How many schools still have a traditional step scale where a person with a master's degree is paid much more? In the district I'm going too, if I had a master's degree I would have gotten 5,000 more this year! I combed through the negotiated agreement and found that lateral steps are always given (even if there is a pay freeze for experience steps). I'd been looking at programs anyway and that kind of money is obviously a big motivator. The cheapest programs I'm finding would be about 15,000 total. I'm sure with fees and books that will be more like 20,000. My concern is that with all of the "reforms" this kind of extra pay will be going away. My first district was very reform minded and they loved to tout the research that teachers with master's degrees aren't more effective. They gave teachers with advanced degrees a small stipend per year that kept shrinking- I believe it was less than 2,000 when I left. Most of the districts in the city still have the step scales where by the time you get to year 15 or so, someone with a MA is literally making 15,000-20,000 more than someone with just a BA. Merit pay is starting here, but so far most districts are rolling it out as a "bonus" (how in the world they're going to afford that, I don't know). Do you think those kind of salary scales will stick around? I do like taking classes and my program would give me an additional certification, but if I'm never going to make the money back it's obviously very financially unsound. Part of me also thinks I should hurry up and get as much done this year as possible, since presumably they can't take away a salary bump in the future that they've already given you.