What Kind of Master’s Degree Should a Teacher Get? 9 Factors

What kind of master’s degree should a teacher get? The answer is both complex and simple.

Teachers regularly voice their concerns regarding low salaries, yet invest more and more of their time acquiring degrees and certifications that don’t add significant income to their paychecks.

So you want obtaining a masters degree to be worth your time and money. This post outlines what kind of master’s degree should a teacher get.

*Disclaimer: This post represents my opinions and experiences and are for educational purposes only. I am not a financial advisor, and this post does not represent formal financial advice.

What kind of master’s degree should a teacher get?

Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction

Earning Potential:  FAIR

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  DECENT

Leadership Opportunities:  VERY GOOD

Job Market Competitiveness:  FAIR

With a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, you could be a math coordinator, reading specialist, or curriculum coordinator.

In some school districts, specialists are on the same pay scale as teachers or receive a stipend.

Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education/ESL

Earning Potential:  POOR

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  DECENT

Leadership Opportunities:  DECENT

Job Market Competitiveness:  POOR

Upon further investigation, you may discover that you don’t necessarily need a master’s degree in bilingual education in order to get the position you desire.

Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership

Earning Potential:  VERY GOOD

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  VERY GOOD

Leadership Opportunities:  VERY GOOD

Job Market Competitiveness:  DECENT

If you aspire to become a principal, this degree is for you.

You receive a respectable return for your money, and it affords you additional professional opportunities.

Master’s Degree in Library Science (Librarian)

Earning Potential:  FAIR

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  VERY GOOD

Leadership Opportunities: FAIR

Job Market Competitiveness:  FAIR

Many librarians in K-12 settings receive pay similar to teachers.

While they do have options outside of the classroom, librarians often plan and teach lessons to various grade levels in addition to their primary duties.

Master’s Degree in Your Subject Area (e.g. Elementary Education, Spanish, Math)

Earning Potential:  POOR

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  POOR

Leadership Opportunities:  POOR

Job Market Competitiveness: FAIR

Inching up on the pay scale just a bit may be the only extra compensation you receive.

Master’s Degree in Counseling

Earning Potential:  DECENT

Career Options Outside of Classroom: VERY GOOD

Leadership Opportunities:  VERY GOOD

Job Market Competitiveness:  DECENT

Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Earning Potential:  POOR

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  POOR

Leadership Opportunities:  DECENT

Job Market Competitiveness:  DECENT

Master’s Degree of Education/Teaching

Earning Potential:  POOR

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  POOR

Leadership Opportunities:  POOR

Job Market Competitiveness: POOR

Individuals who study for this master’s degree are usually second-career teachers with an undergraduate degree in something totally different.

In this regard, this degree makes perfect sense for them, as it’s a way to get a foot in the door to the teaching profession without acquiring another bachelor’s degree.

Master’s Degree in Higher Education

Earning Potential:  DECENT

Career Options Outside of Classroom:  VERY GOOD

Leadership Opportunities:  DECENT

Job Market Competitiveness:  DECENT

Want to work at a community college or university? Then a master’s degree in higher education may get you there.

But this one is tricky.

The requirements to work in a post-secondary setting depend on the position sought, and a good number of full-time teaching gigs require a PhD.  

When deciding what master’s degree to get as a teacher, this is one you should research thoroughly.

Your background in K-12 teaching may not be enough.

What Kind of Master’s Degree Should a Teacher Get? Other Factors to Consider

Time and Cost

If you’ll be paying for your own master’s degree, research to see if your school has any tuition-reduction programs.

Also look into available scholarships or grants.

Also decide for yourself if the time and cost of getting a master’s degree is really worth the investment.

Public vs. Private Schools

Many specialists and principals in private schools may not have a master’s degree or even a teaching certification.

Where you graduated from and who you know play a bigger role in these academic settings.

So know the norms in your academic circles because a master’s degree may not be the best option.

Conclusion: So What Kind of Master’s Degree Should a Teacher Get?

So, what kind of master’s degree should a teacher get? As you can see, it depends on several factors.

Research thoroughly, think about your future goals, and consider everything.

Make sure the master’s degree you invest in is worth the money plus contributes to you living comfortably as an educator.