Top Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Master’s in Education Program
Choosing the perfect school to earn your master’s degree is never easy. There are any number of considerations to make, and it’s important that you look at them all before deciding where to continue your education. Here are five key considerations that can help you find the education program that’s perfect for you.
Study the Curriculum
Not every master’s degree program in education will feature the same curriculum, so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the curricula at each of the schools you are interested in. Read through all the class descriptions. Do they cover the topics that will benefit your teaching career? Is there a research requirement? A field requirement? The program’s curriculum is the foundation that will establish your future career. You want to make sure the coursework in your graduate program will set you apart from other candidates in the education field. It’s important to make sure that the curriculum is in line with the classroom you are or will be teaching in.
Consider Your Flexibility
Be honest with yourself — how much time do you have to commit to a graduate education program? If you are working full-time, an on-campus program may be out of the question. If you have personal commitments, you may not be able to attend traditional classes. Consider your life as it is now and choose a program accordingly. While a traditional on-campus full- or part-time program may work for you, you may also want to look at online programs that will allow you to attend classes and complete coursework with more flexibility. Remember, you’re going to graduate school to learn — choose the program that will allow you the most time to spend on your studies.
Get to Know Your School
When choosing a graduate school, you should look for schools with reputable, regionally accredited programs. There are a lot of options, but not every graduate degree will hold the same value in the job market. A great way to see how a school stacks up is to research its alumni. How many of them hold jobs? How many are working in the field? How does the school work to help with the transition from university student to working professional? The best schools will offer support and services that help their students beyond their matriculation.
For novice teachers, earning a master’s degree in teaching is only the beginning — you will also need to get a teacher certification. Most top education programs will offer programs to assist with certification, but you need to ensure the program is right for your individual circumstances. In other words, make sure the school will allow you to complete the necessary fieldwork and/or licensing requirements in your state. After all, you most likely want to start a career at you current state of residency, so you must make sure the university can help you fulfill those requirements.
Research Fieldwork Requirements
The art of teaching is something that is perfected through practical experience, especially if you are just starting your teaching career. Most accredited graduate schools will require you complete a fieldwork component to fulfill your graduation requirements. While most programs require fieldwork, though, not every school will help you find a placement. Ask each of the schools you are considering how they place students in the field. Some programs will work with you to find a placement in your own community or close to campus, while others will leave it to you to make those connections on your own. Either way, fieldwork will prove an immensely important component of your education. Not only will it put you in a classroom to gain valuable experience, it will help you build connections that may lead to job prospects after graduation.
All master’s degree programs in education are different. Some focus on traditional pedagogy while others focus on high-needs classrooms, but ultimately the decision of where to attend is yours alone. When you consider your interests, your flexibility and your future career plans, you will be able to find the school and program that best meets your individual needs.