Earning an online master's degree in math education can make graduates more competitive in the job market than those holding only a general bachelor's in teaching. Math teachers at all levels of education are usually in high demand, and as a result, they often receive higher salaries and land jobs more easily than other teachers. As schools throughout the country emphasize the importance of STEM fields — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math — the demand for highly-qualified math teachers continues to grow.
What are the best math education programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University at Buffalo||Buffalo, NY|
|2||Drexel University||Philadelphia, PA|
|3||East Carolina University||Greenville, NC|
|4||James Madison University||Harrisonburg, VA|
|5||University of Nebraska Lincoln||Lincoln, NE|
|6||The College at Brockport||Brockport, NY|
|7||University of Missouri||Columbia, MO|
|8||Georgia State University||Atlanta, GA|
|9||Lesley University||Cambridge, MA|
|10||Western Governors University||Salt Lake City, UT|
Additionally, a master's in math education allows graduates to teach at many community and junior colleges, where salaries are higher than those at the K-12 level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for postsecondary mathematical science teachers reaches $70,910.
Choosing a Program
WILL THIS PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
Graduates of the best online master's in math education programs benefit from more opportunities in their career and increased earning potential. Furthermore, these programs provide learners with a thorough understanding of contemporary mathematics theory and highly effective teaching skills. Math teachers already enjoy a wide open job market, and teachers with a master's degree earn higher salaries. Most programs also lead to teacher licensure, which institutions require for teaching at the secondary level.
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT ONLINE PROGRAM FOR ME?
To find the right online program, you should decide which factors matter most to you. Consider variables such as program cost, length, instructors, the type of courses and specializations available, accreditation status, and whether an institution offers student teaching opportunities.
CAN I WORK WHILE I COMPLETE MY ONLINE MASTER'S IN MATH EDUCATION?
One of the benefits of getting your master's degree in math education online lies in the fact that you can work while you attend school. Online classes provide students the flexibility to complete coursework when and where most convenient, as long as they meet deadlines. Of course, you must balance your work commitments to ensure that you can still complete school assignments.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO EARNING MY MATH EDUCATION DEGREE ONLINE?
Learners enjoy several advantages to earning their math education degree online. First, by studying through the internet, you can attend your preferred school, even if it resides far away from home. You also enjoy the flexibility of completing coursework when convenient for you instead of attending class at assigned times. Finally, online programs often prove more affordable than completing your degree at a brick-and-mortar school.
Accredited Online Master's in Math Education Programs
University at Buffalo
|Buffalo, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 76%||
The University at Buffalo enrolls about 32,000 students in over 450 academic programs, many of which are offered entirely online. UB's graduate catalog includes an online master's in math education studies that part-time students can earn in about two years. Distance learners in the program may complete a fully online, asynchronous curriculum or take some courses on campus for a hybrid experience.
The 33-credit curriculum includes classes like educational uses of the internet, digital media in the classroom, and developing curricula for emerging adolescents. Students also learn to teach algebra, calculus, and statistics. The program culminates in an integrative capstone course.
UB offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants need at least 30 undergraduate credits of math-related courses earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit two references and a statement of purpose.
|Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 74%||
Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Drexel University delivers more than 150 online certificates and degrees, including a master of science in mathematics learning and teaching. Students pursuing this degree learn analytical strategies for teaching mathematics.
Required coursework covers topics like geometry and spatial reasoning, functions through the curriculum, and multimedia instructional design. Drexel emphasizes the collaborative Japanese Lesson Study approach to instructional planning and uses Math Forum professional development tools. Students conduct independent research as part of their capstone project.
Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 GPA and an active middle school teaching license. Applicants must submit a personal essay, a current resume, and two recommendation letters. Drexel offers tuition discounts to alumni and military personnel.
East Carolina University
|Greenville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
East Carolina University maintains its flagship campus in Greenville, North Carolina, serving more than 28,000 students every year. ECU offers an online master's degree in mathematics education for working teachers. Part-time students can complete this 36-credit degree in two years. Participants choose a concentration in elementary, middle, or high school teaching.
The program's curriculum includes courses in mathematical modeling, number systems and operations, and data analysis and measurement. Students also learn to teach geometry and algebra. The program culminates in a research-focused capstone project.
ECU provides four start dates each year. The program uses a holistic admissions process that considers an applicant's cumulative GPA and GRE, GMAT, or MAT scores. Additional application materials include a statement of purpose, an up-to-date resume, and three recommendation letters.
