Pursuing an online Master of Education Degree (MEd) is a fantastic way for teachers to update their educational skills, prepare for promotional opportunities and learn about the latest technological advancements in education. Professionals in careers outside the teaching arena can complete a Master of Education degree program to prepare them for a career change, too. Programs vary in length from one year to three years, depending on the program guidelines and the amount of time that a student has to dedicate to their studies. Many experienced teachers choose to pursue a Master of Education in order to qualify for increased salaries or career advancement to supervisory roles.
Master of Education Programs
Although every Master of Education degree program has some common core curriculum elements, each one has unique focal points and requirements. It is possible to get a general education degree or a more targeted degree that is tailored for one academic subject such as math or science. Occasionally teachers find their classroom environment requires them to develop critical skills to be a more effective teacher.
In general, all programs are designed for applicants that have already received an undergraduate degree. Most programs can be tailored to fit with any undergraduate degree; however, some programs require a certain number of core credits in specific concentrations. Additionally, the accreditation of previous institutions of higher learning might be a factor for admission.
There are dozens of degree plans available. Below are some of the most common Master of Education degree programs that candidates consider. Following each heading is a brief snippet related to that particular field.
Masters in Education Reading Concentration: This program is designed to provide classroom teachers the skills to assess learning styles and implement diverse training programs to improve reading skills for students from preschool through secondary education levels. This specialization is often incorporated with coursework that covers basic skills for training other educators to add methods and techniques in their daily classroom activities that promote national reading standards.
Masters in Education Math Concentration: This specialized degree plan is centered upon teaching the concepts of mathematics on all levels from early childhood to university level. Graduates will master fundamental concepts and processes, learn about curricula development methods and the administration of department management.
Masters Degree in Education for Gifted Education: Educators often enroll in this program because they are interested in focusing their efforts on teaching students with exceptional academic abilities. Curriculum includes knowledge strengthening course work that prepares teachers to identify and serve gifted and talented students in their classrooms. This degree program may pave the way for advancement to a curriculum development career for gifted education programs.
Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) – (ESL) Degree: This degree plan is particularly of interest to teachers that either want to pursue an advanced degree in research or experienced teachers currently working in the ESL/EFL field. The program offers exposure to current trends and developments in research settings, including theory and practice. Students gain a thorough knowledge of the development of ESL, discussion evaluation, pedagogical grammar and language analysis. Additional courses may cover learning language with computer assisted programs and studying English for a dedicated purpose.
Masters in Special Education: These programs vary widely from institution to institution. The majority offer course work that allows students to explore methodology for more efficient and effective teaching applied to special needs students. It allows students to become familiar with the various challenges and limitations that certain student populations face in traditional learning environments. A few programs offer the MEd to applicants without previous practical experience.
Athletic Administration Degree: An MEd in Athletic Administration provides coaching professionals the opportunity to achieve an advanced education in the management and development aspects of sports and athletic programs in primary and secondary settings.
Master of Science in Education: This program focuses on providing students with a broad range of skills necessary to address educational challenges today. Course offerings include assessment of learning, working with technology in education and educational research and development.
Masters of Educational Leadership: This online program is designed to provide graduates with opportunities for advancement in the areas of educational business administration, campus management and supervisory roles. Experienced teachers often pursue this degree when they are interested in moving into positions such as principal or assistant principal or district administrator.
Master of Curriculum & Instruction: This program provides vital instruction to develop the necessary skills to pursue educational positions for teaching in both primary and secondary classrooms and for pursuing a curriculum writing career. This program can be customized to fit the prospective graduate’s career plan.
Master of Literacy (K-12) Degree: This degree plan is very similar to the Master of Education with a Reading Concentration. The program should prepare graduates for working with preschool children through grade twelve. Additionally, graduates may pursue a career in non-profit management for programs working with illiterate adults and community service roles.
Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT): This online degree was developed to provide students with advanced education related to teaching in traditional classroom settings. Graduates are fully prepared for both primary and secondary educational positions. Admission may require a minimum of one year or more in field experience teaching in a K-12 position prior to application. Courses include instruction in curriculum development, strategies and techniques for classroom management and technology in the teaching environment.
Masters of Music Education: This program is designed to provide graduates with the dynamic skill set needed to secure supervisory positions as department chairpersons and to develop original lesson plans for a variety of educational settings. Most programs include current trends and history in piano pedagogy and literary focus on voice, strings, woodwinds, brass and choral performance.
STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math: This degree plan was designed for educators that want to incorporate elements from science, technology, engineering and mathematics into their daily classroom to improve student experiences at multiple grade levels. Students will learn ways to bring these vital study areas into class projects and integrate subject elements into their lesson plans to improve students’ understanding of how these subjects relate to daily life away from the classroom.
