Did you know you can now earn a master’s of science in education online? That means you don’t have to commute to class, live on campus, or sacrifice family obligations. Instead, you can advance your career at home with just a computer and an internet connection.
Earning an education master’s of science online could provide you with the same increased earning potential and employment opportunities as a regular classroom-based degree. You’ll take classes on topics such as childhood development, education theory, and education development, and you could earn your certification in as little as two years.
A good deal of online learning providers have connections with local school systems and public education agencies, allowing many students to find work at these organizations upon graduation. You can also get hands-on experience in a physical classroom setting and learn the skills required to become an instructional coordinator, education administrator, education consultant, health education specialist, or related job role.
Discover how an online Master of Science in Education could provide you with unparalleled learning opportunities. This guide tells you the costs associated with one of these degrees, as well as salary information, typical course content, and the job outlook for graduates.
What Is an Online Master’s of Science in Education?
An online master’s of science in education is a post-graduate program for those pursuing an academic leadership role at a public or private learning institution. This two-year degree teaches a broad range of education practices, policies, and research methods over the internet.
Instead of getting your master’s at a physical college, you will engage with tutors and support staff online via webinars, live debates, video tutorials, group work, digital workshops, discussion forums, and email. You can access course content, submit assignments, and receive feedback from tutors through a learning management system (LMS). You don’t have to travel to college or live on campus, which might help you fulfill any family or working requirements.
You will explore the following issues in your online master’s of science in education:
- The relationship between education systems and labor markets
- Access to education
- Childhood development
- Education psychology
- Learning methodologies
- Education legislation and policies
- The internationalization of education
During your online program, you will explore the links between education systems and wealth, social justice, and career development. You will learn more about the quantitative and qualitative learning methods taught in academic settings and evaluate some of the most critical issues in education worldwide.
When you graduate with your master’s, you could get a job as an:
- Instructional coordinator
- Education administrator
- Health education specialist
- Education consultant
- Special education teacher
- Curriculum developer
- Program director
Whatever role you choose, you will most likely work in an academic setting like a school, college, community college, or university, supporting a specific academic department or the entire organization. With your new skills, you could influence education policy or change curricula for more successful learning outcomes.
There are hundreds of education-related master’s degrees available online and at physical colleges, making it difficult to know which one to choose. It’s important to note that different schools have different eligibility criteria and admissions requirements. Course content also differs depending on the program and learning provider. Some programs, for example, take a generalized approach to education, where you learn popular academic concepts and educational theories. Other programs let you specialize in topics that pertain to a specific field of education, such as early learning development.
If you are looking for an online master’s of science in education, consider the programs that offer the best learning and career opportunities. Many of the most successful programs have tutors with years of experience in academic leadership, education theory, and other education-related topics. You will want to find a program that teaches you the required skills for an exciting new career in the education sector and one that increases your earning potential when you graduate. Many online schools work closely with local education agencies and organizations, providing you with various career opportunities upon graduation. These organizations often hire graduates from education master’s degree programs.
It’s a good idea to talk to program directors about the potential career prospects that might arise from studying for an online master’s degree in education. You should also read all marketing materials, program content pages, and other resources before enrolling in a program.
Online degrees used to carry a certain stigma, with some employers in the education sector favoring traditional college-based degrees over internet ones. However, perceptions toward online education have radically changed, and internet degrees now come with the same prestige as those earned at physical colleges. Recruiters look at your grades, previous academic and work experience, and other accomplishments when considering you for a role. It rarely matters if you earned your degree over the internet or in a traditional classroom environment. Many professionals in educational settings never attended a physical college and earned lucrative salaries after graduating from an online degree program. The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed collective attitudes toward online education, especially when so many physical colleges have required students to learn from home.
Applying for a master’s of science in education differs from applying for a bachelor’s degree program. That’s because you submit your application directly to the school and wait for a response. This process can sometimes take months so it’s important to plan and have the right documents for your application. Otherwise, you could delay the process.
Each school has different admissions criteria. However, most learning institutions require:
- Evidence of previous academic experience: You will need to show academic transcripts and other documents that demonstrate previous academic experience at school, college, community college, or another institution. Transcripts should show your GPA for a specific program or individual grades for courses completed. You might also want to include a reference from a previous tutor or member of academic staff.
