Is a Master’s Degree in Education Worth It?

By University Staff

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Making the decision to return to school to obtain a master’s degree is a momentous one with many factors to weigh. How will your continued education fit into your life? How long will it take? How will your education impact your current work schedule? What will the outcomes be? Will a master’s help you reach your career potential? 

According to research done by the Education Advisory Board (EAB), by 2022 master’s degrees will grow to make up almost a third of all degrees conferred, as programs focus more and more on helping students gain a position or advance in their  existing career.

A Master’s Degree in Education

Master’s degrees in education, coupled with those in business, law, and health care currently make up about 62% of graduate degrees, according to the EAB. However, reports from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) also show that the rate of students completing their master’s in education has been declining since the 2010-2011 school year. These trends present a potential opportunity for those already working in a similar field to stand out from other candidates focusing on career advancement by obtaining a master’s degree.

masters in education degree rate chart

(source of chart: NCES)

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Education? 

Within the two years of study that is standard to obtain a Master of Arts in Education, a student typically builds upon their past studies and work history to establish a strong understanding of curriculum planning, Common Core State Standards, evaluation strategies, pedagogical theory, and using technology to effectively promote learning.

Classes you may take while studying for a Master of Arts in Education include:

Master’s Degree in Education Jobs

A Master’s in Education (M.ed) is often more attractive to practicing teachers looking to advance their school administration careers, while a Master of Arts in Education (MAed) is often more appealing to a wider range of applicants who may be looking to advance their careers beyond just the classroom setting. 

Along with having your resume stand out from other applicants, having a Master of Arts in Education may allow you to move into senior management, as many school districts require a master’s for those positions. Additional career paths for graduates may include: 

  • Program Director
  • Dean of Students
  • School Board Member
  • Educational Consultant
  • Education Policy Analyst

Benefits of a Master’s in Education

Heading back to the classroom for a postgraduate degree often has many benefits.

Networking and Learning from Experts

When you go back to school, you are exposed to others with differing backgrounds and expertise. Being able to build your network through coursework can be helpful to your future endeavors.

Apply Learnings Immediately

If you are currently working in a similar job role, being able to take what you’re learning in class and apply that knowledge immediately to your work setting is something that can benefit your career and your understanding of course materials.

Heather Petty, who graduated in 2017 with her MA in Education and was already a successful grade-school teacher*, noted, “I found many opportunities to utilize what I was learning in my own classroom. It greatly helped my students become better readers because I had a better understanding of how the reading process works, and how to better assess and differentiate for those who were struggling.” 

Advance Your Earning Potential

A recent study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce showed that having a college degree increased the likelihood of obtaining a “good job” (described as one paying more than $53,000). But, while a bachelor’s degree will help qualify you for these jobs, Andrew Hanson, a Senior Analyst for the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce noted, “We’re creating a lot of bachelor-degree jobs, but people with graduate degrees are the ones who have really seen their earnings go up.” 

Online Master of Arts Degree in Education

Growing in popularity, the ability to complete degree programs online are often the best options for busy, working professionals.

Being able to access a degree program from anywhere, on any device, at any time, allows for additional flexibility, not always offered at traditional schools with defined class times. Former Ashford University student, Kiara Gray, remembered her experience, saying, “I knew from the first day of class what the expectations were for the next six weeks. So, if I wanted to do work prior to, I was able to do it. When I had down time, I was able to take advantage of it and get more work done.”

If you’re ready to take the next step toward an online master’s degree in the education field, contact a Global Campus representative to learn more, or explore some of our related master’s degrees.

* The Masters of Arts in Education is not CAEP**, TEAC or NCATE accredited, which is a requirement for certification in some states, and successful completion of the Masters of Arts in Education by itself does not lead to certification or licensure in any state. Other factors, such as a student’s criminal history, may prevent an applicant from obtaining licensure or employment in this field of study. All prospective students are advised to visit the Education Resource Organizations Directory (EROD) and to contact the licensing body of the state where they are licensed or intend to obtain licensure to verify that these courses qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits in that state prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the states’ policies and procedures relating to licensure as those policies are subject to change.

** The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the resulting entity from the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

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