Like many industries, education is an evolving field. As methods of classroom instruction and curriculum development continue to change, those who want to make education their career must continually upgrade their skillsets to meet these challenges. Fortunately, a Master of Arts in Education offers the most current insight, knowledge, and perspective you’ll need to compete in this growing field.
What Is a Master’s in Education?
Often shortened to MA in Education or MAEd, a Master of Arts in Education is an advanced degree designed to strengthen your academic credentials and prepare you for leadership and administrative opportunities in education. Like all master’s programs, the master’s in education builds upon the foundation of competencies you’ve attained in your bachelor’s degree program, with a specific focus on areas such as curriculum design, assessment strategies, and learning tools and technologies that are reshaping the modern classroom.
What Will I Learn in a Master of Arts in Education Program?
Unlike a bachelor’s degree program, which includes general education courses, a master’s degree, such as the Master of Arts in Education, is hyper-focused on the lessons and strategies you’ll need to advance in your field. For example, in the MA in Education program with UAGC you will learn how to:
- Design appropriate, challenging, and diverse learning experiences informed by contemporary, research-based theory and practice
- Design a variety of strategies and experiences to elicit evidence of learner growth and responsive instructional decisions
- Analyze research that generates positive social change, along with evidence-based practices and academic writing
- Demonstrate innovative actions serving as an advocate and change agent within communities by engaging in continuous professional growth
- Construct effective methods of collaboration, communication, and partnership with colleagues, community, and stakeholders
- Apply confidence, competence, and purpose around digital citizenship and consuming, creating, and communicating information and ideas using technology
Six Skills You Will Learn in an MA in Education Program
The learning outcomes described above align with many of the essential soft skills today’s educational leaders need in order to excel in a competitive and stressful academic environment. According to The Edvocate, great educational leaders need to bring these six skills to the table:
1. Community building
As a leader, your role goes beyond managerial duties and must include community building. It will be on you to foster a culture of trust — not only among the educators and students within your purview — but also parents, counselors, specialists, and school board members.
2. Positive thinking
Leaders have tremendous influence, and your attitude can affect the attitudes of those who look to you for guidance. You must develop a positive outlook, even in the face of negativity and various setbacks, in order to maintain harmony.
Self-assessment is critically important for leaders, especially in the field of education, where your performance impacts multiple generations of educators and students. As the leader, you will not have someone above you to provide immediate feedback, and it will be on you to critique and improve yourself.
4. Development and communication of vision and a plan
Education can be a high-stress environment, and that’s why your vision must be communicated perfectly, so that everyone understands the direction you want to take. Further, you’ll need to develop communication methods that can easily be adjusted for people in different roles and age groups.
One other thing about a high-stress environment: it tends to bring out a person’s true colors. For this reason, you must be authentic from the beginning and allow people to see you for who you really are. A leader cannot suddenly switch gears and bring a new attitude to the workplace.
Fortunately, passion is often the driving force for those who pursue a career in education, so you will not be alone when you bring yours to a leadership role. If you demonstrate your passion, you will be sure to inspire those around you to let theirs shine through as well.
What Courses Will I Take for My Master’s in Education?
In a master’s in education program, your coursework will cover areas that include instructional methods, principles of leadership, and advanced pedagogical theory, but you may also be able to focus your work on a specific area of education through specialization courses. When researching the degree that is right for you, consider one that offers courses that cover the areas most critical to gaining the skills needed to be successful in your career.
Some master’s in education programs allow you to customize your degree with a concentration on your area of interest, such as:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- Early Childhood Education
- Higher Education
- Special Education
How Long Will It Take to Earn My Master’s in Education?
A master’s degree program can typically be completed in two years. For the MA in Education program at UAGC, for example, you usually will combine eight core education courses – worth 24 credits – in your first year with four specialization courses – worth 12 credits – in your second year. That’s a total of 36 credits – along with a minimum 3.0 grade point average – in order to graduate.
Can I Earn My Master’s in Education Online?
It is possible to earn an MA in education online. In fact, it is often a difference-making option for adult learners who need to balance the responsibilities of school, work, and family. An online university such as UAGC offers flexible start dates, 24/7 tutoring assistance, the ability to learn on desktop, tablet, or mobile device, and a bevy of online resources such as a writing center and library.
What Can I Do With a Master’s in Education?
As long as there are students, there will be a demand for educators, and the education industry is currently growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that analyzes and reports employment data, employment in education occupations is projected to grow 10% through 2030.
With your master’s in education, you’ll be prepared to compete for opportunities at the top of the industry ladder, such as postsecondary education administrator positions, a category that includes college deans.
“Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics, and faculty research at colleges and universities,” according to the BLS.
Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow by 8% through 2030, the agency reports, with about 14,500 openings becoming available every year.
A career with a master’s degree in education doesn’t end at the traditional school, either. Many who earn this advanced degree go on to use the knowledge they have gained to be trainers in areas such as the military and in human resources, for example.
Some of the many roles you’ll be prepared for with your master’s degree in education include:
- Program Director
- School Board Member
- Educational Consultant
- Education Policy Analyst
- Corporate Trainer
- Childcare Director
- Instructional Specialist
An additional benefit of your master’s degree is increased earnings potential and a lower unemployment rate. The BLS finds that master’s degree holders have significantly higher earnings — $1,497 median weekly earnings — and a lower unemployment rate than professionals with a bachelor’s degree or lower.
I’m Ready to Get Started, What’s Next?
A master’s degree in education can position you to make a much larger impact on your industry. If you’re ready to jump into leadership and are looking for the academic credentials to solidify your resume, contact an advisor.
An online degree from the University of Arizona Global Campus does not lead to immediate teacher licensure in any state. If you want to become a classroom teacher, contact your state’s education authorities prior to enrolling at the University of Arizona Global Campus to determine what state-specific requirements you must complete before obtaining your teacher’s license.
Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.