The decision to attend graduate school is one that every teacher faces at some point in his or her career. As educators, we are naturally drawn to learning, and there is an abundance of master’s programs to choose from. It’s no secret that the plate of a teacher is full from work alone, so making the decision to pursue an advanced degree is challenging for many. After earning two graduate degrees as a full-time wife, mother, and teacher, I can attest that the benefits of furthering your education far exceed the challenges. Here are a few reasons why.
For teachers seeking leadership positions, earning a master’s degree is essential. A graduate degree is a stepping stone toward school administrative positions and other leadership positions within your school or county. Likewise, many new job opportunities outside of the classroom also require a master’s degree or higher.
Increase in Salary
Let’s cut to the chase – teachers nationwide deserve more money. Many of us work hard for pay that doesn’t measure up to our effort. Earning a master’s degree increases your income potential. Furthermore, a master’s degree can make you better qualified for even higher-paying positions.
Teaching requires hard work and long hours. As such, it makes sense that many teachers don’t pursue a master’s degrees due to a lack of time. But many contemporary graduate programs have caught on to this, and are designing programs with a teacher’s schedule in mind. Educators pursuing a master’s have online, hybrid, and evening programs to choose from. Many programs offer intensive summer coursework with lighter course loads during the school year. When pursuing my M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees, our classwork was intentionally scheduled so that we could complete the bulk of our work on weekends.
If there is one thing we all learned from the recent Great Recession, it’s that job security can be fleeting. It’s always a good idea to invest in yourself as a valuable asset. Districts and states track data on teachers with advanced degrees, and you can imagine that more advanced degrees among teachers enhance a district’s presentation and reputation. Therefore, having an advanced degree will likely provide better job security.
Teaching is a perpetual learning curve. Good teachers know that an educator is never done learning and improving his or her practice. Pursuing a master’s degree will yield professional growth. For educators, graduate school is an invaluable networking opportunity. I have connected with teachers in my state and around the country, and I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge from my classmates. Furthermore, my professors, whose jobs ranged from teachers to district-level leaders and mental health professionals, contributed to my growth in several ways. I am a better teacher because of graduate school.
Pursuing a master’s degree is a time-consuming, yet extremely rewarding investment that will certainly enhance your career.