What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Educational Technology Program?

In an online program, you can expect rigorous coursework that mirrors what you find in an on-campus program. Sometimes called instructional technology, educational technology studies various tools, platforms, and learning management systems used to facilitate and enhance student learning at all academic levels, from kindergarten through postsecondary education. It’s a popular specialty area among students seeking a master’s in education. When choosing an online program, it’s important to consider options to ensure it’s right for you and your career goals.

Available concentrations

Since educational technology is a sub-field of education, it may exist as a concentration in a more general program. You may, however, find it available as a major with one of the following areas of specialization:

  • Distance learning: Applies distance learning theories to the design, delivery, and management of distance learning (online) programs. This concentration will prepare individuals to work as distance education coordinators, e-learning specialist directors, or college managers.
  • Curriculum, technology, and educational reform: Provides educators with a better understanding of technology and how to integrate it into the classroom or the workplace and prepares them to help other educators they work with to do the same. This concentration equips graduates to work as a technology specialist.
  • K-12: Enables graduates to integrate technology into curricula, classroom instruction, and assessment. Graduates of this specialization may find jobs as technology research personnel, technology facilitators, or education training specialists.

Common degree curriculum

When enrolling in a master’s degree program in educational technology, you’ll learn techniques and strategies for integrating technology in the classroom at all grade levels. Some concentrations may result in you becoming a technology specialist, which means you would be helping teachers do this in their classrooms.

While individual classes will vary depending on the program you enroll in and your chosen concentration, there are some standard courses you can expect to take.

  • Introduction to Educational Technology: General overview of industry standards, including the International Society for Technology in Education and the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. In this course, you can expect to incorporate instructional technology as a tool for teaching and learning in school and non-school settings.
  • Mobile Technologies in Education: Explores mobile technologies, including tablets and smartwatches, and how they help teach students in classroom settings and other informal environments.
  • Distance Teaching and Learning: Examines the theory and practice of various distance education models, including synchronous and asynchronous. This course teaches students how to apply theory, research, and standards to distance learning design, development, and evaluation.
  • Instructional Design: Discusses how to apply instructional design principles to instructional development. Topics may include foundations in learning research, learning situations, instructional models, and innovations in software and hardware.
  • Philosophies of Education: Studies society’s educational issues and philosophical problems. It provides students with an understanding of concerns regarding modern society and education.

Certification and license preparation

In most cases, technology specialists in a school setting don’t need a teaching license, but this may vary by state, and many programs may result in a technology education license or certification. However, this depends on the school and the state where it’s located, so be sure to investigate your state or the state where you plan to work. One general certification most programs result in is a certified education technology leader.

The Certified Education Technology Leader credential demonstrates the mastery of knowledge and skills necessary to build and implement technology programs in modern K-12 classrooms successfully. It prepares individuals for careers as chief technology officers (CTOs), technology directors, chief information officers, and directors of digital learning.

Program accreditation

When selecting an online master’s in educational technology degree program, it’s essential to choose an accredited program. Accreditation confirms that a school and its programs meet minimum standards of quality. A school’s accreditation status can impact a student’s future employment and educational opportunities. 

Online master’s degrees in educational technology can hold specialized accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization’s goal is to help advance the preparation of educators through evidence-based education to assure quality and continuous improvement, which in turn helps to strengthen student learning.

Program completion timeframe

The overall length of your program will vary by school and concentration area; however, the average program requires around 36 credits and two years of full-time study for completion. Part-time students can expect to complete their program in about three years, depending on their pace. Many programs also require students to complete a supervised internship. Working professionals can enjoy the convenience of an online program, as many are self-paced, so you can take courses when you have time.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Educational Technology Graduates

While a bachelor’s degree can help you gain entry-level positions in education, most positions in classroom teaching, school administration, and curriculum development heavily favor candidates with a master’s degree. Some education technology positions require a master’s degree. Generally, unemployment rates are much lower for master’s degree holders working in education.

In addition to enjoying better job prospects, students who earn a master’s in educational technology enjoy a higher salary compared to their peers with a bachelor’s. Below are the median annual wages for popular jobs associated with a master’s degree in educational technology.

Anyone earning a master’s in educational technology will be suitable to be a teacher, school administrator, or instructional developer interested in bringing technology to the classroom to help students enhance their learning.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators develop and interpret curricula and learning standards at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools. They oversee school curricula and teaching standards, develop instructional materials, coordinate the implementation of it, and oversee its effectiveness. Someone with a master’s in educational technology could be an instructional coordinator for technology.

$66,490 per year

2%

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers oversee the organization’s workforce by planning, designing, conducting and coordinating continuing education programs to enhance and improve the productivity, knowledge and skills of the company’s employees. With an increase in employees working remotely, a master’s in educational technology would help foster modalities in classroom or on-the-job training, demonstrations, meetings and conferences.

$120,000 per year

6%

Training and Development Specialists

Training and development specialists work under training and development managers and are usually tasked with the responsibility of implementing, executing, monitoring and evaluating the education programs within the organization. Specialists survey employees, consult managers and instructors and often oversee the selection of assigning third party instructors or vendors for training.

$63,080 per year

6%

Professional organizations

Graduates from online master’s in educational technology programs benefit from obtaining memberships with professional organizations. These organizations grant access to academic journals and publications, host conferences and other networking seminars, and provide many professional development opportunities, often at discounted rates. Overall, these professional organizations offer advocacy services to individuals in the profession. Here are three leading organizations in the field of educational technology.

  • International Society for Technology in Education: This organization helps bridge the gap between educators and computing technology. For over 40 years, it has produced learning standards for teachers, administrators, coaches, and computer science teachers. It holds an annual conference and offers various online courses and webinars.
  • State Educational Technology Directors Association: A nonprofit organization, SETDA provides resources for educators focused on five core areas: equity of access, digital content, online assessment, interoperability, and digital learning. It also includes advocacy assistance for various educational technology policies, and members can enjoy professional development opportunities.
  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology: The AECT has 24 state and six international affiliates. Member benefits include exclusive invitations to conferences and professional networking events and access to an online library of many publications. The AECT also offers scholarships, internships, and reduced insurance rates.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Educational Technology Degree

While online master’s degrees are often less expensive than on-campus programs, many students will still require financial aid to help pay for individual courses. The first step for any student applying for financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use this information to determine your eligibility for federal student loans, grants, scholarships, and other financial assistance options. 

Private grants and other scholarships are often available through individual programs and schools. Consult with a financial aid counselor at your school to find out if you qualify for any scholarships. Check out the resources below to help you get started.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

Do you have questions about the financial aid that may be available? The following resources offer valuable information to help you make the right decisions. 

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