If you’re a working teacher in Connecticut, you may find yourself wondering what might come next professionally. Connecticut requires teachers to hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. While it’s definitely possible to provide an excellent education to your students with a bachelor’s, many teachers consider earning a higher degree in Elementary Education.
Much like many other states, Connecticut is facing a skilled teacher shortage. This is especially true for elementary schools in Connecticut. Connecticut is in need of teachers who have received advanced training. A graduate degree program can hold many benefits for teachers, in addition to the state in which they work. If you’re wondering if a master’s degree in Elementary Education is worth it, read on to learn how higher education can benefit you.
Financial Benefits of a Master’s in Elementary Education
One of the primary ways in which a master’s degree in Elementary Education can benefit teachers is by making it possible for them to earn a higher salary. Salaries for educators in Connecticut are already highly competitive. The median teacher salary in Connecticut is around $79,742 per year, and the average teacher salaries are continuing to rise in the state. However, teachers who have earned a higher Elementary Education degree can expect to earn even more. According to the CONNCAN Teacher Database, Connecticut teachers with a master’s degree make at least $3,500 more annually, on average, than those with a bachelor’s degree.. Plus, many Connecticut school districts further support teachers by offering tuition reimbursement and paid professional development leave. Tuition reimbursement can cover up to six credit hours.
Additionally, public school teachers who pursue higher education can qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness. Teachers in certain shortage areas (including math, science, and special education) can receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness, while teachers in other areas can get up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness. These financial benefits alone make the investment of earning a degree in elementary education in CT well worth it.
Earn Certification in Connecticut
Another great reason to earn your master’s degree is that, eventually, as a teacher in Connecticut you will be required to complete a graduate program in order to reach the highest level of certification. Connecticut uses a tiered certification system broken into three categories: Initial, Provisional, and finally, Professional Certification. The highest level of certification, the Professional Educator Certificate, can only be earned by completing graduate coursework. Therefore, as an elementary teacher, earning your master’s degree in Elementary Education is a natural next step for long-term success in the field.
Become a Better Job Candidate
As Connecticut is in need of teachers, school districts across the state are actively hiring. If you’re considering applying for a new position, holding a master’s degree can set you above the rest of the applicant pool. Holding a master’s degree in Elementary Education will convey to hiring managers and school administrators that you’re dedicated to providing your students with a high quality education. A master’s degree can also qualify you for a variety of positions outside of the classroom, a fact which can make you a particularly attractive job candidate.
Have More Job Mobility
A master’s degree does more than prepare you for a successful career in the classroom. Earning a master’s degree in Education can open up the possibility of working in administrative positions, positions which can have a significant impact on the happiness and success of both students and fellow students. School administrators can supervise educators, help design curriculum for schools and school districts, oversee teacher training, and help dictate how school resources are used for the benefit of students and teachers. If this sounds interesting to you, earning a master’s degree would be worth it!
Receive Advanced Pedagogical Training
While no amount of schooling will make you the perfect teacher, earning a master’s degree in Elementary Education can provide you with advanced pedagogical training that will inevitably make you a better teacher. Graduate programs in Elementary Education, such as the program at University of Bridgeport, require students to complete advanced coursework in areas such as differentiated instruction, educational psychology, special education, and curriculum development. Additionally, candidates in this program will be required to take classes in specific subject content areas such as Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science, Lifespan Development, U.S. History, English, and World Languages. Advanced training in these areas will help you become the best educator that you can be.
Is a Master’s in Elementary Education Worth It?
From lesson planning to stocking your classroom with supplies, there’s quite a bit to balance as a working teacher. And, of course, as with any other job, there’s your future to think about. The good news is, the logical next step in your teaching career is to pursue a master’s degree. A master’s degree in Elementary Education not only trains you to be a better teacher than you already are, but can mean earning a higher salary and opening up opportunities in other roles in education. If you’re deciding on whether or not to pursue a graduate degree, rest assured that a master’s in Elementary Education will be well worth your time.
Ready to earn your Master’s Degree in Elementary Education? Learn more about University of Bridgeport’s Elementary Education MS, here!