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Interested in pursuing your Master of Education? You’re in for a challenging, but rewarding academic journey. When you graduate, you can expect a variety of new and exciting opportunities to become available. First, however, you’ll need to put in the work to ensure that you are prepared for a demanding career field.

How a Master of Education Provides a Step Up

Although not essential for all professional tracks in the field of education, graduate-level credentials can provide a significant boost for those looking to climb to the next rung on the career ladder. This rigorous degree program encourages further development in key areas such as classroom management and theories of education. Specific concentrations delve into everything from instructional design to educational technology.

Top Job Opportunities for Master of Education Graduates

Your Master of Education can be used to help you secure a wide variety of exciting positions. Many graduates work as teachers, but that’s only the beginning. Positions in administration and even policy analysis are also common. All paths provide ample opportunities to make a difference. The following are among the most notable:

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School Principal

There’s no job quite like that of a school principal. It combines the usual challenges of the education field with many concerns and approaches commonly seen in corporate management. Principals oversee a vast array of school operations, including everything from curriculum development to staff training. They work hard to ensure that all students are exposed to a safe and supportive environment at school.

As of 2018, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported annual earnings of $95,310 for school principals. With a job outlook of just four percent, however, this career track can prove surprisingly competitive.

Increasingly, districts also request graduate-level credentials for assistant principals, who also play a key role in school administration. This position can serve as an excellent opportunity for the transition from teaching to administration. PayScale reveals an average annual salary of $72,003 for assistant principals. As with standard principals, however, pay varies considerably from one position to the next.

District Administrator

District administrators typically report to boards of education. They are charged with implementing and supervising policies agreed to by the board. Many serve as valued liaisons between board members and faculty, ensuring that teachers, principals, and other staff members are well aware of evolving district policies.

District administration sometimes takes on a financial component with many professionals charged with overseeing payroll, billing, and claims against the districts they serve. Data from the BLS reveals that administrative service managers employed in the field of education earned a median annual $91,420 in 2018.

Career Counselor

High school and college students often require extensive assistance as they plan not only their course schedules but their future career trajectories, as well. Career counselors provide valuable insight while ensuring that students remain on track for graduation.

Many career counselors rely on aptitude tests and other assessments to help students ascertain their unique interests and skillsets. From there, they guide students through difficult decisions. They may also help students gain essential skills such as writing resumes or conducting interviews. According to BLS data, school and career counselors earned a median of $56,310 per year as of 2018.

Instructional Coordinator

Students are influenced not only by the quality of their teachers and principals but also by the current curriculum. While many public officials and policy advisors prove influential in this regard, instructional coordinators can ultimately determine what and how students learn.

Instructional coordinators play a critical role in developing and maintaining educational standards—and assessing whether these standards prove effective over time. They closely analyze testing data to determine whether the schools or districts they serve are on the right track. They also review educational materials to ensure that all textbooks and other resources are accurate and up to date. Many coordinators are responsible for planning and conducting teacher training events.

As of May 2018, the BLS highlighted median annual wages of $64,450 for instructional coordinators. Despite the challenges inherent in this position—including a complete lack of summer breaks—most coordinators regard their work as highly rewarding.

Education Policy Analyst

Those with a passion for public policy can integrate their love of academia with governmental affairs by working as education policy analysts. Many work for departments of education, although some are employed by nonprofit organizations that hold clear educational objectives.

Depending on the scope of the job in question, education policy analysts may delve into current policy initiatives or assist with planning and implementing new efforts. Their efforts shape education on a broad scale.

While the BLS highlights annual wages exceeding six figures for policy analysts (often referred to as political scientists) in general, those specializing in education tend to earn less. As of May 2018, the median pay for those serving in educational capacity reached $70,430. Many, however, are willing to put up with lower pay for the sake of influencing educational policies.

Educational Consultant

There’s a lot to love about working in education, but flexible hours are rarely part of the picture. The exception? Educational consultants. These professionals often set their own hours and organize their work on their own terms. While many possess extensive experience in teaching, administration, or curriculum development, some dive right in after earning their master’s in Education.

Like any consulting gig, this profession can vary dramatically based on individual objectives and community needs. In general, however, educational consultants aim to deliver an outside perspective when and where it’s needed most. Earnings can vary dramatically based on the capacity in which educational consultants work, but PayScale highlights average annual wages of $61,058.

Whether they serve in schools, government agencies, or nonprofits, educational professionals work hard to promote a brighter future for students. It takes a lot of knowledge, skill, and effort to succeed in the demanding fields outlined above—but satisfied professionals insist that their ability to contribute to an important cause makes the hard work worthwhile.