A Masters in Education or as it is more commonly known, an MEd degree is the second most popular graduate degree after Business. There are many reasons why people want to get their MEd degree, such as the sense of fulfillment in being involved in learning and educating others, or even the benefits which educators and related occupations get.
Around 18% of all graduate enrollments are in the field of education.
This article will provide a guide to doing a Masters in Education, and what it entails.
- What is an MEd?
- What are the specializations of MEd?
- How long does it take to get an MEd?
- What are the requirements for an MEd?
- Where to do an MEd?
- What can you do with a Masters in Education?
What is an MEd?
The Masters in Education degree (MEd) is the graduate degree which people obtain to further advance their careers in education. It does not provide a certification to become a practicing teacher, but it opens a lot of doors to become involved in various educational fields.
The MEd is usually obtained by existing teachers who are already certified and have gotten their qualifications before. The advanced degree serves to either broaden their expertise which leads to more certifications or to take other job positions outside the classroom and even get promoted.
A Masters in Education is a practical degree which exposes its students to the entire educational system and not just classroom teaching for children and teenagers, usually up to the high school level. The classes are structured in lecture and seminar styles with students being required to complete assessments in the form of exams, research papers, reports, and projects.
How to get an MEd degree
Requirements to complete the Masters in Education degree are practical and research experience.
The practical experience is gained through:
- Student Teaching
- Formal observation hours
The research experience is needed in the form of a capstone or thesis project which is the final requirement for graduation. The capstone is used to evaluate whether the student has gained the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the educational system. Students choose a particular area in education and conduct research that will be presented formally to their professors and peers.
At the end of the degree, students who graduate with an MEd, will have done the following:
- Exposed to the latest research in education policy and practices
- Developed cognitive, creative, and technical skills to analyze information, theories, problems, and concepts
- Developed a deeper understanding of educational theory and practice
- Gained skills to plan and develop an educational research project
- Be able to apply theories and concepts related to their degree in practice
The benefits of this degree are many, so if you have decided you want to get a Masters in Education, you will be:
- Exploring options as a teacher and discovering what interests you
- Gaining additional qualifications to get more employment and promotion opportunities
- Becoming a better teacher through the methods you learn
- Developing a wider network of people with common interests
Overall, the Masters in Education is a valuable degree which can have various applications in different industries and sectors of an economy.
What are the specializations of MEd?
Besides a general knowledge that students of a Masters in Education get through their courses, they also have the opportunity to specialize in the subject of their interest. You can decide to not specialize and get the overall graduate degree, but specializations get you in-depth knowledge on a specific topic which you can use to get more employment opportunities.
Different schools have different specializations, but some of the more common ones are:
Also called Education Administration, the Leadership specialization of the MEd will prepare you to take on a leadership position in an educational facility. This means that you could become a principal, dean, department head, or a high level administrator.
The courses you will take will focus on community issues, educational law, policy and concepts, faculty leadership, business administration and so on.
If you aspire to become a guidance counselor, then this specialization is for you. Guidance counselors or school counselors in general deal with students who are experiencing either personal or academic issues. The counselors provide advice and work with parents and other members of the community to try and solve these issues.
A guidance counselor does not necessarily have to work at a school. This specialization has a wider applicability and could be used in hospitals, colleges, non-profit organizations and so on. The courses revolve around family systems, special education, group counseling, and interviewing techniques.
Different from school counseling, the specialization of educational or school psychology offers students of an MEd program the understanding on motivation, learning and development, as well as assessment in fields of education.
They can have careers in program evaluation, academic testing, and curriculum development in various institutions. The courses for this specialization have to do with statistics, research methods, learning theories and so on.
This specialization is for students who want to work in libraries, historical institutions, or museums. They provide students with knowledge and skills about how to teach in those institutions and develop learning programs for children and adults.
The courses are on educational media, art history, fundraising, cognitive development, and public relations.
The higher education specialization prepares students for jobs in colleges and universities. They take courses on college teaching, student development, leadership and management, and diversity.
This specialization provides them with employment opportunities in colleges as well as educational departments in the government in positions such as academic affairs, higher education finance, management and so on.
Technology is highly important in a classroom and influences the way students learn. The specialization in classroom technology provides students of MEd degrees with methods on how to design and implement classroom technology in various learning environments.
They learn the best technologies for different types of students and take courses on cognition, adaptive technology, product design, online literacy and others.
Economics and Policy
The educational system is related to all other aspects of an economy, so this specialization provides an understanding of the fields related to it. Students learn policy analysis, sociology, educational law, urban education and others, so that they can work with the government or NGOs for reform and advocacy.
Masters in Education students who want to work teaching students a foreign language or English can take this specialization. They learn how to prepare curricula, instruct, and evaluate their students in different learning environments.
Courses include literacy, linguistics, pedagogy, and oral or written language skills.
Besides this specialization, students can also earn other certifications which provide them with foreign language teaching methods such as TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
Those who have a passion to improve learning content and the methods which are used to deliver it to students can get their specialization in curriculum development. MEd students with this specialty can work in different governmental, educational, and non-profit institutions as advisers or developers of curricula.
How long does it take to get an MEd?
The length of the Masters in Education program depends on the method of study and the concentrations you get. The standard length is around 12 months, with 9 of them being dedicated to coursework and the rest to completing the capstone or thesis project.
