Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? (2023)

  • Education
Joseph Lathan, PhDRead Full Bio

7 min read

Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? (2)

Comparing Some of the Top Teacher Master’s Degree Options

Teachers love to learn.

In fact, an estimated 52% of the nation’s 3.3 million public school teachers have a masters’ degree or higher. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 57% of public school teachers hold a postbaccalaureate degree (i.e., a master’s, education specialist or doctoral degree).

For the many who have earned their teaching master’s degree and the many more who aspire to, a passion for knowledge and the desire to be an even better teacher are among key motivators.

Whether it’s a Master of Education (M.Ed.), a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) or one of any number of teaching master’s degree programs that focus on a specific subject area, there is a wide range of master’s degrees for teachers to choose from.

(Video) Teaching the Future of Education | GCU

If you are among the many educators who is considering earning a graduate degree, read on to explore the best master’s degrees for teachers to get depending upon your goals, your interests and more.

This report will also examine some of the many benefits of earning your master’s, as well as the potential advantages of enrolling in your teaching master’s program online.

Why Should Teachers Get a Master’s Degree?

Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? (3)

There is a wide range of reasons and benefits that motivate teachers to earn their master’s degree. These include:

  • The desire to become an even better teacher
  • Making a greater impact in the lives of your students
  • Reinvigorating your passion for your profession
  • Developing a deeper understanding of educational theories and strategies
  • Building a foundation for educational leadership opportunities
  • Positioning yourself for apossible pay increase
  • Strengthening your position in the competitive job market

Master of Education

A Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree has long been a favored option for educators who wish to expand their understanding of teaching theories, pedagogy, strategies and more. This degree is considered ideal for teachers seeking new ways to make a greater impact in the lives of their students, as well as those with aspirations of expanding their career beyond the classroom — for example, becoming a school principal, designing curriculum, working in a college or university setting, or positioning yourself for business roles such as a corporate trainer.

Master’s in Teaching

A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is designed to help equip current and prospective teachers with the practical, hands-on skills needed to be effective in the classroom. Like the M.Ed., it can also be a great way to gain additional subject-specific skills and strategies in such areas as Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Education, Gifted & Talented Education and more. If you are looking to change careers to become a teacher, the MAT can help prepare you for initial licensure in your state. MAT programs typically include a required student teaching component, which will enable you to practice in and experience an actual classroom.

Master’s in English Education

A master’s degree in English Education (offered as a specialization at some institutions) is typically focused on helping teachers develop a deeper understanding of how students learn the English language and communicate through reading and writing. This is especially helpful for those seeking to teach English to non-native speakers, including in English as a Second Language (ESL) and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programs. Curriculum focus may include emphasis on language-learning theory, as well as insights, activities and techniques for use in the classroom.

Master’s in Mathematics Education

This graduate degree program (or master’s degree specialization option) is helpful for teachers seeking to improve their ability to teach middle and high school students the math skills needed to succeed in academics, the workplace and life. Programs focused on teaching secondary students are likely to focus on strategies for helping pupils understand such discipline as algebra, geometry, calculus and trigonometry.

(Video) Should You Get Your Masters Degree in Education? | Pros and Cons of Master of Education Degrees

Master’s in Special Education

Special education teachers are motivated by a desire to provide specialized instruction designed to meet the unique learning needs of students with a range of challenges or disabilities. Advanced degree programs in special education, often taught as a specialization with an M.Ed. program, typically focus on effective teaching techniques and strategies for creating meaningful learning experiences for these children, as well as developing lesson plans that address students’ specific disabilities.

[RELATED] Inclusive Learning in the Classroom: How to Create the Right Environment >>

Teaching Master’s Degree Concentrations and Specializations

Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? (4)

Curriculum and Instruction

A specialization in curriculum and instruction is often considered one of the most flexible options when it comes to selecting a concentration option in a Master of Education degree program. Focused on a range of topics including educational theory, student data evaluation and much more, it is often chosen by educators who aspire to become a curriculum developer or instructional coordinator.

Early Childhood Education

Are you curious about how the actions of young children connect to their cognitive capabilities, learning styles and academic and emotional growth? Master’s degree programs in this area of study include a focus on combining strong observational and analytical skills to develop strategies to help students learn. In addition to classroom teaching, educators who opt to focus their graduate studies on early childhood education often become academic scholars or public policy advocates and specialists.

Higher Education

This field of study explores the unique need of post-secondary students, both academically and in terms of guidance intended to encourage personal development as well as academic excellence. Such programs typically focus on various aspects of educational leadership and are often selected by educators who are interested in the college or university administration track or in working for nonprofits or agencies that help shape higher education policy.

Educational Leadership

Earning a master’s degree with a specialization in educational or school leadership is a common pathway for those interested in working as principals, superintendents or other administrative roles. Areas of focus include instructional leadership, ethical and professional norms, educational equity, meaningful engagement with families and communities, data-driven decision making and more. The emphasis on leadership is also considered valuable in fields outside of education.

[RELATED] 10 Traits of Successful School Leaders >>

Teaching English Language Learners

The practice of teaching English to non-native speakers goes by a number of different names — ESL (English as a Second Language), ELL (English Language Learners), TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) — and is a sought-after specialty that applies to young students as well as adult learners. Bilingual education is vitally important when it comes to helping students of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds succeed in school and in life. Specializing in this field can also create opportunities for educators who are interested in working as English teachers in other countries.

School Counseling

Always in demand, school counselors are an important presence at most elementary, middle and high schools. Areas of focus include working with K-12 students who are experiencing challenges inside or outside of the school environment or exhibiting problematic behaviors. But this diverse role also typically includes helping secondary students with academic achievement, career development and college admissions. In both scenarios, counselors need to be good listeners while providing valuable guidance for educational achievement and overall success.

(Video) Being part of the future with the Master of Teaching

Educational Technology

A master’s degree specializing in educational technology provides a comprehensive understanding of how ongoing technological breakthroughs connect to providing the most enriching educational experience. It also helps teachers prepare students for success in our increasingly digital world. Such programs cover both theoretical aspects of incorporating technology into the educational experience, as well as the countless new tech tools teachers can now use to enhance student learning.



The STEAM master’s degree specialization takes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the next level by adding Arts (liberal, social, manual, physical and fine arts) to the framework for integrated instruction. STEAM empowers teachers to employ a project-based learning approach that crosses all of these disciplines in solving everyday problems. Increasing emphasis on STEAM education connects to the belief that it establishes a foundation for innovation in key areas essential to individual success, as well as human progress.

What You Can Do With a Master’s Degree for Teachers

Master’s degrees for teachers can also be a great investment when it comes to positioning yourself for a range of additional opportunities outside the public school classroom. For example:

  • Administrative positions, in K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities
  • Post-secondary instructor and professor roles
  • Curriculum development specialists
  • Media and technology specialists
  • Corporate trainers
  • Private tutors
  • Educational policy analysts
  • Child care directors
  • Educational coordinator roles in museums and cultural organizations
[RELATED] 10 Tips for Earning Your Master’s Degree While Teaching Full Time >>

Career Outlook for Educators

Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? (5)

“The writing is on the blackboard: Opportunities are arising for primary and secondary education teachers,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which cites ongoing robust job growth coupled with a large number of teachers expected to leave their positions each year.

Widely considered to be one of society’s most important jobs — inspiring the young minds of our future leaders — teachers are always in demand.

Additionally, a BLS report examining graduate degree “wage premiums” for those who hold a master’s over a bachelor’s degree indicates significant differentials in the education field.

When it comes to earning a master’s degree in the education field, the most recent BLS data reveals: “Education administrators had the highest percentage wage premium, with 44 percent higher wages for master’s degree holders than for bachelor’s degree holders. The wage premium for preschool and kindergarten teachers was nearly as high, at 43 percent.” The differential for elementary and secondary school teachers ranged from 24 to 28 percent.

(Video) Teaching the Future of Education | GCU

Opportunities to earn your teaching master’s degree online now provide additional incentive to act on your desire to go back to school. High-quality programs like the University of San Diego’s online Master of Education degree are designed to give you maximum flexibility to balance your studies with the demands of work and everyday life.

Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? (6)

Joseph Lathan, PhD

Program Director

Comparing Some of the Top Teacher Master's Degree Options Teachers love to learn. In fact, an estimated 52% of the nation's 3.3 million public school teachers have a masters' degree or higher. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 57% of public school teachers hold a postbaccalaureate degree (i.e.,…

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(Video) Future teachers can earn a degree for free in Arizona


Teachers: Is There a Master's Degree in Your Future? ›

I would describe myself as a positive, energetic, knowledgeable, and industrious teacher. I have a flexible style of teaching that can cater to all students and abilities. I would also say that I am a high-achieving teacher. For example, in my last role, I managed to turn around an underperforming class.

How will you describe yourself as a teacher in the future? ›

I would describe myself as a positive, energetic, knowledgeable, and industrious teacher. I have a flexible style of teaching that can cater to all students and abilities. I would also say that I am a high-achieving teacher. For example, in my last role, I managed to turn around an underperforming class.

Why should teachers get a Masters degree? ›

A Master's in Teaching opens so many opportunities to advance your career, whether you want to work in curriculum design, education technology, special education, or educational leadership. Many of these roles require additional knowledge beyond what you get in an undergraduate program.

Is a Masters degree enough to teach? ›

Uniquely, California regulations require five years of higher education to become a teacher. You can meet this requirement either by: Traditional Path — Earning your bachelor's and master's degrees. Nontraditional Path — Participating in a blended credentialing program that has been approved by the state.

How do you say you have a masters in education? ›

M. Ed., MEd (Master of Education) M.S., MS, M.Sc., MSc (Master of Science) M.S.

What are 3 qualities as a future teacher? ›

The Top 14 Qualities that Make a Good Teacher
  • Adaptability. Adaptability is a must for teachers, who need to continuously evaluate what's working for their students — and even more importantly, what isn't working. ...
  • Empathy. ...
  • Patience. ...
  • Engagement. ...
  • Active Listening. ...
  • Lifelong Learning. ...
  • Free of Bias. ...
  • Respectful Attitude.

How do you see yourself 5 years from now as a future teacher? ›

In 5 years, I see myself as a highly skilled teacher who is able to effectively use innovative instructional methods and technology-based learning tools. I hope that my passion for education has enabled me to make an impact on the lives of my students and help them to become more confident and successful learners.

Does a masters degree make you a better teacher? ›

By pursuing a master's degree in education, teachers can not only earn a higher salary, but they can go beyond the theory they learned as an undergraduate and discover how to apply it to inform their teaching techniques and individualized strategies to help students succeed.

What do teachers usually get their masters in? ›

The two most commonly known graduate degrees in education are the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Master of Education (M. Ed.). There are also other types of master's degrees in education, including the Master of Science in Education (M.S. Ed.)

What are Masters and why are they important? ›

A master's degree is a specialized academic program designed to improve your professional skills in the field of your choice. Depending on the course you choose, your master's program time commitment might span anywhere from one to three years.

What is the easiest master's degree for teachers? ›

Master of Arts in Second Language Acquisition

Many also use their skills in social work, community development work, and adult education teachers. This is considered among the easiest master's degrees due to its emphasis on language skills, not math and science skills.

Do teachers in US need a masters degree? ›

All states require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in Education to become a certified teacher. Additionally, some states may require teachers to obtain a Master of Arts in Teaching or Masters in Education degree within five (5) years of completion of their initial degree.

Are master's degrees worth it? ›

Earning your master's degree has many advantages. It can lead to higher salaries, advanced career opportunities, higher-level subject knowledge, and a feeling of accomplishment.

Why are teachers called Masters? ›

Origins. The word “master” in this context translates the Latin word magister. In England, a schoolmaster was usually a university graduate, and until the 19th century the only universities were Oxford and Cambridge.

What is a person with a master's degree called? ›

A master's student is called a graduate student or “grad student” for short. A student still studying for a bachelor's degree is called an undergraduate student or “undergrad student.”

Is a Masters in education the same as a Masters in Teaching? ›

The primary distinction is that the master's in teaching focuses more directly on teaching and classroom management. In contrast, the master's in education is a broader degree, applicable to a classroom career but also to jobs in administration, curriculum development, and education policy.

What is the main goal as a future teacher? ›

Helping them find and hone their voice by working on developing communication skills and confidence in expressing themselves. Inspiring students by demonstrating your belief in their abilities and providing the support they need to succeed in their academic challenges.

What is most important for a teacher? ›

One of the most important parts of teaching is having dedication. Teachers not only listen, but also coach and mentor their students. They are able to help shape academic goals and are dedicated to getting their students to achieve them.

Why should we hire you as a teacher? ›

Your excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Your strong work ethic and dedication to students. Your innovative and enthusiastic approach to teaching. Your passion for helping students learn and grow.

How do you vision yourself as a teacher? ›

inspire a lifelong love of learning by creating lessons that are exciting, authentic, engaging, and relevant to the lives of my students. What is this? …to create visible and real change in the lives of all students in my classroom, be it cognitive, social, or personal.

What are the strengths of a teacher? ›

Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.

Can I be a teacher and get my masters at the same time? ›

If you've already earned a bachelor's degree and are interested in pursuing a career in education, you can complete a master's degree and earn your teaching credentials at the same time.

Does masters degree school matter? ›

While it may not matter to future employers or colleagues exactly where you went for your online master's program, it does matter that this graduate degree has been awarded by an accredited school. Accreditation indicates that your online degree has been awarded by a credible and qualified institution.

What percent of teachers have a Phd? ›

And yet fewer than one percent of all teachers have doctorates. American universities award more than 60,000 doctoral degrees every year. However, there are not enough academic jobs for all those graduates.

What is a teachers masters degree called? ›

The three primary graduate degrees for education are a Master of Arts (M.A.), a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and a Master of Education (M. Ed.).

What can I expect from a masters in education? ›

However, you can expect to cover topics like instructional design, differentiated learning, educational leadership, curriculum design, teaching for diverse and inclusive classrooms, and more. A master's in education typically takes about two years to complete.

What skills does a master's degree give you? ›

  • Independently managing a (research) project.
  • Exhibiting the capacity for critical thinking and analysis.
  • Using knowledge to solve problems creatively.
  • Working collaboratively with people from different disciplines and cultures.
  • Being able to apply critical research and enquiry skills.
Jan 7, 2021

How many years is a masters degree? ›

Master's degrees typically take two years to complete, but the timeframe can vary from person to person. Depending on your degree program and whether you're going to school full-time or part-time, it could take you less time to get your master's degree – or more.

What does having a masters degree mean? ›

A Master's Degree is a certification, awarded by an accredited university, recognizing that a person has mastered a well-established and generally-agreed set of knowledge within a specific area.

What is the advantage of masters degree? ›

A Masters degree enhances your personal development

Thus, Masters students have to put more personal effort in the learning process and engage on their own. This will develop new personal and professional skills, like independence, self-motivation, time management and more.

How difficult is a master's degree? ›

Master's degrees are difficult, but depending on which type you enroll in, your workload will vary. While each master's program is built differently, at the end of your 2-year studies, you will leave with expert knowledge of your chosen subject.

What are the 2 most common master's degrees called? ›

The most common academic master's degrees are the Master of Arts (MA or AM) and Master of Science (MS or SM). However, there are many different master's degree titles, especially in the professional fields.

What percentage of US teachers have a masters degree? ›

Comparing Some of the Top Teacher Master's Degree Options Teachers love to learn. In fact, an estimated 52% of the nation's 3.3 million public school teachers have a masters' degree or higher. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 57% of public school teachers hold a postbaccalaureate degree (i.e.,…

What is the difference between M Ed and mat? ›

An MAT degree emphasizes classroom teaching and instructional roles. An M. Ed. degree prepares graduates for administrative and leadership roles.

Do you need a master's degree to be a teacher in New York State? ›

To teach in New York, candidates must earn a bachelor's degree and/or complete a teacher preparation program and pass state certification exams. All teachers, administrators, and pupil personnel service providers at K-12 public schools in New York require certification through NYSED.

Why is a master's degree better than a bachelor's? ›

The top reasons people choose to pursue a master's degree include a desire for higher earnings, a career change or to follow a passion, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Unlike a bachelor's degree, a master's degree narrows your focus to one particular area of study.

Which master degree is most valuable in education? ›

1. Master of Education. At the master level, there are many types of specializations that are highly demanded by both public and private schools. Government agencies have a strong need for this degree, as well as private businesses that need knowledgeable educators of their products and services.

Is a teacher a Master? ›

Teachers and Masters are two terms that exhibit lot of differences between them when it comes to their roles and nature. A teacher is the one who teaches a subject to you. On the other hand a master is the one who is a specialist in a subject.

Why is being a Master teacher important? ›

Master teachers are independent learners who strive to improve their own learning to deliver effective learning to the students and their peers. The core component of a master teacher is to deliver high-quality instructional competence to their students and also professional development to career teachers.

What is the role of Master teacher? ›

Duties and Responsibilities

Plans and prepares classroom setting; oversees safety and educational programs; supervises children in the classroom; provides a supportive environment in which children can learn and practice appropriate and acceptable individual and group behaviors.

How old are master's students? ›

The average age of graduate students is somewhere between 29 and 33 years old depending on the country. A graduate student is anyone who is pursuing a higher level of education beyond the traditional college experience.

How do you say I have a master's degree? ›

“Master's” should always be followed by “degree.” Although you might see “I received my master's in public health,” with the “degree” being implied, this usage is not technically correct. The same rules hold true for bachelor's degrees.

Is a Masters worth it for teachers? ›

The education field has many exciting career opportunities, from teaching to counseling to administration. While not all jobs in education require a master's to begin a career, having a master's in education can potentially provide a larger salary and potential advancement in your career.

Are Masters degrees worth it for teachers? ›

It's a well-known fact that advanced degrees can lead to higher incomes. In fact, on average, a teacher with a master's degree earns between $2,760 - $7,358 more each year than those with a bachelor's degree. Some school districts even offer automatic wage increases for teachers with a master's in education.

How many credits is a masters degree? ›

When it comes to determining how many credits you need for a master's degree, consider the average. Most schools require about 30 credit hours with more complex and in-depth programs increasing this to as much as 40. On the other hand, a few schools require significantly less.

How do you describe yourself about teaching? ›

I can describe myself as friendly, enthusiastic and respectful. As a teacher, we can easily get respect from the students if they would feel respected first.

How do I write about myself as a teacher? ›

How to write a teacher profile
  1. Research the organisation and job role. Before you write your profile, understand the job role and the institution. ...
  2. State who you are. In one sentence, describe who you are. ...
  3. Define your objective. ...
  4. Display your personality. ...
  5. Showcase your skills.
Jan 26, 2023

How would you describe being a teacher? ›

Develops, plans, and implements curriculum, lesson plans, and educational programs for student audiences within areas of expertise. Advises, tests, and teaches students audiences in a variety of academic subjects. Presents and reinforces learning concepts within a specified subject or subject area.

How would you describe yourself as an effective teacher? ›

They are prepared, set clear and fair expectations, have a positive attitude, are patient with students, and assess their teaching on a regular basis. They are able to adjust their teaching strategies to fit both the students and the material, recognizing that different students learn in different ways.

What is your greatest strength as a teacher? ›

The list of the following strengths may help you to identify what yours are and plan an effective interview answer:
  • Creativity.
  • Empathy or kindness.
  • Organization.
  • Discipline.
  • Fairness.
  • Persistence.
  • Collaboration.
  • Patience.
Apr 14, 2023

What motivates you to become a teacher? ›

The best reason to be a teacher is that you want to have a positive, inspiring impact on children's lives. You achieve this by being kind, caring, empathic, passionate and funny. These are great qualities that a teacher should possess.

What is an example of a teacher personal statement? ›

My ambition is to one day become a teacher. Personally, I have had a hugely positive experience of both primary and secondary education. I am applying for primary education because I feel I have the potential to inspire and encourage children of all abilities to reach their full potential.

How would you describe your teaching experience? ›

Sample Answer: My teaching philosophy is simple. I use a hands-on technique and am approachable to my students. I incorporate fun into my lessons when possible. And while my easy-going style is suitable for many subjects and grades, I am also able to adapt my style to the needs of the student.

How do you describe a teacher in a paragraph? ›

A teacher is a beautiful gift given by god because god is a creator of the whole world and a teacher is a creator of a whole nation. A teacher is such an important creature in the life of a student, who through his knowledge, patience and love give a strong shape to a student's whole life.

How do you describe a teacher you like? ›

He understands students' problems and always provides them with a helping hand. He explains everything with examples and makes every concept so interesting to learn for students. We students love to attend his class because he is very understanding. He covers each topic in detail and gives his full attention in class.

How do you describe a teacher you admire? ›

» He/she is successful in explaining difficult topics in an easy and intuitive way. » He/she behaves very politely with all and never discriminates among students. » He/she is brave and speaks the truth no matter how bitter it is. » He/she teaches moral values as well as inspires students to study properly.

How do you describe a good teacher in a sentence? ›

Excellent Teacher

Awesome – “You're an awesome teacher who makes every class fun.” What is this? Energetic – “Your energetic approach to teaching and learning invigorates the students and keeps them focused.” Experienced – “I can tell you are an experienced teacher by the way you control your classroom.”

What are the 5 qualities of a good teacher? ›

top 5 qualities and characteristics of a good teacher.
  • Patient and approachable. They say that 'patience is a virtue', and this couldn't be more true for teachers. ...
  • Enthusiastic. ...
  • Strong communication skills. ...
  • Strong knowledge and a solid education. ...
  • Disciplined and professional.
Mar 1, 2022

What makes a good teacher great reflection? ›

Good teachers have desire, a positive attitude, and take risks. Keeping students off balance can discourage complacency and maintain interest. A good teacher knows what motivates each student, and works with the student as a partner in learning. A good teacher is also competent, creative and caring.


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2. Teaching the Future of Education | GCU
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3. Growing Number Of Americans Questioning The Value Of College Degree
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4. Different Types Of Degrees Explained: (Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate, and Professional)
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5. UCD Postgraduate 2023 - It's Your Future. Master It.
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6. Teaching Methods for Inspiring the Students of the Future | Joe Ruhl | TEDxLafayette
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