The field of education can offer a long and rewarding career in helping people of all ages learn and grow, personally and professionally. However, if you’re thinking of taking your career to the next level, you may be wondering, “What can I do with a Master’s in education?” There are even more opportunities that await outside the classroom.
A master of arts in education can prepare you for career advancement in public, private, and workforce education. Leadership as a school administrator, educational consultant, test developer, corporate trainer, curriculum designer, textbook author, educational psychologist, or researcher all reward attainment of a master’s degree in education.
A master’s degree can also help you carve out a career as an educational policy analyst at a state level or an instructional designer who develops educational materials, courses, and curriculum. Other human services areas like counseling, recruiting, tutoring, and coaching are also open to those holding master’s degrees in education.
Finally, as with many fields of study, a master’s degree is a prerequisite for doctoral studies in education.
Benefits of a Master’s in Education
A master’s degree in education can open new doors, regardless of whether your current career sits within the realm of early childhood education, elementary education, or secondary education. A master’s degree in education can enhance your earning potential, as well as help you expand your career into a variety of settings, including higher education, in an administrative capacity, or directing curriculum development for organizations and agencies.
There are many qualities of competent educators, and one of the most important is a commitment to lifelong learning. A master of arts in education degree can help you hone existing skills, whether built on years of classroom experience or through other employment, as well as develop new skills to further your career.
Improve teaching and leadership skills
Learning from expert instructors about the latest techniques and findings can help you add new tools to your teaching arsenal. A master’s can help foster new ideas, such as a media-rich instructional approach or leverage social-emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom – a discipline proven to have driven a measurable improvement in students’ test scores, as well as social and behavioral skills.
A master of arts in education degree can also be a critical asset if you’re considering a path in a more administrative capacity, equipping you with the tools needed to create more effective administrative policies and processes.
Opportunity to specialize
Earning your master’s in education can allow you to expand your area of specialization in a given academic subject or area of study. For instance, a master’s can help you enhance your skill set as a reading or math specialist or in early childhood education (ECE) in a classroom setting or at a higher district-wide level in developing a curriculum based on your knowledge of a specific learning area. Those holding expert knowledge in content areas outside education can also benefit from a master’s degree program. Linking learning theory and design of instruction to the teaching of specific job skills and behaviors can prepare for careers in workforce education or learning support systems development.
Move into administration
A master of arts in education degree can help you move into a career in education outside the classroom. At an administrative level, a master’s can set you up for success as a principal or school superintendent within a given district. It can also help you develop the knowledge needed to drive policy and curriculum and policy changes at a much broader state-wide level or across a specific industry as an instructional coordinator or curriculum specialist or program director.
Where Can I Work with a Master’s In Education?
A master’s degree in education (M.Ed.) can prepare you to work in various settings, environments, or capacities. It can help you advance your career at the local elementary or secondary school level as a principal or as an educator with an area of distinction. It can also propel you to a position at the district level, in an administrative capacity on a school board, or as a superintendent, overseeing budgets and resource allocation.
Earning an M.Ed. can also pave a path for you to work at a state-wide level, designing a curriculum for students that weaves in new technological advances, subject matter, and educational approaches.
Career Options for Grads with a Master’s in Education
Earning a master’s in education can provide you with a wealth of career opportunities, regardless of whether you choose to continue as an educator in a primary or secondary classroom, teach in a collegiate setting, or work in an administrative role.
Here are just a few career paths that a master’s in education can help you pursue:
Elementary or Secondary School Principal: Many K-12 principals were once teachers themselves. While their years of classroom experience can make these individuals well-acquainted with the curriculum and varying personalities of teachers and students alike, a master’s can help prepare them for a more challenging role in managing the day-to-day school operations.
A school principal oversees the financial aspects of a school, working alongside district administrators, such as superintendents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school principals earn a median annual wage of $98,420. The need for school principals is anticipated to grow 5% between 2021 and 2031. As many principals reach retirement age or move on to different roles, new openings materialize.
School superintendent: A school superintendent spearheads a given district’s strategy to allocate the appropriate funds and resources. These individuals are also involved with hiring personnel within the district, evaluating student test scores, creating school expansion plans, and implementing state-mandated educational requirements to school programs and curriculum. The average annual salary for a superintendent is $105,695, although it can be higher in major metropolitan areas.
Instructional coordinator: Earning a master’s can also help you take on such challenging opportunities as an instructional coordinator, sometimes referred to as a curriculum specialist. These individuals collaborate with teachers and administrators to improve student learning. They develop instructional materials, work with administrators to implement them, and also measure their impact on educational outcomes.
According to the BLS, instructional coordinators can expect a median annual wage of $63,740. Professionals in this discipline can anticipate a 7% growth rate before 2031, which is about as fast as the national average across all occupations.
Library media specialist: As the world becomes increasingly more technology savvy, the classroom experience also needs to keep pace with engaging students with new media to improve learning outcomes. A school library media specialist works with students, teachers, and school librarians to drive effective and responsible use of technology in learning applications.
Skilled library media specialists can help students and staff locate the necessary resources, as well as take on an administrative role in selecting and evaluating library media materials and instructional equipment. The BLS notes that library media specialists may earn a median annual pay of $61,190. The need for qualified professionals in this discipline is anticipated to grow by 6% before 2031.
Literacy coach: Sometimes referred to as a reading specialist, a literacy coach supports teachers in developing a reading curriculum, helping teachers improve their approach to fostering literacy and a deeper understanding of language arts among students. Literacy coaches typically earn a median annual salary of $52,648. The need for individuals with this skill is anticipated to increase by 10% by the end of the decade.
