Does a Masters Degree Help Secure a Teaching Job?

Discussion in 'Music Teachers' started by Joy, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in K-12 Music Education in 2009. Since then, I have been subbing in five districts while trying to find a full time elementary music position. While there are not alot of openings in the state I live in right now, I have had a few interviews but nothing has worked out. I am trying to decide now if working on a Masters Degree would help me with getting a job. What do you think? Does a Masters Degree increase your chances of securing a teaching job or does it make it more difficult since the school district will need to pay you more?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I honestly don't think it's the lack of a masters degree that is making it difficult. There simply are far fewer openings for music teachers than other categories of education jobs. There may be only one or two music teachers in an elementary district...when one of those jobs open, there are MANY resumes for that ONE opening....you may want to find other ways to 'bump up' your resume...private music lessons, summer music camp...good luck to you.;)
     
  4. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Jul 3, 2011

    Thank you for taking the time to give me your opinion! I greatly appreciate it! I know what you mean about bumping up my resume and have been trying to do just that since college. I have been teaching private lessons and currently have sixteen students. I also have worked as a rehearsal assistant in two children's choirs in the the community, I play in a professional string quartet, and I am certified in Orff Level I. In my previous interviews, I have tried to focus on this and my substitute teaching but it hasn't really worked. Now I am thinking that I need to have something that sets me far apart from the rest of the pack and I am wondering if that would be a Masters Degree.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 3, 2011

    If you really want a music position, I'm not sure getting a masters would set you apart. If you really want to find a teaching position, you may consider getting a masters in something other than music. Use the masters to add certifications to your license. This may make you more marketable and open the jobs you can apply for.
     
  6. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    Jul 3, 2011

    Teaching is partially about your experience in the classroom. A masters is great but it doesn't give you that valuable on the spot experience. Someone else already suggested endorsements so look into making yourself more marketable by being open to other subjects.
     
  7. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    Jul 4, 2011

    We have an amazing German teacher who has her doctorate, but because enrollment has gone down, she has fewer German students than she did a few years ago. Our admin has asked her to take classes to teach English, math, etc., so that her position can remain secure. I have known quite a few music teachers who struggled to find a job; becoming certified in another area would make you much more marketable in these economic times.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jul 4, 2011

    Unfortunately, music is being cut out in more and more schools. I think it's likely more a lack of music openings than it is not having a master's that is preventing you finding full-time work as a music teacher.
     
  9. Southernese

    Southernese Rookie

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    Jul 4, 2011

    In her original post, she said there were lots of openings.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The OP actually said "there are not a lot of openings in the state I live in right now". In my ten years in my current district, only one music job has turned over. It seems that's quite typical of many districts...less positions and less openings for the 'special areas'.:( the advice to get additional certifications in other education areas may be the most beneficial as schools like to see 'flexibility' in where they can place teachers.
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 4, 2011

    Another idea is to think about how you can fit into an RtI and PBIS model. You could be integral in the Check-In, Check-Out process, catching morning and afternoon hallway behaviors, rewarding classes walking quickly in the classroom. You could also be integral in providing extra reading or math interventions during the day. Finding a way to teach a flexible class when sometimes students will be there and other times not as students come an go for interventions and services.
     
  12. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    In my original post, I wrote that there were not alot of openings in the state. What I meant by that is that in the area I want to teach, there have been probably 4 openings. Out of those 4 openings, 3 were part-time. Out of the 4 openings, I have had 2 interviews and am waiting to hear back from one more because the job hasn't closed yet. At all of the interviews that I have been to, they have told me that they received a record amount of applicants. At one interview, I was told that they recieved 20 applications and I was one of the 4 they decided to interview. This was a half-time job!

    As far as adding a new endorsement, what is a good thing to add to a music licensure?
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Reading specialist or math is always good to have. As an employee, you could work part-time in music and part-time in interventions...
     
