Guide to Master's Degrees in Education

Individuals can prepare themselves to seek school leadership positions through the coursework and training of master's in education administration programs. Depending on the school, students in these degree programs may work toward a Master of Education (MEd), Master of Science (M.S.), or Master of Arts (M.A.) in education administration or education leadership.

Degrees in Education

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that some states require teachers to obtain a master's degree in education within a certain period after beginning to teach. As a result, educators at the elementary and secondary level often pursue a master's degree while they work. Earning a master's degree may also lead to a raise in pay. For those with administrative aspirations, certain entry-level administration jobs in education require a master's degree. There are numerous education degree types offered, including:

  • Master of Arts in Education (MA): Students earning an MA in education conduct 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 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 have the potential to pursue research roles.
  • Master of Education (MEd): This professional degree aims to prepare 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 of instruction is generally the focus of a MAT degree, rather than the concept of education itself. MAT graduates typically remain in the classroom, unlike their MS-earning colleagues.

Degree selection is an important decision, since each type of degree prepares students for different types of careers within this field. Careful consideration of interests and goals should take place prior to choosing degree type and specific program.

Path to a Degree in Education

Courses are intended to help students prepare for classroom teaching or a variety of administrative education roles. Studies may take one to two years depending on a student's schedule. Examples of common courses include:

Curriculum and instruction Students learn about 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.
Health education and kinesiology Students explore issues including 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.
Educational administration Students learn theories of public school leadership, community college leadership, and higher education administration.
Principalship Students examine successful leadership techniques as well as the role and responsibilities of school principals. Academic programs may feature specialized internships that give students an opportunity to gain exposure to leadership roles in a school setting.
School finance Students learn how to effectively manage a school's financial resources and analyze best practices for school and district budgeting.
School law Courses provide an overview of local, state, and federal education laws and policies that impact education and the ethics of education administrators.
Supervision of instruction Students evaluate the role of education supervisors and supervision processes and also discuss contemporary issues in instructional supervision.
School and community relations Courses typically assess the role of educational leaders in building school and community relationships. Classes also go over how to utilize community ties and resources to help meet the school's needs.

Education Specialization and Careers

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. In addition to teaching, consider the following popular career possibilities for individuals with master's degrees in education:

Discipline2013 median annual income*2012-2022 job growth projection
Elementary, middle, and high school principals $88,380 Employment of principals is expected to grow by 6 percent between 2012 and 2022, though this will vary by region and according to state and local budgets.
Instructional coordinators $60,610 The BLS projects that employment in this field will grow 13 percent between 2012 and 2022.
School and career counselors $53,600 Employment of these individuals is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS.

Ready to head back to school? With WorldWideLearn.com'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.

Sources

"School and Career Counselors," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/school-and-career-counselors.htm#tab-1

"Instructional Coordinators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm#tab-1

"Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm#tab-1

"11-9032 Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes259031.htm

"21-1012 Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211012.htm

*All median income figures drawn from 2013 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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