What Is an Online Master's in Science Education?
A science education master's degree blends coursework in the natural sciences and pedagogy. An online master's in science education develops enrollees' abilities to develop curricula; organize experiments; and engage learners in elementary, middle, or high school science classrooms.
Many online master's degrees in science education suit working teachers by developing both science and pedagogical expertise. The minimum education requirement for a master's degree in science education is a bachelor's degree, but it does not necessarily need to be in a science-related discipline. Individuals who want to switch careers and become science teachers can earn degrees to prepare for that role.
These programs generally last two years. Lecture coursework accompanies interactive activities, individual and cooperative assignments, and field experience. Students may also take comprehensive exams, complete projects, or deliver research papers.
What Can I Expect in Pursuing a Master's in Science Education Online?
During a master's degree in science education online program, students participate in lectures and collaborate with classmates. Assignments, both individual and with groups, accompany activities that allow learners to implement course content in classroom scenarios. Students use teaching methods and strategies to develop lesson plans, design science experiments, and explore effective and efficient classroom practices.
Elective and specialized coursework may allow learners to focus on one subset of science, including biology, physics, and chemistry. Many science education master's degrees include research components. Students may design, develop, and complete thesis or research projects.
Common Courses in Science Education Online Programs
Coursework varies by individual science education master's degrees, but most programs share similar classes. Enrollees study both education and natural science, integrating the two as they develop teaching expertise.
By exploring educational psychology, teaching strategies, and the foundations of natural science, learners can enhance their abilities and STEM instruction as a whole. Common classes include:
- Laboratory and field safety
- Teaching chemistry
- Earth science and systems
- Diversity in the science classroom
- Curriculum and instruction
Science Teaching Certification and Licensure
To become a teacher in public elementary, middle, or high schools, each candidate needs a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. As part of a bachelor's degree, aspiring teachers must complete student teaching with a requisite number of hours in the classroom.
Requirements for licensure differ by state and type of school. Licensed teachers may benefit from reciprocity between states.
To teach science, individuals need a requisite number of credit hours in that subject and, in some instances, additional certifications. A master's degree in science education may fulfill many of the requirements for advanced teaching credentials.
Choosing an Online Master's in Science Education Program
Students should consider several factors when researching online master's in science education degrees. Online programs provide convenience and flexibility, which is ideal for working teachers. Prospective students should determine whether a program uses synchronous or asynchronous course delivery. This can influence the time commitments and the length of a program.
Learners should investigate specific courses, research requirements, and practical experience expectations. Tuition, fees, and additional costs should similarly factor into the decision, along with course delivery and timelines.
A student looking to focus on a specific aspect of science should seek out programs with that concentration. Researching faculty members and their research interests can also provide insight into the opportunities available within a program.
Accreditation for Online Master's in Science Education Degrees
When choosing a college or university, students should research its accreditation status. Institutions in the United States can receive regional or national accreditation. Programmatic accreditation attests to a program meeting the requirements and standards established by a discipline-specific body.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation accredits educational programs. The Department of Education also provides a list of recognized accrediting bodies. You can also ask individual schools to confirm which accreditations they hold.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Science Education?
Career options for individuals with master's in science education degrees include positions inside and outside of the classroom. Additional opportunities include positions as researchers and instructors in non-educational settings.
Median Annual Salary (2020): $66,970
Instructional coordinators supervise educational curricula and teaching standards. They also develop and implement instructional materials and assess program efficacy with teachers and administrative staff. An instructional coordinator can benefit from teaching experience and often needs a master's degree or specialized degree. Some states require instructional coordinators to possess teaching or educational administrator licensure.
High School Teachers
Median Annual Salary (2020): $62,870
High school teachers instruct students in grades 9-12. They develop lesson plans, instruct students, conduct classroom activities, and assess student performance through assignments and exams. High school teachers coordinate with colleagues and administrators to develop curricula within a specific subject.
To become a high school teacher, each candidate needs a bachelor's degree and state licensure.
Middle School Teachers
Median Annual Salary (2020): $60,810
Middle school teachers work with students in grades 6-8. They create lesson plans, teach students, assign and grade coursework, and enforce classroom rules. Some middle school teachers specialize in specific subjects, such as science, while others teach numerous disciplines.
Middle school teachers need at least a bachelor's degree. Each state requires public middle school teachers to maintain licensure, but requirements vary by location.
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Median Annual Salary (2020): $60,660
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work with children in kindergarten through grade five. They instruct students in basic subjects like English, science, and math. Some elementary school teachers may focus on one or two disciplines, like science and math or language arts and social studies.
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers develop lesson plans, teach classes, grade assignments, and assess student performance. They also work with administrators and parents to identify learners' strengths and challenges.
Each kindergarten and elementary school teacher needs a bachelor's degree and state licensure.
Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers
Median Annual Salary (2020): $52,140
Archivists, curators, and museum employees work at institutions that house, display, and research art, science, and historical items. Archivists authenticate, document, and organize archival material and content, while curators design exhibits and workshops. Museum workers include technicians and conservators — individuals who preserve, prepare, and treat museum collections.
Educational requirements vary for each museum position, but archivists and curators typically need master's degrees. Museum technicians and preparers generally need bachelor's degrees.