Your Complete Guide to

Masters in Education

Online Masters Degree
on May 20, 2021

Why We Love It

  • Great Potential Salary
  • Excellent Growth Potential
  • Rewarding Work
  • Lots of Career Options

What is an M.Ed Degree?

Although education predates civilization, it is more important now than ever.  Giving our children the knowledge and skills necessary to support and lead our society is in everyone’s best interests and the only way to ensure a future for our children and our children’s children.

M.Ed stands for Master of Education, a master’s degree in areas of study related to the important field of education.  Often awarded to educators advancing in their field, it covers majors such as curriculum and instruction, administration, counseling, and school psychology.  These are all crucial aspects of educating our children–our most important resource–and helping to build a better future for generations to come.

Because shaping young minds is perhaps the most important job in the world, education is a field that is constantly growing.  There are also new challenges and opportunities arising all the time–as we have all seen recently with the widespread adoption of distance learning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This means more jobs and a need for educators on the cutting edge of teaching.

What Can You Do With a Master of Education?

Just as we tell our children that they can be anything they want when they grow up, someone with an M.Ed degree has a world of opportunities ahead of them.

A guidance counselor assists a high school student in choosing a college and a potential career.  A school psychologist helps a student to control their aggressive behavior and get the most out of school life.  A special educator addresses the needs of a student with autism.  These are all potential futures for someone with a Master of Education, and they could all enrich the lives of students.

A Master of Education could prepare you for a career in encouraging the intellects of young people, developing the skill sets of college students, or unlocking the mysteries of the human mind.  Your M.Ed degree could even be used in fields unrelated to education.

These are only a few examples.  The possibilities are endless.  You get to choose what you’ll do, and you don’t have to know what that is right now.  A Master of Education could give you the tools you need to do a wide variety of jobs, so you’re not committing to a career before you even finish your degree.

Best Programs for Master of Education

Here’s the best part: We’re going to give you the secrets to finding the best programs for adults, programs that could help you get your M.Ed degree faster and with as few headaches as possible.  We know planning for college can be confusing, and is dedicated to helping you find the right path for you so that you can complete your degree and start your new career as soon as possible.7

Why We Love an M.Ed Degree

  1. Higher salary: Educators with a master’s degree usually make more than those with a bachelor’s degree alone.
  2. Excellent growth potential: Educators will always be in demand, with plenty of room for advancement.
  3. Feeling good about yourself: An M.Ed is a great way to give back to the community and help ensure the future of our most precious resource: our children.
  4. Lots of options: An M.Ed degree could be your gateway to a wide variety of career paths, not limited to the field of education.

Online vs. Traditional Campus

Most people who think about going back to school and getting their master’s degree never even get started.  Not only are there various entrance hurdles like exams and application fees, but it’s also tough to make school work around your schedule.

Thanks to educators and their tireless efforts to improve the world, there’s a better way now.

With adult-friendly schools, there is really no reason not to go back to school anymore.  What makes a school adult-friendly?  Here are a few key attributes:

  • Adult-friendly schools are totally online.  Online learning is best for busy adults, who have to balance their ongoing education with work, kids, and everything else that comes with being a grownup.  Online schools allow you to work college around your life, not the other way around.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer accelerated programs, with ongoing enrollment.  What’s better than getting your master’s in two years?  Getting it in fourteen months.  And with ongoing enrollment, you don’t have to wait until fall or spring to start on your new journey; many schools offer monthly enrollment periods, meaning you can start whenever it works for you.
  • Adult-friendly schools can offer more support than traditional schools.  This includes, but is not limited to, career services, making it easier for you to begin your new career.  Because, at the end of the day, isn’t that why you’re going back to school?

Admissions Requirements for Master of Education

So what do you need to go to grad school and get your M.Ed?  You need to take the GRE or another entrance exam, right?

Maybe not.

Many adult-friendly schools do not require GRE or entrance exams.  Online programs generally require only a bachelor’s degree to get started, and there are no application fees to worry about.  You start when you’re ready.

Master of Education Curriculum

As mentioned above, a Master of Education degree will usually branch into one of several areas of study, and the curriculum could be largely dependent on the path you choose.  This is not to say, however, that there are not some commonalities between majors in M.Ed programs.  Most Master of Education curricula are designed to cultivate your teaching skills and expand your understanding of teaching strategies.

What Courses Will I Take in My M.Ed Program?

Because educating children, continuing the education of adults, and improving teaching methods are all so important, the core curriculum of an M.Ed program will include courses that build upon the foundation of your knowledge in education.  Examples include:

  1. Psychology of Human Development: This deals with human development through adolescence, including physical, emotional, and cognitive development, as well as psychology.
  2. Teaching Students With Disabilities: This could help you to better reach children with special needs, covering instruction, management, and social development based on the latest research in the field.
  3. Counseling the Gifted: This focuses on the different needs of gifted students, helping them to discover their talents and utilize them to their fullest potential.
  4. Behavior Analysis and Intervention: This would teach how to manage students, eliciting appropriate behavior in the classroom–both academically and socially–while minimizing behavior that interferes with other students’ learning processes.
  5. Legal and Ethical Issues in Education: This is a crash course in law and ethics as they pertain to the field of education.
  6. Fundamentals of Higher Education: This deals specifically with teaching in colleges and universities, with particular attention paid to student development theories and the the applied concepts of finance and governance.