  14. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Jul 4, 2011

    In my area music is being cut and most FTE music teaching positions are now being turned into .5 teaching positions. Districts are cutting teachers and making them travel between buildings.
     
  15. SittinInATree

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    Jul 22, 2011

    I think these days it would only hurt a new teacher. This has been my experience! I have a Masters of Education degree and that is how I started out my teaching career (since my undergrad was in human services). So when I started job searching as a new teacher, it was with a Masters. I *did* land a temp position but at the end of the year, me and THREE other teachers didn't even get interviews back (even though we all had wonderful feedback, etc) and come to find out, all 4 of us had masters degrees and little experience. I think it was due to budget restraints that made us undesirable to hire. There is a really big jump in my state on the pay scale between bachelors and masters level. If they are going to hire a new teacher, they would rather hire one they can pay less. I had a really hard time finding a position after that, too. Just the other day I was doing some reading online and came across an article where a teacher was quoted saying that she hasn't been able to find a job at all and many districts told her it was because they couldn't afford to pay her (she also had a masters). She even wanted to sign a waiver to get paid less but the teacher unions won't allow that.

    In today's economy, I would not get a masters degree just to help you find a job, because it could actually just hurt your chances in the end. Budgets are TIGHT, they will pass you over for someone who they can hire for less. Especially for an elective like music that is often taught off of a cart nowadays. It just isn't valued as much as it should be!

    I think the best thing that can help you find a job is first experience and then an interesting resume that shows a variety of things that you have done (subbing, volunteering, organizations you are a part of). Do you have a portfolio that you bring to interviews? Sometimes they don't even ask for them anymore, but if I were you, I would create ones you can leave with them and don't care about getting back (make duplicates) and in them you can include parent reviews and even student reviews (have some of them write how much they enjoy your class and why!) and maybe even some reviews from teachers you have subbed for. Also you can make a CD that has a video of you teaching a lesson.

    Anyway, that got off topic but good luck!
     
  16. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    Jul 24, 2011

    I think every district is different in what they are looking for in a teacher. Some may be willing to pay extra $$$ for the Master's degree, while others are not. I was one of 2 music teachers hired last year. I had a Master's plus 8 years experience. The other teacher was fresh out of college. :D
     
  17. chermusicteach

    chermusicteach Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2011

    Hi Joy,

    I currently live in Arizona. Arizona is always looking for music teachers for their K-8 schools. I moved down here in Ohio in 2007. I have already had a couple of interviews, but school starts within the next two weeks in the Phoenix metro area. They don't pay as well as most states, but there is always a need down here. I am looking to leave the state but the market everywhere else is bad. I am just biding my time until it gets better. I like the southwest, can't complain too much about the weather. Yes the summers are very hot, but the winters are worth it! I have an interview Monday for a K-6 general music job full time. My preference is middle or high school chorus, but those jobs are hard to come by down here. You pretty much have to know someone and be an internal candidate to get a position.

    I am finishing up my masters in technology in the next month. This mainly will help with raising the salary of wherever I work. I have been seriously considering going to school after this to get a Masters in Speech Pathology. They make more, schools are always hiring, and there are stipends! I would have a better choice of schools anywhere. Good luck to you! :whistle:
     
  18. FunTwoTeach

    FunTwoTeach Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2011

    I fully agree with this. It is best to hold off on the Master's until you have tenure in a district and you are sure you aren't going anywhere. (Unless you live in a state that requires a Master's). You will eventually want the bump in pay, but it isn't worth it to go up the salary scale if you know you will be job searching in the future. I wish someone had told me this sooner, because now I am basically stuck in my district because I'm "too expensive" to get hired anywhere else.
     
  19. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Jul 28, 2011

    That's what I have been wondering. It seems that there are alot of varied opinions among people that I ask. I think that right now I am going to hold off on it partly because as a substitute teacher, I'm not sure I can really afford to pay for that much school anyway.
     

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