What You Should Know About This Degree
There are two types of master’s programs in social studies – those that are designed for educators who already have a state-issued teaching license or certification, and those that prepare graduates for licensure or certification. Your educational and professional background will determine which type of program you are seeking. All states require public school teachers to have a teaching license or certification. If you do not have a teaching license or certification, your job opportunities will be limited to private, charter, or alternative schools.
Since each state’s educational board sets its own regulations for certification or licensure, you should review your state’s requirements before enrolling in a program. This will help you select a program that meets your state’s requirements for credentialing.
Another consideration is attending a program that is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Some states require that students complete a CAEP-accredited program as a prerequisite for obtaining their licensure or certification.
Most programs include an experiential learning component, such as student teaching, in their curriculum. Individuals who are employed as teachers may be able to complete these requirements at their current job. If you are not presently working in a school, you should be prepared to spend at least one term in a school setting completing these requirements.
Here are some questions you can ask when researching online master’s in social studies programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Depending on the program, you may need to have a bachelor’s degree in education, teaching licensure, and/or teaching experience. Be sure to review the program’s eligibility requirements prior to applying to ensure that you have the right qualifications for admission.
- Are there any in-person requirements for this program? Because teachers typically have summers free, many programs are designed with online courses during the traditional academic year, and in-person classes during the summer. Review the program’s curriculum, or talk to a program representative about how classes are delivered, to confirm that you can accommodate any in-person requirements in your schedule and budget.
Other steps you can take at this time include collecting your application materials, confirming application submission deadlines and procedures, and researching your options for funding your graduate degree. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers any tuition assistance benefits. Other funding resources include private and institutional scholarships, student loans, and assistantships.