Online Master’s Programs in Math Education

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Updated on: 01/28/2019

Online master's math education programs focus on current challenges facing professionals who teach basic math, algebra, geometry and advanced specialties like calculus and trigonometry. Educators gain the skills to begin to diagnose learning difficulties and to develop remediation plans, including challenges handling abstract concepts, understanding sequential calculations and following numeric visual instruction. For those considering taking their career to the next level by earning a master’s in math education, online programs provide open access to the best colleges for educators and flexibility to learn at your own pace. Discover which colleges and universities are providing the top online master’s programs in math education, learn about different degree tracks and get insights on the career and salary potential earning an advanced degree can bring.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Math Education Program?

There are different degree tracks online master’s students can take within the mathematics education specialization that will determine the skills learned. While the type of degree may sound all the same, it is important to understand the similarities and differences to choose the program that best fits your career aspirations.

  • Master of Arts, Mathematics Education (MA) – For in-service and pre-service teachers, focuses on subject-specific teaching competencies in mathematics.
  • Master of Science, Mathematics Education (MS) – Involves more extensive teacher preparation with an added focus on mathematical content.
  • Master of Education, Mathematics Education (EdM) – Prepares students for professional education and scholarly educational practice. Requires a dissertation that displays research learnings.

From there, students can focus in on coursework that applies to their career objectives. For example, students who specialize in elementary math complete coursework on the evolving methods of teaching basic math equations like addition, subtraction, geometry and measurement. More advanced specializations in middle school and secondary math hone algebra, calculus and trigonometry methods. Math programs designed with a leadership component prepare educators to enter math administration and management roles, including math administrators and faculty who design, measure and coordinate math learning programs for an entire school.

Even though students may take a master’s program in math education fully online, in-person work experience may be required, while other programs allow teaching online distance learning classes. Classes that focus on preparing teachers for online instruction include heavy emphasis on integrating technology, print materials and oral communication.

What Common Courses are Offered in a Master’s in Math Education Program?

Key courses delivered during online master's in math education programs are based on the grade level specialization a teacher has chosen. However, some common core courses are similar no matter the age of the students a teacher will give math lessons to. Take a look below.

Math Content Knowledge

Focusing on math skills and knowledge, this course integrates knowledge with actual teaching experience. Strong math reasoning skills are helpful with this course.

Probability and Statistics

Skills to understand and interpret mathematical visual data, surveys and regression lines are covered. Some online master's in math teaching programs require students to complete two probability and statistics courses.

Mathematics Learning and Teaching

During this course, students learn about resource selection for math teachers, problem solving and lesson planning.

Mathematics Technology and History

Instruction in how math impacts culture and society is a course highlight. The course also covers the role that technology plays in teaching and learning math.

Number Theory

Composites, congruence and primes are key topics in the course. Historical math theories are also delved into.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Students can expect to complete the teacher work sample, skills exams, internships and state math teacher certification exams. Tests are given at K through 6, and 6 through 12 grade levels. Should a college or university require students to complete capstone courses, students will work in an actual classroom alongside other math education master's students.

The thesis or dissertation degree track (EdM) allows students to complete the degree by conducting extensive math research. Another option within the thesis track is for students to partner with a thesis director, completing challenging math education projects.

What Specializations are Available in a Master’s in Math Education Program?

The grade level specializations that coursework focuses on are part of every online master's in math education program. State math teacher licensing guidelines for grade levels vary—check certification requirements by state for details. Here are there are licensure and non-licensure specializations available for online master’s students in the area of math education specifically.

Grade Level Specialization

Elementary and secondary are two grade levels that master's in math education programs are taught in. The elementary school specialization best fits professionals who want to teach elementary students or train math teachers with an early math education license. Focal subjects in these master's math programs cover math curriculum development, methodologies and reasoning. Middle and high school specializations include key topics like linear and abstract algebra, math modeling, calculus and probability.

Licensure Specialization

State approved online master's in math education programs are offered at elementary and secondary grade levels. These curriculums meet the guidelines of state licensing boards. This option may be best for educators who want to gain a license in a state that they plan to live and teach in for several years. As you research, you may find some colleges only offer online master's in math teaching programs to residents of certain states because of licensure specializations.

Non-Licensure Specialization

Online master's in math education programs within the non-licensure specialization teach similar subjects as those taught in licensure specializations. Completion of this specialization does not lead to a teaching license. The specialization may be best suited for currently licensed math teachers who are preparing to advance their skills.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Math Education Degree?

An online master's in math education prepares adults to fill critical teaching and educator research roles. Although the graduate degree may seem geared toward instructors, the competancies covered are also designed to help education administrators and corporate professionals enhance and evolve their roles in the education system. Earning a master’s degree in math education often allows practicing teachers to advance their careers into leadership roles. Below are several growing careers that online master's in math teaching graduates could pursue.

