Master's degree and hiring?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ssol, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. ssol

    ssol New Member

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    Jun 25, 2011

    Does having a Master's degree make it more difficult to get hired?

    Even before the economic downturn, I heard from a few people that districts generally do not like to hire teachers with advanced degrees since they will have to pay them higher salaries. This situation has supposedly gotten worse with the recent budget cuts and pink slips. Of course, I've also been told that a way to get around this is to earn a Master's after hiring...

    So, to what extent is this a fact or a myth??
     
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  3. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    This seems to be regional. Most districts in Virginia seem to view a masters as a plus, and a small few require them.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Around here and in my home state, you do not want a masters because it will make you more expensive and thus less likely to get hired. That's not to say they'd automatically dismiss you if you were far superior than any other candidate, but in this market with so many applicants its highly likely that they'll find candidates they like just as well who don't have their masters and are cheaper.

    Also, all the newest research that is coming out is saying that more college doesn't make someone a better teacher (hence all the districts going to pay for performance instead of a step program where you get paid more for experience and education). I'm not sure if I agree with that personally, but because of that a lot of districts around here are no longer paying people extra for having masters degrees. My district pays a very small stipend- so small that it would take you a minimum of 10-15 years to even break even from the cost it took you to get the masters degree in the first place.

    I would definitely not recommend it if you have no actual teaching experience (not including student teaching). That will make it much harder for you to get hired because you are more expensive, yet you have no experience. A principal may decide it's worth it to spend a few more thousand on someone who has a little experience. However, with all the budget cuts they're not going to want to spend extra money on someone who is still going to be a first year teacher- especially when they have so many other first-year candidates that they could pay less.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2011

    In NY you have to get a Master's Degree.

    So around here it really depends on the district, as well as what you're teaching. If you teach Physics or Chem or Math, the odds are that they'll be happy to snap up a strong candidate with or without a Masters, since it's hard to find qualified people in those subject areas.

    But if you're just starting teaching, it might be better to postpone finishing your Masters until you have a bit of experience.

    Of course, starting it won't hurt.
     
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  6. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Jun 25, 2011

    A local friend of mine was flat out told from the district she'd been subbing (and doing long term subbing as well, though not long enough to go above the per diem rate) that she'd probably not get hired due to her Masters. She's el ed.

    On the other hand, the year I was hired I was the only one of out three hired people in my dept to not have a masters. My field (though now being reduced in many districts due to budget cuts) is considered hard-to-fill.

    So, based on the limited data points I have, it seems if you're in an applicant pool with lots of people, it's better not to have it. If you're in an applicant pool of a few people, it won't matter, and might possibly be helpful.
     
  7. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    How do people get hired for math or science without a masters degree? All the licensing courses are graduate level and the masters programs include student teaching. Nobody can do student teaching while doing undergrad lab classes.

    I did it only because I was alternately certified, but couldn't get my full license until I finished my credential program which was basically a masters degree.

    I know you can do undergrad majors in elementary education, but I've never seen that for science or math.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I did my student teaching as an undergrad.

    When I graduated, a BA would get you a provisional certification. (The rules have since changed.) You could teach for 5 years as you got your Masters.

    I got my AS in math at the local community college, then spent much of the next 2 years in Ed courses.
     
  9. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    At the undergrad school I went to there was an option for el ed cert program or secondary cert program. If I had wanted to be a math teacher I would have majored in math, taken 5 education courses and student taught for math. It would all have been done as an undergrad.
     
  10. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    My school had science education majors, but all that meant was lighter weight courses, less math, and a required history of science course. All education courses were done as a 5th year plus 2 summers masters program.

    I suppose it really varies by state and university, though doing the education courses in grad school seems the norm at most Virginia schools, at least for most high school certs.

    Checking out education programs at the major schools in your state might help you get a handle on what newly credentialed teachers are likely to have. That will probably drive a lot of local hiring practices.
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We had a BS degree with certification for all secondary education programs. This could be completed in 4 years with student teaching part of those 4 years.

    As for getting a masters degree, if it is in something hard to find or adding endorsements to your certificate, go for it. If it is merely to get a masters, don't.
     
  12. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Wow. How do you fit in the student teaching? Most semesters, I had at least one, if not two, 3-4 hour labs in the afternoon. Did you manage to take other classes as well, or were these special majors with fewer concentration credits?
     
  13. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I waited to finish my Master's until I had a teaching position. But, my master's course work was in SPED so I could not get my additional SPED license without it. I do not plan on taking anymore credits toward a lane change beyond MA because I don't want to become too expensive. But, I do plan on taking more course work. I want to take a literature course next spring but I will take it an an undergrad level and use the credits as PD, or my own professional development.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    At my college if you were interested in going into secondary education you majored in the subject area and minored in education. That meant you could only pick one subject area to teach- so you couldn't do math AND science or you'd never finish it in 4 years, but you could pick one of them. I had several friends that did that and had no problem finishing it in their undergrad. Most of my friends that just majored in some type of science (not for education) had plenty of time to fit in another major or a minor as well, so it'd be no different- you just have to pick education as your minor. They just made sure they were done with all of their major courses before their last semester of senior year when they'd be student teaching.
     
  15. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I was hired by my district because I HAD my Master's. I agree that it must be a regional thing.
     
