What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education?
If you want to help gifted and talented students reach their full potential in their classrooms but don’t have time for a traditional on-campus degree, an online master’s in gifted and talented education may be a good solution. This degree prepares you to work effectively with advanced students in different roles including teaching, administration or instructional design.
Online master’s programs in gifted and talented education offer the same quality of education as their on-campus counterparts and in a more convenient format. For teachers and other working professionals who have commitments to family and their full-time job, online master’s programs are a great solution to advance their careers from the comfort of home.
When you’re exploring online master’s programs in gifted and talented education, be sure to find a program that aligns with your short and long-term career goals.
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education
While specifics of a master’s in gifted and talented education curriculum are going to vary depending on school and program type, you can expect to take some version of these common courses no matter where you enroll:
|Introduction to Gifted Education||Provides an overview of the gifted and talented field, including its foundations in sociology and philosophy, definitions, history, identification and assessment methods, curriculum analysis and characteristics and needs of gifted learners. Other topics typically covered include theories of intelligence and social justice issues related to gifted and talented education.|
|Classroom Assessment||Develop skills necessary for measuring dimensions of giftedness, including achievement, creativity and intelligence. Topics covered include methods and instruments used for assessment, procedures for making classroom or grade placement decisions, test results interpretation, social and ethical issues related to testing, ethnic and cultural diversity and methods for monitoring the progress of advanced learners.|
|Collaborative Inclusion Strategies||Learn methods, concepts and strategies for effective collaboration, communication and consultation in gifted and talented educational settings. Also typically taught is how to respect the needs of advanced learners.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education?
Most gifted and talented education master’s programs require between 30-36 credits on average, which most students can complete within 18-24 months, depending on whether they take classes part-time or full-time.
An average program consists of 15 core credits and 15 credits in the gifted and talented specialty, including a culminating capstone course. Most courses are about 7 weeks long, and most students take two courses at a time per 14-week semester, although some students may take more.
The other factor affecting the length of your master’s degree program in gifted and talented education is the program’s structure. If it’s a cohort model, you take classes with the same small group of students and progress through the program at the same time. With programs that are individually paced, you can choose how many classes to take at one time.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Prepares For
|Professional Teaching License||Each state’s department of education has its own requirements for teacher licensure. As a rule, though, all teachers employed in public schools must be state licensed. Some gifted and talented master’s programs may have licensure built into the program, so you end up graduating with both your master’s degree and the appropriate teaching license. Some states require a certification exam, and others may require a specialty exam in gifted education if you are interested in being a gifted and talented teacher.|
|Administrator License||Educational administrator licenses are given to master’s degree holders who have completed an administrator preparation program. While the process differs in each state, to be certified as an administrator typically requires 3-5 years of experience as an educator, completion of an exam and a background check. Gifted and talented teachers can apply for an administrator license after completing a suitable program.|
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education
Accreditation is a peer-review process in higher education that ensures institutions are meeting specific standards of quality. It reflects the legitimacy of your online master’s degree, and it can help improve your job prospects. Many schools, both public and private, require job applicants to have completed an accredited teacher preparation program.
When choosing an online master’s program in gifted and talented education, be sure to check for regional accreditation and also that it is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which is the field-specific accrediting agency for providers of educator preparation programs. You can also search for accredited master’s programs by school or program type at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation‘s (CHEA) online database.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
When you hold a master’s degree in any education field, including gifted and talented education, you can help increase your job prospects and potentially boost your salary. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the average base salary for teachers in public schools with a master’s degree is about 20 percent more compared to public school teachers with a bachelor’s degree.
Those who hold a master’s degree in gifted and talented education are qualified for numerous educational positions. Many experienced teachers earn a second master’s in gifted and talented education to help them with differentiating lessons for their gifted and talented students, while other individuals may aspire to be gifted and talented teachers. Below are some popular careers and their median annual salaries.
Geographical location also makes a difference in salary. Gifted and talented education is often considered part of special education in many school systems. Below is a chart of the top-paying states for special education teachers in the United States, which may sometimes include gifted and talented education teachers. Most are located in the Northeast and West Coast.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Elementary School Teacher||Elementary school teachers instruct younger students, typically in kindergarten through fifth grade in basic subjects, such as math, reading, science and social studies to prepare them for middle school and high school. Gifted and talented teachers may work at the elementary level and help classroom teachers identify which students may be gifted and talented based on assessments and test results.||$56,900 per year||7%|
|Special Education Teachers||Gifted and talented education is considered a part of special education in many public school districts. Special education teachers generally teach students with mild to moderate cognitive, behavioral, emotional or physical disabilities, but they can also teach gifted and talented students using specialized instructional techniques.||$58,980 per year||8%|
Membership in professional organizations focused on educating gifted and talented students can help you advance your career. These types of organizations typically offer members-only benefits, including scholarships, webinars and extensive career services, including job boards.
National Association for Gifted Children: The NAGC offers support and advocacy to those who enhance the growth and development of gifted and talented children. This organization provides a career center, an expert speakers program and access to on-demand webinars, scholarships and awards. It also hosts an annual convention with over 300 sessions, providing teachers with ample networking opportunities.
Association for the Gifted: TAG is a division of the Council of Exceptional Children, and it helps parents and educational professionals work more effectively with gifted and talented youth. This professional organization publishes a journal, provides discounts on health insurance and student memberships and offers access to a career center and numerous continuing education programs.
World Council for Gifted and Talented Children: This worldwide organization offers support and advocacy for gifted and talented children to help them reach their full potential in educational settings and in life. The WCGTG hosts a biennial worldwide conference, gives out awards and scholarships, publishes a newsletter, lists job postings and provides members-only networking opportunities and a student research database.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Gifted and Talented Education
Even though online degrees are usually less expensive than on-campus master’s degrees, many students still need and qualify for financial aid packages to help them pay for the cost of tuition.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is a good first step because it provides you with information about grants, loans and scholarships available from the U.S. government. Also keep in mind that individual schools, nonprofit organizations and private companies offer their own scholarships to students, so be sure to see if you qualify for those in addition to consulting the resources listed below.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Federal Financial Aid for Teachers|
|TEACH Grant||Award: $4,000
Eligibility: The federally funded TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) grant provides up to $4000 annually to finance the educational pursuits of aspiring teachers in exchange for a four-year teaching commitment at a low-income school upon graduation.
|Teacher.org Inspire Our Future Scholarship||Award: $500
Eligibility: 3.5 GPA and open to brand new teachers or experienced educators.