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Do Teachers Need a Master’s Degree?

Every state has its own requirements for teacher certification. Whether or not you will need a master’s degree depends on where you intend to teach. And just as each state will have different requirements, so will individual school districts. Likewise, private schools often have their own rules and may not be required by their state to certify teachers.

Benefits of a Master’s Degree

According to the National Education Association, professional development is “a crucial element of the work of all educators throughout their entire careers.” A master’s degree is one way you can satisfy continuing education requirements as you work in your profession. If you plan to have a long teaching career, there are many reasons to earn your master’s degree:

Become a Better Teacher

Professional development and continuous learning are essential to your growth and development as a classroom teacher and future leader in education. A graduate degree program will help you master the art and science of teaching. As a student, you’ll explore the latest research and strategies, uncovering new and innovative ways to engage your students and increase student learning in the classroom. Innovative courses like trauma-informed leadership classes, theories of educational leadership, and social-emotional learning in the restorative classroom are just a few examples of the contemporary topics covered in a graduate-level master’s program.

Improve Student Performance

A Master’s degree program provides you with the skills you need to improve your capacity as a teacher to assist your students in becoming better critical thinkers and learners. Did you know that students of teachers with advanced degrees perform better than those without them? Whether it’s the increased knowledge that comes with an advanced degree or the new teaching skills and strategies you discover, an advanced degree can do more than help you and your career. It can improve student learning in the classroom.

Potential to Earn More Money

Teachers often receive pay increases based on yearly cost-of-living raises. The more years you spend at a school, the higher your seniority and pay. School districts also offer salary incentives for teachers who achieve an advanced degree in education. Examples of these incentives can be seen in the Virginia Department of Education 2019-2020 Teacher Salary Survey. They illustrate that teachers with master’s degrees earn more than their colleagues without the degree.

Stand Out in the Job Market

Even districts that do not require a master’s degree may value it. And with more than half of the nation’s public-school teachers holding the degree, not having one could put you at a disadvantage. So, if you go head-to-head with another job candidate and you have a master’s and they do not, you may have the upper hand.

Open Yourself Up to Leadership Positions

Most licensed school principals and administrators must hold a master’s degree. These leadership jobs come with added responsibility and higher pay. If you want to lead others, you will need an advanced degree, the knowledge and skills that go with it, and documented leadership experiences. A master’s in educational leadership will provide you with the pathway to licensure and equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to be an effective school leader.

Increase Your Standing in the Community

Today’s society values highly skilled and well-educated teachers. The knowledge you gain in your journey to pursue a master’s degree will enhance your teaching skills and leadership capacity. The experience will also provide you with the credentials needed to expand your influence beyond the classroom.

Bluefield University offers two master’s degree programs in education: the Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction (MAED) and the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. Each is a 30-credit degree program that helps you build your own skills and improve the learning experiences of students and educators in your district. Our Christ-centered learning approach helps you grow in faith and teaches you to become a greater servant to your community. Apply now to take the next step in your growth and education.

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