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If you work in the field of education, you may wonder what exactly a master of education degree is and how this degree can help you advance your career. A Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree is simply a graduate-level degree in the study of education. Typically, these programs are intended for educators who already hold a teaching license or certification. In a Master of Education degree program, you may have the opportunity to choose from several different specializations that prepare you for different high-level roles in a school setting.
Studying Education at the Graduate Level
When you begin a graduate program in education, you already know the fundamentals of teaching. You have earned either a bachelor’s degree in education or your Master of Arts in Teaching, attained a teaching license or certification and cultivated experience working in the classroom. A Master of Education degree program goes beyond the basics to help grad students develop advanced expertise in subjects such as curriculum development, leadership, education theory, instruction, goal setting and class management, according to U.S. News & World Report.
A Master of Education degree is like a Master of Arts or Master of Science degree. It’s not one single curriculum or degree path, but rather a type of degree you can earn. Graduate students in the field of education typically choose a specialized Master of Education degree program to pursue. Popular specializations include school counseling, educational leadership and administration, reading and language, special education, curriculum and instruction and adult education. Much of the coursework you take in your M.Ed. degree program involves graduate-level studies into your chosen specialization. If studying full-time, a graduate student can complete this degree program in as little as 18 months, according to U.S. News & World Report. Usually, graduate students must complete some form of research project, thesis or portfolio in order to earn their Master of Education degree.
Reasons to Earn a Master of Education Degree
In most states, you don’t need to hold a graduate degree in order to become a public school teacher, although there are some exceptions. Some states do require teachers to earn a graduate degree after attaining their initial licensure to maintain the credential. However, there are a number of other reasons that education professionals choose to go back to school and earn a master’s degree.
If you want to make a strategic career move – from classroom teacher to school counselor or assistant principal, for example – then you will need a Master of Education degree in the appropriate specialization. These are advanced roles that are often accompanied by higher earning potential, so it’s no surprise that you need an advanced degree to attain them. You might also want to develop or expand an area of expertise within teaching, like special education. Getting a raise might be another reason to consider going back to school. Teachers with a master’s degree make an extra $3,000 to $10,000 annually compared to those who have only a bachelor’s degree, according to independent policy institute the Center for American Progress. Finally, some teachers simply want to excel in what they already do – and help their students excel, too. There’s some evidence linking students’ performance with having teachers who have a higher level of education, according to Education Week.
If you’re thinking about earning your Master of Education degree, where you choose to study matters. You can make the most out of your investment in higher education by enrolling in one of the top graduate degree programs for teaching in the nation.