A master’s degree in teaching, also known as a general education program, is ideal for students who want to teach, but would prefer to not have a particular emphasis in one subject, grade level, or curriculum. General education consists of a wide range of liberal arts subjects, such as mathematics, life science, history, English, and social science. Being able to teach these foundation courses gives you the flexibility to command a variety of classrooms and grade levels. In fact, a K-12 education program at the master’s level will include areas such as education theory, practical classroom and school administration skills, and independent research.

Why a Master’s Degree?

Earning a master’s degree in teaching has definite benefits. While you may teach at most schools with a bachelor’s degree and state certification, a master’s degree opens the door toward higher-level teaching jobs in post-secondary institutions or specialized schools. If you already teach, earning your master’s degree may be the next step toward promotion. Education is a constantly changing field. Thus, continually building upon your knowledge of it as a teacher will allow you to strengthen your skills and become aware of new learning developments.

Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program

Master’s degree programs can be competitive. Most programs only accept a handful of students per term. Admissions requirements fluctuate depending on the school, but common masters college general education requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Desired minimum GPA.
  • Recent GRE scores.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • A personal statement.

Inside a Teaching Master’s Degree Program

Teacher education programs are made for working professionals seeking further schooling. Having the degree should make you more marketable, letting employers know that you’re not only well-qualified, but took the initiative to get an even better grasp of your trade. Degree holders portray themselves as proactive by keeping abreast of progress made in their field. With the advanced degree, they are subject to higher salaries and promotional opportunities.

Online master’s teaching programs usually take full-time students two years to complete. The course work covers pedagogical topics such as instructional design, classroom leadership, student diversity, and curriculum management. Students will also take theory courses, which challenge them to think about positive changes that could be made in the educational field and ways to accommodate learners’ unique needs. Most programs include a research component, culminating in a presentation or thesis. You may also be required to do a specified amount of student teaching.

Distance-learning programs differ slightly from traditional programs. To complete your master’s degree remotely, you will have to log into online platforms such as Blackboard to access coursework. Courses consist of prerecorded video lectures, live question and answer sessions through chat, discussion boards, and electronic assessments. The online route is ideal for students that have daytime priorities that conflict with regular classroom hours.

What’s Next for Teaching Master’s Degree Holders?

A master’s degree in general education may be best utilized with a teaching job. Degree-holders may teach at an elementary, middle, or high-school level with appropriate certification. They may also be able to teach at a college level. High school teachers made an annual median wage of $53,230 in 2010, while post-secondary teachers made $62,050, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although you can teach at private schools without certification, it is required for teaching in public schools. Some master’s degree programs in education have structured in the certification component. Otherwise, students should also look into certification programs before applying for teaching jobs in their area. To further your credentials, you may also consider working toward a doctoral degree in education.