How Long does it Take to Get a Master’s in Education?

In the United States, earning a bachelor’s degree in education typically lead to a long and rewarding career as a public school teacher. However, with today’s increasing academic standards, many states require that teachers pursue a master’s degree in order to maintain teaching certification and to remain up-to-date on a quickly changing field of practice, according to the Journal Sentinel. For a busy teacher, the idea of having to balance coursework with a full-time career can be overwhelming. However, many might be surprised at how soon a master’s degree in education can be earned even when working full-time in the classroom.

Requirements for Earning a Master’s Degree in Education

In order to obtain a master’s degree in education, individuals may be expected to take 30 to 40 credit hours of coursework. The courses cover subjects including classroom management, education theory, teaching strategies and language arts methodologies. Some learners may also wish to take courses in teaching children with developmental disabilities or other learning difficulties. At the master’s level, students will generally also choose a specialization, such as elementary education or high school education. Today, it is common to find universities that offer both traditional courses and online courses, giving the learner the option to take courses when it is most convenient.

Many programs also require the student to successfully pass a comprehensive examination. This examination covers general education issues as well as specific issues within the student’s area of concentration. In many schools, this is an essay examination. Some schools also require the students to write and defend a master’s thesis. Finally, almost all programs require the student to have supervised experience in a classroom while completing the master’s program. For most teachers, this can be accomplished with the individual’s full-time teaching position.

How Long Does Earning a Master’s Degree Take?

The length of time it takes to earn a master’s degree in education can vary depending on the education path the student chooses to take. For those who prefer the most traditional path, participating in a full-time program in a traditional brick and mortar college, the degree process can take two years in order to complete all of the course requirements. Students can expect to take another six months to finish any comprehensive examination and master’s thesis requirements.

Many major universities offer blended programs where students take some courses in the traditional classroom and some courses online. This can help shorten the length of time it takes to earn a degree as online courses can be taken at home in the evenings. This can increase the number of courses a student can take at one time, decreasing the overall program time to about two years, including thesis and examination.

For individuals with major commitments on top of a teaching career, attending school part-time may be the best option. A part-time student typically only takes one or two courses every semester and these courses may occur in the evenings or on weekends. This generally extends the time it takes to complete all requirements for a master’s degree from the typical 2 1/2 years to a total of five years.

Today, teachers have several choices in order to earn a master’s degree in education. Students can participate in online or traditional courses, offering flexibility to the course schedule. Individuals can also choose part-time or full-time programs in order to balance school, a career and a family. With several options, many teachers can realistically meet their goals of earning a master’s degree in education in an average of three years.