In case you decide to get the part-time or online MEd degree, it might take longer, most likely up to two years. There are also opportunities for students to get dual degrees, so combine an MEd with another Masters Degree, which will lengthen the time it takes to complete the coursework.
Lastly, students who are in their undergraduate studies and want to do an MEd, can take the opportunity to study for another year and get both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in 5 years.
What are the requirements for an MEd?
Masters in Education programs are quite competitive. Students need to submit documents and meet different qualifications. Universities with higher ranking might require additional submissions of projects, research proposals and others.
In general, to meet the initial requirements of MEd programs, you need to:
- Have an undergraduate degree in Education or other relevant/equivalent field
- If you do not have a Bachelor’s Degree, you need to prove you have at least 6 years of work experience in education
- For international students, proof of English language proficiency is also needed
Other requirements depend on the institution, and for more follow our tips about how to get into grad school.
Where to do an MEd?
MEd programs are available all across the world in various universities. Education is a universal need and every university will try to have the best curricula to train its future educators. Because of this, students have many choices about where they can do their MEd.
Their choices can be influenced by factors such as:
- Work experience – some universities require students to have more work experience to enroll into their programs
- Qualifications – universities have minimum requirements for undergraduate GPA, graduate test scores, or language proficiency scores
- Work obligations – potential MEd students might have work or other obligations so they might choose a part time or online program instead of a full time on-campus one
- Locational proximity – students might not be able to afford or might prefer to complete their degree closer to where they are currently residing
- Financial aid or scholarship opportunities – master’s degrees are expensive so many students want to enroll into programs which offer them financial aid or scholarship opportunities to finance their degree
These factors can narrow down the choices of universities and make it easier for students to choose where to do an MEd.
What can you do with a Masters in Education?
If you have decided to do an MEd, but are wondering “What can I do with a Masters in Education?”, there are many job positions which require this qualification. An MEd opens up career doors for both further development and increased income.
Career opportunities exist in all sectors, public, private, and non-governmental. MEd degree holders can work as teachers or go into more administrative or managerial positions.
Here are 10 of the most common job positions that you can get with an MEd degree.
Principal or Administrator
The median annual salary for a school principal is $90,410, while for school administrators it’s $88,580.
If you have chosen the Leadership specialization, you have already learned how to manage and administer an educational institution. You can then obtain a principal or an administrator position in a school. Principals and administrators have a passion for creating positive learning environments which foster acceptance and motivation for students to increase their knowledge.
These positions include duties such as managing faculty, enforcing educational policies, managing school finances and resources, and so on.
School or Career Counselor
School counselors have a median annual salary of $53,660 and for career counselors it’s $46,875.
School counselors are essential in elementary and high school settings. Their specialty is dealing with struggling students who are either having academic problems or issues at home. School counselors act as mentors and facilitators to these students and work with different stakeholders to solve problems.
Career counselors on the other hand have a duty to give advice to students who are unsure of what they want to pursue next. They are mostly employed in high schools and work with students to carefully choose courses and create a path for them to follow in higher education.
Both of the positions are highly important as they also incorporate psychological and sociological elements to their expertise.
Special Education Teacher
The median annual salary of a special education teacher is $56,800.
This job position involves working with children who have special needs such as a physical or learning disability. Special education teachers can specialize even further to teach in a certain area such as students with autism or those who have experienced abuse.
The median annual salary of a corporate trainer is $54,695
Another thing you can do with a Masters in Education is to become a corporate trainer. This means that you will be teaching adults in a corporate environment in various topics. Your duties will include preparing lesson plans and training materials, evaluating their performance, and reporting to your clients on the progress.
The median annual salary of an educational coordinator is $44,139.
Educational coordinators are those who would like to work in museums, aquariums, zoos, etc. Their duties include designing, implementing, and teaching educational programs in their place of work, distributing educational and promotional materials, and understanding their audience.
Their role is important in that they educate people on the histories and facts of museums for example. They work with schools and other institutions to create learning programs and make the visits as pleasant and informative as possible.
Educational Policy Developer
Educational policy developer’s median annual salary is around $81,000.
People who are in this job position are mostly hired by governmental agencies of education to develop, revise, and promote policies related to education. They might work in state or federal agencies, or even in non-profit ones to advocate for better policies, develop policy proposals and so on.
Educational Policy Developers are the ones who work with politicians to draft legislation and evaluate its impact, as well as make new budgets for educational programs.
Educational consultant’s median annual salary is $62,428.
What you can do with a Masters in Education is also work as an Educational Consultant. This job position entails working beyond the classroom with teachers and other educational employees and institutions, to develop and improve learning environments and set educational goals.
They affect policy, improve curriculum and implement incentives for better performance.
School Technology Consulting
The median annual salary of a school technology consultant is $95,974.
MEd graduates who have specialized in school technology work with educational institution to improve the technology used in the classroom.
They choose the best type of software and hardware which helps students learn better.
The median annual salary of a curriculum developer is $62,270.
Also known as instructions specialist, the curriculum developer is heavily involved in preparing, implementing, and evaluating school curricula. They can further specialize in the type of curricula they develop such as for middle school or higher education.
They pick textbooks, technology, and topics which students will learn.
The median annual salary for content developers is $53,878.
A Masters Degree in Education could also be used to develop content for various purposes. This can include lesson outlines, educational textbooks, or other learning materials.
A masters degree is not necessarily required for these positions, but if it’s related to developing content for education then it is desirable.