What many people don’t know about a Master’s in Education is that it can broaden your job options outside of teaching; you’re far from confined to a classroom with this degree. Have you found yourself asking "What can I do with a Master’s in Education?" Read on to learn more about the degree, and to browse six practical jobs possibilities for M.Ed graduates.

What is a Master's in Education?

A Master's in Education is different from a Master's of Science in Teaching. While a Master's of Science in Teaching will narrow your focus, a Master's in Education will broaden it.

For example, if you seek a Master's of Science in Teachingfor secondary mathematics, your program will focus on the best ways to teach that particular topic to students, classroom management skills, and curriculum theory. This will make you a qualified candidate for secondary mathematics positions around the country — but not for much else! A Master's of Science in Teaching is ideal for people who know their passion is working directly with students in a classroom setting.

On the other hand, a Master's in Education will open a number of doors, and will provide access to many diverse careers and even to multiple industries. There are different specializations available for Master's in Education degrees, but some of the most common are Educational Leadership, Adult Education, and Special Education.

Educational Leadership focuses on expanding a teacher’s view of a school beyond the classroom, incorporating the overarching duties of management and strategy. Adult Education, on the other hand, prepares professionals to work with corporations, charities, and organizations that train and teach adults. Finally, a Special Education track covers not just teaching children with learning disabilities, but also designing a curriculum and analyzing program results.

Want to know more? If you’re unsure of where your career in education will take you, a Masters in Education is a great way to continue learning while opening up job opportunities in the following fields:

1. Work in School Leadership

If you don’t feel like you’re cut out for the classroom, don’t worry! There are many ways to pursue your passion for education without teaching, and working in school leadership is one of them. Specifically, your Masters in Education will qualify you to be a:

  • School Principal

  • School District Administrator

Either of these positions is a great way to make a difference in schools, and to affect change at a broader level than you can through one-on-one teaching. Here’s what you can expect if you use your Masters in Education to get a job in school leadership.

School Principal: The school principal oversees the day-to-day operations of a school. That means managing students and teachers while also ensuring that administrative needs are met. The best way to be a competitive applicant for school principal positions is to specialize your Master’s in Education with an Educational Leadership track. This will prepare you for the demands of managing a school and its staff outside of a classroom setting.

School District Administrator: A Master’s in Education with an Educational Leadership specialization is also ideal for work as a school district administrator. One of the main draws of this role is the ability to tailor your job search and subsequent position to your own passions. A Master’s in Education will qualify you for school district administrator jobs in fields like finance, involving budgeting and fundraising, office work, involving scheduling and planning curricula, or interpersonal relations, involving managing student relations and discipline.

2. Work in a K-12 Classroom

Outside of traditional teaching positions for preschool to grade 12, there are many other ways to use your Master’s in Education to get back inside a classroom. Some of the most common choices are:

  • Special Education Teacher

  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL)

A Master’s in Education can help you become a better teacher by introducing new skills to your arsenal — while also honing old ones. Departments such as special education and TESOL are ever changing from year to year, so continued education is particularly important in these fields.

Special Education Teacher: A Master of Education in Special Education will prepare you to teach and manage students with a range of disabilities, while creating positive learning experiences that work. Special education degrees give you a better understanding of specialized curriculum planning for children with learning disabilities, and teach you new behavior management techniques for the classroom (and more). If work as a special education teacher is appealing to you, a Master of Education in Special Education will give you the tools you need to succeed.

Teaching English as a Second Language: When you complete your Master’s in Education, you can often expand your learning by specializing in TESOL. TESOL classes will help you dive deeper into the subtleties of teaching English as a second language, and will teach you to address a variety of fluency levels in your classroom. One of the benefits of a Master’s of Education in TESOL is that it will allow you to expand your career options for the future.

3. Work in a Policy Setting

Do you have an education degree, but find yourself better suited to positions outside of the classroom? If so, a Master’s in Education can prepare you to work in a policy setting as an education policy analyst.

An education policy analyst might specialize in Adult Education, Special Education, or Educational Leadership; there are many different roles to be filled in this field.

Education Policy Analyst: Career Match explains that "Education Policy Analysts make their living researching, analyzing, and influencing laws that relate to education." When you work in this field, you can find yourself in meetings with lobbyists, lawyers, politicians, special interest groups, and more. As an education policy analyst, you will then use your expertise to research the questions posed in these meetings, and to come up with solutions that work.

4. Work in a University Setting

Earning a Master’s in Education will make you a more competitive candidate for work in a university setting. Some positions the degree might qualify you for are:

  • University Professor

  • Curriculum Development/Instructional Designer

A Master’s in Education can prepare you both for teaching university courses, and for working behind the scenes in course creation.

University Professor: If you want to teach students about education theory, classroom management, or other subjects in the field, working in the Education Department at a university is the job for you. After your undergrad degree is secured, the next step to becoming an education professor is getting a Masters in Education. Most schools also require a doctorate degree; once that is complete, you’ll be ready to take on the academic world by storm!

Curriculum Development/Instructional Designer: If pursuing a doctorate isn’t on your agenda, you can still work in a university setting with your Master’s in Education. Here, a specialization in Educational Leadership can help hone your skills in curriculum development and class design. Your work will focus on developing educational materials for the school.

