While it’s possible to become a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education, there are many reasons why certified teachers might pursue a graduate degree. Master’s programs provide teachers with the foundation they’ll need to take on leadership roles in their school, should administrative careers be of interest to them. Teachers with graduate degrees in education can also expect higher starting salaries and higher earning potential over the course of their careers. Some graduate programs help teachers cultivate expertise in a particular area of study, which can be highly valuable for educators today. With all of these benefits in mind, it’s clear why you might pursue a graduate degree in education. If you are exploring your options, here are four types of advanced degrees to consider in this field:
Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.)
A master’s in Education (M.Ed.) is an ideal program for students who either hold teacher certification or not, but are interested in becoming experts in Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This program does not lead to certification, but is a great program for students interested in honing their teacher leadership and social justice skills. A master’s in Education is typically a one-year course of study offered online.
- Curriculum Theory
- Effective Learning Environments
- Leading Professional Learning
Students who graduate with an M.Ed. are prepared to enhance their careers in teaching using UDL and apply this framework in the classroom, increasing access to learning regardless of physical, cognitive, intellectual, and organizational barriers.
Master’s Degree in Elementary Education (M.S.)
A master’s degree in Elementary Education prepares students for a career working as an elementary school teacher. The curriculum centers around elementary teaching subjects such as social studies, math, science, and reading. Some programs also offer a tuition-paid internship that gives students the in-person, practical experience they need to become expert teachers. Graduates are also well prepared for the Praxis II exam for elementary school teachers, which is required for certification.
- Special Education
- Curriculum Building
- Differentiated Instruction
Graduates of this master’s degree program are ideal candidates to teach in elementary education. Master’s degree holders can expect a high starting salary as they’ll have developed a specialized expertise in the education of elementary school aged children. Elementary school teachers can expect to earn an average of $60,660 per year, however master’s degree holders are likely to earn more than the national average.
Master’s Degree in Secondary Education (M.S.)
Those interested in teaching students in grades 7-12 should consider pursuing a master’s degree in Secondary Education. This degree path prepares students to specialize in a specific branch of secondary education, such as English, history, or mathematics. Students in this program will be prepared to plan lessons according to state and national guidelines. Graduates will also be prepared to pass the Praxis II content knowledge exam for secondary subject areas.
- Lesson Planning
- Remedial Reading
- Advanced Instructional Methods
Earning a master’s degree in Secondary Education prepares students to teach in a specific subject area at the high school level. Graduates with this degree can also work as instructional coordinators to manage a high school’s curriculum and create learning materials. Additionally, master’s degree holders can work in adult literacy programs to help adult learners earn their high school diploma. The average salary for secondary education professionals is $67,340, though master’s degree holders can expect to earn more over the course of their career than teachers who only hold a bachelor’s degree.
Doctoral Degree in Education Leadership (Ed.D.)
A doctoral degree in Educational Leadership is ideal for students who are interested in becoming school administrators, education researchers, and educational leaders. This program typically takes four years to complete, however many students choose to take additional credits in order to earn an Education Administration and Supervision Sixth Year Certificate. Students in this program conduct research and attend leadership-centered courses that are designed to prepare them for a career in positions of leadership.
- School Law
- Supervision/Evaluation of Personnel
- Organizational Management
Graduates of this program are prepared for a multitude of careers in educational leadership. These positions can include school principal, superintendent, school president, academic dean, and more. The earning potential for Ed.D. graduates is higher than other graduate degrees in education. As an example, education administrators make an average salary of $97,500 per year.
Students looking to add professional certifications to their resume, in addition to their graduate-level degree, should consider adding a certificate program to their course of study. Here are just a few options for students to choose from.
This certificate can be earned by taking and passing the Praxis II Computer Science exam (5651) or by taking four courses in Computer Science. This cross-endorsement certificate can be finished in as few as three semesters and prepares teachers to teach classes in computer science for students in either elementary or secondary school.
The music teaching certificate is designed for musicians who are interested in becoming state certified in teaching music to students in grades K-12. Graduates with this certificate are prepared to work in a variety of environments including the elementary classroom, high school music classes, and ensemble classes such as choir or band.
This program prepares teachers to take on leadership positions in the literacy programs of elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Through this certification program, they’ll learn how to organize and supervise literacy programs and collaborate with fellow teachers, administrators, and parents to foster the development of reading and writing skills in their students. Courses in this program include Developmental Reading in the Elementary School, Field Experience in Reading and Language Arts, and Reading and Writing in the Content Areas, among others.
Students in this program learn how to teach grade 1-12 students in reading and literacy. This program is especially helpful for students who want to learn how to effectively teach children who have difficulty reading and writing.
This certification is designed to prepare students for intermediate administrative positions in schools. Upon completion of this program, the state of Connecticut’s requirement for administrative certification is met. Courses include “Introduction to Education Leadership” and “School Law.” This certification program is frequently taken in conjunction with the Ed.D. program.
A career in education, in many ways, is its own reward. However, teachers who want to advance in their career may pursue a graduate degree in education. These graduate-level programs benefit not only the teachers who complete them, but also the students who reap the rewards of their teachers’ advanced training. If you are interested in exploring a graduate degree in education, explore the University of Bridgeport School of Education online.