National Board Certification: The degree program is designed to enhance professional standards within the core principles of professional educators. This is a voluntary program that brings dedicated educators up to date on the latest methodologies and teaching techniques to keep their students competitive in the twenty first century. Educators seeking these certificates exhibit the highest professional acumen and dedication to teaching their students with purpose and academic integrity.
Online Master Degree of Education Benefits for Graduates
Educators can expand their knowledge base regarding new teaching strategies and research.
Professionals can convert their experience into a teaching career with an online MEd degree.
A Master of Education degree online opens up more opportunities for teaching professionals to advance in their careers.
Some school districts and private school are embracing policies that require all teachers to achieve their Master of Education in order to renew contracts.
Teachers with an MEd can expect higher salaries than their counter parts that do not hold a Master degree.
Some school systems require teachers to obtain a MEd degree within a certain period of time after hire.
Careers Available for Master of Education Graduates
Graduates of an accredited Master of Education program online have a myriad of career choices available to them. There are dozens of teaching opportunities in the public and private sector. The list below shows only a few of the potential career paths a graduate might choose after completion of an online MEd program.
- Daycare Teacher
- Private Elementary Teacher
- High School Teacher
- Assistant Principal
- University Professor
- Elementary Public School Teacher
- School Business Administrator
- Organization Management Positions
- Curriculum Writer and Developer
- Private Tutor
- Charitable Programs Instructor
- ESL Curriculum Developer
Things to Consider About Masters in Education Degree Programs
Graduates will be required to defend their proficiency prior to completing their MEd programs online. Some programs require supervised classroom teaching—practicum—while others require research and a Master’s thesis. Students should be aware that any teaching assignment is normally non-paid and can last two to three months depending on the specific program plan. These requirements require coordination around normal work schedules and family life and require time management skills…
Pursuing an online education masters degree is often more convenient for people that are currently working full time or have schedules that do not allow flexibility to attend traditional on campus classes.
Before enrolling in an online program to achieve your Master of Education it is important to consult with your state licensing department regarding certification requirements. State requirements may defer widely and it is wise to find out if your state has any restrictions regarding certification before you complete your degree plan and eligibility to take your state exams.
Prerequisites for Admission for Masters in Education Programs
Some programs require specific undergraduate degrees in order to be accepted into their MEd courses. Admission to an MEd program generally requires an undergraduate degree, official transcripts and a minimum grade point average.
Every degree program has particular entrance requirements and prerequisites. In order to find a program that is best suited to your needs, contact program administrators to discuss your educational history, current licenses and certificates, and your career goals before enrolling in any online Master of Education programs.
Some programs consider past work and teaching experience and apply experiential credit to students’ transcripts. Each individual program has specific criteria for accepting transfer credits from other educational institutions. Discuss your work experience and undergraduate degrees with an enrollment and admissions counselor to determine whether you meet the program prerequisites before officially applying for acceptance into an online program.
The Masters Degree in Education & Accreditation
The accreditation of the online program you choose matters. Be diligent when researching programs before you finalize your decision. There are several reputable agencies and associations dedicated to educators. Two of these organizations are listed below to help you complete your research.
- Teacher Education Accreditation Council, Inc. (TEAC) www.teac.org
This organization has high standards that are applied to applicants seeking membership. Their core values are dedicated to ensuring that students receive an education under the guidance of competent, caring instructors with the necessary skills to deliver a quality education.
- National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) www.ncate.org
This non-profit organization has been issuing accreditation since 1954. The NCATE accredits educational facilities including universities and individual departments of education in U.S. colleges and universities, as well as non-university entities that prepare educators for work in P-12 public or private schools. It does not provide accreditation to organizations providing continuing education, in-service or re-certification courses.
Professional Organizations for Education Masters Degrees
There are numerous professional organizations to support and encourage educators on the state and national level. Some organizations are dedicated to highly specific educational fields, such as the National Council of Teachers of English and The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics; some are open to educators nationwide. Do your research and find a professional organization that closely fits your core values and objectives.
Below are a few of the more popular organizations that successful graduates with an MEd choose to become affiliated with after graduation.
- AFT – American Federation of Teachers www.aft.org This union based organization focuses on the trends and current issues in society related to making sure that students receive a quality education from skilled professionals.
- NCSS – National Council for the Social Studies www.socialstudies.org The primary focus is to support integrating social studies across all level of P-12 education to support civic engagement.
- NBPTS – National Board for Professional Teaching Standards www.nbpts.org This agency is an independent agency that promotes national certification among educators in an effort to improve teaching quality and professional development. Membership is voluntary and open to teachers who meet their high educational standards for teaching and continuing education.
In summary, many online Master of Education programs are available. In order to get the best fit research programs thoroughly before making a final decision. Pursuing an advanced degree can open doors for a rewarding career in education.