Pennsylvania Masters in Science Education & Teaching Programs
If you are looking to enhance your teaching strategies and be a more effective science educator, enrolling in a Masters in Science Education Program might be a best choice for you. As a teacher, your own academic background can play an important role when it comes to the workplace, and it is not uncommon for some states to actually require teachers to earn a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification[i] Earning your graduate degree might be a useful way to build upon your knowledge in the sciences, learn how to address new groups of learners, or help aspiring teachers build the specific top skills needed to transmit physical and natural sciences to others. Motivated? Read on to explore different Master’s Degree in Science Education Program options.
Masters in Science Education Program Overview
Many of the Masters in Science Education degree programs are geared to learners with experience teaching science, which means they already (should) hold a teaching license and a Bachelor’s degree. As a general rule, you want to request information about program prerequisites from your prospective graduate school.
Expect coursework and to write a thesis. You may also have to complete field experiences in a school setting during your master's degree program. There are usually full-time and part-time programs to accommodate the schedules of busy working teachers.
FUN FACT: In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience.[ii]
Who is a Masters in Science Education Degree Right For?
Not all Science Education Masters programs are the same, so they might appeal to a variety of graduate students. For instance:
- Science teachers looking to learn how to better engage their students
- Science teachers who want to learn how to teach a specific discipline in science (think: biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science etc)
- Non-Science teachers with an undergraduate degree in Science
- Non-Science teachers with an undergraduate degree in a related field, such as computer science or engineering
- Students who will separately pursue a teaching certification, and seek a Masters of Science Education degree
How to Choose a Masters in Science Education Program
Ok, so you want to teach science. It makes sense to start where you are and consider a program that matches your goals – see above. Here are a few things to continue as you explore your options. There are a lot of listings, so this should help you pinpoint the Science Education Masters Degree that fits your needs.
Type of Science Education: Physical or Natural Sciences?
You also want to reflect on the type of sciences you want to teach. Some programs are geared for Physical Science teachers to improve their pedagogical skills in teaching chemistry, earth science, physics and physical science. Others may be designed as Master of Natural Sciences Education with a focus on biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science.
What is STEM? STEM disciplines include: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
Thesis or Non-Thesis?
If you plan to pursue a PhD in Science Education, naturally you want to find a Masters program that supports your continued education; usually a thesis option is preferable in this case.
Type of Student Population
Are you specifically looking for a Masters program that might help you teach science to kindergarten students, grades 7-12 or at the postsecondary level?
On-Campus or Online Masters Degree in Science Education?
If the program format is important to you, use this criteria in your search on GradSchools.com. Find graduate schools with Science Education Masters Programs by location – just use the city, state or country tabs to generate listings in your preferred area. Campus-based programs offer a social learning environment, and face-to-face interactions with classmates and faculty.
If you prefer distance-learning, maybe because it fits your scheduling needs better, review online Masters in Teaching Science programs. Some campuses may actually offer both formats. The great thing is you can visit the college or university’s site and request more detailed program descriptions. Take a look at an Online Science Education Masters program
Types of Masters in Science Education Degrees
Master of Education, Master of Arts or Master of Science programs are available in science education. Again, depending on what your intentions are, you might find slightly different orientations to these different tracks.
A Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) degree may provide a more scientific approach to the study of education and presentation of the material.
A Master of Education degree, or M.Ed in Science Education may be the right graduate degree for you if you aspire to move into administrative positions.
A Master of Arts (MA) in Science Education is a flexible degree, which is a common choice by those who want to remain in the classroom after getting their Master’s.
Some of the listings you might browse through may include ones such as: Master of Arts in Teaching –Secondary Social Science (online), Master of Natural Sciences Education, M.Ed. Science Education, STEM Education for Certified Teachers MS, MA Science: Science Teaching Specialist Concentration.
Masters in Science Education: Potential Curriculum
Masters degree programs in Science Education combine both science content and pedagogy. If you are a current teacher, this means an opportunity to:
- Fine-tune your instructional methods
- Learn how to engage your students better
- Develop curriculums
- Manage a classroom more effectively
- Explore research methods
- Assess your teaching skills
- Understand issues in Science Education
- Apply new concepts to your classroom setting
Master of Science education students may take courses such as:
- Teaching science
- Science education issues
- Science education research
- Behavior management
- Teacher leadership
Licenses and Certification for Science Teachers
In the U.S., all states require teachers in public schools to be licensed and certified. Often, teachers are required to undergo a background check and may have to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.[iii] Want more info on certification requirements in your state? If so, visit the U.S. Department of Education.[iv] Also, remember that you may live in one place now, but if you intend to teach in another state, look ahead and check the requirements of the state you are moving to.
The Workplace and Your Degree
Here’s an interesting fact: According to the bureau of labor Statistics, “many schools report that they have difficulty filling teaching positions for certain subjects, including math, science (especially chemistry and physics)…As a result, teachers with education in those subjects or certifications to teach those specialties should have better job prospects."[v] Another one to encourage you is that, again from the BLS, the need for Biological Science Teachers (postsecondary) is projected to increase 16% from 2014-2024.[vi]
Take the Next Step
Do you want to expand your own field of knowledge to include recent theory and technology that might positively affect your teaching? Are you hoping to be able to develop an instructional curriculum to address a certain age group? Are you hoping for new job opportunities? There is any number of possible ways that a Master of Science Education might be really useful and beneficial to you both academically and vocationally. Take the next step and review listings on GradSchools.com today!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [iv] http://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html | [v] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
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