Best Online Master’s in Teaching 2021 | TheBestSchools
Updated August 12, 2022
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Online teaching master's programs provide students with the knowledge and skills to deliver online instruction in corporate and school settings.
Earning a master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for in-demand careers as K-12 teachers and instructional coordinators. Additionally, many districts offer higher salary schedules for instructors with master's degrees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), high school teachers earned a median pay of over $61,000 per year in 2018. BLS projections also indicate a 4% growth rate for the profession from 2018-2028. This degree can also lead to opportunities outside of the classroom, such as corporate trainer or education consultant.
Our list ranks the top online master's programs for teachers to help students find the program that best aligns with their professional goals. This page also explores specialization options, career paths for a master of teaching degree, and how to choose the right online teaching program.
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Top Online Master's in Teaching Programs
Online Master's in Teaching Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
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What Is an Online Master's in Teaching Degree?
An online master's in teaching degree provides advanced training in pedagogy, classroom instruction, and student assessment. Many current teachers enroll in online master's programs to strengthen their instructional skills and increase their earning potential.
An online learning format appeals to working educators who require a flexible learning environment. Many online master's degrees for teachers use an asynchronous format, which allows graduate students to complete coursework around their teaching schedules. Programs often let teachers take a full-time load in the summer while taking fewer classes during the school year.
During an online master's degree in teaching, graduate students improve their classroom management techniques and learn about effective instructional design and educational technology. After completing their master's degrees, graduates can advance into leadership roles in teaching.
Choosing an Online Program
Prospective graduate students should consider several factors when evaluating online master's programs for teachers. Aspects like program length, instructional method, and cost can help educators narrow down options and find the right fit for their goals and needs. Learn more about how to choose an online degree below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Teaching Program?
Many master's programs for teachers let teachers customize their degrees to align with their career goals and interests. For example, within teaching master's programs, graduate students may focus their training by choosing a specialization or pursing particular electives. This section explores common classes and specializations available master of teaching programs.
Master's in Teaching Curriculum
Classroom teachers must create lesson plans that meet their district's educational standards. To help, instructional design courses explore learning theory and the process of developing effective teaching materials. Graduate students learn about relevant software, instructional methods, and design approaches. Many classes culminate with each student designing a practical curriculum.
Assessment of Learning
In this course, enrollees learn about designing lesson plans and assessing student achievement. The course may cover student-centered learning methods, collaborative learning processes, and integration of assessment into the learning process. Coursework also delves into performance-based assessment, analyzing prior assessments, and using portfolio assessments to improve learning outcomes.
Classes in multicultural education explore the diverse cultural values, backgrounds, and attitudes found in America's school children. Graduate students research cultural groups and multiculturalism, learning culturally responsive instructional strategies. Educators learn to create multicultural classroom environments that welcome and support all students.
Master's in Teaching Specializations
A graduate student with an elementary teacher specialization trains for roles in K-5 classrooms. They teach several core subjects, including reading, writing, and mathematics. Elementary teachers may also teach science, social studies, and languages. This specialization prepares educators to teach young learners and qualifies them for an elementary education endorsement on their teaching licenses.
A secondary education specialization prepares educators to teach grades 6-12. In addition to studying pedagogical techniques and assessment methods, secondary educators take classes in their subject areas so they can pass licensing exams. Some may also teach advanced placement courses, which can require a master's degree.
With technology playing an increasingly important role in education, a specialization in educational technology prepares graduate students for high-demand fields. During this specialization, learners explore the design, implementation, and evaluation process for introducing technology into the classroom. Graduates can work as K-12 technology coordinators, distance education specialists, and instructional designers.
A master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for many careers in the education field. For example, a master of teaching program with a secondary education specialization prepares graduates for careers as middle school or high school teachers. Current teachers who earn their master's degrees can increase their salaries and advance into leadership roles.
A master's in teaching degree can also lead to instructional coordinator, education consultant, corporate trainer, or educational technology specialist careers. Note that some careers may require a special license: For example, administrative positions in education often require school administrator licenses.
High School Teachers
High school teachers educate students in subjects like English, U.S. history, and the sciences to prepare them for college or the workforce. They create lesson plans, instruct students, and grade assignments and exams to assess student knowledge. Outside of the classroom, high school teachers communicate with parents and work with administrators to meet curriculum standards.
Successful high school teachers must be patient and resourceful. Public school teachers need a teaching license and must pass an examination in their subject area, though the rules for private school teachers vary. A master's degree meets the requirements for a teaching license.
Instructional coordinators work at the administrative level to help schools develop and implement curricula. They create educational material, train teachers to meet teaching standards, and assess curriculum effectiveness. Instructional coordinators also analyze test data from students to determine any needed changes to teaching techniques or curriculum materials.
Strong analytical, decision-making, and communication skills help instructional coordinators thrive in their roles. These coordinators must each hold a master's degree, and most positions require classroom experience. In some schools, an instructional coordinator may need a teaching license or an education administrator license. A master's degree meets the requirements for both licenses.
Middle School Teachers
Middle school teachers prepare students for high school in several core subjects, with each teacher specializing in a subject, like language arts, the social sciences, or the physical sciences. Educators design lesson plans to meet district standards and assess their students' abilities through assignments and exams. They also identify learning challenges and help their students improve throughout the year.
Middle school teachers need strong communication skills, resourcefulness, and patience. Public middle school teachers must hold a license with at least a bachelor's degree and passing scores on a teaching test. Rules vary for private school teachers. Master's degrees can help middle school teachers increase their earning potential.
Teaching Professional Organizations
Professional organizations help teaching students transition from their programs into the workforce. Many organizations offer professional development resources, host conferences with networking opportunities, publish current educational research, and maintain job boards to help members find career opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Teaching Program?
Earning a master's in teaching degree generally takes 1-2 years, depending on the program. Many online master's degrees for teachers also offer accelerated or asynchronous pathways.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Teaching?
A master's degree in teaching prepares graduates for classroom positions or roles as instructional coordinators, education consultants, and corporate trainers.
How Much Do You Make as a Teacher?
The median pay for high school teachers exceeded $61,000 per year in 2018. Typically, teachers with master's degrees earn more than those with bachelor's degrees.
Is a Master's in Teaching Worth It?
A master's in teaching degree can prepare educators for leadership roles, and many schools pay master's degree-holders higher salaries, making the degree worth it for many educators.
What Is the Difference Between a Master's in Teaching and a Master's in Education?
A master of teaching degree focuses on classroom instruction and student-centered roles in education, while a master's in education prepares graduates for administrative and consultation roles.
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