Master of Education
The Master of Education (M.Ed.) is a graduate degree for students who are planning a career in the field of education. It prepares educators for advanced roles outside the classroom in school leadership, administration, student affairs, advanced instruction and counseling. M.Ed. graduates who establish themselves as experts in a specific area of education have the potential to earn higher salaries and enjoy more employment mobility than classroom teachers.
There are a wide range of career opportunities available for graduates of Master of Education programs. They are prepared to assume leadership roles in K through 12 schools as principals, deans, lead teachers and curriculum coordinators. They may be employed in higher education as administrators, admissions and financial aid officers, and student activity coordinators. They can also pursue careers as academic advisors or as outreach counselors for nonprofits, social work agencies and correctional facilities.
Professional teachers and aspiring teachers for grades K through 12 who want to further their teaching skills in a specific area, such as special education or STEM, may choose to pursue a Master of Education, but most find that a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is more in keeping with their career goals. The MAT degree focuses on pedagogical theory and teaching methodology. Most MAT programs provide courses that satisfy state credentialing requirements, including a semester of guided student teaching.
M.Ed. ProgramsMaster of Education programs typically require four or five full-time semesters for completion. Program candidates are expected to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. An undergraduate degree in education is not usually required, and admission is open to students with all types of majors. High quality M.Ed. programs look for students whose prior academic record indicates commitment and the ability to succeed in a rigorous graduate program.
Prospective students who are deciding where to earn a Master of Education degree should only consider National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)-accredited programs. NCATE is the teaching profession's mechanism for ensuring that teacher, counselor and administrator preparation programs meet standard qualifications for quality. As an independent accrediting body, NCATE currently accredits nearly 700 schools, colleges and departments of education. The organization is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the primary source for professional accreditation for teacher preparation.
M.Ed. CurriculumThe M.Ed. program curriculum varies depending on the area of concentration. For school administration concentrations, the curriculum focuses on the theory and practice of school leadership, including school organization, instruction supervision and community relations. For student affairs concentrations, the curriculum centers on the theory and practice of student affairs in higher education settings. For counseling concentrations, program curriculum typically includes courses in counseling, student affairs and data analysis.
Upon completion of Master of Education programs, teachers and other education professionals should have the organizational and leadership skills that will allow them to step into positions of significant responsibility in primary, secondary and postsecondary education environments.