You’re a teacher. Now what? What paths to take after completing your undergraduate degree?

Teaching is one of the most challenging careers that one can choose to pursue. Helping young people learn the skills they need to go out into the world and become productive members of society requires a unique skill set and education. But what options do teachers have when it comes to their own continued growth as an educator?

Most teachers enter the workforce after earning an undergraduate degree, but that is not where their learning stops. Continued education as a teacher is one of the most critical aspects of the job, and there are many options regarding which path you can take. One of the best and most familiar paths chosen by teachers is to go back to school and earn a master’s degree in education (M.Ed.).

What are the benefits of earning an M.Ed.?

Earning a master’s degree in education can benefit your career in many ways, one of which is improving your skills as an educator. In addition, building upon your existing skillset can help your current and future students, make you more of an asset to your school district, and give you a competitive advantage when applying for new positions, promotions, or salary raises.

Another motivation for pursuing an M.Ed. is to focus on a specialty. Most undergraduate degrees cover a broad scope, but earning a master’s can offer an opportunity to hone in on what you’re most passionate about. Choosing a specialty can be a tough decision, especially when people with such a wide range of interests, experience, and careers may pursue similar graduate degree programs. We’ve created this guide to give you the resources to make your decision easier.

Which path is the right choice for me?

While many people pursuing a master’s degree in education also received a bachelor’s degree in the education field, that is not always the case. An example is how earning an undergraduate degree in Psychology, English, or Spanish can also be considered an asset before earning an M.Ed. in Literacy and Second Language Studies or an M.Ed. in Special Education. While a bachelor’s degree in education is a great first step in your academic career, it is not the only way, especially for those who are looking to become an educator as their second or even third career.

Is an M.Ed. in Literacy and Second Language Studies the right choice for you? This degree focuses on reading, writing, and speaking as language processes. After completing this degree program, students walk away with an in-depth knowledge of the social, cultural, linguistic, and institutional factors contributing to a learner’s ability to use reading, writing, and speaking in their first or second language. In addition, this degree path allows students to select the disciplinary concentration that aligns most with their goals. This degree might be right for you if you’ve already earned an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, English, Spanish, Elementary Education, or Secondary education. In addition to earning your M.Ed. in Literacy and Second Language Studies, this program offers a certificate in PreK-12 reading instruction and a certificate in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). These certificates or concentrations allow students to narrow their coursework to tailor the educational experience.

Is an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership the degree program for you? This degree is perfect for licensed educators looking to further develop their knowledge and skills to enhance learning and expand their earning potential through higher-level academic administration or leadership education roles. Individuals with that specialized background can come from almost any undergraduate degree program, including a bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Elementary Education, and Middle Childhood Education. In addition, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership offers leadership program concentrations in special education leadership for those who would like to focus on legal and ethical roles and responsibilities of a professional within the field of special education or principal leadership, for those who want to gain the tools to be a successful principle.

Is an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction the right program choice for you? This degree is perfect for teaching professionals who want to grow in their careers and make a change in the classroom. In addition to practicing teachers, this program is an excellent fit for anyone interested in planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating educational and instructional programs in various school and non-school settings. While earning this degree, students can choose a concentration in STEM education, gifted education, or teaching and learning general studies. By acquiring these certificates, students can focus on what they are passionate about within the broader curriculum and instruction coursework. Like most other M.Ed. programs, individuals can come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, but most earn a bachelor’s of education before applying for an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Is an M.Ed. in Special Education the right degree program for you? People with diverse backgrounds may pursue a master’s degree in special education. While many come from early, elementary, or middle childhood education backgrounds, some may pursue this degree after earning a degree in Psychology or another similar program. No matter what your educational or career history looks like, this master’s degree program is perfect for individuals who are caring, compassionate, and looking to gain the knowledge and skills they need to help better the lives of individuals with disabilities. In addition to providing educators with a general skillset to help them achieve their goals, this degree program also offers a certification or concentration in transition to work endorsement, autism spectrum disorders, or special education leadership.

What’s next?

Choosing a career path in education requires hard work, dedication, and compassion. So, we’ve created these M.Ed. programs to help prepare you for the future and give you the tools you need to achieve your goals. The University of Cincinnati Online has an M.Ed. program for you regardless of your future background or plans. Click here to learn more or reach out to an Enrollment Services Advisor today to begin the next step in your journey.

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