Most Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) programs are designed to aid teachers and school administrators in developing their expertise and advancing their careers. Teaching certification is often required for enrollment. These programs can usually be completed entirely online.
A few online master's programs are aimed at students who want to become teachers and include teacher education training that qualifies graduates to apply for licensing to teach in public schools. These programs are open to individuals with bachelor's degrees in fields other than education. They require classroom observations and student teaching experiences.
Most programs include courses in teaching the core subjects in an elementary curriculum, including reading, mathematics and science. Some programs allow students to choose a specialization area, such as educational technology or instructional leadership.
Master of Arts in Elementary Education
MAEd programs in elementary education help teachers increase their knowledge in educational practices, learning types and content areas. The majority of these programs expect that the student is already employed as a teacher and has the necessary teaching certification; however, some programs include a certification preparation track for those who do not yet hold a teaching certificate. In these cases, students must complete in-person student teaching and observation experiences to qualify for state teaching certification.
Program Information and Requirements
Online MAEd programs typically take 2-3 years to complete, though some schools have accelerated programs that take as little as 18 months. Some schools also offer different tracks, such as reading, educational technology or accelerated education, which allow students to customize their MAEd coursework to suit their interests and careers.
Many schools have technology requirements for their online programs, such as certain software, like the Microsoft Office suite. Students are also usually encouraged to access their online classrooms with a high-speed Internet connection.
The courses in online elementary education master's degree programs discuss assessment strategies and teaching methods. Some may focus on how to meet the needs of different types of learners and how to teach specific subjects, such as science or math. Below are some examples of classes a student might take in these programs.
Reading education classes may look at the history of reading education and approaches to instruction. The course and may compare different types of reading programs in order to assess their methods and efficacy.
This type of class may teach students data summary and interpretation and investigation methods to employ when researching in school settings. A research report may be required to demonstrate mastery of the course content.
Students in an assessment class can learn about the methods used in evaluating student work depending on the subject matter and the type of student being assessed. Personality, aptitude and vocational tests may also be covered.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elementary school employment was expected to increase 6% - about as fast as the average - during the 2014-2024 decade. In 2015, the BLS estimated that elementary school teachers (except special education) made a median of $54,890 yearly. While the data did not indicate the median annual wage of educators holding a master's degree, the BLS did note that obtaining a master's degree often leads to an increase in pay.
Continuing Education Information
Upon graduation, students who chose a MAEd in Elementary Education program that trained them for certification will need to contact their state's department of education to learn about its certification process. States usually require fingerprinting and a background check, as well as passing the national credentialing exam. Many states may also require a state test and school verification of graduation.
In online MAEd in Elementary Education programs, experienced teachers can improve their instructional and student evaluation skills, focusing specifically on young students and possibly a particular subject. Although most programs require prior teaching certification or licensure, a few are designed for students new to the education field.