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Should You Pursue a Master's in Education?

Are you already a teacher, but are looking to increase your earning potential and standing? Or, are you working in a field outside of education, but have always wanted to be a teacher? Either way, a master's in education may be worth considering.

These days your options for pursuing a master's range far and wide. There are hundreds of schools offering accredited degrees, and you can even opt for an online master's in education and complete your program with some flexibility.

What You Need to Know about a Master's in Education:

Master's degrees take time, especially if you are working and enrolled in school. The duration of a program can range, but according to one University of Colorado, Boulder study, the master's in education can, on average, take about 2.2 years.

Also, master's programs are not just a time investment, they can be costly. According to a 2010 article on CBS Moneywatch.com titled, Should You Go Back to School, annual tuition for master's programs can range from $5,000 to as much as $38,000.

Despite the time and money required, for many, a master's can open up a host of new teaching opportunities. You may have heard this before-but a degree is an investment in your future.

Why You Should Consider a Master's in Education:

Choosing whether or not to continue your schooling can be a tough decision. There are certainly many factors to consider. Below we list some of the benefits of earning a master's in education.

  • Better pay: a state by state analysis by the Center for American Progress showed that teachers with a master's degree earn anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 more per year than teachers with only a bachelor's degree.
  • Career Advancement: earning a master's degree may make you eligible for prestigious and potentially lucrative promotions.
  • Fulfillment of a Requirement: some states require teachers to earn a master's degree within a specified time period in order to maintain certification.
  • Increased Career Opportunities: if you have a bachelor's degree in something other than education, a master's degree in education will open the door to a teaching career.
  • Intellectual and Professional Development: an advanced degree program can deepen your subject area knowledge and introduce new concepts and methodology that may improve your teaching.

When to Pursue a Master's Degree in Education:

If you are recent college graduate, you might want to put off earning that master's degree until you have some teaching experience. Pennsylvania elementary school teacher, Lori Raible, for example, chose to go back to school part-time after securing a full-time teaching job with a bachelor's degree. Raible was concerned about the prospects within a school district for a teacher with an advanced degree but no real-world experience.

Timing for a master's degree is a personal decision, as is the choice of whether to go to school full or part-time. These days, education options are fairly flexible and if a master's degree is for you, it shouldn't be difficult to find a program that fits your needs.