Should I Finish my Master's Degree before I start teaching?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Genevie, May 20, 2016.

  1. Genevie

    Genevie New Member

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    May 20, 2016

    I have finished student teaching and am in the process of applying for my teaching license for K-6 and 5-8 middle school social studies endorsement. My question is it harder to get teaching jobs if you have a masters degree and no actual teaching experience. I am not sure if finishing my masters before getting a teaching job is wise. I currently reside in Minnesota, if needed for reference. Any information or ideas about this would be very helpful and appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I'm not sure about Minnesota. In my area I think it would be harder to find a position because you'll be a more expensive hire with a MA degree, and if they're paying more they'd rather be paying for an experienced teacher. Are you already in a grad program? When I did my MA program there were tons of assignments where we had to try something with our students and reflect/report back. I'm pretty sure you had to be a current teacher to enroll in my program. I think others may allow you to do practicum experiences if you're not currently employed, but wouldn't you rather be getting paid for the work you're doing? I'd definitely recommend getting a teaching job first.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Will you be fully certified without completing the program? If so, it may be helpful to wait, get a job, and then finish the degree, but like waterfall says it really depends on the area. I'm in a shortage area and schools here will take just about any qualified candidate. I had my master's degree and was a first year teacher, and was hired without any issues.
     
  5. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    I would recommend applying for a teaching position and take the online master's courses once you're ready to take that on. Nothing beats having teaching experience to help give you more background knowledge in your masters degree than being a teacher...and that's my honest opinion.
     
  6. Genevie

    Genevie New Member

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    Hi, in the program that I'm in, there is the option to get a masters without being a current teacher. Another thing is that I only have 2 more classes for the masters and writing of the thesis. My question was more concerning the hiring of someone who would have a masters and no actual teaching experience. But thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    May 20, 2016

    Genevie, your downside is that social studies teachers are quite numerous. It is a certification that is easy to acquire, with a wide range of courses eligible to meet qualifications. I don't know the job market where you are, but the fact that this is a well saturated field in MS might make me slow down and test the waters before finishing the last classes. Finishing those classes once you are hired will still give you a pay bump, and the school may very well offer tuition reimbursement, which is money in your pocket.

    Please don't see this as a slam on SS teachers, but rather an observation that it is an easily obtained add-on cert that many experienced teachers have picked up, meaning the pool is crowded. I will say that I would probably follow my heart, but if you hadn't considered that the pay bump will still occur even if you finish after, and that tuition reimbursement could keep a few thousand dollars in your pocket, then now would be a great time to think about that. Good luck.
     
  8. ChemCoastie

    ChemCoastie Rookie

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    May 21, 2016

    Too bounce off of what was stated above, I think endorsement area matters more than your initial placement on the salary schedule. As a new teacher, even with a Masters, you are still going to be one of the cheapest hires available. I don't think many schools will worry about paying you an extra 2-5K if they truly think that you are the ideal candidate. You are still going to be cheap.

    I'm currently finishing up my Masters (I only have 3 weeks left) and had no issues finding work. Of the 6 schools I applied with, I was offered jobs by 3 and turned down interviews to the other 3 because I ended up accepting employment (Not trying to brag, just offering context). However, I will have two science endorsements, which in my state is like striking gold. The rest of my cohort has had similar successes. Other tough positions to fill such as SpEd, Math and Spanish have been getting the same treatment. However, the K-5 teachers, social studies, etc are struggling to get work at the moment, as there are more applicants than jobs available. These trends have seemed to hold pretty true across the Masters and Bachelors levels with other graduating students.
     
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  9. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Do not finish the degree until you get a job. I screwed up and got the MA and it is hurting me in the job market.

    Also read: I really would like to wipe the MA and JD off my resume for the reason stated below.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  10. nklauste

    nklauste Comrade

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    May 22, 2016

    In Minnesota, I would definitely not get a masters before a position. I have seen many applicants passed over for educating themselves out of a job because they got their masters with no teaching experience.
     
  11. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    Perhaps I'm biased but in MD, the experience I got with my master's (Reading Specialist) helped me get hired into my first teaching position as a 4th grade teacher.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I suspect that had the OP been talking about Reading Specialist instead of MS SS, the answers would have been different. ChemCoastie hit the nail on the head when recognising that the problem is more about there being so many SS teacher candidates available that the master's will almost certainly not help at the MS level. Reading Specialists are in high demand, so apples and oranges.
     
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  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I had a master's when applying for my first job. Didn't hurt me at all. I found a job right away in general elementary education in an area where teaching jobs can be difficult to come by.
     
  14. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    May 25, 2016

    Just looked at the current salary schedule for my home district in Minnesota, and the salary difference would be about 10K. Based on that, I would be cautious about completing a master's before getting a job. Being more expensive without having experience can sometimes make a difference.
     
  15. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    The real problem is you can't take less. I tried that already.
     
  16. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    I got much more out of my MA being a working teacher with a few years experience than I would have otherwise.
     

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