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Online Masters Programs in Education: Degree Summaries

Find information about online master's programs in education. Read about important requirements, course topics, and check out career and continuing education options to find how you can use this degree.

Essential Information

Many schools offer online master's degree programs in education. All students must hold a bachelor's degree, and many programs require that they be licensed teachers. Students who are not licensed may pursue master's programs that qualify them to apply for licensing. Due to required student teaching experiences, these teacher certification programs cannot be completed entirely online.

There are several types of online master's degree programs in education, depending upon the student's career goals. Students who want to become principals may seek a degree in education administration, while students who aim to teach literacy can choose a reading education program.

Master's Degree in Education

Master's degree programs in education emphasize advanced teaching and leadership skills. Students can also select a concentration within the education field. Specialties include elementary education, secondary education, education administration, reading or special education.

Students typically must hold their bachelor's degree to apply to an online master's degree program in education, and many universities have a minimum GPA requirement. Some schools also require students to have already earned their teaching credential and hold prior full-time teaching experience. Applicants typically must submit letters of recommendation, multiple writing samples, a resume and their Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

Program Information and Requirements

The online master's degree program in education usually takes two years for students to complete. Some universities require students to compose a thesis at the end of their second year, while other schools allow students to take an examination instead. There are typically no residence requirements for the online master's degree program.

Course Topics

Education courses for the master's degree program introduce students to a number of different teaching philosophies and methods. The program also presents students with real life scenarios that they might find in the classroom and emphasizes the need for teachers to adapt quickly to the varying needs of their students.

Educating in Disadvantaged Areas

The class teaches students to remain aware of certain educational disadvantages their own students might face and different learning speeds and accommodations that can be made. Teachers must move a classroom forward academically while also giving individual attention to students whom may have fallen behind in their understanding of concepts.

Elementary Reading

Students learn how to teach the reading skills needed at the elementary school level and assess their students' reading comprehension. Attention is also paid to compiling reading lists that combine traditional children's books with more contemporary works.

Technology and Teaching

The course shows students how to utilize technology in everyday class settings. This might include online readings, computer practice in the classroom and video presentations.


Career Information

The vast majority of graduates with their master's degree in education go on to become elementary, middle and secondary school teachers, as well as education administrators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), teaching positions are all expected to rise as fast as other job sectors from 2014-2024, with the exception of postsecondary positions, which will grow faster than average (www.bls.gov). Teaching opportunities, however, can vary widely based on the grade level and subject.

The BLS reported that kindergarten teachers made an average annual salary of $54,510 in 2015, while elementary school teachers earned approximately $57,730 yearly in 2015. Secondary school teachers earned an average annual wage of $60,440 in 2015. Elementary and secondary school education administrators made an average annual salary of $92,940 in 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Most master's degree programs in education already require students to hold their teaching credential. Graduates can also apply to receive a National Teacher Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which requires turning in a teaching portfolio and passing a written evaluation.

To become an education administrator, many states require licensure as a school administrator. Requirements vary by state, but most applicants must hold their master's degree and pass an examination. Graduates who wish to teach at the postsecondary level or enter academic research in the education field might want to earn their doctoral degree since postsecondary positions have become increasingly competitive.

Licensed teachers can study course content in a master's degree program in education fully online, while those without certification will need to complete a student teaching experience. These programs provide future teachers with the skills to effectively transmit information to their students, covering a wide range of leadership, communication and educational skills.


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