100% Online for Busy Teachers. Enhance your Role in Education.Get Program Details
Get a Masters in Adult Education. Online & Top-Ranked. Learn More!Get Program Details
100% Online for Busy Teachers. Enhance your Role in Education.Get Program Details
As a comprehensive and practical teaching degree, the Master of Education (M.Ed.) helps certified and aspiring teachers advance. Learning outcomes can be applied in classrooms, or can allow for progression to other parts of your education, depending on your career goals.
A variety of tracks are available within an M.Ed. program, each of which corresponds to a particular set of skills. Common concentrations include education administration, curriculum development, adult education, and counseling. Completing the program usually takes approximately two years of full-time study.
The master’s in education (M.Ed.) can open doors for teachers who seek to enter senior positions in education as well as discover a range of opportunities beyond the classroom. It’s designed to give today’s educators advanced insights into teaching philosophy, current teaching methods, and modern education technologies. It can provide a pathway to becoming a subject matter expert, breaking into education administration, or making the transition into a counselor role.
Possible outcomes from earning your Master of Education are:
In order for a program to receive industry-standard accreditation, its administrators will need to prove students learn: 
According to a report by the Council of State Governments, teachers with advanced degrees earn 10 percent more, on average, than those with bachelor’s degrees in the U.S. After 10 years, the average annual salary gap between teachers with master’s degrees and those with bachelor’s degrees is $4,500. 
While your curriculum will vary depending on the program through which you choose to study, there are several common topics that you can expect to cover throughout the program. These include: 
While curricula will vary by program, they tend to share some characteristics. Typical required courses you may come across during your program include:
Your online Master of Education program may also offer a variety of elective courses. Common elective courses include:
Common M.Ed. specializations reflect typical education career paths. They include subjects such as:
The length of an online master’s degree program can depend on a number of variables, perhaps the most prominent of which is the pace at which you choose to study. You can finish a typical master’s degree program in about two to three years if you choose to study full-time, although some accelerated programs may be able to help you finish more quickly.
Online master’s degree programs tend to offer flexibility suitable for students who choose to study part-time. This option will likely extend your time to completion, but it can allow you to study while fulfilling your familial, social, and professional obligations.
You can find more information on this topic at our program length overview page.
If you’d like to approach teaching from another angle, there are several degree options you might consider. These include:
Master of Teaching: This does not include instruction in management functions in the way the M.Ed. does. Its focus is often on the role of diversity in learning, incorporation of technology in the classroom, and integration of the common core standards.
Master of Science in Education: This degree can help you if you are interested in educational research.
In addition, you could choose to pursue a more specialized education degree. These include degrees such as:
M.Ed. in Special Education
M.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction
M.Ed. in Higher Education
M.Ed. in Learning, Cognition, and Development
M.Ed. in Foundations in Behavior Analysis
M.Ed. in Adult and Continuing Education
Industry associations bring together like-minded educators and education stakeholders for networking and discussion. Here are a few education organizations to know:
The American Federation of Teachers 
The Association of Teacher Educators 
The Department of Education 
The Association of American Educators 
The National Association of Special Education Teachers 
Accreditation is handled by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This body was formed in 2013 from the merger of the former National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
Prospective teachers can have confidence that accredited programs are current, relevant, and research-based, and will prepare them for licensing examinations. 
The CAEP evaluates M.Ed. programs based on five standards: 
Standard 1 focuses on candidate outcomes specific to advanced-level study.
Standard 2 allows for flexibility specific to clinical experiences that encompass the uniqueness and diversity found at the advanced level.
Standard 3 emphasizes the admission of qualified candidates who have demonstrated the proficiency for advanced-level study.
Standard 4 focuses on completer and employer satisfaction.
Standard 5 requests evidence on a quality assurance system specific to continuous improvement. This works to ensure that graduates from an accredited teaching program are competent and caring educators.
Teaching requires a state-issued license.  Each state has its own exams and requirements for licensure in addition to the basic teaching certificate that comes from completing an accredited teacher training program.
The state-administered exams can include the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educator Tests. These measure subject-specific skills, as well as knowledge of pedagogy and teaching methods. These tests are a mix of multiple choice and essay questions and can take up to four hours to complete. 
