Deciding to Pursue a Master of Science in Teaching

Teachers seek master’s degrees for many great reasons, and perhaps you’re planning to do the same. Your choices for furthering your education are abundant, so how do you decide which degree to pursue? If one of your options includes a Master of Science in Teaching, this article will address some of the information related to this degree. Hopefully you can make the choice that works best for your personal career aspirations.

Is a master of science in teaching really worth it?

Perhaps you’ve been exploring your options regarding which master’s degree would most effectively boost your teaching career. Or perhaps you’re wanting to change careers. If you’re going back to school, how do you know which degree to pursue? The choices are numerous, but you want to pick the best one to fit your personal goals. No one wants to pursue additional education only to find out it didn’t exactly fit their needs.

If a Master of Science in Teaching is something you’re considering, this article will help you clarify the main ideas. It will address exactly what a Master of Science in Teaching degree entails, how it differs from a Master of Arts in Teaching, who is best suited for this career path, and what job prospects you could expect with an MS in teaching.

What is a Masters of Science in Teaching?

When you receive a bachelor’s degree in teaching, it’s typically generalized. The goal is to prepare you for possibly teaching in a variety of subjects. But, obtaining a master’s degree gives you an opportunity to dig deeper into an area where you’d like to specialize. A Master of Science in Teaching will require at least 30 semester hours beyond your bachelor’s degree, and it gives you this opportunity to truly dig into an area of specialization.

Different colleges may offer a specialty in a certain area. For example, if you pursue your Master of Science in Teaching at the University of New Hampshire, you’d enter a program designed specifically for teachers of secondary mathematics.

Mathematics is not the only option at other colleges. MS in teaching students may choose to specialize in a number of areas and receive additional certification to match their areas of specialization.

For teachers who are already employed full-time, many schools offer a flex program, which allows you to do your coursework on evenings and weekends. These are generally part-time programs, which are helpful for both full-time teachers and those individuals who are changing careers.

It’s particularly advantageous to teachers of secondary grades to obtain their Master of Science in Teaching because they can build on the skills they learned during undergraduate school by acquiring the pedagogical skills that time didn’t allow for during undergraduate studies. The MS in teaching degree builds on what you’ve already mastered, making you a more effective teacher.

As an example, in New Jersey, Rowan University's Master of Science in Teaching program includes 33 semester hours at the graduate level. Some classes one might expect in this, or a similar program, include foundational classes about secondary teaching, classes aimed at teaching in diverse settings, other classes focusing on inclusion, instruction on teaching languages, and instruction for creating a supportive learning environment.

At a different university, such as Potsdam State University of New York, you can obtain a Master of Science in Teaching with an emphasis on childhood education. In this and similar programs, you will learn the essential skills for teaching grades 1-6. That will address the disposition you should have as well as pedagogical knowledge.

Another skill you should acquire is the ability to teach core subjects effectively, although with a deeper understanding than what you would have gained at the undergraduate level. You should expect to learn how to design and teach curriculum that is highly effective with students from diverse backgrounds.

Furthermore, you’d expect to gain skills through a specialized fieldwork experience that would include growth, risk-taking, and developing an individualized teaching philosophy. The field experience includes student teaching opportunities, which help you to develop your craft even further.

Finally, your communication skills will likely improve while participating in the Master of Science in Teaching program, which prepares you to work in collaborative environments. Great communication skills are essential for dealing with students as well as other professionals you’ll come into contact with.

Master of Science in Teaching vs Master of Arts in Teaching

These may seem similar, but the pedagogy differs. Generally speaking, Master of Science degrees are more specialized and technical. When pursuing a MST, you’ll typically spend time writing a thesis as part of the experience. A person obtaining an MAT may not have this requirement.

A Master of Arts degree approaches teaching from a broad spectrum view, and may be helpful for someone whose undergraduate degree is not teaching because it focuses on theoretical understanding. Although it’s not at all uncommon for Master of Science in Teaching candidates to be new to the teaching field, also.

