Those who want to make a career out of education will typically find they can start working with a four-year degree. That is the usual requirement for licensure in most states.
However, many teachers find they want to expand and hone their skills. Others may be looking for a bump in pay. For both of these reasons, master's degrees in education are popular among educators.
Depending on the school and whether a student is enrolled full-time or part-time, a master's degree may take two or three years to complete. Some accelerated programs may allow students to earn an education master's degree online in as little as a year.
In fact, an online master's degree in education may be the most convenient way for current educators to earn an advanced degree. These programs are often the same caliber as those offered on-campus and have the added benefit of not disrupting a person's ability to keep their day job as a teacher.
Why Get a Master's Degree in Education?
States may only require a bachelor's degree for licensure, but a master's degree tends to the norm for today's teachers. Nearly 60 percent of educators have an advanced degree, according to the National Education Association.
There are several master's degree options for teachers, including the following:
- Master of Education
- Master of Arts in Education
- Master of Science in Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching
The Master of Education may be the most common option while career changers who have a bachelor's degree in another field may pursue a master of arts in teaching.
However, any of these degrees could result in more income for teachers. On average, in 2011-2012, educators with a master's degree earned nearly $10,000 more in base pay compared to those with a bachelor's degree. That's according to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Another reason teachers often earn a master's degree is to establish themselves as an expert in a particular subject or grade level. As schools grapple with state testing requirements and mandates to have highly qualified teachers, those with a master's degree may find they are in greater demand.
How Do You Enroll in an Online Master's Degree Program?
The enrollment process for an online master's degree in education is similar to what is required for traditional degree programs. In both cases, the first step is to complete an application for admittance.
Some schools will request only basic information initially and then have a school representative follow-up for more details about your previous education and experience. Other institutions may have you complete a full application immediately. Either way, almost all schools start the enrollment process online so you can apply from the comfort of your own home.
There may be a small application fee - U.S. News & World Report says the average was $41 in 2015 - and once submitted, schools can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to review your information. If you're accepted for admittance, you'll receive further information regarding how to finalize your enrollment, select classes and start your studies.
Filling out a Request Form
If you're feeling overwhelmed by all the school choices available, let us help simplify the process. Click on the "Find Schools" button below to be quickly matched to institutions with programs aligned to your career goals. All you need to do is provide some basic personal information and your topic of study to get started.
What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?
Content-wise, earning an education master's degree online is not much different than earning one on-campus. Today's technology makes it possible for schools to easily transmit the same information taught in a classroom to online learners. Distance education programs may make use of a variety of teaching methods, from online textbooks to video lectures to discussion boards, to share lessons.
One important difference between online and campus-based degrees is the level of self-discipline needed to complete studies online. Since many programs let students log-in at whatever time they want to complete assignments and review course material, there is limited accountability from the school. It's up to a student to stay on schedule for a course, something that can be challenging for those who have poor time management skills.
However, for those who can stay on task, an online master's degree in education offers the same quality education provided by an on-campus program. Credit requirements may be the same, and the diploma is the same.
Online College Good for Master's Degrees in Education?
For current teachers, the main benefit of earning an education master's degree online may be that it allows them to keep their normal work schedule. In addition, they don't have to spend their nights and weekends traveling to campus for classes. Instead, they can learn from the comfort of their home and plan study times around work and family obligations.
Another benefit of online programs is that some may allow students to accelerate their studies and complete their degree in less time.
Does Location Matter for an Online Master's Degree in Education?
Although you may be able to enroll in an online program at schools across the country, you may want to take the school's location into consideration. Some programs may have a few on-campus requirements and even if they don't, you may find you want to occasionally meet with an instructor in-person, particular if your degree program includes a capstone project or thesis.
Earning an education master's degree online can be a convenient way for teachers to get an advanced degree. Request more information today to learn more about the income and job possibilities that await teachers who have a master's degree.
1. Average salaries for full-time teachers, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_211.10.asp
2. The Benefits of a Master's in Education, USC Rossier, http://teach.com/how-to-become-a-teacher/teacher-education/benefits-masters-in-education
3. Myths and Facts about Educator Pay, National Education Association, http://www.nea.org/home/12661.htm
4. Types of Master's Degrees in Education, American Intercontinental University, http://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/may-2015/types-of-masters-degrees-in-education
5. MS in Education (Accelerated), Walden University, https://www.waldenu.edu/masters/ms-in-education-accelerated