  16. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I worked in a specialty school and if you have a Master's they consider that a very positive thing. If you don't, you have to get one soon.
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 26, 2011

    I heard the exact same thing when I was working on my Masters & still subbing. That's why I never mentioned that I was working on it on job interviews nor put it on my resume. Of course, once I had my Masters, I'm not going to try to hide it. I still got hired as a special ed teacher the same summer I graduated, but that was back in 2006 when the economy just started getting the way it is.

    Overall, I think no matter how the economy is, what's meant for you will be & if it's not meant for you, it will not be. I don't know if you're religious & pray to God, but I've always prayed about things like this. He can make a way where there is no way.

    Back in 2006 when I graduated w/ a Masters and 2 credentials, my cooperative teacher said I'd be a "hot commodity" when looking for a job. Don't know how much I could say that nowadays. Nevertheless, I've switched gears & I'm now working towards my 2nd Masters, but in communication Disorders & Sciences, which is mandatory to be a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). They've always been in high demand.

    Good luck to you!
     
  18. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    As everyone says, I think "it depends". In my state (CA), my own thought is that unless you have the capability to get accepted to ( and be able to pass) a masters program in Math or Science... basically, anything specific that is of need... I think it's an unnecessary financial risk & burden. So I think it largely depends on what you are getting your Masters in--A masters in curriculum or something similar, IMO, is a dime a dozen and not worth it right now. A Masters in science or math probably is much more desireable, and thus worthwhile.
     
  19. TeachAstro

    TeachAstro Rookie

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    It was a tough decision for me. I talked with my former teachers and they were fairly united against going for a Masters before teaching. I have an undergrad degree in astrophysics from Cal (a future physics teacher, hopefully!) and I attended USC's Masters/Credential program largely because with the scholarship they gave me, it would have cost essentially the same between a credential and the yearlong masters program. I'm now concerned that they'll choose someone without the masters (mine is in "Teaching") because they'd be cheaper. :(
     
  20. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Physics teachers are still not so thick on the ground that having a masters would be detrimental, I think. I have no familiarity with the California market, but qualified physics teachers are much rarer in the applicant pools in general, nationwide. What this means, specifically, depends on your regional job market, but teaching physics puts you in a much, much better place than teaching social studies, biology, or elementary grades where there are so many fully qualified candidates with or without a masters,
     
  21. kme93

    kme93 Companion

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    I have a bachelor's in math and a master's in statistics. Even though high school math is harder to fill, I have found that a master's is a problem. At a career fair, I was told (nicely) by many school districts that having a master's degree would hurt my chances of getting a job. I have applied to so many school districts that it's sad. I have not recieved one phone call. I finally started applying to private schools. Every single private school I applied to called me for an interview. That sends me a strong message.

    I have signed a contract with a private school and I know I will be very happy there. However, I never took my application down from the school districts. I am just curious to see if I get any calls....there have not been any.

    BTW, I have subbed and taught adjunct. So, I'm not totally green.
     
  22. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I say - who knows? I think a lot of it, from both sides, is speculation. Getting hired at all is such a gamble right now anyway, that it is really hard to say. It will vary from region to region, and from district to district! Some districts in my state pay nothing or next to nothing for a master's, so it absolutely wouldn't make a difference in those situations.

    Everyone has their own opinion on this, and it's really up to you to decide for yourself, IMHO.
     
  23. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I've been wondering the same thing about a Master's Degree. The people that I have asked have said that it depends on the size of the district. If you want to work in a big district, they won't have any problem with paying the extra money. If it's a smaller district, they might hire someone without it. Where I live, for a beginning teacher it is only about a $3,000 difference so to me, it seems like it would be an asset in getting a job.
     
  24. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    I'm not sure if that has to do with having a master's degree so much as not having teaching experience or an education degree. I know you've taught adjunct but teaching college is very different from high school. Private schools are more likely to favor candidates who have a degree in the subject matter as opposed to a degree in education based on my experience.

    I have a master's degree and I've not had a problem getting interviews. It must be a regional thing.
     
  25. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Masters is a plus where I am from....
     
  26. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I know in some of the districts around me they would prefer to hire someone without a masters. I have a couple friends who were specifically told this when speaking with the districts. In others it is expected that you will have a masters so I wouldn't think it matters there. Some of the districts around here are really hurting in terms of funding and others are doing great because of how Ohio is funded... It just depends on which district you apply to!
     
  27. David DiCaprio

    David DiCaprio Rookie

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    I just received my masters and am finishing my principals certification for Pennsylvania. I am worried now it will hurt me to have so much under my belt. What states are good for a masters currently and what are not?

    -David
     
  28. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    I go to James Madison University in Virginia and most of the education courses, including student teaching, are part of the master's (MAT) program. There's where you get your classes on: Assessment and Alignment to Standards, Curriculum and Co-Curriculum Design, Educational Technology, Classroom and Behavior Management, Inquiry, Differentiation, High School Subject Area Methods, High School Practicum, and student teaching, and are automatically licensed in the state of Virginia upon graduation.

    Without that program from this school, all you'd get is a Diversity in Education course, two methods classes (one is subject-specific), a 60-hour middle school practicum, and a literacy course.

    (I'm astonished anyone would be able to fit all of those, plus a full major in the subject, into undergrad.)
     

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