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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Teaching

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Teaching

Career Support

The University of Southern California’s (USC) Career Services team assists students with everything from resume and cover letter reviews to placement assistance after graduation. Students will also have access to networking events, job listings, web-based seminars, and other career-related advice.

Technology Support

Colorado State University’s (CSU) online programs, known as CSU-Global, provide the best technology support services. CSU-Global offers 24/7 technical support, as well as an extensive knowledge bases and FAQs. Students can contact tech support by phone or real-time chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Student Engagement

The University of Southern California (USC) wins the award for student engagement. MAT@USC students describe how the school cultivates a sense of community, even among its online students. Students use 2SC, an advanced web-based technology, allowing MAT@USC students to engage with their peers through social networking platforms and face-to-face interactive technology. A mobile app allows students to check discussion boards, view lectures, and stay connected to the Trojan community from their iPhone, iPad, or Android phone.

Library and Research Support

The University of Southern California (USC) provides the most comprehensive library and research services to students. USC librarians are available by email and phone, and students can even chat online with librarians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Aside from reference librarians, subject specialists are also available to assist students with research-related issues. Students can access databases and online journals, and Interlibrary Loan (ILLIAD) allows students to obtain resources not available online by email or home delivery.

Learning Support

The Master of Arts in Teaching program at the University of Southern California (USC) provides the best learning support services. Students enrolled in the Rossier School of Education’s online programs receive guidance from academic advisors who assist in course selection and offer live tutoring in key subject areas. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks Rossier Online No. 2 in the nation among online graduate education programs in this category.

Faculty Credentials

The University of Southern California’s (USC) Master of Arts in Teaching program houses a renowned faculty and wins the award in this category. On average, USC’s online instructors have two years of online teaching experience. Instructors are required to receive formal training in online instruction, which is financed by the school. USC’s Rossier School of Education ranked No. 17 for faculty credentials among all online graduate education programs in U.S. News & World Report.

Faculty Accessibility

Colorado State University (CSU) offers a Master of Science in Teaching and Learning program online that wins the award for faculty accessibility. According to U.S. News & World Report, instructors respond to students’ queries within 48 hours, and instructors hold office hours on a weekly basis, averaging 16 hours per week.

Alumni Engagement

The University of Southern California (USC) offers the best support services to alumni. MAT@USC students become part of the Trojan Family. They can continue to access career services resources and use 2SC, an interactive web-based platform, to stay in touch with former classmates and professors. Students retain access to previous course work and can maintain an online portfolio of their work.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Teaching

Online master’s degree programs in teaching are designed to equip graduates with the theoretical, analytical, and practical instruction skills they need to be effective leaders in the classroom. Some graduates may even move up to administrative positions in education. Typically, teaching students will choose an area of concentration, such as elementary education, English, mathematics, science, or social studies, to prepare them to instruct students in that subject. Most positions will be with public or private schools, but curriculum development and child care companies may also employ teaching majors.

Students enrolled in an online master’s degree program can adjust the number of classes they take each term as fits with their daily lives. Given the fact that students can take classes on a full or part-time basis, the typical time to completion can range from one to three years. Other factors, such as applicable transfer credits brought in and whether or not the student takes any breaks from the program, can all affect the time it takes to earn the degree.

Class Curriculum

Teaching students should expect a combination of lecture, seminar, research, and practicum courses. Core curricula are likely to include topics such as applying theories of learning to classroom practice, technology and new media in the classroom, pedagogy, and human differences. Some examples of courses that may be included in this type of program are:

  • Multimedia Literacy. This course examines the convergence of media and communication studies with education and education policy. Special focus will be on the development and evaluation of multimedia literacy.
  • Pedagogy. Students will learn about the flexible application of learning theories in problem-solving exercises. This will include developing subject matter expertise; creating, analyzing, and modifying curriculum; assessing outcomes; and addressing problems of practice.
  • Social Context of High Needs Schools. This course will prepare graduate students to critically analyze and adjust their teaching based on school context and student outcomes. Focus is on the importance of teachers’ actions on their students’ ability to learn.

Typical course work may include reading assignments, situational exercises, research papers and projects, presentations, and curriculum development exercises. Students should also be prepared to commit a significant number of hours to field-work and student teaching requirements. Depending on the specific program, teacher certification may or may not be incorporated into the curriculum. If not, teachers will need to meet all certification requirements in their state before they can secure a permanent teaching position.

Building a Career

Graduates who earn a master’s degree in teaching are prepared with the necessary analytical, problem-solving, and practical instructional skills to pursue careers as teachers, curriculum developers, or school administrators. Please note that all teachers must meet their state’s certification requirements to be eligible to work in public school classrooms. This may or may not be included in the degree program itself.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for kindergarten and elementary school teachers is expected to increase by 17% from 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the 14% growth expected for jobs overall. In 2010, the median annual wage for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was $51,380. High school teachers earned a median annual wage of $53,230 that same year, but demand for teachers at this level is only expected to increase by 7% over the projection period, the BLS reported. Keep in mind, though, that actual starting salaries and job openings can vary based on location, work experience, educational background, the specific employer, and the general economic climate.

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