United States Masters Degree in Education
Earning a Masters degree in Education is an academic choice that has the potential to improve your teaching methods, fine-tune specialized teaching skills, and help you become a qualified and exemplary leader in the classroom.
Many Masters in Education (M.Ed.) Programs are designed for experienced educators and may improve your ability to assist students in your current classroom as well as potentially open doors to new career opportunities.
Many students choose to earn a specialized Masters degree in education by pursuing a major such as: curriculum and instruction, school counseling, school psychology, administration, special education, and higher education. Other students use the M.Ed as a preparatory degree for a doctoral degree such as the Ed.D. or the Ph.D. in education.
Masters Degree in Education Requirements
Master's degrees in education programs commonly require students to complete a research thesis under the guidance of a faculty member; on-site or fieldwork requirements are also common. Applicants to Masters in Education programs must also have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for admission; this may need to be a Bachelors in Education or a related field.
Some states require teachers to have a master's degree in education. In other states, teachers enroll in Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs for professional development. In either case, the program generally consists of approximately 30-45 credit hours and might result in salary increases and/or licensure renewal. The typical Master’s degree in education takes 2 to 3 years to complete, though some universities offer online Master’s degrees that can be earned in as few as 12 to 18 months, or even just 1 year M.Ed. programs.
FUN FACT: Often, high school teachers are required to complete annual professional development classes to maintain their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree in education after receiving their certification[i].
Campus-based M.Ed. or Online Masters Degree in Education?
Students have the option of attending on-site graduate school or earning an online masters degree in education. If you learn more from being in class than reading textbooks and spending your time on a computer, you may want to consider a traditional campus-based program. If you are a self-motivated learner, however, an online Masters in education program could be a perfect fit for your busy lifestyle. Distance-learning is often popular among working teachers who don't want to leave the tenure track while they advance their own education. Some graduate schools also offer hybrid programs. These combine the convenience of online learning with on-campus coursework.
Whatever your personal preference, GradSchools.com has easy-to-use search tools. Locate M.Ed. Programs by city, state, or country if you are looking into traditional campus programs, or search the directory for online masters in education programs. Some of the listings that you might find may include: Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology, Master of Science in School Counseling, Master of Education in Special Education, Research Methodology M.A., MEd., or Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration.
Types of Masters Degree in Education Programs
As you review different M.Ed. program offerings, it’s important to understand the difference in degrees.
A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is geared more toward initial teacher licensure and focuses on practical classroom skills and teaching specific subjects.
A Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) is generally geared for experienced educators and provides more in-depth instruction designed to prepare teachers for new leadership roles.
A Master of Science in Education and Master of Arts in Education are similar to the M.Ed.
Masters Degree in Education Program Concentrations & Curriculum
Masters in education programs come in a wide variety of degree concentrations. Some of the most common concentrations include:
- Adult Education/Adult Learning Master Programs
- Masters in Curriculum and Instruction
- Early Childhood Education Masters Programs
- Educational Leadership & Administration
- Education Technology & Online Learning Programs
- Educational and School Psychology Programs
- Masters in Environmental Education
- Masters in ESL | TESOL
- General Education Masters Programs
- Higher Education Masters Programs
- International Education Masters Programs
- K-12 Education Masters Programs
- Special & Gifted Education Masters Programs
- Masters of Teacher Education Programs
Curriculums differ from program to program, but most Masters degree in education programs will include instruction on educational policy, school and community partnerships, classroom management, theories of teaching and learning, and educational leadership.
Which M.Ed Program is Right For You?
Deepening your knowledge in a particular area should definitely align with your interests.
Do you dream of working abroad? According to the BLS, “opportunities abound for qualified teachers to work abroad.”[ii] Look into ESL/TESOL masters programs.
Are you hoping to become Dean of Students, a High School Principal, or move away from teaching to designing educational programs? If so, you might choose Educational Technology, Education Leadership & Administration, or Masters in Curriculum & Instruction programs.
If you enjoy psychology and counseling, Masters programs in Educational and School Psychology programs will prepare you for roles such as guidance counselor or school psychologist.
Licensing and Credentials For Education Professionals
Bear in mind that some fields require more than a Masters degree in Education. Furthermore, because licensing requirements and career outlook varies so much between states, we recommend verifying the individual prerequisites for your state for more information on job outlook, average salary and licensing requirements. You can check a site such as the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE).
Potential Careers for M.Ed. Graduates
Popular fields for graduates with a Masters degree in education include:
- School Counseling (Guidance Counselor, School Psychologist)
- School Administration (Principal, Assistant Principal)
- Adult Education (College Professor, Lecturer)
- Special Education Coordinator
- Career and Technical Education Teachers
- High School, Middle School, Elementary or Postsecondary Educators
- Instructional Coordinators
- Kindergarten Teachers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for postsecondary teachers was $70,790 in May 2014, and the job outlook is favorable; employment growth is projected at 13% from 2014 to 2024[iii]
Ready to Pursue a Masters in Education?
