The demands on the modern teacher are high. From balancing the educational needs of varying learning styles to investigating how to use technology to further education, there are many teaching components that are only touched upon in an undergraduate degree program. Many teachers find that they crave additional education after completing their undergraduate degree, turning their thoughts toward a master’s in education.
Is a master’s in education worth it? Statistics seem to show that earning an advanced degree opens the door to a wider range of employment options and greater overall income potential. Why pursue a graduate degree in education? The answer can be found by taking a closer look at some of the benefits involved. That will help you make the right decision for your career.
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What Are the Benefits of Earning an M.Ed.?
As you consider whether or not to pursue a master’s in education degree, you must consider the benefits of continuing your education and weigh those against your career goals. By earning a master’s degree in the field, you open the door to these specific benefits:
Improve Your Teaching Skills
Today’s teachers understand the challenges of meeting the needs of modern students. The more education you can have as a teacher, the better equipped you will be to meet the needs of your students. A master’s in education gives you the tools you need to reach students where they are, better engage and manage your classroom, and improve educational outcomes for your students.
Focus on a Specialty
Your education undergraduate degree, particularly if you were trained to teach elementary grades, was fairly general in scope. While you would have been introduced to several specialties and subject areas, they were not the main focus of your training. After some years of teaching, you may find that a particular specialty really appeals to your passions.
One of the benefits of a master’s degree in education is the chance you have to pursue that particular specialty through a concentration. Whether it’s reading, history, special education, or even administration, an M.Ed. expands on the foundation you built in a bachelor’s degree and helps you take the next step in your education.
At Post University, our master’s in education offers five concentrations. Students can study curriculum and instruction to gain additional skills in the classroom or in curriculum development. Tech-savvy teachers can pursue a concentration in educational technology or learning design and technology. Teachers interested in the future of the classroom may wish to study online teaching. Finally, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) is a popular choice for teachers considering a role in ESL education.
Earn Additional Income
Teaching salaries are usually structured to reward teachers for their level of education and their years in the classroom. Most school districts offer some sort of financial incentive to public school teachers who have a graduate degree. According to Payscale.com, the average salary for someone who holds a master’s degree in education is just over $59,000. Conversely, teachers with just a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $53,500 a year. While this will vary depending on where you choose to teach, you will likely earn a higher income with a graduate degree in the field.
Develop Leadership Skills
Many master’s in education degrees focus on developing leaders in the field of education. By improving your abilities through advanced training, you will be the teacher in your school that others look up to when they have questions or concerns about their own students. You will also gain confidence in your ability to make decisions in the classroom, and this will naturally make you a better leader in the field.
Become a Principal or School Administrator
One of the better-paid positions in the world of education is the role of principal or administrator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to work as a principal, you must have a minimum of a master’s degree. This particular career path pays an average of $96,400 a year. If you picture yourself in this sort of leadership role, you must get a master’s degree, preferably in leadership or administration, if possible.
Elementary and secondary school administrators, who also need a master’s degree as a minimum degree requirement, have a higher average annual wage of $100,370. These more elite positions are highly competitive, and you must have the right training to consider applying for one of these leadership roles.
Keeps You Competitive
The education world can be highly competitive, especially if you are looking for your first teaching position. Having a master’s degree makes you more appealing as a new hire, giving you an important competitive edge.
If you are already established, it can open the door to new opportunities. If a new school opens or a desirable opportunity presents itself inside your existing school, having a master’s degree on your resume will help you stand out. This can be the key to getting a promotion or advancing your career.
Not only that, but your specialization can open the doors to more competitive positions in higher-paying areas of your school. By having a specialty degree in technology in the classroom, for example, you may be able to work in the technical areas of your school, or if you focus on early childhood you could be first in line for a position in your favorite grade.
Finally, pursuing a master’s in education gives you the chance to get the continuing education credits you need to keep your license active. This, in turn, keeps you competitive, because you are not left scrambling to finish your continuing ed in time for your license renewal. Each state is different when it comes to licensing renewal, so you will need to check renewal requirements with your home state or state you plan to teach.
Teachers are experts in education, but teachers with master’s degrees are considered even more credible. Your thoughts on curriculum choices and educational goals will hold more merit in your district. Not only will the parents of your students have more trust in your abilities and knowledge, but also your coworkers and administrators. You may get asked to lead committees and contribute to policy discussions because of your graduate-level training.
Tuition Reimbursement Options
If your school or district needs specialists or educators with advanced training, you may find that you have tuition reimbursement options available to you. These allow you to tap into district funds to pay for a portion of your education in return for using that education to help the district and its students.
If you are planning to teach in a high-needs area, you may be able to get funds to pay for your education through the TEACH-Grant program. The TEACH-Grant is primarily for undergraduate training, but it may be applied to master’s degrees in select cases. In return for TEACH-Grant money, you agree to work in the challenged school district for a set number of years. If you complete that requirement, you do not have to pay back the funds.
Should You Enroll in an Online or Campus M.Ed. Program?
This list offers a number of answers to the question, “Should I get my master’s degree in education?” What you may need to ask yourself next is whether you should enroll in an online or on-campus M.Ed. That answer depends on your needs.
If you are currently teaching full-time, you will appreciate the flexibility of an online program that will work around your teaching career. This allows you to go to school in the evenings and on weekends while focusing on your students during the school week. If you are just graduating from your bachelor’s degree program and want to go on to get a master’s degree, then learning on-campus may fit your learning style and needs better.
For many, the flexibility of an online degree program is ideal, because it allows the student to start or continue their teaching career while pursuing an advanced degree. Post University offers a fully online M.Ed. program that helps today’s educators learn what they need to respond to modern teaching challenges. With five different concentrations available, the Post University Master’s in Education program will fit your needs and goals well. Reach out to the admission office today to learn more about this program or to start the enrollment process.