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What do teachers need to know? Among five core propositions outlined by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in “What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do” is “Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.” While middle and high school teachers may specialize in a specific discipline, such as English Language Arts or Biology, teaching in an elementary school classroom setting typically requires in-depth knowledge of multiple subjects, such as reading, mathematics, science, language arts and social studies. And, while a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient to get a teaching career off the ground, there are reasons to consider investing in an advanced degree, such as the Master of Education in Elementary Education program at Mississippi College (MC).

What Is the Value of an M.Ed. in Elementary Education?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.” Regardless of state-by-state requirements, there may be other reasons to earn an advanced degree. The Brookings Institution reports that 96 percent of 112 major U.S. school districts provide a salary increase for teachers with a master’s degree.

The Houston Chronicle reports a median salary of $54,400 for elementary education teachers with a master’s degree. The figure represents a 36 percent pay boost over the median figure for those who hold bachelor’s degrees alone ($40,000).

However, the value of a Master of Education in Elementary Education extends beyond increased wages.

How Can Deeper Knowledge of Reading and Comprehension Support Successful Teachers?

With advanced coursework that provides in-depth study of core content areas, a master’s in elementary education can help teachers build a deeper knowledge base to create richer and more effective learning experiences. Take reading, for example. The correlation between a student’s level of reading proficiency in the elementary grades and success in school and beyond is well-documented. While a bachelor’s degree in elementary education may include coursework in diagnostic reading instruction, given the long-term implications of persistent reading difficulties, elementary school teachers may want to consider a master’s in elementary education to enhance their ability to implement research-based reading instruction and improve outcomes for struggling readers.

How Can Deeper Knowledge of Other Core Subjects Support Successful Teachers?

As core academic subjects, language arts and social studies also warrant further attention. How do current trends influence elementary school language arts programs? Where does digital technology fit in, and what works? When it comes to social studies, how does this core content area fit into today’s elementary classrooms? How can teachers prioritize civic education when increasing instructional time for ELA, mathematics and science? A master’s in elementary education offers teachers opportunities to examine current education trends and issues such as these, as well as what they mean for students.

Teachers who wish to continue working while they pursue an M.Ed. may find the flexibility and convenience of an online program helpful. Mississippi College, for example, offers an M.Ed. in Elementary Education that features courses with multiple start dates. Additionally, working teachers in such a program may benefit from being able to apply what they are learning directly to their classroom to improve student achievement.

Learn more about the Mississippi College online M.Ed. in Elementary Education program.


National Board for Professional Teaching Standards: What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher

Brookings: Who Profits From the Master’s Degree Pay Bump for Teachers?

National Education Association: Myths and Facts About Educator Pay

The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Early Warning Confirmed: A Research Update on Third-Grade Reading

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: STEM 101: Intro to Tomorrow’s Jobs

Houston Chronicle: Teachers’ Salaries for a BA vs. a Master’s

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