Starting a career in elementary or secondary education can be complex and difficult for many young teachers. Aside from preparing to manage a classroom and outlining lesson plans, new educators need to ensure they fulfill the proper teaching requirements. Navigating the certifications and degrees required for a specific speciality, state, and locality is challenging.

However, it’s often to a teacher’s advantage to look past the basic requirements – possibly only a bachelor’s degree – and pursue an advanced degree. While it may add a little more challenge at the beginning, a master’s degree in education can provide a number of benefits immediately and in the long run.

Teachers with a master’s in education have more job opportunities, better salaries on average throughout their careers, more upward mobility potential, and many other benefits.


A Master’s in Education

A Master of Education or Master of Arts in Teaching, abbreviated as M.Ed. or MAT, is a graduate degree designed specifically for educators. Master’s programs can focus on instructional methods, curriculum, academic enrichment, student advising, school counseling, or school administration. There are options for terminal master’s programs as well as others that lead to doctoral degrees in education.

While many people pursue general M.Ed. degrees, there are also options specializing in science or the arts. Even the general degree allows for specific areas of study and subfields such as in early childhood education, workforce education, math, or reading.

A master’s degree is not required for most typical K-12 public school teaching jobs throughout the U.S., however it is a stepping stone to many other education positions. Administrative roles, such as principal or dean, and counseling roles often require a master’s degree as well as certification.

Additionally, having a specific area of experience or additional education may make teachers more attractive candidates for positions such as department heads or other jobs at more competitive schools. Many master’s programs include a capstone, research project, or thesis that can be used as a resume booster, proof of specialization, or fuel for a doctoral application.

Even as educators, teachers holding master’s degrees are typically paid higher than bachelor’s degree-holding peers following a pay scale. A master’s degree in education is becoming a critical tool for educators, new or experienced, to rise through the ranks during their career.

In addition to the benefits of holding a M.Ed., the process of earning the advanced degree is beneficial in its own right. Educators are able to learn better teaching techniques, specialize in more subfields, and study curriculum creation through classroom learning and hands-on internships. Once employed, this can translate to a better student experience in the classroom and the opportunity to pursue a great variety of employment options.

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