masters in secondary education careers

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Secondary Education?

If you’re an educator, or just toying with the idea of a career in education, pursuing a Master’s in Secondary Education may be on your horizon. So, it’s worth a look at the question: What can you do with a master’s in Secondary Education?

Getting Certified in Connecticut

First, let’s look at Connecticut’s certification process for aspiring educators. It’s worth getting into the details since the requirements are slightly different than other states.

In general, Connecticut has three levels of teacher certification: Initial, Provisional, and Professional. Candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree and have never before taught can apply for the initial certification. This certification allows teachers to gain experience and is valid for three years. Educators can apply for the Provisional Educator Certificate after teaching for at least 10 months while holding the Initial Educator Certificate and completing the TEAM Mentoring Program. This certification is valid for eight years.

In order to qualify for the final level of certification (Professional Educator Certificate), candidates must earn a graduate degree, complete advanced coursework, and complete at least 30 months of teaching in a Connecticut school while holding the Provisional level of certification. This is the only level of certification that is renewable. For this reason, current and aspiring educators often choose to pursue a master’s degree in Secondary Education.

Now, let’s peruse a few career options a master’s in Secondary Education offers new graduates.

Master’s in Secondary Education Careers

1. High School Teacher

Median Salary: $62,870*

Most high school teaching positions require only a bachelor’s degree, at least to start your career in the classroom. A few select states, like Connecticut, require the continued education of high school teachers throughout their career. Nearly all states offer a salary increase for those holding a master’s– on average $5,285 more annually than teachers with a bachelor’s degree only (National Center for Education Statistics). It’s one investment you know will pay off.

2.  High School Principal

Median Salary: $98,490

While the principal role comes with a sizable pay increase, it’s not a position to be undertaken lightly. Leading a high school, both students and staff, is a demanding career, even for those who feel called to it. High school principals are administrators who oversee all activities of a school and work tirelessly to provide students and staff with a healthy work/learn environment. Principals also manage the school’s budget, provide professional development for staff, and head up communication with parents and students. However, as you can see from the salary potential, becoming a high school principal can really pay off.

3.  Instructional Coordinator

Median Salary: $66,970

Instructional coordinators need both a master’s degree and experience in a school, as either a teacher or administrator. These professionals work in creating and implementing curricula on a school-, or even district-wide, level. Working with both educators and administrators, this role provides critical support for secondary educators while having a direct impact on the future of both what and how students are taught.

4.  Special Education Teacher

Median Salary: $61,500

Special Education, while it seems like a mainstay in public schools in 2022, is still very much a developing area of both study and work. As recently as 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that education must be publicly available to all students regardless of any mental or physical handicaps they may have (EPMagazine). Luckily, in 2022, the role of special educator is increasingly valued and respected, and much research goes into how best to provide educational resources to those with learning differences and challenges. Special education teachers work with fewer students on a more intimate level, developing individual lesson plans and building relationships with parents and family.

5.  Curriculum Development Coordinator

Median Salary: $65,459

Working in curriculum development is a career option both in and outside a secondary school. This job may work with private companies or the school board, far outside the actual classroom, but should ideally have classroom experience. Developing curricula for students at the secondary level requires empathy for students and an understanding of what they’ll soon face in the workforce. Curriculum developers must prepare students for what comes next by creating resources and courses that will be relevant to students’ careers and daily lives.

6.  Educational Consultant

Median Salary: $64,450

Like curriculum development, an educational consultant is not tied down to one school or even to the public sector. Educational consultants can work with many schools or districts over their career, getting a bird’s eye view of the field as a whole. This career path offers the opportunity to enact change on a broader level and provide guidance to a large audience. Consultants with classroom experience and a master’s in Secondary Education are in a prime position to enact change or even influence public policy.

But must a master’s degree be tied directly to a career boost? What about learning for the sake of learning?

Consider this for a moment: Since the overwhelming majority of states pay teachers back in some way for earning their Master’s—either through higher wages or incentivized educational credits—it’s as if teachers are being paid to learn. This is a good thing. It is, in itself, its own reward.

We are a society that values education and critical thinking, so let’s appreciate learning for learning’s sake. We love educators enough to send them back to school for no other reason than the joy of learning. The hope: that joy is then translated to the next generation through the classroom.

Of course, a master’s in Secondary Education also trains teachers in the best pedagogical practices while deepening their understanding of teaching and learning. And bringing those improved skills into the classroom pays it all forward to the next generation.

In short, an investment in your own education repays itself in both predictable and unknown ways for decades and generations to come.

If you’re interested in taking your educational career to the next level, University of Bridgeport’s master’s degree in Secondary Education is helping to prepare the next generation of educators and leaders. Are you ready to be part of what comes next?

*All salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.