Careers That Require a Master's Degree in Education

A master's degree can advance educators in both title and pay.

A master's degree can advance educators in both title and pay.

Earning and paying for a master's degree in education makes sense when it is required for the career you want. The minimum requirement for most jobs in education is a bachelor's degree. However, to advance in these positions or to qualify for a career with higher responsibility, a master's degree is generally required. There are many education careers that specifically require a graduate degree as the minimum entry credential. Specialize in the area of education that directly leads to the career you want.

School Administration

If you want to be a K-12 principal or superintendent, you will need to have a minimum of a master's degree in most states. In addition to the degree requirements, you may have to complete an administrative internship and have several years of teaching experience. Other administrative jobs that require a minimum of a master's degree in education include special education directors, curriculum directors, program directors and grant administrators.

College Professors

A master's degree is generally the minimum requirement for teaching at the college level. Graduates with teaching experience can generally find jobs teaching at community and four-year colleges. They may find jobs teaching remedial classes, student development classes, college-level study skills, English as a foreign language or adult basic education. Graduates who have previously taught in the K-12 setting and who earn a master's degree can qualify for college-level positions in the teacher education department.

Higher Education

Many professional jobs in higher education require a master's degree to get your foot in the door. Careers such as academic advisors, department or program directors, college deans, educational specialists, program coordinators and counselors generally seek candidates with a master's degree. Some institutions also award employees who earn a master's degree with a pay raise, even if the job title does not require a master's degree to get the job.

Teacher Advancement

Most school districts encourage K-12 teachers to earn a master's degree with automatic pay increases and the possibility for additional responsibility. Some teachers earn a master's degree in the subject they teach to improve their effectiveness. However, the majority earn a master's degree in education. Teachers in Washington state earn an average of $11,000 a year more for their master's degree; this might help explain why 48 percent of teachers nationwide have earned this degree as of 2008, even though it is not required for the basic teaching job.


About the Author

Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.

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