master's degree or not?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Blank, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Nov 6, 2014

    Hello again, everyone!

    So I'm still trying to figure out a credential program. Thank you to everyone's help, my last thread helped me decide between CalStateTeach's multiple subject credential program and a CSU multiple subject credential program/master's degree combined program (thanks, yellowdaisies!)

    However, I am having the worst time actually choosing between the two...I literally change my mind every hour! I've made a pros/cons list...they fall just equal of each other. I think what it comes down to for me is if the master's degree is going to hurt me initially. I have heard that it is "better" and more marketable to get the masters AFTER you start teaching...that way you get hired because you aren't too expensive on the pay scale, and the teaching experience will help you a lot more in the master's classes. However, I also can't deny the fact that the credential/master's program is MUCH more cost effective, and it would be much easier to finish all my master's classes before I actually start teaching.

    Now, yellowdaisies herself told me she doesn't see a problem with me having a master's and getting hired in the SoCal market with no teaching experience. This is good news for me, but I have heard that in other areas, this may not be the case. I definitely want to extend this question to the entire U.S., because it is very possible that I will move upon graduation, maybe Utah or Nevada. I'm interested in all perspectives...you never know where life may bring you. I don't want to completely block myself out of a job.

    Thank you in advance, everyone. I know it's a personal decision, and everyone's mileage varies differently, but it helps to hear multiple perspectives. I've searched the forums for this question and found a few threads, but maybe this thread will find someone who hasn't responded yet.
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Nov 7, 2014

    It depends somewhat on what the masters is in. If you end up with SPED, ESL, or a highly sought after Math or Science degree, no problem. If the masters is going to make you higher priced than dime a dozen majors, that's not as good. Districts are savvy about the difference in a masters taken in conjunction with years of experience vs all book learning and little real experience. That addresses your concern about getting more out of the masters after you have been teaching for a while. Here in NJ, most districts offer tuition reimbursement at some level once you pass so many months of employment. When I said that once before in a post, there was a firestorm of posts about how uncommon this is. Check with some of the districts or your state teachers association to see if this is a benefit you may receive, and you may want to check with the associations of states you would be interested in teaching in. That does change the equation if someone else would be paying part or all of your tuition. Taking classes while working full time is challenging, but it also brings what you are learning into sharper focus, and how it is relevant to the real world. You can take one class a semester without too much stress. If you work on your masters after getting a job, that new education will count as professional development, or at least it would here in NJ. That takes one thing off the plate, so is a good balance.

    In the end, you will do what feels right to you. I would recommend researching the possibility of tuition reimbursement, especially if you are going to go into debt with student loans to acquire these credentials. You should have a serious look at the research on the student loan debt and the possibility of not getting a job after taking on loans. Shoot, you can read on this forum about people who are still looking for a full time job years after graduating. It is sobering. Is there no alternate route in California? Just curious - I am on the other side of the country.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Nov 7, 2014

    Thanks for the advice, lynettstoy. I sure have a lot of thinking to do. Are you talking about an alternate route for the certification? We do, but it requires going into some of the rough, urban schools.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Nov 7, 2014

    That's unfortunate. Over 50% of new teachers in NJ are AR, as I was. I was hired in a top district, where I completed my certification and did my probationary year. Some do take jobs in private schools, charter schools, or urban schools, but certainly not all. Good luck with your search for answers.
     
  6. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Nov 7, 2014

    Tuition reimbursement?!?!?! :eek: That definitely does NOT exist in CA, and I would be willing to bet not in UT or NV either. But then, NJ has far higher per pupil spending, and therefore more money in schools, than most other states.

    Ms. Blank (thanks for the shout out ;)), if you want to go to UT or NV, I hope you can find someone from there to give you some insight. The thing about CA is that you'd have BA +60 after that program, which for CA is good but not an amazingly ridiculous amount of units, since everyone with a credential has BA +30...so, every teacher does, basically. In other states where you can teach with just a Bachelors, BA+60 might be outlandishly ridiculous and potentially expensive for districts. I would be curious to hear opinions about this.

    But yeah, in CA, you really don't have to worry. A lot of districts don't really give you big bucks until BA+75 or BA+90. I eventually need to get 30 more units and bump into that BA+90 category to get any mileage in my pay scale.

    I really do think I could have probably gotten more out of my Masters if I'd done it while I was teaching, HOWEVER...I wouldn't have done it. At least not right away So there's that. ;) I may get another Masters eventually. Maybe. My next step is to get GATE certification, not because I teach GATE but because I'm at a school with no GATE program and lots of gifted students.
     
  7. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    Nov 8, 2014

    If you're in California, I would definitely get a master's degree. If you were in North Carolina, I would say definitely not.

    As far as the marketable position goes, I would take a look at the salary schedules of the school districts you are considering applying to. I live on the east coast in the south, but I actually considered moving to San Francisco awhile ago, and when I looked at their salary schedules, I noticed that the significantly more pay for master's degrees didn't kick in until after about 5 years. The first year it was only about 500 dollars more in some school districts, and then it increases.

    I think the logic in that is so they don't have to turn away someone with a master's degree with no teaching experience, but at the same time don't have to pay them a whole lot more to start with.
     
  8. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 8, 2014

    I did a dual credential program that my school offered & earned my mild/mod dis credential & multiple subj credential & got my masters too.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Nov 8, 2014

    Personally I'm glad I've waited to teach for awhile before I've started my Masters degree. Taking a grad course WITH teaching experience has made the grade course more valuable to me as an educator - I get what they're talking about better (compared to my undergrad courses) and I can figure out how a strategy would apply to my own classrooms better.
     

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