James Madison University
|Harrisonburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
James Madison University powers distance learning with the Canvas platform. JMU offers 10 online graduate certificates and degrees, including a master's in mathematics education. The curriculum focuses on applied research methodologies and advanced mathematical topics, preparing high school teachers for leadership roles as head educators and curriculum experts.
The 34-credit curriculum includes classes in learning theories and practices, the history of mathematics, and the design and development of digital media. Learners delve into lesson planning with an emphasis on the purpose, content, and assessment of educational programs. Students take two advanced courses in probability and statistics, which cover data, statistical inference, sampling, and anticipating patterns.
The program accepts applications on a rolling basis, with fall, spring, and summer start dates. JMU does not require standardized test scores for admission.
University of Nebraska Lincoln
|Lincoln, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
The University of Nebraska Lincoln serves more than 25,000 learners annually, many of whom study online. UNL's distance learning programs include an entirely online master's in science/math education that requires 36 credits.
Designed for licensed teachers working in grades 7-12, this interdisciplinary program focuses on recent developments in math and science education. The curriculum covers natural science, technology tools for teachers, and curriculum development in multicultural education. All students learn to analyze and interpret educational research. The program culminates in a capstone project and a comprehensive exam.
In addition to a standard teaching license, applicants need a bachelor's degree with an endorsement in a relevant content area.
The College at Brockport
|Brockport, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
Part of the State University of New York system, The College at Brockport serves about 8,000 students each year and delivers online programs through the Blackboard platform. Brockport provides three options to learners who want to earn a master's in mathematics education.
Brockport provides a fully online program to licensed educators teaching grades 7-12. Students who want to earn initial New York teaching licensure can enroll in the grades 5-12 program, which uses a hybrid delivery method. Brockport also offers a comprehensive 48-credit track that leads to both initial and professional licensure in mathematics and students with disabilities.
Admission requirements differ by program, but generally include a minimum 3.0 GPA and adequate GRE or MAT scores. Applicants must submit a statement of purpose, a resume, and three reference letters.
University of Missouri
|Columbia, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
The University of Missouri offers 127 certificate and degree options to distance learners. Graduate students can pursue Mizzou's fully online master of education in learning, teaching, and curriculum with a mathematics education emphasis. Aiming for flexibility, the program eliminates in-person requirements and delivers coursework asynchronously. Distance learners who take two classes each semester can maintain their full-time jobs and still graduate in two years.
Coursework includes assessment in mathematics education, secondary mathematics from an advanced perspective, and matrix theory. Students examine contemporary curriculum challenges facing teachers and administrators. This online master's program requires students to complete group and independent research projects, which prepare them for leadership careers and/or doctorate-level academics.
While Mizzou does not require that applicants hold teaching licensure, all prospective students need at least two years of relevant teaching experience. Applicants also need a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Georgia State University
|Atlanta, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Georgia State University delivers a master's in mathematics education through its College of Education and Human Development. This 36-credit program helps early-career and mid-career teachers apply research-based methods to develop advanced mathematics coursework. The program uses a hybrid delivery method, and distance learners must complete some coursework on campus in Atlanta.
Major courses include social and cultural foundations of education, theory and pedagogy of mathematics instruction, and the psychology of learning and learners. Students also learn to integrate technology into classroom instruction. Participants personalize their curriculum by choosing 15 credits of relevant electives, with options like linear algebra and applied combinatorics.
Applicants need a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA or 3.0 graduate GPA. They must also meet Georgia teaching licensure requirements at the middle or secondary level.
|Cambridge, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Lesley University has offered career-focused academics since it was founded in 1909. Lesley powers distance education with the Blackboard platform, providing an online master's in mathematics education that includes licensure and non-licensure tracks. The licensure track leads to Massachusetts professional teacher licensure in one of three areas: elementary 1-6, mathematics 1-6, or mathematics 5-8.
Students take accelerated, eight-week classes that cover topics like number theory, statistics and data analysis, and probability. They also learn about assessment issues in mathematics education. Additionally, the program prepares learners to meet the complex needs of diverse learners.
Lesley offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants need to submit official academic transcripts and two recommendation letters. They must also submit a 600-900-word personal statement.
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Western Governors University is a leader in distance education, providing a comprehensive array of online certificates and degrees. These offerings include an online master's in secondary mathematics education for licensed teachers who hold a relevant bachelor's degree.
By completing this 18-course program, students gain the research knowledge and advanced instructional skills needed to help their students understand topics like algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry. The curriculum includes classes like mathematics modeling and applications. Students also delve into probability, statistics, and the standards for teacher performance assessment at the secondary level.
