While a master's degree is not required to become a teacher in the United States, choosing to get this advanced degree can help advance your career in a way that may be more difficult without it. Of course, more is not always better when it comes to schooling and not everyone needs to get an advanced degree in their field. Ultimately, it will come down to individual factors such as your professional goals. If you are thinking about whether to get a master's in education, here are some benefits to consider.
Becoming a Better Teacher
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of getting your master's degree is the opportunity to become a better teacher overallâ€”anyone who plans to stick to one career for the long haul will naturally want to do the best they can. An advanced education degree lets you delve deeper into theory, critical thinking and practical aspects of teaching that will allow you to teach your students in the most effective, engaging way. This level of education is just not possible with simply a bachelor's degree. You will learn more how to meet the individual needs of your students, which can vary greatly.Several studies have found that students being taught with teachers who hold master's degrees performed better in reading and writing tests.
Greater Pay and Opportunities
An advanced degree can help you command a higher salaryâ€”depending on the area you teach, it may increase as much as 15 percent or perhaps more. Completion of your master of arts in teaching shows potential employers that you have a high level of knowledge and skills required to teach properly. Schools are always looking to hire the best teachers they can and applicants with more education will have a clear advantage over those with just the minimum requirements to enter the field. A master's degree adds value to your job and districts want teachers like you to stick around and help the school grow. This degree can also open the doors to higher level positions in schools, such as a principal, assistant principal, department head, superintendent or a teacher leader.
Opportunity for Specialization
Pursuing a master's degree allows you to specialize in a particular subject you may feel passionate about. If you truly love teaching art history or science, for example, this degree program will really allow you to deepen your teaching skills in these areas. This specialization will certainly give you a leg up when applying to schools looking to fill these slots. You will learn how to most effectively teach students what they need to know about these subjects.
Pursuing your graduate education degree may help connect you with different people that can impart valuable knowledge and perhaps help advance your career. You will meet many people from a variety of backgrounds. During your student teaching phase, you may make valuable connections with teachers who can later serve as mentors. Making strong professional connections is always helpful for advancing your career.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all things education.