For professional educators who wish to advance their career, a master’s degree in education and teaching is the way forward. A master’s degree provides an opportunity to improve teaching skills, increase salary and increase job stability. It also opens the door to administrative positions within the field of education. Learn more about master’s programs in education and teaching, including top ranking colleges, what types of classes are available and career opportunities after graduation.
The data for this year’s rankings were compiled from the Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System as well as information published by the colleges and universities listed here. All programs included in our rankings are fully accredited.
An online master’s degree in education and teaching will provide up-to-date information on educational philosophy, the most advanced teaching methods and hands-on experience with the latest classroom technologies. Students must also complete teaching practicums in real-life classrooms and submit a master’s thesis.
Full-time students can complete an online M.Ed. in two years, though it is not unusual for some students to take three years. Students seeking a master’s degree in education and teaching should expect to acquire the following skills:
Specific courses in a master’s in education and teaching program may vary between colleges, but some of the most common courses include:
This course introduces students to general theories and practices of leadership in education, as well as organizational behaviors within schools. Students learn about the challenges today’s school leaders face.
Students learn how philosophical ideas about education developed historically and how they have influenced teaching practices.
The focus of this course is how social forces influence students in schools throughout the United States. Students also learn how inequalities based on gender, social class, and race affect individuals within the education system.
The purpose of this course is to introduce the concept that education can be studied as a science. Students are introduced to statistical techniques and research methods.
This course aims to familiarize students with the concepts, objectives, and methods of modern-day psychology and their role in learning and instruction. Students also learn about the psychological origins of behavior problems in children and how to manage them.
Students gain an understanding of types and techniques of counseling within the education system. This course also includes pupil appraising and assessment techniques.
This course introduces students to models of educational evaluation, the role of different approaches, and techniques of student evaluation.
In addition to completion of the core curriculum and elective courses, all programs require students to fulfill a culminating project and gain real-life experience in order to graduate. Some programs may also require students to pass an exam. Concluding projects may include:
An online master’s degree in education and teaching typically culminates in a directed practicum, which affords students an opportunity to gain insight and experience in the world of education. The field placement will depend on the region where the student is taking the program and any specialized area of study.Thesis
Students may choose to submit a formal master’s thesis after completing the required number of thesis credit hours. In this case, the student will be required to successfully defend the thesis and complete any requested revisions before submitting them to the graduate school.Exam
Students may have to complete a comprehensive written exam. The exam covers all aspects of the master’s program and is usually completed in one sitting.
A wide range of specializations is available as part of a master’s program in education and teaching. Here are some of the most common:
Master’s programs which focus on educational leadership are good options for those who wish to advance to a career as a school administrator. A specialization in educational leadership may lead to a position as a school principal or superintendent. It can also help applicants for teaching positions stand out because it qualifies them to take on the role of a lead teacher.English as a Second Language (ESL)
Specialization in ESL is advantageous for teachers in the U.S. because many schools have a large percentage of English language learners. This specialization can be particularly marketable for those seeking positions in urban and inner-city school districts.Special Education
There is a growing demand for special education teachers in the U.S. Students who specialize in special education as part of the master’s in education and teaching should find plenty of job prospects upon graduation. Those who do not wish to only teach special education may still find this specialization useful when working with students with various disabilities.Literacy
A focus on literacy, or reading education, with a degree in education and teaching is another very practical choice. Teachers with a specialization in literacy may evaluate students’ literacy levels and teach students to read using the latest evidence-based strategies.
A master’s degree in education and teaching can lead to a number of potential careers both inside and outside the school setting. Some potential career paths include:
Teachers with a master’s degree in education and teaching can teach at the college level online and on-campus. Graduates are also qualified to work in higher education for admissions services, with student organizations, and as part of university research teams.School and Career Counselor
Academic Counselors advise students about their studies, help them overcome difficulties, and discuss career options with them.School Principal
As the administrative leader of the school, the principal is directly responsible to the Superintendent for the professional and successful operation of the school. The principal is expected to create a model of success for all students and foster an environment conducive to learning. A master’s degree in education and teaching, particularly with a specialization in educational leadership, is a gateway to this type of position.Adult Educator
Adult schools and vocational colleges are also potential employment options for people who hold a master’s degree in education and teaching. Adult learning facilities often offer training in computer skills, languages, life skills, and vocational skills.Curriculum Developer
Also known as an instructional coordinator, a curriculum developer collaborates with schools and school boards to evaluate students’ educational requirements and to create a plan for meeting them. The curriculum will include what subjects and areas of those subjects will be taught, and the method by which it will be taught. Curriculum developers are also responsible for reviewing and recommending educational texts, websites, and other teaching aids. They also train teachers in how to use these educational tools in the classroom.Corporate Trainer
Large corporations favor individuals with master’s degrees in education and teaching to train and motivate their employees. This can be a lucrative career and involves training new and current employees to optimize their productivity and efficiency. A corporate trainer is responsible for guiding, motivating, and teaching employees. The type of training and subject matter depends on the needs of the company and each specific employee.
Joining a professional association can help you develop your skills and build your professional network. If you are beginning or completing a master’s in education and teaching, you may wish to consider joining one of the following professional organizations.
This organization aims to encourage and promote college student learning by raising awareness about programs and practices relating to student affairs on campus.
The 2,000 plus members of ASHE are dedicated to higher education as a field of study. The organization promotes collaboration of members through conferences, research, and publications.
The U.S.A.’s largest professional employee association. It is dedicated to advancing all levels of public education.
|Career||Lowest 10% Earned Annually||Median Annual Salary||Highest 10% Earned Annually||Job Growth 2016-2026|
|Postsecondary Teacher||Less than $39,040||$76,000||More than $170,160||+15%|
|School and Career Counselor||Less than $32,660||$55,410||More than $91,960||+13%|
|School Principal||Less than $60,760||$94,390||More than $140,780||+8%|
|Instructional Coordinator||Less than $35,550||$63,750||More than $101,500||+11%|
|Corporate Trainer||Less than $33,150||$60,360||$102,340||+11%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in these fields are all predicted to see a significant increase, especially postsecondary teachers and school counselors. However, many of these positions may be part-time as many colleges and universities are hiring fewer full-time teachers.
In general, those with graduate degrees will earn more than those without. According to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the median salary for those with a bachelor’s degree in education is $46,000, while those with a graduate degree earn a median salary of $60,000.
One key factor to consider when evaluating online master’s programs in education and teaching is accreditation and state approval. Every state in the U.S. mandates that education and teaching programs meet a minimum of one of the following, this may vary from state to state:
National accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), formerly known as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Regional accreditation from one of the U.S. Department of Education’s accrediting bodies.
Program approval from the state board of education in the issuing state.
Should the education program not meet the state’s standards for licensing, certification will not be granted. A program offered in one state may not meet the requirements of a different state.
Many teachers with modest incomes are understandably concerned about how to pay for a master’s degree in education and teaching. Some places to find financial assistance include:
Throughout the U.S. there are multiple private and non-profit organizations offering discipline-specific scholarships at a graduate level. A good place to start is Mastersineducation.net. They provide an extensive list of available scholarships.
Many students have received tuition remissions in return for working as a teacher’s assistant during the academic year. Other institutes provide research support for students who are working on their thesis. The Graduate School at Maryland University is a good example of how an assistantship works.
Because online master’s degrees in education and teaching are flexible, many students are able to complete their graduate education while maintaining their current job. Having a regular income can certainly help to offset payments for tuition fees. Students who currently work in a school or college may also receive tuition assistance from their educational facility.