No matter what subject or age group of students you decide to teach, an education career can be one that is very satisfying and rewarding, with lots of opportunities for progression and growth. Whether you have recently qualified as a teacher, already have some teaching experience or are a seasoned educational professional with several years of experience, graduate education degree programs can help you take your career to the next level.
Today, there are more graduate degree options available than ever before for teaching and education professionals, including online degree programs that you can easily fit around your full-time career as a teacher while you study to improve your future prospects.
A graduate degree in education is designed to lead to a wide range of different teaching roles and there are several different career paths to choose from for those who want to get into an advanced education role. We’ve put together some further information on the most popular roles for teachers and other educational professionals to get into with an advanced degree in education or educational leadership.
Head Teacher or Principal
If you are a natural leader who enjoys inspiring others in your work, the role of a head teacher or principle could be an ideal goal for you if you want to get to the top of your teaching career. A head teacher or principal is tasked with the management and overseeing of a school or other educational institutions.
While you will no longer be giving classroom lessons in this role, you will be making important decisions on behalf of the school, be influential in choosing teachers for employment, and implementing key policies within the school. You will also spend a lot of time liaising with shareholders, parents, and other key people within the organization.
To work in this role, you will need extensive experience in education coupled with an advanced degree. The EdD in organizational leadership from Marymount University is an ideal choice for anybody looking to get into a leadership position within education.
If you’re passionate about the subject that you teach and the department that you work in, and prefer the idea of being in a role that is still closely related to your chosen subject and involves some teaching along with management responsibilities, the role of a department head might be the ideal choice for you. This is also a good role to get into if you are interested in working as a head teacher or principal in the future since it will often be required for you to have some management and leadership experience within the field of education to be considered for the role.
An educational psychologist is an important professional who helps individuals, groups and organizations develop and achieve goals using psychological principles.
If you enjoy learning about what makes people tick and enjoy psychology, this may be worth considering. It is a role where you can be very instrumental in helping students further develop their learning skills to achieve future educational goals, career goals and more. You will usually need to have a background in either psychology or education to work in this role.
To get started, you will need to achieve a relevant undergraduate qualification such as a bachelor’s of science in psychology. You’ll also need to get an advanced degree such as a master’s degree in educational psychology.
A main part of the role of a teacher is to get to know students and understand them as individuals to help them achieve future success. If this is a part of your job that you tend to enjoy the most, then it is worth considering getting into a role as a school counselor. School counselors are tasked with keeping in communication with students and listening to their concerns.
Part of the role involves talking to students on a one-to-one level and helping them come up with solutions that work for them, whether they are applying for college and need advice on getting an offer for the program that they want or need help with dealing with issues at school.
When a student needs support, help and advice, the school counselor is often the first person that they are going to turn to. If you have great listening skills, enjoy helping others, and are compassionate and empathetic, this could be a great fit for you.
Higher Education Professor
With an advanced degree related to teaching or your subject, you will also be able to teach students at a higher educational level. If you are more interested in teaching adults that children and want to explore your chosen subject in more depth, working as a higher education professor could be an ideal career choice for you.
To work in this role, you will be required to have achieved a higher level of degree than the one that you are teaching. To teach bachelor’s degree students for example, a master’s degree will be required. You may also need to get a license to teach in colleges in your state.
Most of the time, college professors are involved in more than simply teaching students. Depending on your subject, you may also be involved in research including conducting studies and more.
Choosing the Right Advanced Degree for You
Choosing the right advanced education degree for you is an important step in taking your career as an educator to the next level. There are various degree programs available depending on what your future goals are, whether you want to get into a leadership and management position or are interested in a role where you can work closely with your students to help them achieve their goals and get further in life.
No matter what you’re considering for your future career, there are several factors to consider that will help you make the right choices for you and get the most out of your investment in your education and future.
Your Future Career Goals
The first thing that most people will think about when choosing the right advanced degree program for them is their future career goals.
When taking a master’s degree, you have the choice of either a general degree in education that will help to prepare you for a range of different roles, or you can opt for a degree program that is more focused on a certain subject, which may make it easier for you to specialize in a certain area in the future.
Consider where you want your career to take you in the future and how the master’s degree programs you are considering match up to this.
Your preferences at work are also going to play a part in the master’s degree program that you will choose. Consider what you like the most about your job as a teacher and anything that you might prefer to avoid in the future.
Whether you love the management and leadership aspect of your job or really enjoy helping your students reach their goals and achieve their dreams, knowing what you like can make it all the easier to decide what you want to do and choose a master’s degree that will enable you to get there in your career.
How to Study
If you need to continue working as a teacher full-time while you are studying for your advanced degree, then it’s going to be difficult to study in the traditional way since your classes are probably going to be held at the same time that you are teaching.
For many teachers who want to improve their career in education, getting an online degree is the best option for them to consider, since studying in this manner is often far more flexible, allowing teachers to fit studying around their work and advance their career without the need to make huge changes to their employment and lifestyle.
Advanced degree programs are also available from a wide range of excellent colleges and universities around the country, and with distance learning you will have the pick of all of them since you won’t need to worry about commuting or relocating to get there.
Choosing an Online School
If online study is the best option for you as a teacher, you’ll also need to put a lot of work into finding the right online school for you. As a teacher, you will already know just how important it is to choose the right school no matter what level of education you are working towards. One of the main factors for teachers to consider when choosing an online school is accreditation.
Before you enroll on a program, make sure that the school and program is accredited by a relevant educational accrediting agency so that you can be sure you’re taking a degree that meets strict standards and should have no problem using it to find employment in the future.
With online degree programs becoming more popular, it’s also crucial to check how much experience the school has when it comes to delivering degree programs online. While there are lots of new schools offering online learning appearing today, you will usually do better when studying at a school that has a good reputation for delivering online programs and a track record of successful online students.
Planning Your Studies
Fitting studying for an advanced degree in education around working full-time as a teacher is not always going to be easy. There is a lot of work to do, especially if you have decided to study full-time at the same time as working part-time.
Because of this, it’s important to be organized, plan ahead, and make sure that you have a schedule planned out that you can stick to easily. Since teachers tend to work standard business hours, evenings and weekends are likely going to be the best time for you to get some studying done. Be sure to choose an online degree program that is fully flexible, allowing you to choose when to study rather than requiring you to be available to attend online classes at certain times.
Along with this, it’s important to find out about exams, assignments, and other assessments as early as possible so that you can start planning for them well in advance.
Speak to Your Employer
Another wise thing to do before you embark on an advanced teaching qualification is to speak to your employer. If you are currently working at a school or other educational institution, getting an advanced degree qualification might be something that not only benefits you, but can also be very useful to your employer especially if they are looking to hire more advanced staff in the future.
Some employers will offer a range of support options for employees who want to progress in their career within the organization, so you may be able to get access to financial support with tuition fees and practical support options from your employer to make studying for your advanced education degree easier.
Prepare Your Home for Studying
Last but not least, it’s important to make sure that you are fully prepared for studying at home. Online learning can be an ideal option for teachers, but being outside of the classroom and studying in the place where you usually go to relax can mean that the risk of procrastinating or falling behind can be rather big.
To combat this, it’s a wise idea to have a study space set up at home that will set you up for success. A spare room or quiet area within your home where you can fit a desk and chair is ideal. Avoid studying in your living room or bedroom since there are often just too many distractions.
You may also want to consider if you can use the facilities such as the library at your place of employment, or find somewhere local where you can go and study if you find that being out of the house makes it easier for you to focus.
To take your teaching career to the next level, there are several roles and advanced degree options that you can consider.