A master's degree in education could increase your salary or open up new career options. You may want to consider this degree if you'd like to work as an educational counselor, instructional coordinator or school principal.
Earning a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree opens up new career options as well as increases salary potential for educational professionals. Typically, school districts follow a pay grid based on experience and education. A master's degree results in a larger initial salary and greater potential earnings over the course of a teacher's career. In addition to enhancing the practice of teaching in a traditional subject area, the M.Ed. degree can point teachers in new education career directions.
|Career||Educational, Guidance, School and Vocational Counselors||Instructional Coordinator||School Principal|
|Education Requirements||Master's degree||Master's degree||Master's degree|
|Other Requirements||State licensure||State licensure||State licensure|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% (school and career counselor)||7%||6%|
|Median Salary (2014)*||$53,660 annually||$62,270 annually||$90,410 annually|
*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
School counselors work with students in elementary, middle and high schools with different emphases at each level. In general, however, school counselors seek to remove barriers to a student's social and academic success. They accomplish this through such methods as individual and group counseling, facilitating programs about alcohol and drug issues and seeking to identify and intervene for students with serious family problems. At the high school level, school counselors assist students with decisions about and preparation for their future.
Most states require school counselors to earn a Master of Education in school counseling, and approved M.Ed. in school counseling programs are designed to meet all state credentialing requirements. Typical courses in a graduate program for school counselors include counseling theories, ethical and legal issues, cross-cultural counseling, behavior management, career development and statistical inference.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for all educational, guidance, school and vocational counselors as of May 2015 was $53,660. The BLS further indicates that job opportunities in this field are expected to grow 8% which is about as fast as the national average.
Instructional technologists are commonly classified as a type of instructional coordinator who evaluates and improves technology integration in schools. In this capacity, they are likely to lead training seminars in how teachers can better meet state standards for technology use in their lessons. Other duties of instructional technologists may include curriculum development, differentiating content for students at varying levels, designing Web-based learning tools and conducting research.
In addition to K-12 and college teachers, this M.Ed. degree specialization also prepares graduates for careers as corporate trainers and new media specialists. In many programs, graduate students can elect an area of focus based on their career goals. Those who wish to enhance technology use in their schools or school districts can concentrate in K-12 technology integration, while those more interested in creating materials for education and training focus on multimedia design and development. Core courses can include curriculum and instruction, instructional systems and research.
The median salary as of May 2015 for instructional coordinators in general was $62,270, according to the BLS. While there is no specific breakdown for instructional technologists, the BLS did indicate that job opportunities for these types of school leaders are expected to grow at a rate of 7% from 2014 to 2024.
Experienced teachers seeking to assume leadership roles in their schools can earn a M.Ed. in Educational Administration to become licensed as administrators. Graduates with this degree can pursue jobs such as curriculum coordinator or assistant principal, as well as leadership positions in educational organizations outside the school. Graduate programs develop advanced skills in curriculum design and teaching strategies, school finance, school law and management strategies.
Educational administrators establish school policies and performance goals, as well as manage staff and administer school funding. In a K-12 setting, school principals and assistant principals work closely with teachers to ensure objectives are being met in the classroom. In their multifaceted job, principals also meet with parents, students and community agency representatives. Principals' job duties may increasingly involve engaging in public relations and fund-raising efforts to draw support from community businesses. Principals also may help develop school-to-work transition partnership programs as well as other programs to serve the diverse needs of students.
According to the BLS, the median salary for elementary and secondary education administrators as of May 2015 was $90,410. The job growth potential for elementary, middle and high school principals from 2014 to 2024 is as fast as average, at 6%. School district budget deficits could hinder employment, though increased enrollment may create some additional jobs, reports the BLS.
A master's degree in education can be helpful if you would like to work in educational administration, instructional coordination or school counseling. According to the BLS, these fields are expected to see job growth between 6-8% between 2014-2014.