Guide to Master's Degrees in Education

Whether you're a lifelong educator or you have a passion for education administration, a master's degree in education gives you the training to match your interests. Unlock your career potential, deepen your knowledge, and discover your future in education.

Required Training for Education Careers

Working your way up the career ladder in education often requires a graduate level of training. Most administration jobs require a master's degree at minimum for high-level administrative positions. Many master's degree graduates go on to earn doctoral degrees in education to pursue the highest administrative positions. Graduates with a master's degree in education go on to become:

  • Elementary school, high school, and community college administrators
  • Literacy or technology board directors or administrators
  • Special education counselors or administrators
  • Educators, counselors, and researchers at the local or national level

Educators at the elementary and secondary level often pursue a master's degree while they work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that some states require teachers to obtain a master's in education within a certain period after they begin teaching. Earning a master's degree also leads to a raise in pay. Because of these requirements and the growing need for teachers, the number of master's degree programs in education has been on the rise.

Navigate Different Types of Master's Degrees in Education

The world of master's degrees in education may seem like a complicated mix of acronyms at first. However, learning more about each degree can help you make an informed decision on how to best spend your years in school. Take a look at the major degree options for anyone considering a master's degree in education:

  • Master of Arts in education (MA): Students earning an MA in education complete relevant research that could translate to further study in a PhD or EdD program. The master's degree ends with a student completing a thesis or report.
  • Master of Science in education (MS): As the degree's title suggests, students of MS programs in education are typically more interested in the research and science behind learning. The degree may have a more technical slant, and graduates often go on to research positions in school districts and government.
  • Master of Education (MEd): This professional degree prepares students for administrative positions. Some MEd degrees come with a coursework-only option, removing the research requirement.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): The core subject you'll teach is generally the focus of a MAT degree, rather than the concept of teaching itself. MAT graduates typically remain in the classroom, unlike their MS-earning colleagues.

Your career goals should determine the path you choose. If you don't live near a school that offers the specific education degree you're looking for, you may earn a master's degree online and pursue the degree that matches your career goals. Learn more about specific majors with's Guide to Majors page.

Choose Among Graduate Programs in Education

Each school offers a different learning experience for graduate students in education. Whether you're earning a master's degree online or attending classes on a traditional campus, you'll have the chance to choose which graduate coursework interests you. Consider the following popular graduate programs for master's degrees in education:

  • Curriculum and instruction: Specialties include instructional technology, curriculum studies, early childhood education, bilingual studies, and literacy studies.
  • Educational psychology: Specialties include counseling psychology, human development and education, quantitative psychology, school psychology, and higher education counseling.
  • Educational administration: Specialties include public school leadership, community college leadership, and higher education administration.
  • Health education and kinesiology: Specialties include exercise physiology, sports management, movement science, and health education.
  • Special education: Specialties include early childhood special education, rehabilitation counseling, special education administration, multicultural special education, and learning disabilities.

The options available for graduate study in the field of education are broad, and the choices above aren't the only ones you'll find as you research online and campus-based programs for a master's in education. Consider your own career goals as you learn more about your options. No two universities are alike, and it helps to explore your options before committing to a degree program.

Learn More About Your Educational Resources

Ready to head back to school? With's Education Resources page, you can make the transition into a master's degree in education with ease. Use the helpful page to learn more about online accreditation policies, where to find financial aid, test preparation for the GRE and other essential exams, and more.

Earn a Master's Degree Online or On Campus

Whether you're looking for a degree program that isn't offered at your local school, or you're considering balancing a master's degree with work and family commitments, the chance to earn a master's degree online could offer a compelling option. When thinking about campus-based and online degrees, it's important to realize the benefits of both options:

Online Master's Degrees in Education:

  • Online master's degrees in education offer access benefits, allowing students to log on from anywhere in the world to complete coursework.
  • The asynchronous learning format means that you don't have to attend class at certain hours. Instead, you may complete your work anytime during the day or night.

Campus-Based Master's Degrees in Education:

  • Campus-based master's degrees in education offer hands-on interaction and access to campus libraries and research technology.
  • Attendance requirements add structure to the learning process. Learners who benefit from group work appreciate the environment provided by the traditional campus-based structure.

Whether you choose to earn a master's degree online, on campus, or through a hybrid online and campus-based degree program, considering your options beforehand helps you make an intelligent decision that reflects your own needs as a student and as a future educator.

Explore Online Master's Degrees in Education at

Ready to learn more about graduate degrees in education? Use as your guide as you begin the research process. Check out the online master's degrees in education for more information from featured education partners. You can even make contact with potential programs using Start today, and enhance your rewarding career in education.

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