A MS degree in teaching will hone in on the technical and hands-on side to the subject. This explains the importance of field practice for a Master of Science in Teaching. It’s important to move beyond knowledge and be able to put the classroom principles into practice.

Who Gets a Master of Science in Teaching?

Obtaining a Master of Science in Teaching is a viable path for both prospective teachers who are changing careers and established teachers who seek to advance their careers and learn additional skills. It does require a great deal of commitment. Some colleges offer flexible hours and part-time programs. That availability will depend on your location.

You choose to concentrate in a particular area when pursuing your master of science in teaching, and some potential areas include:

  • Early childhood or childhood education
  • Special education for either early childhood or adolescents
  • Physical science education
  • Art education
  • Mathematics, English, or social studies
  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages

Those who pursue a master’s of science in teaching degree also have an interest in incorporating technology for use in classrooms, understanding the role diversity plays in learning, and desire to specialize in the subject matter they want to teach.

If you are desiring a master of science in teaching, it’s likely that you still want to teach in a classroom. But you may want to fill a more specialized role, in addition to having additional skills to become more effective in your teaching environment.

It’s worth noting that both of these degrees differ from a master’s in education. The master’s in education focuses on administration, as opposed to teaching, which you can read more about in this article.

What can I do with a master of science in teaching?

Possessing a master of science in teaching makes you an attractive candidate for teaching jobs all around the United States. However, the particular job may not specify whether a master of science is required as opposed to a master of arts. Often they will simply request a master’s degree in teaching, without saying exactly which one.

However, note that many jobs exist in the field for individuals with an MS in teaching, and some key examples include teachers for STEM, English and Social Studies. A large list of career opportunies can be found at Indeed.com.

Career options can include opportunities to help children experiencing learning difficulties, anxiety or students who have obstacles learning.

Responsibilities in these kind of positions can include creating the curriculum maps, making individualized lesson plans, creating an environment that supports each student, collaborating with parents or guardians, helping with community outreach efforts, and maintaining a welcoming space for the students. Of course, more responsibilities could arise once you’re an employee.

The job prospects and demand for teachers with master’s degrees is high and exists in all parts of the United States. The need is especially high in the most populated states, such as California, Texas, and New York.

Whether you’ll want to specifically pursue your degree as a Master of Science in teaching certainly is a decision that will require a lot of thought. Sometimes the classes you enjoyed while pursuing your bachelor’s degree will give you an idea what you may enjoy at the master’s level. So you would assess that when making your decision. Knowing that, if you have a desire to seek a graduate teaching degree that offers more specialization and the ability to concentrate on some key areas, it may be the ideal choice for you.

Is a Master of Science in teaching really worth it?

It’s likely to make you a more attractive candidate for many teaching positions, or even open the door to advancement in your current position. It’s certainly a big commitment to go back to school at all, but it’s not common for people to say they regret furthering their education. It can be an endeavor that pays off in the long run, both financially and in helping you secure the ideal position.

Works Cited:

Wikipedia. Retrieved on April 13. 2018 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Arts_in_Teaching

University of New Hampshire. Retrieved on April 13, 2018 at https://ceps.unh.edu/mathematics-statistics/master-science-teachers-mst

Rowan University. Retrieved on April 14, 2018 at https://rowanu.com/programs/65

Potsdam. State University of New York. Retrieved on April 14, 2018 at https://www.potsdam.edu/academics/SOEPS/education/departments/curriculum/mstchildhooded

Indeed. Retrieved on April 15, 2018 at https://www.indeed.com/q-Master-Teacher-jobs.html?vjk=47cc3090cede50c4

Indeed. Retrieved on April 15, 2018 at https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=science%20teachers%20with%20master%27s%20degree%20needed&l&vjk=50f47773bf8912ae

Nedda
Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.