Elementary School Math Teacher

The elementary grade level specialization is a requirement for adults who want to teach elementary math. A state approved certification or license may also be needed to start teaching at K-5 levels.

Middle or High School Math Teacher

Middle and high school math teachers guide students moving from basic to advanced math. Solid math knowledge and strong communication and leadership abilities are needed.

Community College Math Instructor

Community college math instructors provide math education that bridges high school math abilities with entry level postsecondary math skills. At more advanced levels, community college math instructors teach finite math, statistical methods and contemporary math. This career may best fit online master's in math education students who plan to achieve doctorate math certifications or degrees.

Math Tutor

Math tutors work as independent contractors or for tutoring agencies. They offer math students remedial skills, lesson plan reviews and exam preparation strategies.

Mathematician and Statistician

Statisticians analyze data. They also spot trends, interpret survey results and reach conclusions. They work in government agencies, schools and financial services institutions. Adults interested in this career field should strengthen their master's in math education with electives that highlight statistics, data collection and analysis. The non-licensure math specialization at senior grade levels could be a good learning track for adults who are interested in working as a statistician.

Professional Organizations

Upon graduation from an online master’s program in math education, your connections may become an important part of your career progression. Advocacy groups and organizations that support math educators offer these types of networking and professional development opportunities, and members learn about area job needs, licensing requirements and math educator conferences. Some are listed below.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

As the largest mathematics education organization in the world, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has about 60,000 members. Math teaching, math educator advocacy and research and professional development are at the heart of the council.

National Association of Mathematicians

The mission of the National Association of Mathematicians is to promote math development and expertise in minority communities. Founded in 1969, the association holds quarterly meetings and hosts lectures. Its members sit on mathematical conference and committee boards.

American Mathematical Society

Through publications, programs and member meetings, the American Mathematical Society advocates for advancing mathematical research and development. Funding for mathematical research is among the society's priorities.

National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics

The National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics host a leadership academy and an annual conference. In addition to supporting student success, the council honors exceptional math leaders, develops and shares resources and works to improve math education policies.

Mathematical Association of America

Outreach and partnership are focal areas for the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). As the world's largest math enthusiasts, professionals and students’ organizations, the MAA promotes research-based learning among diverse populations.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Math Education?

After earning a master’s degree in mathematics education, statistics show average pay increases over counterparts with bachelor’s degrees for those in teaching careers. Take a look at average salaries for teachers with an MEd around the nation below:

Career Minimum Average Salary Median Salary Maximum Average Salary Job Growth 2016-2026
Elementary Math Teacher $34,000 $50,592 $74,000 7%
Middle School Math Teacher $36,000 $52,238 $76,000 8%
High School Math Teacher $37,000 $53,237 $78,000 8%
Mathematician / Statistician N/A $84,060 N/A 33%
Instructional Designer $47,000 $62,363 $84,000 N/A

Source: BLS, PayScale 2019

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for math education careers is expected to rise to between 7 and 33 percent from 2016 to 2026, with the mathematician and statistician career experiencing the largest growth. Factors that influence math teacher salaries include the part of the country that a teacher works in, their school district mandates and job performance. Statistics show math teachers with special education teaching experience may earn higher salaries than math teachers without special education skills.

Annual salaries in the field also depend on the employee’s degree. As mentioned earlier, the higher degree level, on average, yields higher salary returns: mathematics teachers with bachelor's degrees earn a median income of $45,964, and top salaries for math teachers with bachelor's degrees are about $62,000. Those with a master’s in math education earn a median income of $53,706 and their top salaries reach $76,000.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Math Education Programs

Master's math education programs that are delivered online are accredited by organizations that are accepted by the United States Department of Education. Accreditation measures the program's STEM quality. Basic elementary and secondary math teaching levels, the ability to transfer master's in math education credits into doctorate degree programs and alignment with advanced teaching license requirements are areas measured during the accreditation process.

Reviews of graduates' readiness to teach math with advanced skills, integrated math teacher learning and student outcomes, including graduation rates and job placement into math teacher jobs are also examined during the accreditation process. The best online master's in math education programs address the national need to prepare 100K professionals to successfully bridge the STEM teacher's gap through national initiatives like the 100Kin10 effort.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Math Education Degree

One way to pay for an online master’s in math education is to make use of employer tuition assistance programs. Human resources managers are a great resource for tuition assistance details. To receive the support, adults who want to take a master's in math teaching program may be required to work in a math related field like statistics, research analysis, corporate training or accounting.