Career Advice: Graduate Degree Programs
Suzanne Tingley on graduate degree programs for
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Q | When hiring, do administrators place equal value on master of science and master of education degrees?
A | Graduate degree programs vary widely from college to college and state to state, so the degree itself no longer conveys much specific information; only the transcript reveals what courses were taken and passed. However, many states require a number of courses in education for certification or access to state tests, so we can assume that if you’re certified, you’ve taken the required courses, whatever your degree.
Some administrators may look at a candidate’s transcript, but more important will be classroom experience, certification, references, and any “extras” he or she might bring to the classroom. Extras might include a second certification, fluency in a foreign language, awards or prizes, coaching experience, or other extracurricular interests.
Also, because many states now require a master’s degree for permanent certification, administrators understand that the program a prospective teacher selects may depend primarily upon the college’s proximity and cost. (These factors are particularly important if a person is already a full-time teacher.)
Your degree alone will not determine if your application is selected. Instead, focus on what experiences, interests, or additional skills you can bring to the classroom that will make your candidacy stand out.
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Suzanne Tingley is a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and education professor.
Image: Aaron Clamage