No matter the subject that you are passionate enough about to spend your career teaching or what level of students you want to work with, a career in education can be very rewarding and satisfying. Working in education can bring about lots of different opportunities for growth and progression. Whether you are recently graduated as a teacher, already have some experience of teaching under your belt, or are a highly experienced educator having spent several years working in this field, getting a graduate degree in education can be the ideal way to take your career to the next step up.
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With more graduate degree options now available thanks to online degree programs that can easily be fit around your current career as a teacher or other education professional, there’s never been a better time to consider studying to improve your future prospects. A graduate degree in education can lead to a range of different teaching and education roles, with several excellent career paths to choose from for those that are interested. Keep reading to find out more about some of the most popular advanced roles for educational professionals and teachers who want to improve their resume with an advanced degree in education.
Some people who work in education find that the most important part of this job for them personally is being able to support and guide students to make the best decisions for their lives. If this sounds like you, then you might be interested in a career as a school counselor. Read more about the school counselor skills required and to find out if this is a career that might be a good fit for your future.
If you have experience working as a teacher, then you may have already become well-practiced in getting to know and understand your students as individual humans to help them achieve success with their future. As a school counselor, you will be responsible for communicating with your students and being there to listen to any concerns that they may have. This role involves talking to students individually and helping them devise solutions that work well for them, whether that is to do with their academic or personal life. School counselors are the main person in the school that students will turn to when they need advice and support regarding a range of situations. To work in this role, you will need to gain a suitable degree qualification in school counseling.
If you are interested in the psychology of education, then this role might be ideal for you. Educational psychologists are important professionals who help individuals, organizations, and groups come up with and meet goals based on psychological principles. If you are interested in learning more about what makes people tick and have always had an interest in psychology, this may be an ideal role for you to consider.
As an educational psychologist, you can play a huge part in helping students develop their learning skills further and achieve their future goals for education, careers, and more. Educational psychologists are typically required to have a background in either education or psychology, and you will need a relevant qualification such as a master’s degree in educational psychology.
If you are somebody who naturally gravitates towards leadership roles and enjoy work where you can inspire others to be the best versions of themselves, working as a principal might be a good choice for your future career after gaining an advanced degree in education.
Principals are tasked with managing and overseeing the school or another educational organization. While this role means that you are no longer getting up in front of the classroom to deliver lessons, you have the opportunity to make changes to education and improve things for students by being responsible for making important decisions on the school’s behalf, choosing new teachers and other educational professionals to employ, and developing the best policies to implement within the school.
Principals are also responsible for liaising with parents, shareholders, and other key stakeholders in the institution. You will need to have gained extensive experience as an educator and be very familiar with the industry to work in this role. Often, an advanced degree is required. A degree in education with a focus on leadership is an ideal choice.
Higher Education Professor
If you are interested in getting an advanced degree in the subject that you teach, this will allow you to teach students who are learning at a higher level, for example, at college. If you prefer the idea of teaching young adults and mature students rather than teaching your subject to students in middle school or high school, or simply want a chance to get into the more advanced aspects of your subject and cover it in more depth, a role in higher education might be a good option for you. You will usually need to have earned a higher level of degree than the level that you will be teaching to work in this role – for example, a master’s degree to teach bachelor’s students, although this may depend on the subject. In many subjects you will be required to achieve a doctorate or Ph.D. before you will be able to teach at the university level. Many Ph.D. students get experience teaching while studying and continue to become a professor.
Head of Department
If you are very passionate about the subject that you have chosen to teach and love the department that you work in, you may like the idea of getting into a role as the head of department. While an advanced degree in your subject or in education is not always necessary to get into this role as teachers may often be promoted based on experience and performance, achieving further education may be able to help you be in with a better chance of landing this role in your current place of employment. It is an ideal role to consider going for if you want to get leadership and management experience within a school to prepare you for working in a principal position in the future.
How to Choose the Right Advanced Degree in Education
If you have a goal of taking your career in education to the next level, picking the right advanced degree is a crucial step to achieving what you want to do. There are lots of different degree programs to choose from depending on your future goals and the type of career that you want to do. Whether you want to work in a management and leadership position, be in a better position to help students, or something else will likely be a main deciding factor in the type of degree program that is going to be the most useful choice for you. No matter where you want to take your education career in the future, keep these factors in mind when deciding on the right educational pathway.
Future Career Goals
When choosing an advanced degree program, your future career goals are likely going to be one of the first things that you consider. If you are going to get a master’s degree in education, there are several options that may help you to get to where you want to be. For example, a master’s degree in education can lead to a wide range of different career opportunities including moving up the ladder into education management and leadership roles. On the other hand, if you want to focus on a career where you can help students reach their best potential as a school counselor or educational psychologist, it may be more effective to focus on choosing a master’s degree that covers specific skills in more depth.
What You Like
Consider what you like the most about your current role and what you want to do more of in the future. If you don’t like the leadership aspect of teaching as much as you like the other aspects of the job, then you might want to avoid a master’s degree in education leadership, for example.
One of the biggest factors to consider when you choose the right advanced degree for your future career in education is how you want to study for it. Today, education is more expensive than ever before and with the rising cost of living, it is not feasible for most full-time professionals to drop out of their job for two years or more while they get a master’s degree. Unless you are lucky enough to be in a position where you are able to do this comfortably, then you might want to consider enrolling in an online degree program instead. Online master’s degrees in education are designed to be more flexible and often keep busy teachers schedules in mind, which will help you reduce your stress levels and make it easier for you to stay on top of your studies while you continue to work.
Pick the Right Online School
If like many professionals you have decided that online study is the best fit for you, then you will need to spend some time finding the right online school for you. If you are already experienced as a teacher then you probably don’t need to be told how important choosing the right school is. Accreditation is something that you should always look out for before you choose the right online school for you – make sure that both the school and the program is accredited from a relevant educational agency to avoid issues in the future. As online degree programs are growing in popularity, it is also important to make sure that the school is experienced in delivering education online and can provide you with a good experience.
Plan Your Schedule
There’s no doubt that studying full-time while you are already working in education can be a lot of work, so it’s important to spend time planning your schedule and decide how you are going to manage everything before you get started. Being organized and planning ahead is something that you are probably used to as a teacher and maybe even encourage your students to do more of, so it’s important to apply this to your own situation. To make this easier for yourself, ensure that you choose an online degree program that is fully or mostly flexible. At the very least, you should be able to choose when you attend lectures and classes on your own time, since having to commit to be available at certain times every day might not work. With a fully flexible program, you can decide on times to commit to learning that suit you best.
Inform Your Employer
It is a wise idea to inform your employer of your plans before you decide to get an advanced degree in education, if your main goal is to be promoted or get a different role in the same place of employment. There are many benefits of having a conversation about your plans with your employer. When they are aware of your goals and what you are doing to work towards them, they will be able to work with you to help put strategies in place to get you to where you want to be and support you as an employee. Along with this, many employers also have funding in place for teachers and other educational professional who want to improve their own education. By letting your employer know what you want to do, you might be able to get help with some or all of your tuition costs.
Last but not least, before you enroll, make sure that you are ready to start. Get everything that you need and set up a space in your home that is free from distractions if you are going to study online. While studying online is more flexible and allows you more control, it also comes with the disadvantage of having no physical classes to go to, so you need to be ready to work around the distractions in your home.
For teachers and other educational professionals, there are lots of meaningful and lucrative roles waiting on the other side of an advanced degree in education or a relevant subject.