Literacy coaches were previously teachers, having mastered their discipline and leveraging their learned and acquired skills to help other educators excel in the field. They forge strong relationships with other teachers and often observe and provide constructive feedback to teachers to help them learn and grow.
Why Earn an M.Ed.?
Earning a master’s in education can help propel your career in fulfilling new ways, allowing you to increase your earning potential, as well as stand out as a leader in your area of discipline.
While a bachelor’s in education prepares you to thrive in the classroom and shape young minds in various subjects, some roles in the field require a master’s degree. Positions such as a K-12 principal, school superintendent, or instructional coordinator require an advanced degree and field experience in the classroom as an educator. A master’s in education can help you to develop the skills needed to branch into an administrative role, including leadership and change management, instructional design, and more.
For teachers who love what they do and want to take their careers in exciting new directions, a master’s degree in education can help them develop new skills and fulfill new ambitions. A master’s in education can equip new teachers with the latest learning techniques to foster more engagement with students and fellow educators, as well as gain a deeper understanding of administrative practices necessary to take on an administrative leadership role.
Earning a master’s in education can also help you command a higher salary. According to the National Education Association (NEA), educators with a master’s degree earn 9.5% more than those with a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, a master’s unlocks more opportunities to work in different levels of education – inside the classroom, as well as at the district- or state-wide level.
Given teacher shortages in some parts of the country, the government has offered incentives to recruit qualified educators by offering tuition reimbursement. For instance, the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program forgives up to $17,500 of Direct or Federal Stafford Loans after teaching for five consecutive academic years at a qualifying school in specific, highly qualified special education or secondary math and science areas of study.
Other programs, such as the Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers program and state-sponsored student loan forgiveness programs, can also offer educators savings. Not only are you furthering your career, but you’re providing a valuable service to your community.
On top of federal reimbursement programs, some school districts offer additional financial support and tuition reimbursement for advanced training and degrees. Tuition reimbursement is not taxable income, which offers an added savings benefit. In some instances, teachers may be given a professional development budget, which can be applied towards a degree program, if given administrative approval. Administrative approval may be contingent upon a variety of factors, including areas of specialization within your master’s program or capped at a specific monetary figure for a school year.
Is a Master’s in Education Worth it?
Earning your master’s degree in education is a worthwhile endeavor that can offer personal and professional fulfillment, as well as open new career avenues to you. Beyond increasing your earning potential, a master’s can help you enhance and fine-tune your educational skill set or develop an area of specialization that can improve educational outcomes for students and help other teachers level up by sharing your knowledge.
What Will I Learn in an MEd. Program?
In a master’s of education program, you’ll learn more about the psychological and social foundations of education, as well as deepen your knowledge of curriculum development, assessment, and instruction. Educators will also have the opportunity to better understand learning differences among students and techniques to help reach these students.
Beyond enhancing teaching skills, an M.Ed. program can also offer enrichment in specific areas of expertise, including early childhood education and reading comprehension, to name a few.
For educators who want to branch off into a more administrative role, an M.Ed. program can help them develop leadership skills and provide a working knowledge of policy development, financial operations, and strategic planning and analysis.
Earn Your Master’s at National University
Educators have an unrelenting drive to help foster a love of learning in students and continuous learning among their peers. A Master of Arts in Education from National University can help you advance your career and develop new skills as a teacher or trainer, or equip you with the tools needed to pursue a more administrative or instructional design track outside of working directly with students or workers.
For teachers looking to make the leap to working in a leadership capacity—such as a principal, superintendent, or instructional coordinator—a Master of Arts in Education from NU offers a rigorous curriculum that encompasses instructional design, media-rich instruction, as well as a focus on leading and managing change, as well as policy and accountability.
Take your next step as an educator with National University today.
On average, the highest-paying job you can get with a master’s degree in education is as a school superintendent. School superintendents earn an average annual salary of $105,695. Superintendents in school districts in major cities may command even higher salaries.
After earning a master’s degree in education, you can choose to pursue a Ph.D., marking you as a Doctor of Philosophy. Earning your doctorate can open doors to becoming a professor, teaching students at a university level in a given field of academia, among other career avenues.
A master’s in education is different from a master’s degree in teaching. A master’s in education can encompass a broad range of disciplines, while a master’s in teaching primarily focuses on teaching and classroom management. Conversely, while a master’s in education can set teachers apart with distinction in a specific subject, the degree can also prepare them for a career in a more administrative capacity, such as managing school- or district-wide operations involving hiring, budgets, and curriculum development.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, professionals who have earned a master’s in education can add the letters “M.Ed.” after their name, indicating that they have achieved this distinction. If you specialize in a given subject or area of education, there are several other letters and titles you can use to set yourself apart as having obtained a specialized degree. These include:
- Master of Arts in Art Education (M.A.A.E./M.A.A.Ed.)
- Master of Arts in Computer Education (M.A.C.E.)
- Master of Arts/Science in Education (M.A.Ed./M.S.Ed.)
- Master of Music Education (M.M.Ed.)
- Master of Physical Education (M.P.E./M.P.Ed.)
While you cannot generally become a professor with a master’s degree in education, as that designation usually requires earning a Ph. D or Ed. D, a master’s can designate you as having advanced your studies in a given area of expertise and open doors to an adjunct or part-time faculty role with a college or university. Adjunct or part-time faculty teach courses on a part-time, contract basis, typically working with both undergraduate and master’s students.