Online Master of Science in Teaching Degrees
What is a Master of Science in Teaching Degree?
A Master of Science in Teaching (sometimes referred to as an MST) degree is specially designed for prospective teachers seeking initial teacher certification or current teachers looking advance themselves within the classroom with a masters in teaching. A master of science in teaching program is open to graduates who have no prior learning in the education field and seeking a career change, or are currently educators and are seeking a master’s degree in teaching. The easiest way to accomplish this, with so many potential students already holding full time careers, is through the use of online education.
Online master of science in teaching programs focus on blending learning theory with hands-on, field-based teaching experiences. Prominent themes might include:
- Subject matter specialization
- Role of diversity in learning
Advancements in educational technology built online programs to be better suited than ever for 21st-century learning. Basic computer hardware features provide the ability to quickly and easily watch video, as well as “Web 2.0” structures that allow for discussions and exams – these are all basic technologies that most people have access to, and the best online m.s. in teaching degree programs put these technologies to good use.
Strong online master of science in teaching programs should have the following:
- Live virtual classes
- Learning management systems
- Interactive course content
- Technical support
- Mobile access
The following are concentration areas candidates may find while pursuing an M.S in teaching:
MST in Early Childhood Education Concentration (Birth to Grade 2)
The early childhood education concentration helps prepare students to teach from birth to second grade. Course content explores the different early childhood education models, ultimately teaching students how to create diverse and inclusive classrooms as well as how to incorporate play as part of their teaching.
MST in Childhood Education Concentration (Grades 1-6)
The childhood education concentration prepares students to work in elementary education with children from first to sixth grade. Course content focuses on child development, inclusive elementary classroom techniques and professional case studies. This concentration may also require field experience where students apply what they have learned in a real classroom setting.
MST in Childhood Special Education Concentration (Grades 1-6)
The childhood special education concentration prepares students to work in elementary education with children in first to sixth grade who have disabilities. Course content focuses on a combination of instruction in child development and how to adapt instructional practices for children in all settings.
MST in Adolescent Education Concentration (Grades 7-12)
The adolescent education concentration prepares students to work in middle school or high school classroom settings. Course content focuses on subject-specific material that is applicable to all adolescents.
MST in Adolescent Special Education Concentration (Grades 7-12)
The adolescent special education concentration prepares students to work in special education support roles—for example, as a consultant or co-support teacher. Course content helps students learn the policies, principles and intricacies of special education. These foundations will help in assessment and intervention while working with diverse groups of adolescents with a range of disabilities.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages—TESOL Concentration
A TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other languages) concentration allows students to specialize in teaching English to non-native speakers. This concentration provides students with a base, but may require extension coursework in advanced ESL education methodologies and techniques.
MST in Education Leadership Concentration
The education leadership concentration helps students develop leadership skills in their everyday coursework. Course content may include topics such as research methods, organization and administration, and instructional leadership.
MST in Art Education Concentration (Grades K-12)
The art education concentration prepares students to teach art courses from kindergarten through high school. This concentration may require an additional extension in order to teach art for students with disabilities.
MST in Art Education for Students with Disabilities (Grades K-12)
The art education for students with disabilities concentration prepares students to teach art courses from kindergarten through high school. The curriculum builds upon a typical art education by adding courses tailored toward teaching students with disabilities and a wide range of learning styles.
MST in Physical Science Education Concentration (Grades 6-12)
The physical science education concentration could be ideal for someone seeking to teach within STEM. This concentration prepares students to teach a wide range of science subjects, including biology, chemistry, earth science physics at the middle school or high school level.
MST in Mathematics Concentration
The mathematics concentration is an option for someone looking to teach in STEM. This concentration specifically prepares students to teach mathematics courses such as algebra, geometry and calculus.
MST in English Concentration
The English concentration prepares students to teach English or language arts, typically from seventh grade through high school. Course content equips students to teach a wide range or English topics such as: grammar/punctuation, writing/creative writing, and story analysis.
MST in Social Studies Concentration
The social studies concentration prepares students to teach social studies or history, typically from seventh grade through high school. Course content equips students to teach a wide range of topics from general areas such as geography and history to government and current affairs.
Master of Science in Teaching Degree vs. Master of Arts in Teaching Degree
While a Master of Arts in Teaching is a more popular degree choice, a Master of Science in Teaching paves the way for newcomers to the education field, providing the coursework to earn a teacher certification while developing a prospective teacher’s knowledge of educational philosophies and pedagogy skills. An M.S in Teaching can be age group specific and/or subject specialized.
An MA in Teaching is a degree designed for both current and prospective K–12 teachers who are looking to either obtain their initial teaching license or who are looking for additional certification as a means of career advancement inside the classroom. Read more about earning a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.
The curriculum of an online MST is nearly identical to that of a traditional MST program pursued on campus. MST coursework focuses on grade level and subject area, including multiple subject certification for elementary education degrees and/or subject-specific certification (like the concentration areas listed above).
MST certification typically requires 30-36 credits until completion, with an option of taking additional credits to earn dual certification. Typically, MS in teaching curriculum follows a structure similar to the one laid out below:
- Core Requirements
- Learning theories
- Teaching methods
- Classroom technology
- Concentration Coursework
- Fieldwork is a prevalent portion of the MST curriculum, demanding approximately 3-5 full days per week, totalling 600 hours.
Fieldwork, as well, is especially critical to the curriculum, acting as a major focal point for learning outside the classroom.
Admission Requirements for an Online Master of Science in Teaching
As mentioned above, while working educators can pursue their Master of Science in Teaching degree, the program itself is designed to accommodate students who do not have any previous teaching experience. Therefore, both online and traditional MST programs do not require students to have completed prerequisite courses in education. Minimum admissions standards typically only include a bachelor’s degree or greater from an accredited institution of higher education.
- Examination requirements include either the GRE or Millers Analogy Test (MAT).
A key difference between traditional and online MST degree programs is the coursework experience and concentration options. Depending on the program you enroll in, your experience will vary, but the best programs shouldn’t differ drastically in terms of their coursework.
Much like the distinction between in-class assignments and homework in a traditional on-campus program, online programs have synchronous and asynchronous elements.
- Synchronous elements require real-time interaction through tools like text chat, voice chat and video conferencing.
- Asynchronous elements can be addressed at your leisure, like reading documents, viewing presentations, listening to audio files or watching videos.
E-mails, discussion boards, social networks, collaborative documents and e-portfolios are also asynchronous elements. Like homework in a regular classroom, these offline components support the online curriculum. You’ll be expected to have watched lectures and completed homework assignments prior to attending live class sessions so you’re ready to participate in discussions and other in-class activities.
While most states do not require educational professionals to hold an advanced degree, there are a number of benefits to earning your MST. Having an advanced degree, both inside and outside the classroom, provides you with greater career options and the opportunity to earn a higher salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016, common job titles and employment figures for MST-related occupations include:
- Early Childhood: 478,500 jobs
- Elementary School: 1,565,300 jobs
- Middle school teachers: 630,300 jobs
- High school teachers: 1,018,700 jobs
- Special education teachers: 439,300 jobs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016, median annual salaries and employment growth through 2024 for MST-related occupations are:
- Early Childhood: $28,790, 10%
- Elementary School: $55,490, 7%
- Middle school teachers: $56,720, 8%
- High school teachers: $57,000, 6%
- Special education teachers: $57,910, 8%
Last updated: August 2020