Master's Degree in Middle Grades Education: Program Overview
Research master's degrees in middle grades education. Get information on requirements, courses and career prospects to make an informed decision about your education.
Master of Education in Middle Grades
In a middle grades education master's program, students examine the development and issues that face adolescent children in grades 5-9 or 4-8. Key program components include learning various teaching methods that embrace the growing independence of middle school children and techniques for designing progressively challenging curricula. Depending on the program, students may choose a specific subject concentration that they intend to teach, such as biology, English, math or social studies. These programs are offered in numerous colleges and universities, and degrees can be awarded as a Master of Education (M.Ed.), Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA).
Admission requirements vary, and may be different depending on the type of degree being sought. While bachelor's degrees are a standard requirement in all master's programs, an M.Ed. program typically requires applicants to already possess or be eligible for state teacher certification. Alternatively, MS and MA programs may accept candidates without a teaching license.
Students study adolescent behavior, psychology, classroom management and social development. They analyze current issues in middle school education and learn research methodologies. Communications skills are enhanced so they can relate to their future middle school students and students' parents. Some courses will differ depending on the chosen concentration. Capstone experiences can include research projects or comprehensive exams in M.Ed. programs or student-teaching experiences in MS and MA programs. Common classes may include:
- Educational psychology
- Teaching literacy
- Middle grades curriculum
- Education social issues
- Classroom assessment
- Middle grades diversity
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that middle school teacher employment should grow at an average 17% rate between 2010 and 2020. This is fueled by increasing student enrollments; however, higher enrollments are expected in the southern and western regions with decreases in the Northeast. Additionally, state and local government funding influences employment opportunities for teachers. Middle school teachers can up their odds of employment by applying to schools in less desirable areas, such as those in urban or rural neighborhoods. As of May 2011, middle school teachers earned an average salary of $55,780, reported the BLS. These figures don't include statistics for special education teachers.
Licensure and Continuing Education Information
Public middle school teachers in all states must obtain licensure before they can begin teaching independently. Licensure requirements vary for each state, but the BLS reported that some commonalities usually include having at least a bachelor's degree, completing a teacher preparation program and gaining student-teaching experience. Some states gives teachers a specified time period in which they must earn a master's degree.
Doctorate degrees in education are available, typically as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Students in Ed.D. programs usually prepare for administrative positions, while Ph.D. programs focus on educational research and prepare graduates for research-oriented occupations.
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