The National Evaluation Series (NES) is another testing method used to establish a teacher’s suitability to hold state teaching responsibilities. The NES is currently used in just a few states and is often taken in combination with state-specific examinations that probe an applicant’s understanding of their topic. These are completed on a computer and the results may be portable between states. This means a teacher that passes could be eligible for employment in a number of states without having to take the test again. 
The master’s in teaching and bachelor’s in education are also common paths to a teaching license.
Private schools do not have the same certification requirements as public schools or colleges do. As such, they may appoint persons with undergraduate degrees in relevant subjects to teaching positions, and they may not require the same level of certification that public schools and universities do. 
After completing their program of study in education, teachers may receive their initial teaching credential, on either a temporary or permanent basis. This shows they are generally able to teach in their area.  However, to get a job, student teachers will then usually have to pass additional examinations, such as the Praxis test, which is required to practice in 40 states and U.S. territories, to show they meet the specific demands of the state they want to teach in and receive their first state license. 
Teaching preparation programs are usually designed to meet the requirements for teachers in the state in which the college is based. There may be reciprocity arrangements in place, which can allow teachers or aspiring teachers to transfer their license between states fairly easily,  but some states may require additional testing.
There is no standard national teaching requirement; eligibility is managed on a state level. This means that, although teachers across the country are in many cases taking the same tests (such as Praxis or NES), the pass thresholds and preferred skills may be different. Details of each state’s system can be found on the Department of Education’s website. 
Completing coursework in a teacher preparation program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is one of the common certification requirements across all states, subjects, and grade levels. 
Teachers that go on to work in areas that have a population typically on a low income may qualify for the cancellation or deferment of federal student loans. This may also be the case in areas where there is a teacher shortage. This is thanks to opportunities offered by either federal or local programs to relieve teachers of portions of their student debt  in return for working in areas that need them most. The deal on offer will depend on the types of loan you have:
Perkins Loans may be canceled for those working full-time in a low-income school or those teaching in certain areas.
Stafford Loans received from October 1, 1998, onward may be eligible for part-cancellation if the teacher that received them has worked in a low-income school for five years.
While many may use master’s in teaching and master’s in education interchangeably, there is a difference.
Master of Arts in Teaching degrees are designed for teachers who want hands-on experience with their students. MAT programs focus on advanced coursework in a specific subject area to develop the student’s expertise. These programs teach students how to become better and more sophisticated teachers. Often, they will require fieldwork in which the MAT student is placed as a student teacher to practice the advanced educational theory.
Master’s in education degrees are advanced studies designed to progress teachers into spheres beyond the classroom. While working and aspiring teachers pursuing the degree can still remain in the classroom, M.Ed. programs give teachers the tools to take on leadership and administrative roles in the school system.
There are several reasons that teachers pursue their M.Ed. Teachers with an M.Ed. can establish themselves as a highly qualified expert in their field.  Others may pursue the degree as an opportunity to expand their knowledge of teaching and advanced coursework in teaching.  Many see the M.Ed. as a platform to raise their salary. According to a recent study, M.Ed. graduates can earn up to 10% more than their counterparts with bachelor’s degrees. 
No — attaining management/senior positions is not guaranteed through the completion of a master’s degree. These positions often require many years of experience and a significant level of career achievement. However, an advanced degree can help you develop the necessary knowledge and skills required for these positions and also prove your dedication to the field.
M.Ed. programs prepare students to expand their careers beyond the classroom into specialized or leadership roles in education. That being said, M.Ed. degrees are generally classified into three main categories of study: Curriculum and Instruction, Counselor Education, and Educational Administration.  Within those categories fall many areas of specialization. Students will finished their programs prepared to take on a wide variety of roles, from school psychology to special education.
When choosing a program, you should consider factors such as the following:
Accreditation: Is the program accredited?
Flexibility: Is the program on campus or delivered online? If online, does the institution required synchronous sessions? Are there optional synchronous sessions?
Student support: What support systems are in place for your success?
Travel requirements: Will you need to pay for additional travel arrangements to meet degree requirements?