- Evidence of internship/work-related opportunities: Schools also want to see evidence of any non-academic activities that pertain to education, such as internships and work programs. For example, you might have experience working in a school, and the program director wants to know the skills you developed during this time. You can also include a reference from a previous manager or internship coordinator.
- Personal statement: Your personal statement tells the program director about your career goals and the jobs you want to apply for when you graduate. You might also include information about your ambitions, learning styles, and any other accomplishments relevant to the program.
A tutor or program director might want to interview you during the application process, either online, over the phone, or in person.
Many students ask: “What is the best school for a master’s of science in education?” However, it is difficult to answer this question. Traditionally, Ivy League schools and other exclusive institutions served as the barometer of educational success in the United States. However, online degrees have changed the educational landscape, and you can now find many of the best programs at smaller, lesser-known institutions.
How Much Does a Master’s of Science in Education Cost?
Education master’s degrees can cost between $9,000 and $25,000 in tuition fees, according to U.S. News & World Report. Per-credit costs could range from $300 to $700. These costs don’t include any examination fees, registration fees, program supply costs, travel costs, or room and board rates.
An online master’s of science in education might cost less money than one from a traditional college. That’s because you can study for an online master’s degree at home or in an area of the city with lower costs. Alternatively, you can stay with family members and not pay for room and board at a college campus. However, you should still consider the cost of program supplies such as books and learning materials.
You can reduce the costs associated with a master’s of science in education by applying for a grant or scholarship. Various organizations offer financial aid to students who demonstrate exceptional academic or personal accomplishments and to those from minority backgrounds or low-income households. You can find a list of scholarships for education master’s degrees online or by contacting your school directly. You need to meet all eligibility criteria before applying to one of these funding programs. However, there are no limits to the number of grants or scholarships you can apply for within an academic year.
Average Salary for a Master’s of Science in Education
The median annual salary for someone with a Master of Science in Education is around $61,000, according to PayScale. (Data correct as of July 19, 2021.)
The mean annual wage for instructional coordinators — those who develop learning content, write curricula, and support educators in academic settings — is $70,160, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). (Data correct as of May 2020.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $33.73.
The top-paying states for instructional coordinators are:
- District of Columbia: $100,350 (mean annual wage)
- Connecticut: $97,840
- Oregon: $86,390
- Virginia: $81,220
- New Jersey: $79,460
The top-paying metropolitan areas for instructional coordinators are:
- New Haven, CT: $111,440 (mean annual wage)
- Warner Robins, GA: $110,800
- Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: $104,000
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT: $103,510
- Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT: $96,190
- Salem, OR: $93,810
- Danbury, CT: $93,250
- Fresno, CA: $93,150
- Hanford-Corcoran, CA: $92,960
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $92,940
The mean annual wage for education administrators is $93,830, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2020.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $45.11.
The top-paying states for education administrators are:
- District of Columbia: $118,150 (mean annual wage)
- New York: $116,080
- Virginia: $112,210
- Colorado: $111,500
- Maryland: $108,910
The top-paying metropolitan areas for education administrators are:
- Fresno, CA: $128,910 (mean annual wage)
- Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV: $122,560
- Bakersfield, CA: $121,040
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO: $120,110
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $119,100
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $117,710
- Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC: $115,880
- Modesto, CA: $115,640
- Dayton, OH: $114,120
- Stockton-Lodi, CA: $113,080
The mean annual wage for health education specialists is $62,120, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2020.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $29.86.
The top-paying states for health education specialists are:
- District of Columbia: $97,390 (mean annual wage)
- Georgia: $93,580
- Maryland: $82,080
- Rhode Island: $76,730
- California: $70,230
The top-paying metro areas for health education specialists are:
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: $99,030 (mean annual wage)
- New Haven, CT: $89,360
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $87,090
- Savannah, GA: $81,340
- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA: $79,970
- Santa Rosa, CA: $78,150
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $77,550
- Spartanburg, SC: $76,870
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $75,960
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL: $75,420
The mean annual wage for special education teachers is $67,670, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2020.)
The top-paying states for special education teachers are:
- New York: $92,650 (mean annual wage)
- Oregon: $84,800
- Maryland: $75,440
- New Jersey: $74,520
- District of Columbia: $72,690
The top-paying metro areas for special education teachers are:
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: $98,040 (mean annual wage)
- Fresno, CA: $94,830
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: $92,970
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: $91,840
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: $86,000
- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA: $82,440
- Eugene, OR: $80,560
- Salem, OR: $80,010
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $79,760
- Rochester, NY: $79,590
The mean annual wage for career and technical education teachers at the postsecondary level is $61,710, according to BLS. (Data correct as of May 2020.) That’s a mean hourly wage of $29.67.