Whether you wish to understand the learning needs of autistic students, oversee student services and academics, or design instructional curriculums, there is a Masters in Education program to bring you to the next level in teaching. Take some time to review the exciting M.Ed. program offerings on GradSchools.com today!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [ii] bls.gov/careeroutlook/2006/fall/art01.pdf | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm | other sources: bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm
Purdue University's online Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology gives you vital knowledge and innovative techniques to design and deliver effective instructional materials...
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Learn the skills you need to improve special students’ lives with an online Master of Arts in Special Education degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
- Minneapolis, MN
- Rochester, MN
- Winona, MN
George Mason University
George Mason University's online Master's Degree in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis equips students to identify, address, and overcome complex learning challenges to influence the educational potential for people...
The George Washington University
The online Master’s in Educational Leadership Administration is designed for teachers and school administrators who want to advance into leadership positions.
- Old Westbury, NYOld Westbury, NY
New York Institute Of Technology
Our highly personalized program prepares you to be a responsive, effective advocate for the academic, social, and emotional success of pre-K, elementary, middle and high school students.
- New York City, NY
Queens University of Charlotte
Queens University of Charlotte's 100% online M.A. in Educational Leadership strives to make it easy for you to step into K – 12 administrator roles with confidence.
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Education (M.Ed.). This program is open to those who already have a teacher certification.
- Paxton, MAPaxton, MA
Anna Maria College
Anna Maria's Master of Education program is for adults with a baccalaureate degree who want to become licensed teachers and teachers who want to earn their Professional Teacher License. Anna Maria College offers four Master Degree programs that will qua...
University of Hartford
The online master's program in special education prepares students to be highly competent teaching professionals - deeply knowledgeable in a range of disciplines and proficient in sensitively collaborating with families and other educational spe...
- West Hartford, CT
- Pittsburgh, PAPittsburgh, PA
The Graduate Secondary Leading Teacher Program (GSLTP) is guided by the mission of Duquesne University, the conceptual framework of the School of Education, and state/national standards.
- Pittsburgh, PA
University of Colorado - Boulder
The MA in Curriculum & Instruction (C&I): Math & Science Education Program is designed to support teachers who are interested in developing greater understanding and expertise in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.
The Canisius College Educational Leadership program has three sequential segments, customized to meet your career goals. Complete NYS School Building Leader or School District Leader Certification...
- Buffalo, NY
- Costa Mesa, CACosta Mesa, CA
Vanguard offers the training necessary to make you one of Southern California’s most sought-after teachers...
University of Northern Colorado - Extended Campus
This online program is designed to prepare specialist and general K-12 classroom teachers to meet the educational needs of emergent bilingual learners throughout Colorado, the United States and around the world.
- Denver, CO
Purdue University Global
The integration of technology within education and training and development is expected to increase demand for educational professionals in many industries.* Purdue Global’s Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology is designed to build p...
- Augusta, ME
- Des Moines, IA
- Indianapolis, IN
- Hagerstown, MD
- Davenport, IA
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Cedar Falls, IA
- Omaha, NE
- Mason City, IA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Lewiston, ME
- Lincoln, NE
- Saint Louis, MO
- Rockville, MD
- South Portland, ME
- Weston, MAWeston, MA
In an effort to address the universal need for special education teachers, this program strongly focuses on classroom inclusion. During this one-year accelerated program, students learn the skills to develop innovative methods and sound educationa...
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
An Ed.S. School Psychology degree provides the education and tools a graduate needs to fill the increasingly varied roles of the modern day school psychologist.
- Conway, SCConway, SC
Coastal Carolina University
The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is an avenue to initial certification. The program starts in June and students progress through all steps to finish the following July.
- Conway, SC
- Pomona, NJPomona, NJ
The Master of Arts in Education consists of four major components to enhance classroom teaching and provide professional development: content, pedagogy, research, and electives.
California Southern University
California Southern University’s School of Education offers a graduate program that leads to a Master in Education (M. Ed) with concentrations in Counseling in Education, Curriculum and Instructional Design and Organizational Leadership.
- Plainfield, VTPlainfield, VT
In Goddard’s Master of Arts in Education, you choose your topic of inquiry and design a program of study based on how you learn best and what your study can contribute most to you and your community...
Grand Canyon University
In a crucially relevant sphere of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a growing demand for special education services and higher graduation standards intersect in public schools across the nation. As the field of diagnosis in spectrum disorders continue...