Specializations and Concentrations

A Master of Education will typically branch into one of the following specializations or concentrations:

  • Curriculum and Instruction: Primarily focused on teaching, scholarship, and public service, this major is most often designed to help you enter an educational career in schools, like classroom teaching.  Your coursework may include educational research.
  • Counselor Education: Designed to help you become a mental health professional, this could lead to state licensure as a mental health counselor.
  • School Counseling: After studying psychology, sociology, or social work as an undergraduate, this is the degree where you could further that knowledge and become certified as a school counselor.
  • Interdisciplinary Neuroscience: This focuses less on teaching as a professional or in an institution, and more on the actual learning process in humans and how the brain works.
  • Academic Enrichment: This is typically designed to advance your knowledge of your specific field (for example, science, mathematics, social studies, English, or literature) or to help you branch into another area of teaching.
  • Higher Education: This area is focused on the study of colleges and universities, student development, and residence life.
  • Student Affairs: Related to higher education above, the focus here is on the academic administration and operations of colleges and universities.
  • Adult Education: Many adult education programs do not require a bachelor’s in education or a teaching certificate.  Often government-sponsored, they concentrate on teaching individuals 18 years of age or older in fields like adult literacy, English as a second language, and high school diploma programs such as the GED or HSE.
  • Special Education: This is designed to develop the capabilities and resources of teachers to educate children with spectrum disorders or intellectual disabilities.
  • Religious Education: Usually offered by Christian institutions, this deals with teaching ministry, religious studies, and theology.
  • Media and Technology: The integration of technology, such as multimedia presentations, into teaching is more important than ever.  You could use a master’s in this area to facilitate these technologies in schools–or even to design them.
  • Preparation for a Doctoral Program: The broadest area of study for a master’s in education, this involves specific educational issues and educational research as you prepare to continue into a doctoral program.

Master of Education Program Length

Most Master of Education programs require 30 credits to graduate.  Normally, an M.Ed program takes about two years to complete.  An accelerated plan, however, could take between 12 and 18 months.  This is where adult-friendly schools really shine.  They know their students have jobs, kids, and other obligations that make a traditional school schedule unrealistic.  The best adult-friendly schools make the process as convenient as possible, and they could get you into the workforce as fast as possible, because they know that’s what adults want.

Choosing the Right University or College M.Ed Program

Choosing the right school for you can be exciting, but it can also be a hassle.  Tuition costs, application fees, accreditation, enrollment windows, and entrance exams are just some of the variables to consider.

That’s why we created the Smartplan.  We want to help people go back to school, to make college more accessible and affordable for everyone.  With our Smartplan, we make it easy for you to start on your path towards your Master of Education.  Here are just some of the benefits of your Smartplan:

  • No application fees
  • Accredited colleges and universities
  • No entrance exams or testing
  • Faculty and professors who understand adults
  • Discounts and scholarships available
  • Open enrollment dates

Best Jobs for Those With a Master of Education

What can you do with an M.Ed?  What kind of salary can you expect?  Here are some common careers for M.Ed holders, with salary data estimates provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Principal: We all know that this is the chief executive of a learning institution such as a high school.  This is an important position, as you could be ultimately responsible for the education of hundreds of students at a time.  You could make anywhere from $63,070 to $148,630 per year.
  • Instructional Coordinator: This person is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of curricula and teaching techniques.  You could observe teachers in the classroom, analyze testing data, and work with the school staff to ensure the best educational practices.  You could make anywhere from $38,260 to $103,790 per year.
  • Special Education Teacher: It is important for teachers to design and create learning environments and programs that support students with disabilities, as well as those with learning, social, or behavioral difficulties.  You could make anywhere from $40,730 to $98,530 per year.
  • Corporate Trainer: Teaching isn’t limited to schools.  A corporate trainer works in a business environment, often training new employees and/or assisting in the transition to new business systems.  You could make anywhere from $32,680 to $104,200 per year.
  • Director of a Child Care Program: You could be a preschool teacher or the director of a daycare, helping with early childhood development and having a positive effect on many young lives.  You could make anywhere from $30,850 to $82,590 per year.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite careers, but an M.Ed does provide you broad skills to work in a variety of education jobs, which will likely allow you to draw an excellent salary while having a positive impact on your community.  The best careers are those that pay well AND let you feel fulfilled by giving something back.  And again, you don’t need to know right now which job you want.  These are just some of the possibilities you can choose from.

Cost and Tuition

Cost and tuition vary from school to school, and you’ll want to speak with each of your prospective schools directly.  Fortunately, online schools are generally more affordable than their in-person counterparts.  Adult-friendly colleges understand that you want to save, and they could even help you with financial aid if you’re eligible.  You’ll definitely want to speak to a few schools, and can help you with that.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Do I need to know what job I want before I start an M.Ed program?

A: No!  An M.Ed program could prepare you for a wide variety of careers.  You certainly don’t need to know what job you want today.

Q: Will I make more money with an M.Ed?

A: That depends on a variety of factors.  But as you can see above in the “Best Jobs for Those With a Master of Education” section, your M.Ed could mean excellent earning potential.

Q: How long will I be in school?

A: That could depend on you, your current job, and any other obligations you might have.  An M.Ed program could take anywhere from 12 to 48 months, but our Smartplan is designed to help you find the right degree for you, so could finish as quickly as possible!


How to save time and money

Our mission is to help you to avoid paying full price for college. We want your Masters in Education degree to be affordable and accessible. Here’s how you could save:

Create Your Free SmartPlan

There are many ways to make college affordable and accessible.

That’s why we created a helpful tool called SmartPlan.

It’s free, and helps you find potential ways to save and tons of information about each school you’re considering

Think of it as your “college blueprint”, to help you instantly craft a path to your degree:

  • Which Colleges Match Your Needs
  • Ways You Could Save Time & Money
  • Free Courses You Could Take for Credit
  • Valuable Data and Insights on Each College
  • Detailed Steps You Should Take!

See what’s possible for you and generate a free plan within just a few minutes

Create My SmartPlan

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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