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Earn Your Master's Degree in Education

Certified teachers and other education professionals can refine their skills and possibly boost their earning potential by earning a master's degree in education. Many M.Ed. programs are flexible, allowing working professionals to complete their coursework over a slightly longer time frame than the typical one or two years needed to get this degree. If you're interested in an M.Ed. program, you can look for one that matches your career goals. For example, if you know you like teaching elementary school best out of potential grades, you might consider pursuing an M.Ed. in elementary teaching.

These programs also offer a way for you to transition into teaching from a different field: they can prepare you with the knowledge you need in order to earn a state-issued teaching certificate. Graduation requirements for a master's in education program will depend on the area of concentration, but may include an internship, student teaching or other in-classroom work, or a research project.

Master's Degree in Education: Career Paths

Graduates of master's in education programs can go on to become teachers and administrators at various educational levels, but the degree offers other potential career paths. These include:

  • Instructional Coordinator: These education professionals help develop and implement the curriculum for a school system or other organization, such as a business offering a professional development program. They may select materials and train teachers. The median yearly salary for an instructional coordinator in 2016 was $62,460, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • School Counselor: These education professionals help students meet goals and overcome challenges. Their specific areas of focus vary. For example, an elementary school counselor may work with students on basic decision-making skills, while a high school counselor may focus on developing career goals and college plans. Employment of school counselors is expected to increase about 8 percent by 2024, according to the BLS (bls.gov/ooh, 2016-17).

If you are interested in working in education, certification or licensure is usually required. Public schools require state-issued certification.

Potential Career Earnings after Master's Degree in Teaching

For primary and secondary school teachers in public schools, earning a master's degree may result in greater career earnings, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Average teacher pay will vary from state to state, but the BLS provides May 2016 median annual income information for teachers at various grade levels nationwide: $55,490 for kindergarten and elementary school, $56,720 for middle school and $58,030 for high school (bls.gov/oes, 2016-17).

However, your earnings could increase substantially if you get a master's in education, even if you do not pursue teaching. The median weekly earnings for bachelor's degree holders were $1,156 in 2016, while that number rose to $1,380 for master's degree holders, according to the BLS (bls.gov, 2016).

Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, 2016, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016-17, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Elementary School Teachers, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016-17, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, High School Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-17 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Instructional Coordinators, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-17 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm#tab-6
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-17 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Education-Training-and-Library/Kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm
  7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kindergarten Teachers, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016-17, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
  8. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Middle School Teachers, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016-17, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
  9. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Middle School Teachers, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-17 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm
  10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, School and Career Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-17 Edition), http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Community-and-Social-Service/School-and-career-counselors.htm#tab-6
  11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Secondary School Teachers, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2016-17, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
  12. Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Master of Education, http://www.gse.harvard.edu/academics/masters/
  13. National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/
  14. Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, Master of Science in Education, http://www.sesp.northwestern.edu/msed/
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