Graduate Programs in Education

Many education professionals choose to pursue a graduate degree in education for a variety of reasons. Some want to improve their skills or delve deeper into education theory. Some want to move from teaching into administrative positions, some want to specialize in an area such as educational research or curriculum development or instructional technology. For this reason, there are options with regard to the appropriate degree to pursue.

At the master’s level, there is a choice between a master’s degree in Teaching and a master’s degree in education.

The Master’s Degree in Teaching provides the opportunity for students to enhance teaching skills and sharpen their focus on a particular subject or age level or to add a particular ancillary skill set or demonstrate competence in another subject area. In addition to a more profound understanding of educational/teaching theory, psychology, sociology and reflective thinking, curriculum planning and other essential skills and knowledge areas are also enhanced. The Masters degree in Teaching is a two-year (ordinarily) program which can also result in a teaching certificate. Teachers with a Masters Degree in Teaching can expect to earn an average of $29,000 to $48,000 in their first year of teaching, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Master’s Degree in Education offers additional opportunities for teachers to expand knowledge and skills and expand their career opportunities and earning potential. The degree program will emphasize research methodology, applied learning in the classroom, management of learning, management of the classroom. The Master’s Degree in Education also opens the door to additional opportunities, such as department head, assistant principal, principal, superintendent of schools, curriculum development and instructional technology. This degree also offers the opportunity to focus advanced study in an area of specialty, such as early childhood education or social studies education.  Educators with a Master’s Degree in Education generally earn about $200 per week more than a teacher with only a bachelor’s degree. Possession of the Master’s Degree in Education also opens the door for many to teaching in a college or university. Administrators earn an average of $77,740 in 2006, with the potential to earn as much as $140,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At the doctoral level it is possible to earn either a Ph.D. in education or an Ed.D. (equivalent to the Ph.D.), or Doctor of Education. The main reasons for pursuing either degree at the doctoral level is most commonly

  • preparation for an academic career as a professor of education
  • preparation for an administrative career either in elementary or secondary school or at a college or university
  • to pursue clinical studies
  • for research positions.

Upon completion of the doctorate, the student is generally assumed to have mastered the literature and the experiential knowledge of learning theory, human behavior and teaching skills. The benefits of earning the degree are several: the sense of accomplishment, the knowledge and skill acquired, the respect earned, and the increase in opportunity and salary. The earning potential for a school principal, for example is between $50,000 and $100,000. The average salary for a college professor is between $60,000 and $90,000.


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