While the coursework depends on the type of degree sought, all these programs include training in teaching methods for middle school age children, curriculum design, and child and adolescent development. Students who are focusing on a particular subject will take courses in teaching it and may have to complete a research project. Students pursuing initial certification will learn about classroom management and participate in student teaching experiences.
A bachelor's degree in something other than education is required while some programs require a teaching licensure. Programs for this degree are available online, but may require classroom field experience. The program length is 33-36 credits. Many programs require field experience, such as student teaching, and a research or capstone project
Master of Education in Middle Grades
Key program components include learning various teaching methods that embrace the growing independence of middle school children and techniques for designing progressively challenging curricula. Students also study adolescent behavior, psychology, classroom management and social development. They analyze current issues in middle school education and learn research methodologies. Communications skills are enhanced so they can relate to their future middle school students and students' parents.
Some courses will differ depending on the chosen concentration. Capstone experiences can include research projects or comprehensive exams in M.Ed. programs or student-teaching experiences in MS and MA programs. Common classes may include:
- Educational psychology
- Teaching literacy
- Middle grades curriculum
- Education social issues
- Classroom assessment
- Middle grades diversity
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that middle school teacher employment should grow at an average 6% rate between 2014 and 2024. This is fueled by increasing student enrollments; however, higher enrollments are expected in the southern and western regions with decreases in the Northeast. Additionally, state and local government funding influences employment opportunities for teachers. Middle school teachers can up their odds of employment by applying to schools in less desirable areas, such as those in urban or rural neighborhoods.
As of May 2015, middle school teachers earned an average salary of $58,760, reported by the BLS. These figures do not include statistics for special education teachers.
Licensure and Continuing Education Information
Public middle school teachers in all states must obtain licensure before they can begin teaching independently. Licensure requirements vary for each state, but the BLS reported that some commonalities usually include having at least a bachelor's degree, completing a teacher preparation program and gaining student-teaching experience. Some states give teachers a specified time period in which they must earn a master's degree.
Doctorate degrees in education are available, typically as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Students in Ed.D. programs usually prepare for administrative positions, while Ph.D. programs focus on educational research and prepare graduates for research-oriented occupations.
Individuals who want to earn a master's degree in middle grades education are eligible for licensed teachers or for students who are working towards licensure. Students should prepare to do student teaching in order to graduate and prepare for the career.