What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Math Education Program?
Math teachers at all levels of education — elementary, secondary and postsecondary — are usually in high demand. This often results in higher salaries, and many have an easier time finding jobs compared to teachers in other fields. Schools throughout the United States continue to emphasize the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields to students’ education, so as a result, qualified math teachers are likely to continue to be in high demand.
When you’re taking classes toward earning your master’s in math education, you can expect to receive the same level of high-quality instruction as you would in a traditional on-campus experience. Online master’s degrees are also presented in a more convenient format, so students can take classes at their own pace.
When searching for online master’s degree programs in math education, be sure to find one that aligns with your long-term career goals and is a good fit for you.
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Math Education
Specific classes you take and the topics covered are going to vary by program and institution. For instance, some programs may focus heavily on mathematical theory while others might spend more time on developing teaching skills. Some common courses you can expect to take include:
|Learning and Teaching Algebra||Students enrolled in this course can gain a foundation for teaching and learning algebraic concepts. It also may include an overview of teaching methods, lesson planning and technology in the context of algebra.|
|Theories of Teaching and Learning||This course typically provides an overview of current research about theories of teaching and learning and historical perspectives. Usually, psychological, biological and cultural theories of learning are discussed and applied to real-world teaching environments.|
|Student Teaching Internship||A teaching internship is typically required in master’s-level education programs to gain real-world classroom experience. Student teachers are placed at a nearby school — and in online programs, it’s usually a school close to your geographical location — where they are supervised by a working teacher.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Math Education?
The time it takes to complete an online master’s degree program in math education varies according to the specific program, institution and whether you choose to take classes on a full- or part-time basis. On average, it takes about two years to complete an online master’s program in math education.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Math Education Prepares For
Requirements for acquiring an educational license vary widely by state. In general, you need a teaching license to teach in the K-12 school environment. Paths to licensure and certification vary by state, so be sure to check with your state board of education to find out specific requirements. At the postsecondary level, however, a license is not required.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Math Education
When you’re searching for an online master’s degree in math education, it’s important to find accredited programs. Accreditation is a voluntary process schools engage in with certain organizations to prove they meet certain educational standards. By choosing an accredited school, you can make sure you’re receiving a high-quality education.
National and regional accreditation is available. National accreditation agencies award accreditation to schools throughout the country, and regional accreditation agencies focus on specific regions of the United States.
For an online master’s in math education, you should see if the program you’re considering is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which is the main accrediting organization for teacher education. CAEP provides accreditation for programs that prepare teachers at all levels, from preschool to grade 12.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Math Education Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
While a bachelor’s degree can sometimes help you obtain entry-level positions in teaching, such as an assistant teaching position, a master’s degree opens up additional job opportunities and increases your earning potential. Graduates of master’s degree programs in math education are qualified for a variety of career paths, primarily in the K-12 grades to the community college level.
Most of the time, those who earn a master’s degree in math education are qualified to teach at the high school or postsecondary level. Most middle school and elementary school positions require a more general degree in elementary education or middle school education, which provides a more general overview of multiple subject areas and not just mathematics. Below are some common occupations for those with a master’s in math education and median annual salaries for each.
Many other factors affect salary, including the specific industry or place of employment, such as a college, university or professional school and geographical location. Below is the list of the top-paying states in the United States for postsecondary mathematical science teachers, the majority of which are in the Northeast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies these types of math teachers as those who “teach college-level courses pertaining to mathematical concepts, statistics and actuarial science and to the application of original and standardized mathematical techniques in solving specific problems and situations.” This group includes those who primarily teach and those who work doing a combination of teaching and research.
To be successful in the math education field, it helps to be naturally skilled with numbers, have an analytical mind and enjoy being around young people while helping them grow. Most of the time, those who obtain a master’s degree in math education are qualified to teach at the high school or postsecondary level. Below are some common career options with salary and growth information for each. Note that 7 percent is considered by the BLS to be average growth, so anything above that number is faster than average.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Postsecondary Teachers||These teachers instruct students at public and private colleges and universities, professional schools and junior or community colleges. With a master’s degree in math education, you may be qualified to teach different math classes at these levels. Postsecondary teachers also sometimes publish scholarly research papers and books along with their teaching responsibilities.||$76,000 per year||15%|
|High School Teachers||High school teachers usually teach specific subjects, such as math, science, history or English, and they help prepare their students for life after graduation, whether that’s a college education or the job market. High school teachers can work in either public or private schools.||$59,170 per year||8%|
Membership in professional organizations for math education benefits both current students enrolled in master’s programs and recent graduates. Professional organizations in this field provide networking opportunities, continuing education classes, annual conferences, career services and often have active job boards. Students and recent graduates of master’s programs in math education often qualify for discounted membership rates. Three of the most popular professional organizations in math education are listed below.
Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE): This is the largest organization in the United States dedicated to improving math teacher education. AMTE supports continuing education efforts of math teachers from preschool to the college level.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): The NCTM supports math teachers through professional development opportunities, research and leadership. Many math curriculum programs used in schools are based on well-established NCTM standards.
Mathematical Association of America (MAA): This organization focuses its efforts on making math accessible to undergraduate students. Its members include many high school and college teachers.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Math Education
Earning an online master’s degree is typically cheaper than earning that same degree in traditional on-campus study. Expenses associated with travel, for instance, are eliminated when participating in a distance learning program. Despite it costing less overall, many students still need financial aid to help them pay for the cost of their master’s degree.
It can be confusing to navigate all of the different financial aid options available, but a good place to start is with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Filling it out and submitting it provides you with information about grants, scholarships, loans and other forms of financial aid available to you through the federal government.
Many nonprofit organizations, private companies and even individual schools offer their own scholarships and grants. Be sure to investigate the programs you’re interested in to find out whether you qualify to apply for any scholarships.
|Financial Aid for Graduate Students|
|Knowing Your Options|
|Federal Financial Aid for Teachers|
|TEACH Grant||Award: $4,000
Eligibility: The TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) grant provides up to $4,000 annually to recipients who are enrolled in graduate teaching programs in exchange for a four-year commitment to teach at a low-income school.
|STEM Teacher Graduate Scholarship||Award: $2,500
Eligibility: Students who are actively pursuing a graduate degree and/or credential or licensure for the purpose of teaching in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering or math) upon graduation at a U.S. school in grades K-12.
|Harry S Truman Scholarship||Award: $500
Eligibility: Students must hold a 3.5 GPA and be age 18 years or older. Application is open to experienced teachers continuing their education or aspiring teachers just beginning the process.