchers, educators, parents, and scholars make up the organization’s membership. The group organizes conferences, collects educational resources, and puts out publications.

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