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A master’s degree in teaching program prepares students for several careers in education, including principal, teacher, career counselor, school administrator, and instructional coordinator.Salaries in this field vary based on role, experience level, and other factors, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $61,810 for middle-school teachers, $66,490 for instructional coordinators, and $101,320 for school principals.

It usually takes a full-time student one to two years to complete a master’s in teaching degree. It may take 3-4 years of part-time study to complete a similar program. Based on an average annual tuition rate of $19,749 per academic year, it costs approximately $19,749 to $39,498 for a full-time student to complete a master’s in teaching degree.

How to Choose a Master’s in Teaching Program

Choose your area of study

Teaching is a broad field, so many students choose to specialize in some way. For example, someone who wants to teach advanced mathematics courses may benefit from specializing in math education. Some teachers major in teaching and minor in their preferred content areas, so look for opportunities to combine education coursework with classes in language arts, math, chemistry, or another subject.

If you want to work as a principal, look for schools offering educational administration courses. Another option is to minor in business to gain experience with budgeting, managing staff, and other administrative duties.

Research schools and programs

Many schools offer master’s in teaching degrees, so it’s important to research your options carefully. First, think about whether you want to attend in-person classes or complete your coursework online. Although online programs allow you to learn at your own pace, some students prefer the on-campus experience.

Next, check each school’s accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets certain standards related to graduation, student retention, and employment rates, so it’s a mark of quality.

The final step is to narrow down your list of options until you have no more than five programs to consider. Contact admissions counselors, talk to current students, and use school websites to learn more about each program.

Prepare for tests and applications

Some colleges require prospective graduate students to complete the Graduate Record Examination before enrolling in a master’s in teaching program. The GRE assesses your critical thinking, numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing skills. If you haven’t taken a standardized test in several years, give yourself plenty of time to study.

It’s also common for master’s in teaching programs to require letters of recommendation, college transcripts, and other application documents. If you don’t have these documents readily available, start gathering them well in advance of your application deadlines.

Select your program

If you receive multiple acceptance letters, review them carefully. Ensure you understand the total cost of attendance, the number of credits required, and other program details. If you’re not interested in full-time enrollment, make sure each program is available to part-time students. Verifying these details makes it easier to select a program that suits your schedule and your budget.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Many people don’t have enough cash on hand to cover the full cost of a master’s in teaching program. Fortunately, you have several payment options. Private student loans are an option, but they typically have high interest rates and strict repayment terms.

It’s also wise to apply for merit-based and need-based scholarships, especially if you have limited funds. You may even qualify for scholarships based on your membership in professional organizations or formal social groups. For example, some educational associations offer scholarships for teachers and school administrators. Make sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as early as possible. Many scholarship programs use this to determine need.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Teaching Programs

Best Master's in Teaching Degree Programs_2024 badge

Teachers College at Columbia University

Northwestern University

University of California, Los Angeles

Stanford University

Brown University

Santa Clara University

University of Pennsylvania

University of Wisconsin - Madison

University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

University of Michigan Marsal Family School of Education

UF College of Education

Indiana University - Bloomington

Seattle University

The College of New Jersey

University at Albany

University of California, Irvine

Seattle Pacific University

University of Georgia College of Education

University of Puget Sound

University of Redlands

University of Iowa

Wisconsin Lutheran College

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Drake University

University of Pittsburgh

University of Scranton

University of Washington

Boston College

University of South Carolina

Wagner College

University of Central Missouri

Discover More Options

How we rank schools

We looked at many master’s in teaching degree programs, including Master of Science (MS) in teaching, Master of Arts in teaching (MAT), and Master of Education (MEd) in teaching programs. Our list includes both traditional and online options. Online programs may have an in-person, experiential learning component.

All of the programs noted have regional accreditation, and many are also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educational Programs (CAEP). Accreditation is the standard way to ensure the quality of programs.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Teaching Program?

A master’s in teaching degree program covers several topics of interest to educators. Students learn more about developing lesson plans, managing student behavior, collaborating with other education professionals, and creating engaging student materials. Many programs also offer coursework in education law.

Teaching is a hands-on profession, so it’s common for master’s in teaching programs to require internships, classroom observation, or field experiences. For example, students may have to complete 25 hours of classroom observation during one semester of study. Practical experiences give students the opportunity to learn from experienced educators and discover ways to improve their own teaching practices.

The length of a master’s in teaching program depends on the number of credits a student must complete. In many cases, it’s possible to finish this type of program in one year of full-time study. However, it may take two years for students who need extra time to finish their student teaching or complete in-depth research projects. It takes 3-4 years to complete a master’s in teaching on a part-time basis.

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in teaching program

  • Education Law. Teachers and school administrators must follow several laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Education law courses provide an overview of relevant laws and help students understand how to comply with them. Students also learn about the potential penalties for noncompliance.
  • Classroom Management. Educators are responsible for keeping students engaged and focused throughout the school day. A course on classroom management gives students the tools they need to manage disruptive behavior, create an organized educational environment, and foster motivation.
  • Educational Research. Teachers must be able to understand and evaluate a wide variety of research materials. This class helps students develop foundational skills, such as distinguishing between quantitative and qualitative research, identifying reputable data sources, and summarizing published research. Some schools also require students to propose their own research projects.
  • Education Technology. Today’s educators use apps, laptops, tablets, digital whiteboards, and other high-tech tools to present information to their students. This course helps educators develop the skills they need to integrate technology into their lesson plans.
  • Curriculum Development. Lesson planning is important, but every lesson is part of a larger curriculum based on district and state standards. In this course, students learn how to create learning experiences that are both engaging and age-appropriate.

Master’s in Teaching Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in teaching degree program?

Before you apply, contact an admissions counselor at each school you’re considering. They’re happy to answer questions about entrance requirements, campus life, and other important topics. If your preferred program requires GRE scores, schedule the test as soon as possible. The GRE has a writing component, so you won’t have your official score until 8-10 days after you take it. If you wait too long to take the test, you may not get your score before the application deadline.

Many programs require letters of recommendation, college transcripts, and information about your professional background. Start compiling these materials early on to avoid having to scramble as the deadline draws closer.

How much does a master's in teaching degree cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of tuition for a master’s degree program averages out to $19,749 per academic year. However, tuition isn’t the only cost associated with obtaining a graduate degree. Students typically have to pay for books, course software, and other educational materials.

It’s easy to assume that online programs are less expensive than in-person programs, but that’s not always the case. Some schools charge a technology fee to access class resources outside of campus. As a result, an online degree may actually cost more than an in-person degree.

How long does it take to earn a master's in teaching degree?

Program completion time varies based on a student’s enrollment status, the number of credits required, and the type of program selected. For example, it takes part-time students longer to complete a master’s in teaching than it takes full-time students.

In some cases, online programs last longer than in-person programs. This is often the case when students must complete field placements or classroom observations. Unlike online classes, these requirements can only be fulfilled during school hours, so it takes longer to complete them.

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