Should you get your master's in teaching?

  • Should you get your master's in teaching?

    If you’re currently working as a teacher, you understand the challenges and rewards associated with helping to shape the younger generation. You’ve poured your soul and expertise into your lesson plans, creating the most academically enriching experience for your students. But when you want to become the best educator you can be, you might consider going to graduate school.

    Some states, like Massachusetts, New York and Ohio, require teachers to obtain a master’s degree within five years of signing their first teaching contract. Others don’t have quite as strict requirements, licensing teachers after earning a bachelor’s degree and completing an accredited teacher preparation program. (However, many bachelor’s degrees in education include this teacher prep requirement.) That means in many states, you won’t be required to earn your master’s degree during your career as a K-12 teacher.

    However, there are plenty of benefits of earning a master’s degree as an elementary or secondary teacher. We’ll go through the major perks of going to graduate school for Education.

    Increased earning potential

    In many careers, a master’s degree is likely to increase your earning potential. However, when you work in a public school district, a master’s degree – or better yet, a PhD – is guaranteed to raise your salary. In each public school district, teachers earn a specific amount based on their years of service and their education level.

    According to research from the National Center for Education Statistics recorded in the 2015-16 academic year, the average base salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree alone was $51,800. These findings also show that the average base earnings for candidates with a master’s degree was $60,140, over $8,300 more than educators that have completed only their undergraduate education. With thousands of additional dollars earned each year, you can expect a full return on investment in your master’s degree within a few years.

    Updated education practices

    An education degree in 2019 is completely different than these programs were before 2000 and even a decade ago. Education practices are evolving every single year; that’s why most teachers are required to participate in professional development days throughout the academic year. However, the best way to stay up-to-date on best practices in education is to enroll in a master’s program.

    Many of today’s education graduate programs cover a range of topics that apply to teachers and students of the present, including:

    • Differentiated instruction
    • Culturally responsive teaching
    • Instructional design – and the concept of “backwards design,” which many modern educators have leveraged in their disciplines
    • Inclusivity in curriculum design
    • Technology in the classroom

    Opportunity for career mobility

    Even if you have your sights set on teaching for the time being, you might eventually want to move into an administrative role at a school district. With a master’s degree, you can move into a role as a vice principal, principal or even a superintendent. Generally, schools will only promote or hire individuals for these positions when they have an advanced degree, either a master’s or doctorate.

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