Earn Your Masters in Education Online
Have you already earned your bachelor's degree in education and wish to advance in your field or specialize in a certain area within education? If so, a master's in education may help you advance toward your goals. If you are already working as a teacher or instructor, an online master's in education or a hybrid master's program that includes some online coursework may afford you the flexibility you need to continue working while pursuing your graduate degree.
Many different types of master's degrees in education exist, so it is important that you do your research to find the programs that fit your interests, budget and goals. Below is more information on some of the specializations possible within master's degrees in education.
Master's in Education: Possible Specializations
Master's degrees in education can help you focus on a specific area or profession. Specializations differ from program to program, but may include the following:
- Elementary Education -- A master's degree in elementary education may provide you with additional employment opportunities. Some states even require that teachers at their public schools earn a master's degree after they receive their teacher's certification. A graduate degree program in elementary education typically teaches individuals how to develop quality lesson plans and help children from different backgrounds thrive in an academic environment. Classes may include but are not limited to: creativity and the arts in elementary school classrooms, math and science curriculum development, literacy and reading comprehension, educational psychology and multicultural education. Master's programs may also require individuals to complete an internship and/or a master's thesis.
- Secondary Education -- As with a master's in elementary education, an M.A. in secondary education might afford you additional employment opportunities at schools in your state. A master's degree program in secondary education may include coursework in: high school mathematics and lesson planning, teaching ethics, curriculum planning, English literature and analysis, history and social science and classroom management. Graduate programs in secondary education may also require their students to engage in an internship or complete a master's thesis on a topic related to education.
- Education Leadership and Administration -- A master's in education leadership and administration may qualify one for a position as a K-12 school administrator or principal. Courses that comprise a master's degree in education leadership and administration may include but are not limited to: state and federal school policies, education leadership, financial management, curriculum development and assessment, parent-teacher interactions and technology in education.
- Higher Education -- A master's in higher education may help one obtain a job in higher education administration; individuals who earn an M.A. in higher education may be able to work as college advisors or program administrators. A master's in higher education may include courses in the following topics: history of higher education, education leadership, student diversity, state and federal education policy and student development.
- Education Policy -- Earning a master's degree in education policy may qualify one to work in education administration or at organizations that focus on education research or policy. Courses that comprise a master's in education policy may include but are not limited to: state and federal education policy, education policy development, race and education, the organization and management of schools and the economics of higher education.
Career Options with a Master's in Education
Depending on your graduate degree specialization, an M.A. in education may help you find a job as a public or private school teacher, an administrator at an educational institution, or an employee at a nonprofit that works to advance certain education policies or research. Below is salary and employment outlook information for several jobs in education, along with wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically teach students in kindergarten through 5th grade the fundamentals of math, reading, writing and science. They design lesson plans and activities that promote academic learning and social skills among their pupils. The BLS reported that in 2013, elementary school teachers earned a mean annual wage of $56,320.
- High school teachers typically teach students grades 9-12 and often specialize in a particular subject, such as biology, physics, calculus or English. They are responsible for developing lesson plans, giving and grading assignments and exams, guiding students towards academic success in a given subject, and preparing students for state-administered standardized tests. In 2013, the mean annual salary for secondary school teachers was $58,260.
- Elementary, middle school, and high school principals oversee the operations of public and private schools. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to supporting school faculty and personnel, organizing class schedules, disciplining students and contacting parents where necessary, gathering and reporting information about student performance, managing the school's budget, establishing campus security, and ensuring that teachers and students at their school meet state and federal benchmarks for educational standards. In 2013, the mean annual salary for elementary and secondary school administrators was $90,670.
- Postsecondary education administrators work in various departments within a college or university in order to ensure that the school runs smoothly and serves students' needs. Postsecondary education administrators can work in college admissions, financial aid offices, career centers, or various academic departments to advise students or provide administrative support to faculty. Salaries for these types of administrators vary depending on their specific role and the department in which they work; however, according to the BLS, the average mean salary for postsecondary education administrators was $100,600 in 2013.
Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119032.htm
Education Administrators, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119033.htm
Elementary, Middle School, and High School Principals, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
High School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm
Postsecondary Education Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/postsecondary-education-administrators.htm
Preschool Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm