What is an Online Master’s Program in Education?
An online master’s program in education helps people build their career in K-12 education. There are online master’s programs designed for current teachers who would earn a graduate degree, specialize in a particular educational area and possibly qualify for an increase in salary.
Other online master’s programs are designed for professionals who are currently in a field other than teaching. If you have earned a bachelor’s degree and want to transition to a teaching career, obtaining an MA in teaching or completing a post-baccalaureate certification program may enable you to become a teacher.
Licensed teachers can earn an online master’s degree in education focusing on curriculum and instruction, special education, educational leadership, English language learning and instructional design. Other online master’s degree programs for licensed teachers include learning and technology, mathematics education and science education.
Online graduate programs that lead to licensure include master’s degrees in elementary education and English, mathematics and science on the secondary level.
What is an Online Master’s Program in Education that Does Not Require a GRE?
Colleges and universities differ in their requirements for admission to online master’s programs in education, and some have different requirements for different programs. Many online master’s programs do not require a GRE (Graduate Record Exam) score for admission.
Johns Hopkins University Master of Arts in Teaching Writing
The Master of Arts in Teaching Writing at Johns Hopkins prepares those who are currently teaching to become a master teacher of writing. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The focus of this advanced academic program is on innovative methods for teaching writing. Teachers can also pursue their own interest in writing with a support group of other teachers and writers online as they study. Students complete 9 courses.
Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited US college or university. Applicants with a degree from outside of the country undergo a credential evaluation and must provide TOEFL scores if English is their second language. Transcripts and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 is required. Note that while this is an online master’s program, students are required to complete a 7-10 day residency.
Walden University Master of Science in Special Education
Walden University online master’s degree programs are intended for professionals in the field of education. Students earn an MS Ed degree and progress at their own pace. There are multiple specializations available that allow you to focus on an area of interest and further your career goals.
Specializations include curriculum for grades K-12, elementary reading and mathematics, elementary reading and literacy, special education, STEM education, mathematics and science, and educational leadership and administration. There is also a self-designed option. Some concentrations are non-licensure.
Students must have a bachelor’s degree or higher to enter the Walden program. Admission requirements include your employment history and official transcripts.
Purdue University Master of Science in Special Education
The Purdue University Master of Science in Special Education online program focuses on practical classroom experience and advances in technology. Students learn new methods that help students who have special needs succeed in the academic learning. Applicants have options including a master’s degree with no practicum and a master’s degree leading to special education licensure.
The program is aligned with the performance-based edTPA system and it is designed to meet both national and state standards. State standards include Common Core and the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium. Students in this program are required to complete professional portfolios and provide video recordings of teaching sessions. Purdue University offers other Master of Science in Education degrees as well.
Admission requirements include a telephone interview, official transcripts for a bachelor’s degree, professional letters and a personal statement. The GRE is not required for applicants who have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher or possess an advanced degree.
Penn State Master of Education in Learning, Design and Technology
The Penn State Master of Education in Learning, Design and Technology program is a 30-credit course of study that will prepare students to design and use technology for education. Coursework provides students with the opportunity to find the best practices for learning design. The focus is on practical problems and their solutions. Students are encouraged to bring their professional and their personal interests to their coursework. Penn State partnered with World Campus for this program.
This program will not lead to teacher certification or the Pennsylvania Department of Education Instructional Technology Certificate, but it may count toward professional development hours.
Do All Master’s Programs in Education Require a GRE?
Not all master’s programs in education require the applicant to submit GRE scores. If you are interested in taking a course leading to a master’s degree in education but you do not want to take the GRE, make sure to find out about the specific requirements of the particular program you are interested in.
Many online master’s degree programs in education do not require GRE scores, especially for those who have completed a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree with a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4. When you look into admission requirements, be aware that requirements for the GRE may be different for different programs within the same college or university.
What Do You Learn in an Online Master’s Program in Education?
You can find many programs that incorporate coursework in the areas you are interested in. Some programs allow you to design your own coursework within the program. These are some of the areas covered in an online master’s program in education.
- Curriculum Development: Courses in curriculum development provide experiences in creating, evaluating and teaching curriculum.
- Technology and Instructional Design Principals: Learn how to use technological advances to develop and implement tools that support learning outcomes.
- Applied Behavior Analysis: Learn about verbal behavior and social communication.
- Special Education: Understand the categories of disability and validate instructional methods of providing an age-appropriate curriculum based on student needs.
- Methods for Teaching Writing: Find courses on teaching narrative writing, creative writing and persuasive writing. Learn to teach reluctant writers and English language learners.
- STEM: Gain the skills and knowledge to help diverse student populations build their educational foundations for their future careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In some cases, STEM coursework incorporates art as well, and is called STEAM.
- Mathematics: Examine key topics in mathematics such as number systems, number operations, geometric thinking and measurement, functions and equations, probability and statistical reasoning.
- Science: Learn to use hands-on educational experiences to promote inquiry based learning.
- Reading and Literacy: Get the skills to prepare students develop 21st century literacy skills to ready them for college and career.
How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online Master’s Program in Education?
Getting your online master’s degree in education will take you approximately two years if you are a full-time student. If you are working or have other obligations and prefer to take the online courses on a part-time basis, a typical online master’s degree in education program will take from three to four years to complete. There are some accelerated online master’s degree in education programs that can take just twelve to eighteen months to complete.
What are the Disadvantages of an Online Degree?
You may be aware of the many advantages of getting an online degree, such as a flexible schedule, lower costs and the opportunity to complete the program at your own pace. However, there are some disadvantages:
- Time Management: You need to be self-disciplined, organized and motivated to complete the online program.
- Lack of the Campus Experience: While many colleges and universities institute procedures to bring online students together as a learning “community,” taking courses online will not give you a true campus experience.
- Technology Requirements: To complete an online degree program you will need a reliable computer and an Internet connection. If your computer is out of date, you may have to buy a new one at an additional expense.
- Limited Communication: Online teachers tend to be less hands-on than teachers on campus, so you may not find the mentoring or professional advice you are looking for.
What Skills Do You Need to Get a Master’s Program in Education?
- Desire to Help Students: To relate to the subject matter in an online master’s program in education, you should have a passion for teaching and helping students.
- Strong Reading and Writing Ability: To be successful in completing an online course you need to be skilled in reading and converse effectively through writing.
- Motivation: To get your degree online, you have to be self-motivated to take the courses and do the work.
- Computer Skills: You will need to be able to use computer programs to take courses, complete assignments and communicate with the teacher.
- Focus: Taking courses in your home or at a neighborhood library as an independent learner requires the ability to focus on the task at hand and not be distracted by other obligations.
- Good Communication Skills: You should be able to communicate well using technology.
- Ability to Make a Time Commitment: An online class takes as much time as an on-campus class, and you will need to spend time studying and completing assignments. You will need the ability to set aside enough time to meet your responsibilities.
How Much Can You Earn with a Master’s Program in Education?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, education administrators with a master’s degree earned an average of $75,000 per year in 2013, $19,000 more than those with a bachelor’s degree. Preschool and kindergarten teachers with a master’s degree earned $43,000 annually, while elementary and middle school teachers with a master’s degree earned an average of $54,000 compared to $43,100 for those with a bachelor’s degree.
Secondary school teachers earned $56,000 per year with a master’s degree, compared to $45,000 for teachers with a bachelor’s degree. Special education teachers who held a master’s degree earned an average of $52,000, compared to just $42,000 for special education teachers with a bachelor’s degree. Post-secondary teachers’ salaries averaged $50,000 with a master’s degree, $6,200 more than post-secondary teachers with a bachelor’s degree.
Can I Enroll in a Ph.D in Education Program Without a Master’s Degree?
While it may be possible to enroll in a Ph.D in education program without completing a master’s degree, it is not usual. Opportunities to enroll in a Ph.D in education program without a master’s degree vary by school, and sometimes by state. A careful look at the specific admissions requirements for a Ph.D program in education that you are interested in is essential.