Elementary school educators view a Master of Education in Elementary Education as a way to further their teaching careers. As much as this is true, an M.Ed. in elementary education can enhance career prospects well beyond the classroom, enabling graduates to pursue leadership roles in a school setting or launch a freelance business creating professional resources for publishers.
Online programs such as the Mississippi College Master of Education in Elementary Education, that feature multiple start dates and accelerated coursework, may be especially well suited to individuals who need to balance the demands of school with work or family. This can be good news for teachers already working in the classroom. Core courses cover such topics as education research, curriculum development and current methodologies.
Why Consider a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education?
Although private or nontraditional schools may not require a specific degree or license for their elementary school teachers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to be licensed or certified in the grade level they want to teach, and though it varies by state, it is generally required to have a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, some states require all teachers to obtain a master’s degree after receiving certification to continue teaching.
Reasons to consider a master’s degree in elementary education extend beyond meeting certification requirements. In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports projected growth of 7 percent for elementary school teachers from 2020 to 2030, which is about the same as the average growth rate for all job categories. Although salaries for elementary school teachers vary from state to state, an approved master’s degree can qualify teachers not only for a higher-level certificate but also the financial benefits of a salary increase.
Other reasons for getting an M.Ed. include the ability to develop your pedagogical skills, expand your professional network and become a better student advocate. Those wanting to make a positive impact on learning can view the M.Ed. as a path to accomplish that, whether you choose to work in or out of the classroom environment.
How Can You Use This Degree in School Systems?
An M.Ed. in elementary education can help classroom teachers expand their knowledge in specific subject areas such as reading, as well as improve their skills with integrating new technologies into their teaching. The degree also empowers teachers who want to explore opportunities outside of the classroom to improve outcomes for students within a school setting. A quick look at some of the possibilities follows:
- Curriculum and Assessment Specialist: Support effective curriculum implementation in schools.
- School Operations Manager: Oversee day-to-day operational and communication activities of a school.
- District Grant Writer: Develop and manage applications for external funding through state, federal and foundation grants.
- Instructional Coach: Serve as a resource to faculty and staff to promote instructional excellence and student achievement — for example, analyzing and interpreting assessments and demonstrating effective teaching strategies.
- Academic Support Teacher: Provide individual and small group instruction to meet the needs of students, both with enrichment and remediation.
What Alternative Careers Can a Master’s in Elementary Education Support?
In addition to having the potential to directly advance teachers’ careers in the classroom, an M.Ed. may be advantageous for those who want to stay in the education field, but not necessarily in the classroom or other school setting. With a background in teaching practices, curriculum, research, best practices and education trends, graduates can go on to pursue a range of rewarding careers:
- Curriculum Developer: Develop learning experiences that align with relevant academic standards — for example, creating Farm-to-School lessons that meet the state standards for science and social studies.
- Instructional Design Specialist: Apply teaching and learning best practices, such as with reading intervention, to support the development of technology-based teaching and learning tools.
- Education Writer and Editor: Develop teaching resources for educational publishers, including print and digital formats.
- Professional Development Consultant (also Educational Consultant): Identify your areas of expertise and provide coaching and workshops that support schools and teachers. For example, someone in this role may train teachers to implement various instructional models, such as blended learning practices.
- Museum Educator: Design and implement educational initiatives, workshops and programs, such as for school groups.
- Youth Program Director: Manage day-to-day activities, which may focus on enrichment in sports and fitness, performing arts, academic support and other areas.
An advanced degree such as a Master of Education in Elementary Education can help teachers expand their content knowledge and instructional expertise to effectively engage students in accessing and learning the subject matter. Graduates may find that this degree helps them meet the requirements for rewarding careers outside the classroom as well.
Learn more about the Mississippi College online M.Ed. in Elementary Education program.