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Best Online Degrees in: Mathematics Education

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Mathematics Education

Value
The award for best value in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education goes to Western Governors University. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition for full-time, beginning undergraduate students was estimated to be $5,870 for the 2011-2012 school year, and has remained the same for the last four school years. The estimated cost of books and supplies was $900 for the 2011-2012 school year, which is significantly less than it was for previous years.

Flexibility
The award for best flexibility in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education goes to Western Governors University. Western Governors measures advancement based on student progress and length of attendance. Education at WGU is competency-based and assessed through traditional-style assignments, such as written assignments, exams, and projects. Classes are delivered asynchronously, giving students the opportunity to adjust their education schedule around standing priorities. WGU also features a generous credit transfer policy.

Career Support
The award for best career support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education goes to Western Governors University. Mentors are available to assist alumni with writing their resumes and cover letters, developing interview skills, and searching for a career. Students and alumni also have access to free resume development software and national job banks. On College Prowler, students have given Western Governors an A rating for career support.

Financial Support
Western Governors University wins the award for best financial support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. The National Center for Education Statistics shows that 88% of full-time beginning undergraduate students receive financial aid through grants, scholarships, and student loans. The university’s financial services staff will work with each student to help them receive financial aid for tuition, fees, books, and any other educational expense.

Technology Support
Western Governors University wins the award for best technology support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. Their online learning environment contains all of the information a student needs to successfully earn their degree. They provide navigation tools to make learning more efficient, an online community for students to share ideas and support one another, and a tech support team that can help students resolve any technical problem they may be facing. Students have ranked tech support at Western Governors No. 16 in the nation on College Prowler.

Student Engagement
Western Governors University wins the award for best student engagement in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. The faculty members act as student mentors to keep students engaged and to guide them along while they progress through their courses. Western Governors has established an online community where students can connect and interact with one another and with mentors. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Western Governors No. 50 in the nation for student engagement among schools offering online bachelor’s degree programs.

Library and Research Support
The award for best library and research support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education goes to Western Governors University. Their virtual library is available to students 24 hours a day and contains more than 60,000 e-books, as well as articles, full-text journals, magazines, newspapers, and numerous databases. They also provide access to The University of Michigan libraries and offer a loan service where students can have hard copies of books delivered to their homes.

Learning Support
Western Governors University wins the award for best learning support in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. Students have access to streaming video, the university’s virtual library, online tutoring, and research assistance. Students can also download their mobile app to their smartphones and tablets, allowing them to access their classes and assignments from just about anywhere. There are student mentors and course mentors assigned to each student to provide assistance and support. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Western Governors No. 20 in the nation for student services and technology due to the support they offer their students.

Faculty Credentials
Western Governors University wins the award for best faculty credentials in a school offering an online bachelor’s program in mathematics education. They train all of their instructors and make sure they have the skills needed to teach and mentor students online. The school’s website shows that 95% of their faculty members have graduate degrees, and all are able to develop courses and resources to enhance the students’ learning.

Faculty Accessibility
Western Governors University wins the award for faculty accessibility in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. Western Governors takes a student-centered approach to education, so they make themselves readily available to their students. Faculty members also serve as student mentors and course mentors and work with each student from the day a student enrolls to the day they graduate.

Alumni Engagement
The award for best alumni engagement in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education goes to Western Governors University. They have developed an online community specifically for alumni to interact, share their experiences, expand their networks, and offer advice and support for one another. There are alumni mentors available to provide career support and advice, and alumni also have access to the university’s career assistance and resources.

New Online Student Orientation
Western Governors University wins the award for best new student orientation in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in mathematics education. An enrollment counselor will work with a student to determine the best option both academically and in terms of a career after graduation. All new students complete Education Without Boundaries, a program designed to familiarize students with the online learning environment at Western Governors, as well as the tools and resources available to them. Student mentors are assigned to each student to provide assistance and guidance, and the Student Success Office is available to provide support.

Explore a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics Education

Online mathematics education degrees are a great fit for students who want to become math teachers in middle schools and high schools. Students enrolling in mathematics education degree programs should not only have a knack for math themselves, but also the capacity to communicate mathematical concepts to others. Prospective students who wish to teach in public schools should make sure that the online mathematics education degree program they choose offers a curriculum that leads to teacher certification or licensure in the state in which they wish to teach. Students may have the option to specialize in mathematics education for grades 5-9 or grades 5-12, depending on the age group the student prefers to teach.

Most mathematics education degree programs can be completed in four years of full-time schooling, provided the degree path follows a traditional semester format. However, some online colleges offer programs in terms or modules that allow students to accelerate their program and complete it in less than four years. Program length can also be affected by the number of prior credits you transfer in from college course work completed at other institutions or in AP classes. These credits can be applied to your general education requirements and electives, potentially reducing the time it takes to graduate.

Class Curriculum

Students in a mathematics education degree program must show proficiency in key areas of math themselves if they intend to teach the subject, and therefore take courses that challenge their own mastery of mathematical concepts, such as linear and abstract algebra, calculus, mathematical statistics, trigonometry, and geometry. Students also complete general education requirements in areas like written composition, communication, the social and behavioral sciences, and the physical and biological sciences. Beyond this, students must complete teacher education course work, which often includes the following:

  • Mathematics Learning and Teaching. In this course, students learn the most relevant theories pertaining to mathematics instruction and effective methods of teaching mathematics. Students are introduced to national and state standards in mathematics education and learn how to tailor instruction to align with those standards.
  • Classroom Management. This course teaches students methods of engaging students in the learning process, motivating children to learn, and handling behavioral issues that detract from classroom instruction. Students will also learn effective classroom discipline methods, as well as behavior modification strategies.
  • Educational Psychology. In this course, students examine the ways students develop socially and cognitively and how children and adolescents learn and remember. Students also explore how both learning and the motivation to learn are shaped by social contexts in their homes, schools, and communities.

Students in a mathematics education program that leads to teacher certification must complete one semester of directed teaching at the high school or middle school level, often called student teaching. During directed teaching, students are supervised and given constructive feedback on how they can improve their teaching. Student teaching equips future math teachers with the skills they need to teach mathematical concepts to high school and middle school students and engage students in the learning process.

Building a Career

While K-12 teaching jobs have been hit hard by budget cuts in many states, math teachers may find better employment prospects than teachers in other subjects. Numerous schools report difficulty hiring and keeping qualified teachers in math and science, due in small part to teacher retirements and in large part to high rates of pre-retirement teacher turnover, according to a 2009 report by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. In fact, some school districts have even offered incentives such as signing bonuses, student loan forgiveness, and tuition reimbursement as a means of recruiting qualified science and math teachers for positions they are having difficulty filling, the report noted.

The median salary for high school teachers was $53,230 as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While overall employment growth for high school teachers is projected to be slow between 2010 and 2020, those who are qualified to teach math and science could see better job prospects, the BLS adds. In addition, the southern and western regions of the U.S. are projected to experience higher enrollment growth, and thus have a greater demand for new teachers. Finally, students can improve their employment prospects by seeking employment in urban and rural school districts, rather than suburban school districts, the BLS explains.

Job growth for middle school teachers is more positive than that of high school teachers, with average employment growth of 17% projected between 2010 and 2020, the BLS notes. Middle school teachers reported a median salary of $51,960. Remember, however, that even though math teachers represent an in-demand field, landing a job in the field is not guaranteed, as budget deficits in many school districts may prevent new job openings. Salaries can vary greatly based on your level of experience and education, where you live, your roles and responsibilities, and other factors.

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