The decision to pursue graduate study requires serious thought and consideration. Graduate school makes demands on a student’s time and budget. On average, master’s degrees can take between one and two years to complete and can cost upwards of $55,000. However, the right master’s degree can also lead to a higher starting salary, advancement opportunities, and career prospects. This is why it’s important to pick the most advantageous degree program possible. Teachers especially have a wide variety of master’s degrees they can choose from, from a Master’s in Education to a specialized degree program. So, that begs the question, “What is the best master’s degree for teachers to get?”
What Are Your Career Goals?: Pick the Degree that Fits Your Needs
Put simply, there isn’t a single, “best” master’s degree for teachers. It’s purely subjective, based on what your own personal career goals are. For example, if you want to transition from the classroom to working in student affairs, earning a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership is the right move. But if you’re hoping to teach high school students, this degree won’t make much sense for your goals. The best master’s degree for teachers will be the degree that helps put you over the top in the pursuit of your career aspirations. Read on to learn about some of the master’s degrees available at University of Bridgeport’s School of Education, and who they’re best suited for!
Master’s in Education
A master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) is a wonderful program for those who already hold teacher certification. This program does not lead to teacher certification, but it’s a great choice for educators who want to develop their leadership and advocacy skills.
Offered over the course of one year, students complete this degree online, allowing them maximum flexibility and the opportunity to keep doing what they do best during working hours: teach.
The M.Ed. program teaches students how to apply the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to develop learning experiences for a variety of students. This framework recognizes the variability of learners in the classroom and prepares teachers to provide quality instruction to all. Courses taken in this degree program include, but are not limited to:
- Social Foundations of Education
- Effective Learning Environments
- Classroom-Based Assessment
- Curriculum Theory
Additionally, students must complete a classwork project in order to earn their degree.
The M.Ed. degree prepares teachers to become advocates for all of their students, regardless of physical, cognitive, intellectual, or organizational barriers. Again, this degree is ideal for teachers who already hold certification but who are interested in enhancing their skill set through UDL training, and who require a master’s degree for their future goals. The M.Ed., for example, may serve as a stepping stone into special education advocacy, policy leadership, or training and development.
Elementary Education MS
The Elementary Education MS provides candidates with the knowledge they’ll need to successfully teach elementary subjects including literacy, mathematics, social studies, and science. This course of study is ideal for those who are interested in sitting for the ETS Praxis II Elementary Education test as well as the Foundations of Reading Test, both of which are requirements for prospective elementary school teachers in Connecticut.
Elementary Education master’s courses center around elementary teaching subjects, in addition to pedagogical techniques. Classes include, but are not limited to:
- Special Education
- Curriculum Building
- Content Subject Areas (e.g. Literacy, Mathematics, Social Studies, etc.)
- Educational Psychology
Additionally, candidates are required to complete the Resident Teaching experience which entails 60 full days of teaching in a school under the direction of a supervising teacher.
This degree program is designed specifically to prepare candidates for a career as an Elementary School teacher. With a master’s degree, graduates will be prepared to meet the unique challenges presented in the contemporary classroom.
Secondary Education MS
The Secondary Education MS is the perfect program for candidates who wish to teach grades 7-12. This program provides candidates with the qualifications they’ll need to earn initial teacher certification for middle and high school. Furthermore, those in this program will learn what they need to pass the Praxis II content knowledge certification exam in the specific subject area in which they want to teach, in order to become a secondary education teacher.
For example, those pursuing a Master’s in Secondary Education can complete certifications in science, mathematics, English, social studies, and more. At University of Bridgeport, candidates may also pursue a cross-endorsement in Computer Science through dedicated coursework or the Praxis II Computer Science examination.
The MS in Secondary Education prepares candidates to teach subject-specific courses in middle and high schools. Depending on the area in which you wish to focus, coursework may include any of the following:
- Methods and Materials in Language Arts/Mathematics/Social Studies/Science
- Education of the Exceptional Student
- Adolescent Literature
- Topics in Advanced Math
- Psychological Foundations in Education
Candidates in this program must also complete field experience and a student teaching residency. Additionally, students must complete classes in Research and Report Writing as well as Thesis Research.
This degree pathway is the perfect choice for educators and future educators who wish to teach secondary school-age students, such as middle and high school. With its focus on specific subject areas, such as math or science, the MS in Secondary Education prepares graduates to provide specialized instruction to their students.
Student Affairs Administration and Leadership (SAAL) M.Ed.
The SAAL M.Ed. degree is a unique, hybrid degree program that prepares candidates for student affairs positions in college or university settings, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and even corporate businesses. This degree can be completed on either a full-time or part-time basis, giving candidates the flexibility to complete their degree at a pace that works best for them.
The coursework of the SAAL M.Ed. degree trains candidates to understand how student affairs administrators and organizational leaders can directly impact the academic success, social development, and well-being of students. Classes include, but are not limited to:
- Career and Lifestyle Development
- Strategies in Professional Development
- Best Practices in Urban Education
- Helping Relationships
As part of their degree, candidates must also complete two semesters of field experience in the area of Student Affairs.
While this degree prepares graduates to face the unique challenges of a career in student affairs, a SAAL M.Ed. can open up many career paths. Here are just a few positions available to those who earn a master’s in Student Affairs Administration and Leadership:
- Residential Life Director
- Career Specialist
- Manager: Academic and Student Success
- Coordinator of Health and Wellness
- Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX Programs
- Recruiter and Talent Manager
- Manager for Workforce Training
Which Master’s Degree is Best for You, as a Teacher?
A master’s degree can benefit teachers – and aspiring educators – in a variety of ways. From opening up more job opportunities, to preparing candidates for the unique challenges of their chosen field, graduate school can be well worth the investment. However, to truly benefit from earning a graduate degree, you should take care to select the master’s program that fits your needs and goals. As a teacher, this is especially true.
Learn more about University of Bridgeport’s master’s degree programs for educators, and take the next step in your career, with the best master’s degree for you.
If you are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in education, explore the University of Bridgeport School of Education online.
Or, if you’d like to learn more about becoming a teacher, and the degree requirements in Connecticut, download our free guide. In this guide, we explore the potential degree options available to teachers, as well as the pathway to certification.