Skip to content

10 Best Master’s Degrees for Teachers: A Detailed Comparison

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: March 18, 2019

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: March 18, 2019


Higher education is extremely rewarding and can open many doors. If you are pursuing a career in education, see this detailed comparison of the best master’s degree for teachers to get!

In today’s competitive job market, a bachelor’s degree often is not enough. Teachers who earn master’s degrees develop a deeper understanding of education theory, and a commitment to the growth and success of students. Advanced degree programs give education professionals insight into the practical background that drives both classroom dynamics and unique, individual learning. If you are pursuing your own education and trying to decide which degree to get, read more about the best master’s degree for teachers to get.

Source: Unsplash

Why Should Teachers Get a Master’s Degree?

Research has found that the benefits of a masters degree in teaching include increased pay and career prospects. But even more importantly, it is shown to improve classroom performance, which directly benefits endless amounts of students. According to the latest report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), students in classes taught by teachers with MA degrees in teaching scored higher on standardized tests in math and reading assignments when compared with students of teachers with BA degrees in education.

Even outside of the education field, employers are increasingly requiring master level degrees from employees, creating a strong demand in today’s marketplace. For many teachers, across several industries, their job satisfaction stems from their ability to motivate. Pursuing your higher education in teaching will not just increase your next salary, but you will gain a deep understanding of different teaching methods and the satisfaction of impacting the lives of your students.

Source: Unsplash

Types of Master’s Degrees for Teachers

1. Master of Education

At the master level, there are many types of specializations that are highly demanded by both public and private schools. Government agencies have a strong need for this degree, as well as private businesses that need knowledgeable educators of their products and services. You can choose your specialization in line with your preferred career path, such as curriculum and instruction, English as a second language, educational leadership, or Pre-K-12.

The main difference between a Master of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Education is that the M.S.E focuses on practical skills while the M.A.Ed focuses on more theoretical approaches. If you are a teacher who is passionate about the education field and aspires to take on academic leadership roles, the M.S.E is probably for you. This degree typically focuses on hands-on experiences that enable students to develop feasible solutions and strategies.

On the other hand, the Master of Arts in Education might be more suitable for those interested in the fundamental theories related to learning, educational research, curriculum development, and student assessments. Some of the main focuses of this degree often include child development, language learning, community services, and reading literacy.

2. Master’s in Teaching

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field and are looking to start your career as a teacher, a master’s degree in teaching is a generally faster option than a second bachelor’s degree, as the programs are usually shorter in time and you will be able to choose a specialization right away. It may also be a more cost-effective option, as master’s programs often cater to students with family or financial obligations and time constraints.

Source: Unsplash

3. Master’s in English Education

As students often struggle to develop skills in the English language, the demand for highly skilled English teachers continues to grow. Master’s programs in English education focus on the most efficient teaching practices to help teachers overcome classroom challenges, providing them with a greater range of resources. Some common course subjects include: critical readings and methods, differentiated reading instruction, and theories of cognitive development.

4. Master’s in Mathematics Education

Undergraduate programs in education give students the fundamentals of teaching mathematics, though graduate programs introduce new methods, resources, and philosophies used to reach and influence students. Though teachers gain wider knowledge of the subject of mathematics, they also concentrate heavily on how to teach it. A master’s degree in mathematics education will enhance teachers’ ability to explain mathematical concepts, focusing on education research, curriculum design and strategy, and assessment tools.

Sourse: Unsplash

5. Master’s in Special Education

Special education teachers understand that all children learn differently, and a master’s in special education gives them the resources and patience to provide the best possible education. Some common courses in this degree include: cognitive learning and behavior, supervised practice, characteristics of learning disabilities, and inclusion strategies for special educators. If you are looking for your own career boost, pursuing a master’s degree in special education will provide the opportunity to expand your network of professional connections. And, many classes focus on the digital tools available to special education teachers, used to identify disabilities easily, develop and implement a learning plan, and individually track the progress of each student.

Popular Master’s Options

1. Curriculum and Instruction

With a focus on what students will learn during their time in the classroom, this MA is perfect for those interested in the process of developing curriculum and its implementation, or instruction, in the classroom.

2. Early Childhood Education

This MA is designed to give students a strong background in child development, language, family and community relationships, and research. Graduates of ECE programs often go on to work as childhood teachers, public policy and advocacy specialists, and academic scholars.

3. Higher Education

4. Educational Leadership

If you are interested in working in the education field as an administrator, affecting change at a community level, consider an MA in educational leadership. It may benefit you even if you plan to utilize your leadership skills in fields other than education!

