A masters in elementary education is a masters degree that explores teaching further in-depth. Curriculum may include teaching techniques, administration and counseling. Many who pursue a masters in elementary education have a background in teaching and education and want to move on to become part of the school or district’s administration. For most schools, to serve as a principal or assistant principal, one must posses a masters degree. This applies to public schools, as most private schools create their own rules when it comes placement. In some states in the United States such as New York, you must have a masters degree to have a teaching license. It is common for those who want to work in education administration to go straight from undergrad to graduate school.
There are different areas of study when obtaining a masters in elementary education. Most of the time, a student focuses on one or a couple of these topics. This will become the student’s area of expertise when they enter the work force. Instruction and curriculum is an area where students learn how to apply curriculum mandated by the state or district to various teaching techniques. This involves hands-on work in classroom the majority of the time. Counseling education deals with counseling at the elementary school level. This can also include diagnosing children with learning disabilities or honing in on special needs. Those working in counseling education often have a background in psychology or developmental learning. Specializing in counseling education is a natural step for those with a psychology background who do not want to go on to earn a PhD. Licensing is required to become a counselor in the majority of school districts in the United States. Internet hours are completed under the guidance of a practicing school counselor or child mental health counselor.
A student can also focus on academic enrichment. This is more often for post-primary school levels, but in recent years has become a growing area for elementary teachers as well. Academic enrichment revolves around teachers who specialize in one department of study such as math, Spanish or writing. With many standardized tests in most states, teachers who focus on these areas are used for enrichment programs to enhance a child’s development in the respective subject. This also opens doors of opportunity for creating curriculum or textbooks for that subject at a state level.
What can I do with a masters in elementary education?
There are many career paths a person can take with a masters in elementary education. An obvious choice is to become a teacher or administrator. Having a masters in elementary education qualifies you for more teaching positions such as an enrichment teacher focusing with small groups of students to improve standardized test scores. These positions command higher than average teaching wages. The average teacher earns about $35,000 per year and teachers specializing in a certain area can earn as high as $50,000. In some areas such as Texas, New Mexico and California, there’s heavy demand for English as a Second Language (ESL) program teachers and bilingual teachers who speak Spanish.
A teaching certificate must be obtained in your state to work as a teacher regardless of whether or not you have a masters degree. At this time, teaching does not appear to have any substantial growth in the coming decade unless you are a special education or bilingual teacher. Those are the two areas that have the most job openings throughout the United States. Teaching is set to grow at about 13% through 2018, which is average for most industries. With budget cuts happening in many states, teachers and schools can expect to see stagnant wages and possible layoffs. Teachers in some states are hired on a contract basis. Some may be part of a union, but most are not.
With a masters in elementary education, you are most likely going to have a job outside of the classroom since you will be qualified for many positions. Writing curriculum for a textbook publishing company is a job path that pays well and gets you involved in what’s happening in the classroom. You may also work at the district level create curriculum that each grade will follow. This is typically conducted by a tight group of people who write the curriculum for all elementary schools in one district. Another job possibility for someone with a masters in elementary school is working as a principal, assistant principal or superintendent. In these positions you are overseeing the school or district’s development and helping students excel by mandating the proper protocol for a successful school.