If you’re in the process of becoming a teacher, you may be wondering, “Is a graduate degree in elementary education worth the money?” After all, the job outlook for teachers can change. Whether the job market remains strong or not depends on the number of people entering the profession and individual school budgets. Nonetheless, earning a graduate degree in elementary education may be worth it if you’re a teacher already.
Earning a graduate degree in elementary education can boost your salary and your career prospects. This degree is available to both experienced teachers and career changers. The cost varies by school and location, but public in-state tuition is less than private tuition. Many programs allow you to complete your graduate work in two to three years, though you can take classes part-time or earn your master’s degree part-time.
If you’re a teacher and want to move up the career ladder, earning a graduate degree in elementary education can help you find your dream job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for elementary school teachers will grow by 7% over the next decade, creating 111,500 new positions. While most elementary school teachers earn between $60,660 and $100,480, the top 10% of earners earn over $160,000. Most graduate students go into public or private elementary schools, but you can also find opportunities in nonprofit youth development or governmental education agencies.
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The curriculum for an M.Ed. in elementary education usually includes four required courses, and a choice of six electives. At the beginning of the program, candidates choose from a list of emphasis areas. After that, they take on coursework related to their emphasis area (from nine to eight credits). In the final semester, students are required to complete two exit research capstone courses. This is where they get to practice their leadership skills.