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Master’s in Education Programs in Washington

Washington State’s K-12 environment is marked by a severe shortage. Over the past five years (2015-16 to 2020-21), the state has experienced a 250% increase in demand for new teachers, according to the State of Washington Professional Educator Standards Board. It’s all hands on deck here as the state actively seeks to increase not just its number of teachers, but its number of teachers holding advanced credentials like the master’s in education.

Whether you’re an aspiring teacher looking to enter the field and earn a teaching certificate, an existing educator looking to progress in the field through a second endorsement or advanced study in areas like administration, educational leadership, or instructional technology, or you’re a career changer with a bachelor’s degree in another field and with aspirations of changing up your career and pursuing education, a master’s in education is designed with you in mind.

Teacher shortages in Washington mean better and more varied opportunities than ever, which include exciting programs for subsidizing your master’s in education. For instance, the Washington State High Need Teacher loan forgiveness program offers repayment of any outstanding student loan balances of teachers deemed to be in “high need” in the state.

There may be no better time than now to consider what a master’s in education would mean for your career as a Washington teacher and the many avenues that will get you there.

Earning Your Master’s in Education in Washington – Why Get a Master’s?

To earn a residency teacher certificate in Washington, you’ll need to earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree within an approved teacher certification program. You’ll begin by earning an undated Residency Certificate. After at least one and a half years of full-time teaching experience within two years, you’ll move to a Five-Year Residency Teacher Certificate. This teacher certificate must be renewed by meeting specific clock hours of continuing education.

A master’s in education in Washington won’t just help you advance your career and bring an advanced skillset to the classroom, but it will also satisfy the clock hour requirements necessary to renew your Residency Teacher Certificate.

Master’s in education programs are designed to serve as a pathway to one or more of the following:

  • An initial Washington teacher certificate
  • A second endorsement on a Washington teacher certificate
  • A career outside of the classroom in an area like administration, instructional technology, research, curriculum design, and more

Many colleges and universities have even begun offering master’s in education programs designed specifically for career changers who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and are pursuing an initial Washington teacher certificate.

Part-time, weekend, hybrid, and online options make earning a master of education in Washington easier than ever before.

Types of Education Master’s Degrees

In general, there are two main types of master’s degrees. A Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) degree focuses on developing teaching skills in specific subjects and grade levels. A Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree focuses on educational theory and leadership skills. Note that there is no standard system for naming degrees — different institutions may use different designations.

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

The online delivery of master’s in education programs has become a standard option for today’s students with busy schedules and professional responsibilities. Offered in either a hybrid or fully online format, these programs offer distance-based courses for the best in flexibility and convenience. You won’t miss a beat through online master’s in education programs, as most are designed to mirror on-campus programs by offering the same curriculum that’s delivered by the same esteemed faculty.

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

  • University of Washington-Seattle Campus
  • University of Washington-Bothell Campus
  • University of Washington-Tacoma Campus
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Western Washington University
  • Central Washington University

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

  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Seattle University
  • Northwest University
  • City University of Seattle
  • Heritage University
  • Whitworth University

Jobs and Salary Benefits with a Master’s in Education Degree in Washington

Outstanding growth in the teaching profession remains a headline in Washington. According to the Washington Employment Security Department, the number of K-12 teaching jobs will increase by about 17% between 2018 and 2028 – that’s about five times higher than the national projected growth rate of 3.3% for this profession during this time.

During this ten-year period ending in 2028, the state expects about 3,910 annual job openings for elementary school teachers and about 1,770 annual job openings for secondary school teachers. Job openings include a blend of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for Washington’s elementary school teachers was $73,260 and $76,820 for its secondary school teachers, as of May 2020.

The BLS reports that the top earning educators (75th – 90th percentile), which represent those with significant experience and/or advanced degrees like the master’s in education, were $90,410 – $103,720 at the elementary level and $93,480 – $105,300 at the secondary level.

In Washington State, chances are you’ll earn a higher salary based on your master’s degree in education. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, of the state’s 295 public school districts, 283 have higher minimum salaries for teachers with a master’s degree.

In many cases, salary differences between bachelor’s and master’s educators in Washington can be substantial. For example, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality, teachers in the Seattle Public Schools with a master’s degree earn, on average, $17,335 more annually than teachers with a bachelor’s degree as their highest degree. This difference in pay equates to about $520,035 over the course of a teacher’s career.

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 Washington Employment Security Department and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.

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