Higher education can be a tricky field to navigate. Unless it’s a requirement for your chosen career, it can be difficult to tell if the money and effort will actually pay off in going to school for your Master’s degree.
One such field where this can be a question is in the education field. It is not usually a requirement for teachers to have a Master’s degree, so one may wonder if it is worth pursuing. The answer is a resounding yes, and there are several reasons why.
It may seem obvious, but going to school for your Master’s degree is imparting more knowledge onto you. This, in turn, will help make you an expert in your chosen field. Going to classes to obtain your Master’s degree will help you get more specialized training. In classes for your Master’s in Education, you will better learn how to teach, different teaching methods, pedagogy, and some philosophy of education. Graduate classes will help you learn how to better take the knowledge you learned as an undergraduate and impart that onto your students. All of this will work together to build your skills as a teacher, and this will make you invaluable to an employer.
In addition to learning how to actually teach your students, graduate students will learn through practical, hands on education. Graduate students have more opportunities to be in a classroom setting putting to practice what they are learning in the classroom in real time.
Having a graduate degree, specifically a Master’s in Education, tells a potential employer that you take yourself seriously and you are serious about the job you are applying to perform. A potential employer would know that you are out to provide your students with the best education available, and that makes you a much more enticing candidate.
Having a Master’s degree can also open more doors and offer more mobility for you. If you have any interest in moving up higher in the school hierarchy, for instance into an administrative job as Principal, it would become an expectation for you to have that higher education. By already having this, you would not be limited if the time came to advance your career. In addition, if you would ever have interest in teaching at a local college or becoming an adjunct professor, a Master’s degree would again become an expecation. Having this degree means that you can entertain more options for your career versus only having your undergraduate degree. As this degree sets you apart as an expert, it might also open doors for you to be the teacher in a student teacher relationship, and you would begin to be looked at as a mentor for new and upcoming students.
This may go without saying, but the higher your education, the higher your compensation should be. Having a Master’s degree will not only set you apart in a sea of applicants, but it will give you more bargaining leverage for your salary negotiations, and you will definitely be paid more than someone with an undergraduate degree. If you are already a working teacher, check with your employer as some schools offer a compensation program for their teachers working towards a Master’s degree.
They say in life it’s all about who you know, and working to attain your Master’s degree will help you network and get to know many more people in your field. Working as a student teacher will help you build a relationship with a more experienced peer, as well as a relationship with that specific school and administration. If you end up getting a job at that school, having those relationships from the beginning can be invaluable. Even if you end up at a different school, only good can come from having access to resources and individuals who can help you along in your career.
Choosing to pursue a Master’s degree as a teacher can be an overwhelming decision, however, having a graduate degree can do nothing but further your career and make you more attractive to potential employers. Not only that, but the knowledge and hands on experience you will learn through the process will ultimately make you a better teacher, giving you an even better chance to truly impact your students’ lives.