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Masters in Education Programs in California

A master’s in education may very well be the perfect addition to your resume in California, making you a sought-out candidate in a state where teacher shortages continue to grow (and are being further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic). In fact, according to the Learning Policy Institute, nearly 80% of all school districts in California face a teacher shortage, particularly in high school math and science and at all grade levels for children with disabilities.

California’s done its share to recruit the best of the best, with everything from scholarships to tax credits to the Golden State Teacher Grant program (offered as part of the California Teacher Recruitment Program) at the disposal of aspiring and current educators in the state, making the task of earning a master’s degree in education more accessible and more affordable than ever before.

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Though you’re able to land a job as a teacher in California with just a bachelor’s degree, those who pursue a master’s in education program, such as a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Science in Education (M.S. Ed.), or Master’s in Education (M.Ed.), gain subject matter expertise, critical instruction skills, and practical experience that’s simply unmatched. Students of these highly qualified educators are able to better engage their students, who then achieve better outcomes. Master’s educators also make strong administrators because they understand real classroom issues, have well-developed leadership skills, and can effectively communicate with students and parents.

For educators, a master’s in education often equates to better and more diverse job opportunities and higher pay and serves as a direct pathway to exciting careers in administration. It’s a win-win for everyone when educators hold a master’s degree.

Keep reading to learn more about where a master’s in education in California can take you and the many programs that can get you where you want to be!

Earning your Master’s in Education in California

From traditional, on-campus programs to hybrid programs that combine the features of both an on-campus and online experience to fully online programs that ensure a convenient path to a master’s while you continue to meet your professional responsibilities, California’s selection of master’s in education programs is nothing short of impressive.

Online Master of Education (MEd) and MAT Programs in California

Earning a master’s degree is easier and more convenient than ever before, thanks to a host of online master’s in education programs. Whether you’re looking to earn your initial teaching certification in California, add another endorsement to your teaching certificate, or advance your skillset to areas like administration and policy, California’s online master’s in education programs have you covered.

Public universities in California offering hybrid and/or online master’s in education programs include:

  • California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
  • California State University-San Bernardino
  • California State University-Northridge
  • California State University – Fullerton
  • California State University – Bakersfield
  • California State University – Long Beach
  • California State University – Los Angeles
  • California State University – Monterey Bay
  • California State University – Sacramento
  • California State University – San Marcos
  • California State University – East Bay
  • San Diego State University
  • San Jose State University

California’s private colleges and universities offering hybrid or online master’s in education programs include:

  • University of Southern California
  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • University of San Diego
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • California Lutheran University
  • University of the Redlands
  • Alliant International University – San Diego
  • Fresno Pacific University
  • Meridian University
  • Westcliff University
  • Brandman University
  • Biola University
  • Ashford University
  • National University
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • California Baptist University
  • Touro University California
  • Hope International University
  • Concordia University – Irvine
  • The Master’s University and Seminary
  • Trident University International
  • University of Phoenix – California
  • Teachers College – San Joaquin
  • Humphreys University – Stockton and Modesto

Scholarships and Grants for Advanced Education Degree Students in California

You’re probably aware of scholarships offered through California’s many colleges and universities, but many organizations and foundations in the state also offer plenty of financial help in the form of scholarships and grants. Just a few of these include:

Many master’s in education students who are lucky enough to land research experiences enjoy outstanding opportunities to engage with faculty and advance study in education-related topics. Just some of the colleges and universities in the state known for their education-related research include California State University – Chico, University of CA – Riverside, Stanford, and Pepperdine, among others.

Working in California with a Master’s in Education Degree – Jobs and Salary Benefits with a Master’s

Both elementary and secondary school teaching jobs in California are projected to grow by about 5% between 2018 and 2028, surpassing the projected increase of about 3.5% nationwide, according to California’s Employment Development Department. At the elementary level alone, California expects about 15,000 annual job openings (due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover) during this time.

Strong salaries continue to trend in this profession, as well, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting a median salary of $85,970 for elementary school teachers and $88,420 for secondary teachers as of May 2020. The top earners (75th – 90th percentile) in California, likely those with significant experience and those holding advanced degrees like a master’s in education, earn $102,130 – $122,210 at the elementary level and $102,090 – $119,990 at the secondary level.

Although not all school districts offer salary incentives or higher pay for teachers with master’s degrees, perhaps just as many do. And in many instances, the pay differences are substantial. For example, in the San Juan Unified School District (Sacramento County), the average difference in pay between a BA and MA teacher is $6,902, according to a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In other school districts in California, the differences in pay between those holding master’s degrees and those with bachelor’s degrees as their highest degree is substantial. For example, in the Santa Ana Unified School District (Orange County), the difference in annual pay is $32,131 – or nearly $964,000 more over the course of a teacher’s career.

It’s also commonplace for teachers with master’s degrees to move beyond the field of education and land positions like corporate trainers, education consultants, textbook writers and editors, and more, such as:

  • Careers in Education Technology (Ed Tech) at companies such as Coursera, Udemy, or comamong many others (the San Francisco Bay Area and L.A. are home to MANY ed tech companies and startups!)
  • With offices across California, there are many opportunities for careers in education publishing at companies like Pearson Learning

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2021.

Job growth projections sourced from the California Employment Development Department and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.

Professional Research Initiatives and Other Opportunities for Master’s-Level Educators in California

If your career aspirations include working in educational research after earning your master’s in education, you’re in luck; California is home to many research facilities where your contributions are sure to be appreciated:

Employers understand that those who have earned a master’s degree in education have developed time management and leadership skills, and they know how to motivate others and communicate effectively. These skills and abilities are highly valued and transfer into other fields, so a variety of opportunities in the corporate world or the nonprofit arena are available in California, depending on your unique strengths, talents, and interests.