Master’s in Education Program Guide of 2021

portrait of Whitney Sandoval
by Whitney Sandoval
Published on December 8, 2021

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Prospective students who want to shape the future of education should consider enrolling in an M.Ed. program. Pursuing a master's degree in education prepares graduates to become educational administrators, better teachers, and leaders in educational policy.

Depending on their concentration, graduates with a master's degree in education can work in the classroom, for school districts, or at the postsecondary level. Those looking to work outside of the school system can find career opportunities in government agencies, private organizations, and nonprofits.

Should I Get a Master's in Education?

Many professionals enroll in M.Ed. programs while still teaching full time.

Many careers in education are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that teaching positions will grow 8% between 2020 and 2030, which is as fast as average. Many professionals enroll in M.Ed. programs while still teaching full time.

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Elementary, middle, and high school teaching positions do not require a master's degree in education. However, most school districts offer higher pay for advanced degree-holders. If you are interested in working in higher education, completing a master's degree is a requirement for college professors teaching undergraduate courses.

To work in public schools, teachers need a state-issued license. However, there are also career opportunities beyond teaching for graduates with a master's in education.

What Will I Learn in an Education Master's Program?

Students enrolled in M.Ed. programs learn instructional theories and educational best practices. Although specific courses vary by concentration, coursework typically covers instructional design and differentiated learning. Through practicum experiences and student teaching, learners develop and apply teaching strategies and implement classroom management theories.

Prospective students can choose to pursue a master's degree in education or a master's in teaching degree. There are similarities between the programs, but students who are interested in the educational system typically complete a master's in education. Graduates can pursue careers in educational leadership and curriculum development.

Learners interested in advancing their teaching careers may find that a master's in teaching degree is a better fit. These programs focus on teaching practices and improving teaching strategies in the classroom.

Concentrations

Visual Impairment

A master's degree in education with a concentration in visual impairment prepares graduates to work with learners who are blind or visually impaired. Students learn to adapt materials and incorporate different technology. Additional topics include braille, daily living skills, and understanding special education laws and policies.

Curriculum and Instruction

Learners pursuing this concentration often specialize in a specific area like secondary language arts or elementary education. Students learn how to evaluate different learning materials, create meaningful assessments, and interpret data.

Special Education

Students in this concentration explore the history of special education and the laws and policies governing special education services. Coursework typically includes instruction on behavior management, goal and objective writing, and data collection and interpretation. Graduates can work as special education teachers, resource room teachers, and individualized education program case managers.

English Language Learners

Students in this concentration learn teaching techniques and strategies to help English language learners succeed. Graduates often become ELL teachers.

Educational Technology

This concentration covers the latest technological developments in the classroom. Graduates can become technology coordinators for schools, lead a STEM team, and help determine assistive technology for students.

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What Can I Do With a Master's in Education?

Most graduates with an M.Ed. degree work in education. Practicing teachers can advance their knowledge and increase their salary by completing a master's degree. A master's degree in education can also qualify graduates to enter specialized fields within education, such as school administration, school counseling, and curriculum and instruction.

Master's in education degree-holders can teach at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Graduates can also work for curriculum and textbook companies.

Popular Career Paths

Popular Continued Education Paths

Doctorate in Education Doctorate in Special Education Doctorate in Higher Education Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Graduate Certificate in English Language Learning

How Much Money Can I Make With a Master's in Education?

According to the BLS, high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $62,870 as of May 2020. Although that calculation includes teachers of all degree levels and experience, master's degree-holders generally earn higher salaries than those without master's degrees. Many school districts use pay scales that pay teachers with an advanced degree a higher salary than those with only a bachelor's degree.

How Do I Get Into a Master's in Education Program?

Although requirements may vary between programs, most M.Ed. programs maintain similar admission requirements. All programs require a bachelor's degree, official transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Most programs do not require an undergraduate degree in a specific field. Some schools require a personal statement, a minimum undergraduate GPA, and GRE scores.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Education Programs

What are the highest-paying jobs I can get with a master's in education?

The most lucrative jobs in education are typically administrative roles. For example, according to the BLS, elementary, middle, and high school principals made a median annual salary of $98,490 in 2020.

How much does it cost to get a master's in education?

The cost of a master's in education can range from around $15,000-$60,000. Factors that affect that price include whether the school is a private or public university and whether or not learners pay in-state tuition. Prospective students may save money by exploring online master's in education programs.

How long does it take to get a master's in education?

Full-time students can earn their master's degrees in education in about two years. Some colleges offer accelerated programs that allow learners to graduate in 12-18 months.

Is a master's in education worth it?

For most teachers, earning a master's degree in education leads to a higher annual salary. Completing a master's degree in education may also be necessary to advance into leadership and administrative roles in education.

Are educators in high demand?

The BLS projects that jobs for elementary teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers will grow as fast as average (7%-8%) between 2020 and 2030. Many states across the country are experiencing teacher shortages. Some positions are more in-demand than others, such as special education teachers, ELL teachers, and math teachers.

Learn about some of the fastest-growing jobs that require a master's degree in 2021, including a variety of positions in the healthcare industry. Follow our five simple steps for how to prepare for graduate school and get tips on the best ways to start off the semester smoothly. Attending graduate school allows you to conduct research and gain critical skills for your career. Learn about the pros and cons of earning a graduate degree.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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