What You Can Do With a Master’s Degree for Teachers

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in teaching, you are probably thinking about earning a master’s degree to improve your career prospects in the education field. But don’t be fooled by the myth that teaching degrees are only for teachers. An MA in teaching or education can unlock almost any career door, increasing your earning potential as well as access to a wide range of industries.

Employers look for this type of degree when hiring for roles that require management and motivation, such as corporate trainers, private tutors, media and technology specialists, and curriculum development. Considered both an art and a science, teaching degrees empower individuals with the ability to convey complex ideas using effective, easy to understand methods.

Source: Unsplash

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 7% growth in new job opportunities for high school teachers, and 17% growth for college and university teachers. If you are already a working teacher, your advanced education could give you a huge edge in the competitive job market. Even if you are already established in the business world, or political society, for instance, education is one of the most important elements of societies around the world; and having the influence and control needed to inspire others will set you apart from your peers!

Best Master’s Degrees for Teachers in the US

University of California – Los Angeles, California

One of the most widely recognized schools in the nation, the University of California – Los Angeles makes a significant impact through their innovative teacher education and STEM-focused programs. Starting from day one, students are matched with mentor teachers as Apprentices, responsible for their own classrooms by their second year. Various specializations are offered, such as educational technology or administration, special education, curriculum and instruction, among others.

University of Florida – Gainesville, Florida

With one of the lowest tuition and fees, the master of education at the University of Florida is only $6,400 and the mean salary predicted after 10 years of graduation is $60,300! Not only is it offered in flexible formats and at an affordable price, but eight different concentrations are offered for the development of teaching skills.

Source: Unsplash

University of Wyoming – Laramie, Wyoming

The MA degree in Educational Leadership at the University of Wyoming aims to help teachers expand their career options and grow through professional development. Students have the option to pursue two different tracks: one requiring a thesis, and one requiring a scholarly project or paper. Both tracks require a minimum of 32-credit hours and include courses on topics of multicultural education, research, and advanced instructional studies.

University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

As a student, the quality of education at the University of Illinois is unparallelled. They offer incredible choices for teachers in multiple formats, like Curriculum, Aesthetics & Teacher Education, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Science & Engineering Education, Social Sciences & Education Policy, and Teacher Leader Specialization. Though the tuition may not be the lowest, the employment opportunities are highly respected in the education field.

Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona

The MA at Arizona State University shapes teachers who are learning to grow in knowledge, skill, and leadership. Coursework includes areas such as child guidance and management, preparing educators to better deal with the emotional, social, and educational needs of young children. If you want to pursue your education in teaching English as a second language, this might be the program for you!

SUNY at Albany – Albany, New York

Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, the University of Albany today is home to 17,000 students, offers over 1,000 study abroad opportunities, and 120 undergraduate and 125 graduate programs. The School of Education offers 19 highly respected Master of Arts and Master of Science programs, many of which are offered online.

Source: Unsplash

Online masters programs are designed to equip students with the skills necessary to thrive in education environments. Between 2018 and 2027, it is believed that 52.1 million students will enroll in primary and secondary education, meaning the demand for teachers will continue to rise!

If you are already working full-time and looking to earn your degree on the side, you probably already started looking into earning your degree online. Or maybe you found your dream school but you need to study online due to geographical constraints. Whatever your situation, these online master’s degrees for teachers might be your next step.

Top Online Master’s Degrees for Teachers

American College of Education

The program is not only affordable but offered entirely online. Concentrated in curriculum and instruction, the online master’s at the American College of Education consists of a range of specialized options, like digital learning and teaching, elementary literacy, and differentiated instruction. The 12 required courses are taught by top-quality teachers who uphold evidence-based instruction and assessment, meeting national and state teaching standards.

University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington offers three unique masters in education programs completely online. Students can earn their degrees in curriculum and instruction with a focus on literary studies, mathematics education, and science education. Each program requires 30 credits and around 18 months of full-time enrollment to complete. The MA at the University of Texas holds a programmatic accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

University of the People

As the first non-profit, tuition-free, American accredited university, University of the People is dedicated to expanding higher education for students around the world, helping them overcome financial, geographic, political, and personal challenges. Our M.Ed. program offers two specializations: elementary/middle school education and secondary education; and you can choose to complete both specializations with a minimum of 16 courses. Through courses like learning and instruction theory, assessment and evaluation, child development, and research in education, the program aims to create effective learning environments and to engage students in their own professional development.

University of Southern California

Haydee Mayorga

Community and Public Health Student, USA

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.