Having a college education is one of the best ways to increase your chances of landing a job. Not only are you getting a stable paycheck, but you’ll be able to have a fulfilling career doing something that you love to do. If you enjoy teaching others and want to make a difference in the lives of others, a teaching career could be for you. With an education graduate degree, you will set yourself apart from those that stopped with a four-year college education. Going the extra year or two after obtaining a Bachelors degree will give you the competitive edge you’ll need during your job hunt. Learn more about education graduate degrees in this article and select a school on the right or fill out the zip code search box to find local schools.
What is an Education Graduate Degree?
Generally speaking, a graduate degree is awarded to dedicated students who complete a masters degree program. Within the education realm of academia, there are different types of graduate degrees. Three popular education degrees include:
- Fifth Year Master’s degree
- Master’s in Teaching (or MIT)
- Master’s Degree in Education (or MEd).
Going the extra mile will ensure that you have the proper education you need to go further in your career.
With the Fifth Year Masters degree program, you are taking an additional year of coursework after you obtain your Bachelor’s. During this year, you will receive intensive lessons that will lead to a teaching credential and a Master’s degree in education. You will then need to meet certain state requirements in order to become a certified teacher, but in most cases, Master’s degree programs meet most state criteria. Most that get this form of degree can focus on the subject area that they studied during their four-year degree and some then go on to study the art of teaching, also known as pedagogy.
The MED program is the most general degree in education. This option is suitable for those who would like to pursue careers in leadership, educational administration or research and policy. It can also be a path to other opportunities in education, such as gaining access to a doctorate or specialist degree. If you’re interested in becoming a guidance counselor or other counseling professional, you should opt for the MEd.
The MIT is ideal for teachers who are interested in earning a higher salary, as it will improve skill level and career growth oppotunities. There are other specific areas of study that you can take to obtain an MIT, which include a Master of Arts in Special Education or Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. Of the three graduate degree types (Fifth Year, MIT, MEd), the MIT offers the most hands-on and classroom-centered courses. To earn an MIT, the student will usually have to complete at least 30 credit hours and conduct student teaching for one semester. It is not uncommon for students to take MIT courses in addition to the fifth year degree or as a night class.
What You’ll Learn During Your Graduate Degree in Education
During the 30 credit hours it takes to complete a Master’s degree in education, the goal is for the student to learn and master a specialized trade with in the particular field. Depending on the school where the degree is earned, the graduate program may consist of five courses for the selected concentration.
These subject areas available for specialization in education include:
- Educational Leadership
- Inclusion Education
- Curriculum & Instruction Strategies
- Literacy K-12
Within the five courses, you will learn about the principles of leadership within the classroom and outside the classroom. Important leadership skills are taught, allowing students to examine the teacher’s role as a leader. Some of the other topics that are covered in the Masters degree program for education include:
- Teaching strategies
- Creating differentiation in the classroom
- Theories and types of instructional models
- Course creation
- Class management techniques
- Motivation theory
At the end of the courses, you will be required to complete a final project portfolio that will showcase your organization, research, goal setting and you will have to perform a case study.
Eduction Degree Concentrations
There are four primary graduate level concentrations for the education category. They include curriculum & instruction strategies, education leadership, inclusion education and literacy K-12. The curriculum & instruction strategies concentration is ideal for educators who are looking to obtain thorough knowledge and experience in teaching, developing curriculums and learning advanced areas about literacy and inclusion. The educational leadership concentration teaches about problem solving, making decisions and strategizing for creating enhanced educational environments.Inclusion education is another concentration that can be used to assist teachers with developing knowledge and skills needed to ensure that every student gets a chance to learn. If you’re interested in providing special education to students, have the desire to reach students in need or want to teach students that have disabilities, this concentration will teach you everything you need to know. Anyone who is looking to teach students from Kindergarten to 12th grade about reading comprehension and writing can take the literacy concentration. Teaching children the importance of reading and writing can help them get prepared for higher education.
The Career Outlook and Salaries for Education Graduate Degree Holders
It was reported that in 2008, around 1.7 million jobs were held by postsecondary teachers (educators with a graduate degree). The expected job growth for postsecondary teachers forecasted to increase an additional 15% between 2008 and 2018. On average in the United States, a student who has earned an education graduate degree will earn on average between $34,392 and $42,047.
Highest Paid Education Graduate Degree Positions
The starting salaries for educators with Master’s and higher degrees is $8,000 to $12,000 more than those with lower degrees. Raises are also recorded as being higher for those with graduate degrees, since graduate degree educators in many states are required to take continuing education courses throughout their careers.
The highest paying careers for education graduate degrees are as follows:
- Education Administrator: Earning between $80,140 and $95,340. Those who focused on educational leadership can find these salaries. New York and New Jersey have the highest salaries for this career path.
- Principal: Earning between $71,192 and $97,486. The highest paying states are Connecticut and New Jersey.
- Postsecondary Teacher: Earning between $68,230 and $109,150. The highest paying states are New Hampshire and Massachusetts.