Masters Degree Necessary?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Michael S., May 28, 2008.

  1. Michael S.

    Michael S. Companion

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    May 28, 2008

    I am planning on teaching in Baltimore County Public Schools (Maryland) or in a surrounding county/city. I am currently in an AAT program for Elementary Education, but will transfer to a four year institution for my BA in Elementary Education. However, my question is...Is a masters degree necessary? I know that the pay is better, but I am unsure whether or not I will be able to keep up with working (either as a teacher or as a sub) while going for my masters and be able to pay it off.

    I was thinking about maybe minoring in a specific subject area, but can anybody tell me how that works? I read somewhere that 30 credits in that certain field will allow me to teach that subject in any secondary grade.

    Any advice offered is appreciated.

    I really think I am leaning towards a minor in either Math, Earth/Space Science, or Geography (or other social sciences field). Umm, is it realistic to have two minors?

    However, the university I am looking at only offers Earth-Space Science as a major requiring 14 classes in that area. The math minor is only 7.
     
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  3. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    May 28, 2008

    I am not familiar with Maryland's certification process. However, from what I know in PA:

    Once you obtain a degree and certification in Elementary Education, you only need to pass the PRAXIS exam in a content area to teach at the secondary level (there is actually a middle-school level exam and a full secondary level exam). With the pedagogy from the elementary degree, you do not have to have a degree in secondary education--only the certification. While it may impact your ability to be hired, you do not need to have coursework in a content area to take, pass, and be certified in a content area in PA. I am certified secondary English on top of my Elementary and Special Education certifications (and Eled/Sped are my degrees). I happen to have a minor in English, but that was not a stipulation for my certification.

    I would imagine that most states require a test component. Coursework would vary, as my case demonstrates.

    As for completing a Masters . . . that depends what you plan to do your MA/MS in. Many teachers enter a MS in Educational Leadership or Curriculum and Instruction, or other education-related fields of study. In these cases, most programs are structured for working teachers.

    However, if you pursue a graduate degree in any other content area, it may be more challenging, but I think many can be done part-time and in the evenings or online. MA English programs I have looked into can be completed as I teach. It may take longer than a full-time two-year student, but it can be done.

    A non-Education doctorate, however, is probably less likely.

    As far as the necessity of a Masters degree . . . that depends on state. PA only requires 24 credit hours beyond your BS/BA. NY requires a Masters, in your content area (or at least 12 credit hours in your content area within another program of study). This Masters requirement varies by state. I think I have up to 6 years in PA to meet the graduate credit requirement, while I think NY gives 5 years for the Masters degree. Check your state Department of Education webpage.

    I hope some of this helps!

    Personally, I chose to begin my career after I obtained my BS. I am currently completing some graduate certificates and will begin a full Masters program in a couple years. I feel that I should be working in the system before pursuing a Masters. This way, I can understand my career and the needs I have as I pursue graduate work.
     
  4. Michael S.

    Michael S. Companion

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    May 28, 2008

    Alright, thanks. I just looked into it briefly and I knew that I am jumping the gun on this a tad bit, but I really need to just wait a little bit. It is going to take me another 2 years (I just finished my freshman year at community college with 21 credits...only 15 of which count towards my Elem Ed AAT). I think it is going to take me probably 4-5 years until I have my BA, so time isn't a huge ordeal at the moment and I will have plenty of time to think about it more. I like the idea of being able to branch out to secondary education later, but obtaining a Masters Degree would be nice if it would be possible to do so without killing myself with the workload.

    The advantage of subbing is that I will be able to get advice from teachers...recent grads and veterans.
     
  5. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    May 28, 2008

    Getting yours masters may or may not be something you choose to do. I am one of only a handful of teachers in my school who have a masters degree. It took me 3 years while teaching to get it. You may want to take a short break after receiving your BA and then think about it. I waited 2 years before going back. Now, I'm ready to take a break again! :)
     
  6. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    May 29, 2008

    Some states require a Master's and others don't. The state I live in now does not require one, but the pay is so low without it, that it's kind of necessary!

    Some school districts pay for your Master's. I wish mine did!
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    May 29, 2008

    NY requires a Masters degree but gives you a good amount of time to get it. I took 2 classes per semester and it wasn't too overwhelming. It almost seemed like the work for the graduate classes was less demanding than undergrad. My job also gave me money for a certain number of credits.
     

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