The top-paying states for career and technical education teachers at the postsecondary level are:
- Wisconsin: $84,840 (mean annual wage)
- California: $84,690
- New York: $77,430
- Oregon: $76,250
- Washington: $76,020
The top-paying metro areas for career and technical education teachers at the postsecondary level are:
- Santa Rosa, CA: $139,970 (mean annual wage)
- Madison, WI: $102,430
- Salinas, CA: $96,970
- Hanford-Corcoran, CA: $93,960
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: $93,320
- Albany, OR: $89,750
- San Diego-Carlsbad, CA: $89,160
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: $87,310
- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI: $85,320
- Modesto, CA: $85,260
Your final salary depends on various factors that the above statistics can’t tell you. These factors include the type of career you want to pursue and the organization you want to work for. As you can see from the above data, some jobs associated with a master’s of science in education (such as instructional coordinators and health education specialists) come with higher salaries in some states compared to others. Also, salaries for many education-related jobs are higher in larger metropolitan areas with extensive school systems.
Your final salary can also depend on the specific skills required for a role. A recruiter might pay an applicant more money if he or she has childhood development experience, for example. Previous academic achievements, work history, and specific soft skills valued by employers (such as communication or teamwork) can also influence salaries related to these degrees.
What Is the Job Outlook for Master’s of Science in Education Holders?
The outlook is positive for those with a master’s of science in education. There will be a 6.3% increase in job opportunities for instructional coordinators and a 7.8% increase for education administrators from 2018 to 2028, according to predictions from Projections Central/Department of Labor. These increases are higher than the average for all job fields (around 5%).
Courses in a Master’s of Science in Education
A master’s of science in education degree (MS Ed) includes courses about the practice of education and learning. You will learn academic methodologies, education policy, and the relationships between education systems and the labor market. Here are some classes you might find in one of these programs:
- Teaching leadership in schools
- Childhood development
- The relationship between education and societal systems
- Academic theory
- Current topics in education practice
During your program, you will use various tools to analyze data about education research and methodologies. You will also learn soft skills that could further your career in education, such as organization, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
A master’s of science in education degree includes coursework like essays, where you will analyze various topics related to topics such as leadership and academic theory. You will typically complete a dissertation project toward the end of one of these programs. Your dissertation will require independent research about a topic of your choice, and you will engage with tutors and other academic staff during the process. A dissertation can take several months to complete and often has a big impact on your final grade.
Depending on the school, you might also take exams after each course or sit a test at the end of the program. These exams will test you on concepts such as training leadership and education practice. When studying for your master’s of science in education online, you will submit any exams and coursework via an LMS. The frequency of coursework and exams on one of these programs depends on the learning provider. However, a master’s degree usually involves more work than a regular bachelor’s degree.
Many schools offer college credit for other activities such as group work and presentations. You can also receive credit for successfully completing an internship or training program at a local school or educational organization. These programs let you gain hands-on experience in the classroom, and you can use this experience to further your career in education.
Online and physical colleges typically grade a master’s of science degree in education in much the same way. You will receive grades for all completed coursework and exams, and then the learning provider will convert these grades to a Grade Point Average or GPA. A typical grading system for a master’s of science in education degree includes these categories:
Schools typically use the following grading boundaries for each category:
- 50% for a pass
- 60% for a merit/credit
- 70% for a distinction
An employer might look at your GPA when you apply for a job in education.
FAQs About a Master’s of Science in Education
- You can earn a master’s of science in education online or at a physical college.
- It takes around two years to get this degree.
- Different fields in a master’s of science in education include teaching leadership, education policy, and learning theories.
Benefits of getting a master’s of science in education online include:
- You don’t have to travel to college.
- You don’t have to live on campus.
- You can maintain any existing family or work requirements.
- Education master’s degrees can cost between $9,000 and $25,000 in tuition fees, according to U.S. News & World Report.
- Studying for a master’s of science in education online could work out less expensive than going to college because you won’t have accommodation or travel expenses.
- You can apply for a scholarship to reduce the cost of your online education.