WGU uses a competency-based model that allows students to advance through the curriculum by demonstrating subject mastery; proficiency is determined based on completed coursework and career experience. The university does not require standardized test scores for admission.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Math Education Program?
In the following sections, you can learn more about earning a master's degree in math education online, including common math education courses and the time it takes to earn a degree. Though program characteristics vary by school, the next sections provide a general overview of what to expect from math education online master's programs.
Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Math Education
- Mathematics Learning and Teaching: This course introduces mathematics education and covers common teaching strategies. Students explore the basics of instructional planning and identify appropriate strategies and resources, gaining a broad knowledge of mathematics teaching and learning.
- Instructional Planning and Presentation: This course develops students' planning and presentation abilities. They learn to plan lessons and entire units; study presentation strategies; and explore assessment methods, classroom technologies, and engagement strategies. All math teachers need strong organization, planning, and presentation skills.
- Classroom Management and Engagement: Students explore basic strategies for managing a classroom and building a nurturing learning environment. They study common classroom management techniques and observe real classes through video conferences or in person. Students also explore ways of promoting self-management in the classroom.
- Child and Adolescent Development: This course explains the basics of social, biological, and cognitive development among diverse populations. Students also learn to aid development through appropriate teaching strategies. A basic knowledge of childhood psychology and development can help elementary, middle school, and high school educators teach more effectively.
- Statistics and Probability for Secondary Mathematics Teaching: This class prepares graduates to teach statistics and probability by introducing key concepts and teaching methods. The course covers topics including data representation, sampling, and study design. Students also explore common misconceptions in the field. Math teachers need considerable knowledge of statistics, algebra, and geometry.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master's in Math Education?
While most master's in math education programs take around two years to complete, program characteristics and personal learning preferences can affect the length of a degree. For instance, the online delivery format can dramatically lengthen or shorten the time it takes to finish a program. In self-paced programs, students move through coursework and complete assignments as quickly or as slowly as they wish. In cohort learning programs, on the other hand, students progress through the curriculum alongside a group. Cohort learners follow a strict course schedule and graduate after a predetermined number of semesters.
In addition, some programs let students choose whether to study part time or full time. Part-time students generally take longer to complete a program than full-time learners. Plus, students who take additional credits each semester can accelerate their path to graduation.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Math Education Prepares For
Teacher licensure requirements vary by state. Generally, schools require a license to teach public K-12 school, much in the same way that a doctor or lawyer requires a license to practice. Paths to licensure/certification can also vary by state. To find out how to become a licensed teacher in your state, contact your state board of education. Postsecondary institutions do not require licensure.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Math Education Degrees
You should ensure that your master's in math education online program holds accreditation. A school's accreditation signifies that it meets rigorous academic standards, while receiving an accredited degree provides a host of benefits. Studying at an accredited college qualifies you to apply for federal financial aid opportunities, and many scholarships, grants, and work study programs only award money to students attending an accredited school. Perhaps most importantly, state licensing boards generally require teachers to graduate from an accredited program.
You might notice that some schools receive national accreditation, while others hold regional accreditation. The main difference between the two lies in the type of institution to which these accreditation statuses apply. National accrediting bodies usually focus on career-oriented and vocational schools, while regional bodies evaluate more traditional colleges and universities. Only apply to schools that hold national or regional accreditation. Additionally, make sure to prioritize programs that hold programmatic accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
You should understand the other organizations that play a role in accreditation, besides the accrediting bodies themselves. The Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) work together to regulate accrediting agencies and monitor their activities. The ED and CHEA vet accrediting bodies to ensure that they remain trustworthy. You can consult a list of all accredited institutions on the ED website or the CHEA website.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Math Education Graduates
Master's in Math Education Salary
Several factors can affect salaries and the overall earning potential for math teachers. For instance, different public school systems boast varying salary structures. In addition, some areas of the country have a high demand for teachers, leading to increased salaries. Work experience can also influence a teacher's wages. Judging by the data below, mid-career and late-career educators take home considerably more each year than teachers with less experience. Additionally, teachers earn differing amounts based on the age group they teach. Consult the table below to explore how on-the-job experience and other factors influence teacher salaries.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level||Median Salary for Mid-Career||Median Salary for Late-Career|
|Elementary School Teacher||$44,448||$39,000||$44,000||$56,000|
|Middle School Teacher||$46,690||$40,000||$45,000||$60,000|
|High School Teacher||$48,712||$41,000||$47,000||$61,000|
Master's in Math Education Careers
Earning a master's in math education online readies graduates for a variety of teaching jobs. As students approach graduation, they should consider the age group with which they most enjoy working. Math education graduates can find work teaching basic mathematics concepts to kindergarten, elementary, and middle schoolers. They can also teach more advanced topics like trigonometry, calculus, and linear algebra to high school and college learners.
- Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young children in areas like reading, writing, and mathematics. They foster basic critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills that serve students throughout their education. These educators may benefit from earning a master's in elementary math education online, since many states require a master's degree for licensure.
Median Annual Salary: $56,900
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
- Middle School Teachers
Middle school teachers instruct students in 6-8 grades. They introduce students to more advanced topics and prepare them for high school. Middle school teachers may instruct students across many subjects, or they might specialize in one area like math or science.
Median Annual Salary: $57,720
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Postsecondary Teachers
Postsecondary teachers work in public and private universities, community colleges, and trade schools. They specialize in a particular area and educate students beyond the high school level. Outside of the classroom, postsecondary teachers often work on books or journal articles. Most postsecondary teachers need a doctorate, but some colleges only require a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $76,000
Projected Growth Rate: 15%
- High School Teachers
High school teachers work in public and private schools teaching a specific subject. They also prepare students for college or postgraduate life. While many public school systems require teachers to earn a master's degree, private school teachers often do not need a teaching license.
Median Annual Salary: $59,170
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
Interview with an Expert
Suresh Acharya is a professor of practice at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Suresh has spent over 20 years designing and building statistical and optimization solutions in the areas of supply chain management, retail planning, and more. As a practicing analytical professional and chief scientist of JDA Software, Suresh continues to work with Fortune 500 companies in delivering practical algorithmic solutions that demonstrate measurable customer value.
- Why did you decide to pursue a master's in math sciences? Did you always know you wanted to teach in this field?
My undergraduate degree was in mathematics, where there was a lot of focus on the theory of mathematics. My interest was always in taking mathematics to model and solve real-world problems. That’s why I decided to pursue a program in math sciences. And yes, I knew that I wanted to teach mathematics with a strong tilt towards application.
- How did you end up in your current roles? What was the transition like from college to the workforce?
The good thing is that the skill set built by majoring in an area of mathematical sciences is a highly marketable one and landing my first job, while tough, wasn’t as hard as it was for my friends who had degrees in other areas.
- How did your math degree prepare you for your career? How have you been able to apply the skills you learned in these different roles/settings?
I am both an academic and a practitioner. So I teach the mathematics behind algorithms and see them in action as well. That is very satisfying to me.
- How does your master's in operations research complement your mathematical sciences degree?
It absolutely complements it. While the degree in mathematical sciences gave me a broad understanding of the real-world applications of mathematics, I soon realized that my interests were more in optimization and hence my pursuit of operations research.
- What advice would you give to a student considering an advanced degree in math or math education?
Go for it! Analytical skills are highly sought after, and who better to do that than a math major. My advice is to be solid on the theoretical understanding of the math concepts but along the way build skills to apply (think tools) and explain (think presentation skills) the math.
Current students and recent graduates can benefit greatly from connecting with a professional organization. Professional associations often host networking events where young teachers can make connections and learn from more experienced educators. For instance, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) hosts an annual exposition where members can learn about innovations in teaching. Professional organizations also provide continuing education, publications, and job boards that can help boost a teacher's career.
Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE)
AMTE improves mathematics teacher education through collaboration between mathematics teacher educators. The organization also promotes research in the field and works to improve diversity among mathematics educators. The association hosts annual conferences and offers webinars. AMTE also publishes journals along with standards for mathematics teacher education.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
NCTM hosts over 60,000 members, making it the world's largest mathematics education association. Founded in 1920, the organization aims to improve mathematics education through advocacy and teacher resources. Members can learn about the latest developments in the field through NCTM's Journal for Research in Mathematics Education. Members can also access conferences and grants.
Mathematical Association of America (MAA)
The MAA joins mathematicians and students, along with math educators at the high school and university levels. Members can attend MAA Mathfest and local section meetings. They can also take advantage of the MAA's publications, including The American Mathematical Monthly and Mathematics Magazine.
Financing Your Online Master's in Math Education Program
Earning a master's in math education online can prove expensive even for students who attend public university. Fortunately, master's students can take advantage of many financial aid opportunities to make school more affordable. Students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if they qualify for any government loans, grants, or scholarships. Prospective teaching students should also research private scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs.
Approximately 66% of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the FAFSA serves as a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you can find for campus-based learning, but that has not always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place and about the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can serve as a flexible, affordable option for single parents interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. This link provides a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.