K-12 Education Master's Degrees: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Read about your master's degree options in K-12 education. Explore on-campus and online program formats, learn about the typical coursework, find out what salary you might expect and what jobs you could pursue with a master's degree in K-12 education. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Are there Any Prerequisites for a Master's Degree in K-12 Education?

If you plan on pursuing a master's degree in K-12 education, you have the option of choosing between a Master of Science (M.S.) and a Master of Education (M.Ed.). Each of these degrees is designed for both practicing teachers and those who want to go into teaching.

Prerequisites for a master's program include having a bachelor's degree from an accredited school with a minimum GPA and sufficient GRE scores. You may also need to submit letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Some programs also require you to have valid teaching certification.

PrerequisitesBachelor's degree, minimum GPA, good GRE scores
Typical coursesEducational leadership, learning theory, research methodology, instructional assessment, curriculum design
Online vs campus-based programsSame courses, same deadlines: viewing lectures online more convenient, online requires specific software and hardware
Related JobsCorporate trainer, curriculum developer, educational consultant, media and technology specialist
Salary*Elementary school: $53,760; middle school: $54,940; high school: $56,310

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Have to Take?

Master's degrees in K-12 education cover topics ranging from learning and instructional theories to research and practice. As a graduate student, you will also be able to choose electives in areas of your interest, such as adult learning, technology skills for virtual teaching or curriculum development for subjects like science and math. If you're enrolled in a Master of Science program, you will also need to complete a thesis.

Master's degrees in K-12 education are also available with concentrations in different areas, such as literacy, technology integration and special education. Typical courses found in all types of programs cover the following:

  • Educational leadership
  • Learning theory
  • Research methodology
  • Instructional assessment
  • Teacher evaluation
  • Curriculum design
  • Instructional strategies

How Do Online and Campus-Based Programs Compare?

If you're enrolled in an online program, you will need to complete the same coursework and meet deadlines, just like on-campus students. However, you may be able to view lectures at your own convenience. Online programs typically require specific software and hardware in order to be able to access course materials. Additionally, as a distance student you will be able to interact with instructors and participate in discussions with other students through the use of e-mail and message boards.

As a graduate student in this type of program, you will still need to work with an adviser to complete practicum and capstone requirements. In order to teach, you will also need to be licensed in the state in which you plan to work. Some online and on-campus programs include licensure requirements in their curricula, while others do not.

What Can I Do with My Degree and What Can I Earn?

With a master's degree in K-12 education, you may find opportunities in areas other than teaching, such as corporate trainer, curriculum developer, educational consultant or media and technology specialist. With your education master's degree you could work for non-profit organizations, museums, or corporations that offer training to their employees to name just a few.

Teachers are expected to see job growth at an average rate of 6% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). While salaries for teachers vary by area, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for elementary school teachers in 2014 was $53,760; middle school teachers' median wage was $54,940, and high school teachers earned salaries of $56,310.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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