What You Should Know About This Degree
There’s something to be said for pursuing knowledge for its own sake. Earning a Master’s in Education can open doors into a new specialization, help you focus on a particular field, and expand your knowledge of techniques and teaching methods.
That said, if you’re primarily interested in making a larger paycheck, there’s a couple things you should know.
Pay increases vary by state and by district. If you’re a teacher in Washington state, getting a Master’s in Education makes sense — you can increase your maximum earning potential by $20,000 per year. However, if you’re in Ohio, that pay bump only looks like $1,000 per year.
Not all states pay more for higher education degrees. Texas and North Carolina have both eliminated pay bumps for advanced degrees. This means that teachers in these states will be paid based on experience and personal merit, without consideration for their level of education.
This means two things. First, if you’re looking for a pay increase and are flexible about where you live, you might be able to make more money by moving to a district which pays more. Second, if you know where you want to live, you can look up the typical salary expectations of that district to see whether earning a Master’s degree makes financial sense.
You should research financial aid opportunities like fellowships and scholarships, and apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Student Aid (FAFSA) no later than June 30th. Also watch out for the individual deadlines for program applications — some schools might not admit on a rolling basis.
If you’d like to see how quickly you can earn your degree back based on the state you want to teach in, the National Center for Education Statistics has your back. They collect data on salaries for teachers based on highest degree attained, level of experience, and school type and location.
Next, if you’re planning on earning a licensure through your online degree (not available from every program), you’ll want to look into your local state’s licensing requirements. While the U.S. Department of Education maintains national standards for online education, some states have stricter regulations and may not recognize a degree completed out of state as authorization for licensure. If in doubt, contact your local department of education for more information.
Finally, you’ll want to do a quick check into whether your local school district will recognize your online program’s accreditation. Not all of the universities on our list have been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Sometimes called NCATE, CAEP accreditation is the gold standard for educators and means that your degree will be accepted by employers nationally. If a university doesn’t have CAEP accreditation, it’s not a deal-breaker — they’re still rigorous programs that have accreditation from other agencies. You’ll just need to ask your local department of education to make sure your degree will be recognized by local employers.