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How To Choose The Right Education Masters Program For You

Annie Condron

education masters programsUnlike many careers, educators are required to continue their education to move up the payscale and advance in their schools and districts.

There is no shortage of choices in education Masters programs, but that makes it that much more difficult to find the program that is right for you.

Here is a quick guide to help teachers choose among the available education masters programs available to them.

Choosing Your Education Specialty

When you think about your future in education, do you see yourself in the classroom, the principals office, or as a specialist?

Advanced certification and graduate degree programs force you to decide where you see your future in education.

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Do you see yourself as an administrator dictating school policy, overseeing other educators budgets and disciplinary enforcement (either at the school or district level)?

Recommended Programs: Education Administration or Educational Leadership 

Do you see yourself as a dean or specialists working closely with classroom teachers and pulling students providing supplemental instruction without having your "own" classroom?

Recommended Programs: Reading/Literacy Programs, ESL/ELL, Special Education, School Counseling, Education Technology

Do you see yourself as a master teacher still in the classroom, mentoring other educators?

Recommended Programs: Curriculum & Instruction, Differentiated Instruction, Response to Intervention, ESL/Bilingual, Reading/Literacy, Education Technology, Early Childhood Education (or other age/subject-specific programs)

In the last few years, options have expanded among advanced degree programs for in-classroom teachers. Response to Intervention, Differentiated Instruction and Education Technology degrees are all options for expanding your classroom skills, becoming more marketable, and moving up the pay scale without leaving the classroom. 

Once you've chosen your desired program, it is time to consider what program format works best for your learning style.

Local vs. Online Education Masters Programs

Now that you've considered what kind of educator you'd like to be, you also need to reflect on yourself as a student.

Are you good at time management, self-motivating and guiding your own learning?

Are you comfortable using the computer and communicating via email and other electronic options? 

Do you have an erratic schedule and prefer to work at your own pace?

Recommended Programs: Online Education Masters Program

Do you prefer face-to-face interaction and the feel of the classroom? 

Do you thrive with the personal guidance of a professor and classroom community, in addition to the structure of weekly meetings?

Do you have one or two evenings a week that you can block out for class? 

Recommended Programs: Local Education Masters Program

Choosing a School for Education Masters Programs

Once you've narrowed your choice down by program and format, it's time to start looking at Graduate Schools of Education.

Quality and accreditation is the highest priority when choosing a graduate program. When considering your program, especially online programs, check to make sure that the school has a good reputation and is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency.

Before committing to a program, check with your district to ensure that the school's accreditation is approved and recognized by your employer.

Comparing Program Prices

At the end of the day, a graduate degree program is an investment in your future. It is up to you to weigh the value of the degree and your future earning potential against its cost.

Remember to:

  • Get a full rundown of all program costs - including books, course fees, and potential tuition hikes
  • Consider the hidden costs involved - including gas for travel, computer/programs, and even time away from paid extra-curricular involvement
  • Explore funding help - including district reimbursement, scholarships and the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Most of TeachHUB's recommended Education Masters Programs offer an affordable, discounted tuition and a price guaranteed throughout the program.

Consider a Teacher Cohort Program

Many schools offer cohort programs designed specifically for working teachers. The program typically offers a set schedule with class one or two nights a week at a set time for the entire program.

A group of educators take the entire teacher cohort program together, which fosters a collaborative, consistent learning community. This is especially beneficial if you'd like to take the program with a friend or colleague.

With your self-exploration complete and best practices in place, the only thing left to do it is start your search. Good luck!

Share your tips for choosing the right education Masters program in the comments section!

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