5. Work in a Corporate Setting

What can you do with a Master’s in Education besides teach? If you’re ready to leave the education field behind, working in a corporate setting is another practical job option. With a Master’s in Education, you will be qualified to secure a position as a corporate trainer.

For the best chance at landing a position in corporate training and development, consider specializing your Master’s in Education with an Adult Education track.

Corporate Trainer: A Master of Education in Adult Education will set you up for success as a corporate trainer — a professional who plans and implements development programs for employees in a workplace. Corporate trainers can be tasked with developing materials, management roles, giving presentations, and more. The courses and workshops you create will depend on the industry you work in, but will usually include teaching new skills to employees and analyzing data to ensure that programs are effective.

6. Explore Other Opportunities

One of the benefits of completing a Master’s in Education is that it will open up countless doors in diverse fields. Among the many positions listed above, there are several "off-the-beaten-path" job options that a Master’s in Education will qualify you for. Some additional opportunities to explore are:

  • Digital Learning and Classroom Technology

  • Educational Consultant

  • Child Care Director

  • Learning Director at a Museum or Non-Profit

What can you do with a Master’s in Education besides teach? Well, you can start by working in one of these four unique positions!

Digital Learning and Classroom Technology: In today’s digital age, incorporating new tech and learning techniques into the classroom is more important than ever. Although employment opportunities for digital learning specialists can vary, education is one of the top industries. A Master’s in Education can assist you in securing the new positions in schools and administration that focus on finding and implementing the best ways to incorporate technology into a school’s day-to-day curriculum.

Educational Consultant: An educational consultant helps organizations like schools, universities, tutoring centers, publishers and more review and improve their educational content. A Master’s of Education in Adult Education can help you find a job as an educational consultant focused on adult learning centers or language learning institutes, while a Master’s of Education in Special Education can prepare you to consult in after-school programs, special education organizations, and more.

Child Care Director: This position closely resembles that of a principal, but instead of leading K-12 schools, child care directors manage preschools and daycare programs. A Masters of Education in Educational Learning will prepare you for this position by teaching you to train and supervise staff, oversee day-to-day operations, and keep the center or school running smoothly.

Learning Director at a Museum or Non-Profit: Many museums and non-profit organizations need learning directors for their educational programs for both kids and adults. Here, your duties could include organizing special festivals or events, hosting schools groups, creating engaging and hands-on programming for children, and much more.

The Benefits of a Master’s in Education

The benefits of a Master’s in Education are clear. In most states, you can maximize your teacher salary with a Master’s Degree, and will be more competitive when applying for teaching jobs. You can also make more money over the course of your career by earning a Masters in Education and moving outside of the classroom, and into higher paying positions like those in education administration. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that "education administrators had the highest percentage wage premium, with 44 percent higher wages for master’s degree holders than for bachelor’s degree holders."

The salary increase isn’t all, though. A Master’s in Education will also help you earn more respect from your employers and coworkers, and will help you establish yourself as an authority in your field. Finally, a Master’s degree will simply make you more marketable: it will qualify you to work in almost any position in the education industry, above and beyond teaching.

What can you do with a Master’s in Education?

A Master’s in Education can open a variety of doors for you. It’s a great degree for anyone who wants to work in school leadership as a principal or an administrative director, stay in a K-12 classroom as a special education teacher or an English as a second language teacher, or get a job in a university setting. For those looking to move beyond academics, a Masters in Education will prepare you to work in a policy setting as an education policy analyst, land a job in corporate training and development, or even take on a position like digital learning and classroom technology specialist, educational consultant, child care director, or learning director at a museum or non-profit.

The opportunities for graduates with a Master’s in Education who don’t want to follow the traditional teaching route are vast. This degree is the perfect jumping off point for those with a passion for education in any form.

Want to earn your degree without breaking the bank? Explore these scholarship opportunities for Masters in Education candidates. Then, choose a specialization in Educational Leadership, Special Education or Adult Education. Finally, graduate and start your dream career, while enjoying the flexibility to grow and advance throughout the education industry.

Works cited:

Career Match. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.careermatch.com/job-prep/career-insights/profiles/education-policy-analyst/

Bureau of Labor Statistics.Retrieved May 17, 2018 at https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/article/should-i-get-a-masters-degree.htm

ThoughtCo. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at https://www.thoughtco.com/a-comprehensive-breakdown-of-the-roles-of-school-personnel-3194684

TESOL. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at https://www.tesol.org/docs/career-center/tips-for-choosing-a-ma-in-tesol-program---michelle-bagwell-4-9-13.pdf?sfvrsn=2

JobHero. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at http://www.jobhero.com/daycare-director-job-description/#

BrightMatterResourcing. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at http://www.brightmatterresourcing.com/careers-guides/digital-learning-developer#

CollegeExpress. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at https://www.collegexpress.com/interests/education/articles/careers-education/beyond-blackboard-42-alternative-jobs-education-majors/

AcademicInvest. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at https://www.academicinvest.com/arts-careers/philosophy-careers/how-to-become-a-university-professor

San Diego University. Retrieved May 17, 2018 at https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/master-of-education-salary/

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.