Online Graduate Programs in Education with Initial Licensure Info

Dec 04, 2019

Get info about online graduate programs in education. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

There are many online master's degree programs in education. Some are teacher education programs that provide training to qualify graduates for licensure. Others are for licensed teachers who want to improve their knowledge and advance in their careers. Most courses in either of these programs are offered online, but some programs require a teaching practicum.

All applicants to a master's program in education must hold at least a bachelor's degree, although it doesn't have to be in education. Students who already have a teaching license can pursue a master's degree in areas such as educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, reading specialist or gifted education. These teachers may study decision-making, administrative skills, literacy and curriculum development.

Students seeking to qualify for licensing must choose to prepare for either elementary or secondary-level licensing. These programs all require a period of supervised practice teaching. The teacher education program may cover classroom management, teaching theory, child and adolescent development and the teaching of various subjects.

All states require that teachers be licensed. Requirements vary, but include completion of an accredited teacher training program. Anyone seeking to become a teacher should make sure that any online program they are considering meets their state's standards.

Master's Degree in Education and Licensure

A master's degree program in education provides current teachers with the education needed to advance to higher levels of employment in schools and colleges. Those who wish to become educators and already possess a bachelor's degree can also attend online programs to meet licensure and certification requirements. Graduates of these programs are awarded a master's degree in education. Students may specialize in subjects such as social science, reading or math, and choose from elementary or secondary school-level education certification. Some schools offer specialty concentrations in leading, instructional design, literacy or inclusion education.

Prerequisites vary, but may include a personal goals statement, a background check, a pre-screening test, letters of recommendation, transcripts, a resume or an entry exam. For those who are already licensed, programs typically require employment and experience in the teaching field for entry consideration.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs take approximately 18-24 months to complete depending on the specialty and state requirements for licensure. Some include a supervised, in-classroom teaching practicum requirement. Courses of study are designed to meet state requirements for licensure and national accreditation specifications. To become licensed, graduates must pass their state's examination.

The online programs allow flexibility in scheduling, and all classes, communication, assignments and tests are completed online via the Internet or e-mail. Some schools use an educational delivery system, such as Blackboard, to coordinate all communication and program information.

Course Topics

Foundations of Educational Administration and Leadership

Master's-level skills in learning activities, administration and leadership are taught in this class. Students learn effective teaching, decision-making, problem-solving, motivational, resource management and supervisory techniques in leading educational programs.


This class teaches participants to instill literacy in foundations of math, language arts, reading and handwriting. The curriculum emphasizes connecting with students and valuing literacy in education.

Curriculum Development and Instructional Design

Developing effective courses designed for effective learning using current tools, philosophies, experiences and research techniques are the concentration of this class. Participants also study different learning styles and social, cultural and psychological issues in course delivery.

Career Information

Teaching opportunities for both middle and high school teachers are expected to grow by 3% and 4%, respectively, from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May of 2018, the median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $58,230 and secondary school teachers earned $60,320 (

Continuing Education Information

Students who wish to further their college education can pursue their doctoral degree in education. Also, The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offers state-recognized voluntary certification, and some school districts offer benefits including higher salaries to those who achieve this designation.

Licensure is required for public school teaching in all states, and is divided by grades or specialty. Most private schools do not require licensure for teaching. Requirements vary, but all require a passing score on a state examination and an approved teaching program meeting specific training and credit requirements. Most states also require that teachers continue their education and meet a minimum of credit hours to renew their license.

Some online master's programs in education can prepare students for initial teaching licensure, while others are designed for licensed teachers seeking career advancement. Students may be able to specialize in educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, elementary education or secondary education, or a specific subject area.

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