Continuous growth is a fundamental piece of quality teachers. The desire to improve your practice to be a more effective practitioner drives teachers to learn and become better. Fortunately, there are many master’s degree programs that provide opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers to grow and to explore further specialized positions within their respective schools and grade levels.
What Does a Master’s Elementary/Middle School Education Program Encompass?
Master’s degree programs in elementary/middle school education are offered at a variety of universities. There are in-person programs, online programs, and a hybrid approach combining both the in-person and online components. Most master’s degree programs last one to three years depending on the course load. Programs are frequently designed to allow you to maintain your elementary and middle school position and attend classes after typical school working hours.
Whether your focus area is in elementary school or middle school, a master’s degree program includes scholarly readings, research, and a practical component where you can apply your learning. While the specific goals of master’s degree programs vary pending what is being studied and the age group being focused upon, ultimately, each program is geared to help you reflect, learn new skills, and be a better teacher of elementary education or middle school education.
What Skills are Gained in an Elementary/Middle School Education Program and Where Can it Lead Me?
There are many different master’s degree programs with many areas to learn more about. However, these areas can really be broken down into some general categories. Each category provides the learner with specific skills and potential pathways to positions in education.
Master’s in Teaching
This type of program is frequently in place for college graduates who may not have a degree in education or lack certification. Master’s in teaching programs in elementary and middle school education allow students to take a course in educational theory and practices and likely involve student teaching so that upon completion, the graduate is qualified to teach. Certification offerings could be elementary level or subject matter specific for middle school teachers.
These programs also emphasize literacy acquisition and child development as those are essential to PK – 8 teaching. In addition, people who are changing careers can find an alternative route to certification through master’s in teaching programs.
There are also a variety of programs that can further a teacher’s knowledge in a more specific area, in addition to helping people become certified teachers at the middle and elementary school levels.
Want to learn more about the acquisition of reading? There are multitudes of literacy courses invoking the science of reading, phonological awareness, phonics, and other courses that focus on the early acquisition of language skills. With the increased awareness and attention of reading needs, this is an area that will be highly marketable.
Interested in expanding science knowledge? Computer science, environmental science and technology are just some of the science specific courses candidates can take. With the expansion of technology access through all grades, these skills often augment elementary and middle school’s current usage and makes connections with content areas.
Already have a certification for one middle school subject area and want to broaden your teaching range while in your elementary/middle school education master’s program? There are cross-curricular courses that result in widening your teaching and knowledge base. This allows teachers at the middle school to teach multiple subjects. In addition, some states require master’s degree programs, and many districts have higher compensation for further education.
Potential Job Outcomes:
- Classroom teacher
- Instructional coach
- Educational consultant
- Middle school certificates: math/science
- Middle school level humanities
As education continues to grow and reach all students, the more specialized staff is needed to meet various needs. Particularly with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, more students are at risk and require individualized programs.
Many student support programs and courses focus on brain research, child development, and language acquisition to assist in supporting students that need different instruction in those areas as students are still in the developmental process of knowledge acquisition.
The unknown emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic will be pervasive for years. The lockdowns, constant reporting, and change in our cultures has greatly impacted students’ emotional well-being. This has been particularly evident at the elementary and middle school levels due to the number of students needing support. Increasing the social and emotional staff at schools, including counselors, behaviorists, and school psychologists, allows schools to work with individuals and groups to better support students’ ability to be productive in their community. Elementary and middle school education master’s programs are specific to childhood and adolescents since the students need different skills and strategies to succeed.
Potential Job Outcomes:
- Guidance Counselors
- Independent Consultant
As you can see, there are many opportunities for change within the education field when obtaining a master’s degree in elementary and middle school education. Explore our available elementary/middle school education graduate programs and start your next educational journey today!