Interactive learning: What type of learning management system is used?
Faculty expertise: Do faculty have a strong theoretical and practical knowledge base in the field?
Fees: Are there any additional fees besides tuition?
Asynchronous coursework can be completed on your own time — a big plus for many online graduate students who may be working around a busy work schedule or home life. Synchronous coursework has to be completed within a set timeframe. This is typically done for group projects, seminars, presentations, and other learning initiatives that require multiple attendees.
The elements of asynchronous and synchronous learning in your online program depend on the professor and the course. Once you enroll, reach out to teachers for specifics, but remember that the curriculum may be divided into these two subsets.
Generally, M.Ed. programs require a teaching license. They are geared toward those who are alreading working in the classroom and wish to gain additional certifications and experience, or for those looking to work in the field of education but outside of the classroom. 
Other prerequisites may vary from program to program and the specialization chosen. Students should check with their program to determine their prerequisites.
Usually, M.Ed. programs require a teaching license, though there are some programs for those with no prior teaching experience.  Admission requirements will vary by program, but typical requirements include transcripts, minimum of a 3.0 GPA, letters of reference, and possibly a written essay and interview.
Whether you will need to complete the GRE prior to applying for a program will largely depend on what school you have chosen. There are many programs that do not require a GRE. Check the admissions requirements for your school before applying.
Generally there are supplementary costs apart from tuition. The tuition does not usually include the cost of books or additional fees. These additional costs will vary from program to program.
The largest provider of student financial aid in the nation is the Federal Student Aid office in the U.S. Department of Education. It supplies college-level or career school students with loans, grants, and work-study funds. You can apply for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as FAFSA.
There are numerous other scholarships available, but you will need to research which opportunities you’re qualified to pursue. Many states, associations, websites, and businesses award scholarships based on specific criteria. Be sure to do your research and apply for any scholarships you’re qualified to be awarded. 
Start with a cost-benefit analysis based on the price of the degree and potential ROI. Weigh the full cost against the positive outcomes you expect as a graduate, which may include a boost in earning potential, upward mobility, or job satisfaction.
Completion ranges from one to two years depending on the program and the specialty chosen.
Courses will vary based on specialty chosen. NCATE sets standards and guidelines for specialization areas that all accredited programs must adhere to. In general, students can expect to take courses in teaching theory, leadership, law, and those that relate to their specialization.
Additional licensure will vary depending on specialty. For many administrative focused programs there are no additional certifications. For practice-based degrees, teachers may have to take exams to become certified to practice their specialty. Refer to your specialty track for certification/licensure requirements.
There are a wide variety of specializations available to the M.Ed. student. Be careful to choose a program that aligns with your career goals and interests. Not every school will offer the same choices. Here is a list of some potential specializations available to you:
Economics and policy
Reading and literacy
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)is the national accrediting body for educational programs recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Attending an accredited institution ensures that the program has met rigorous quality standards and students are prepared to enter the education field.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)has identified four key goals for accrediting and developing standards for accreditation. 
To develop and maintain high standards for the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions required of educators and for the units and programs that prepare them to practice
To operate an efficient and effective accreditation system to assess the quality of educator preparation units and their programs
To offer advice and limited technical assistance to educator preparation units in improving their quality and the quality of their students
To communicate effectively with all interested parties, including the public, about its work and to co-ordinate with others also having responsibility for the improvement of educator preparation and other aspects of educator quality.
Accreditation helps determine if an institution meets or exceeds the minimum standards of quality set out by recognized regional or national accreditation agencies. A list of regional and national institutional accrediting agencies can be found at the U.S. Department of Education.
SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) applies only to distance education programs in the United States that cross state lines. This agreement is made between member states and establishes comparable postsecondary national standards for distance education courses.
Not every state is a SARA member. Through SARA, member states only have to receive authorization in their home state. Without SARA, non-member states would have to receive authorization in their home state and the state of each of their online students. 
Every school has a department or team responsible for online education. This department will be able to answer questions regarding compliance for your home state. Additionally, you can locate the school through SARA (if it is a SARA institution) to confirm compliance.