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Advancing Your Teaching Career

Master's degree for teachers

If you are a teacher looking to advance your teaching degree, or if you are an aspiring teacher, a Master's in Teaching is a great way to further your education and advance your career beyond your bachelor's degree in education.

Whether you want to learn more about curriculum development, stay current with trends in educational technology, or even practice new teaching methods, an advanced degree program like a MA in Teaching will give you new knowledge and insights to keep you abreast of the latest changes and advances in the education field.

Read on for more information about how a master's degree for teachers can advance your career and put you on an accelerated path to meeting your career aspirations.

How a Master’s Degree Can Advance Your Teaching Career

Teachers understand the importance of lifelong learning, and not just for their students, but for their own professional development, too. Many teachers obtain their bachelor's degrees in education and then go on to teach in the classroom for many, many years. But advances in education are happening so rapidly these days, and teachers are constantly seeking opportunities to stay up-to-date on best practices. While teacher workshops and in-house professional development are great opportunities to continue your professional growth, those who want to advance their careers even further can benefit from an education master's degree.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of pursing a graduate degree in teaching:

  • Learn New Practical Skills: Effective educators know the importance of keeping up with advances in teaching, and a master's degree can do just that. For those who already have an undergraduate degree in education or a related field, you'll go beyond the basics and focus on learning development, instructional technology, pedagogical theory, and more.
  • Stay Up-to-Date on Education Policy: While not the entire focus on the program, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about education policy and contemporary issues in education. You'll learn how these issues affect students, teachers, and the community as a whole. 
  • Obtain an Initial Teaching Certificate: If your degree isn't in education and you don't already have teaching experience, the MA in Teaching program at Pepperdine University offers initial teaching credentials in either multi-subject or single subject teaching.
  • Pursue Advanced Career Opportunities: One of the biggest advantages to pursuing a graduate degree in the education field is the opportunity to move beyond the classroom and into more advanced roles. Whether you're looking for a leadership role in curriculum development or want to pursue a different avenue such as technology or instructional design, there are a wide range of options for career advancement.

Master's degree for teachers

Types of Master’s Degrees For Teachers

There are a few different types of master's degrees for teachers, and the program you choose will depend on your goals and career aspirations.

A Master of Arts in Teaching program is for those who either want to become PreK-12 teachers or those who are already teachers and want to further their knowledge of elementary and secondary education. The focus of a MAT program is mostly on education theory and technical aspects of education, such as instructional strategies for student success, classroom management, and field experience in classrooms for those just getting started in the field of teaching.

Other graduate programs, such as an MS in Leadership in Pre K to 12 Education, focus less on teaching strategies and more on building leadership skills for professionals who want to move into administrative roles in the field of education. 

Additionally, there are more specialized education degrees, such as a MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or a MS in Learning Design and Technology, for those who want more specific career development opportunities.

The graduate school program that's best for you will depend on your current degree and work experience, whether or not you already have an initial certification, and your overall career goals.

What You’ll Learn in a MA in Teaching Program

For those who choose a Master of Arts in Teaching, you can expect a comprehensive program that combines explorations of theory with practical application and offers a combination of classroom instruction as well as hands-on experience.

  • Educational Foundations: You'll study society's role in education and schools, focusing on socialization, diverse student populations, educational equity, and intercultural relations. You'll be introduced to a wide range of topics, including demographics, gender, exceptionalities, policy, and reform movements. You'll also have the change to recognize your own personal biases and values, fostering ethical leadership and a commitment to social justice in education.
  • Instructional Design Strategies: The coursework covers topics like major learning theories, learner preferences, student outcomes, and recognizing individual differences in students. You'll learn how to create optimal learning environments, drive instruction through learner assessments, and how to utilize effective planning and instructional strategies. You'll also learn classroom management techniques to foster positive learning environments.
  • Literacy Theory and Methods: You'll learn about using Common Core State Standards to enhance literacy instruction, emphasizing higher-order skills for diverse learners. It focuses on the evolving literacy demands and the need for educators to support students in becoming proficient readers and writers. You'll learn to help students develop critical literacy skills and the importance both learning to read and reading to learn.

Those are just a few of the important skills you'll walk away with after finishing this degree program. You'll also learn things like teaching English language learners and students with exceptional needs, as well as specialized instruction for multi-subject credentials or single-subject teaching credentials.

Obtaining Your Initial Teaching License With Your Graduate Degree

Pepperdine University's MA in Teaching program is designed for prospective teachers seeking an initial teaching license. The program meets the student teaching requirements for the state of California, with over 200 student teaching placements available. 

Who is a Good Candidate for a MA in Teaching Program?

Career Changers

This program is great for those looking to transition into the field of education. Maybe you have a degree in a specific subject, such as mathematics or history, and want to share your knowledge with the next generation. Or maybe you're transitioning from a completely different industry, such as business administration. Either way, you'll have the opportunity to build upon your current knowledge as you prepare for a new career in education.

Current Teachers Who Want to Further Their Professional Development

If you are a current educator and want to further your own learning and development, graduate degrees in education can set you up to become a better teacher by giving you the additional educational experience you crave as you advance in your career. Since the educational landscape is constantly changing, it's a great way to keep up with best practices and new techniques and technology.

Aspiring Leaders

Although the program isn't specifically tailored to education administrators (principals, deans, or district-level leaders), it can be a great opportunity for those who want education leadership roles within the realm of instruction. For example an English teacher or secondary education teacher who wants to move into a role of department head, or an elementary education teacher looking to move into a role of instructional coach or curriculum design. The program will give you the additional credentials and experience needed to take your career from the classroom level to having a higher level of influence within the instructional realm.

Master's degree for teachers

What to Do After You Earn Your Master’s Degree

After you finish your academic program, you may already be looking towards the next step in your professional life. Some people choose to start looking for a new career opportunity right awhile, while others may choose to advance their education even further by pursuing a doctoral degree.

Advance In Your Career

If you're ready to dive right into pursuing a new role, considering a master's degree for teachers can significantly enhance your qualifications. Whether you choose a role in your current school or district, or you decide to move to a new area entirely, the demand for leaders in education is high right now, so there will be plenty of opportunities for you to choose from.

As a degree holder from a highly-esteemed university with a 100% employment rate in the program, you'll stand out from other job candidates and will be well positioned as an expert and thought leader in your field.

Pursue a Doctoral Degree

If a doctoral degree is in your future, you'll have several opportunities to choose from once you complete your master's degree:

  • EdD in Learning Technologies: This program prepares doctoral students with the expertise to effectively leverage new learning technologies to facilitate learning and development in the workplace and school.
  • EdD in Organizational Leadership: The EDOL program is ideal for current professional leaders who want to expand their career and advance their academic and professional goals either in the education world or in the business landscape.
  • EdD in Educational Leadership Pre-K to 12: If an educational leadership role or administrative career is your ultimate goal, this program is for you. The program will prepare you to be a leader in early childhood education, elementary school education, or even at the high school level. Aspiring principals, deans, and leaders in other education administration roles will benefit from this particular doctoral program.
  • PhD in Global Leadership and Change: The Doctor of Philosophy in Global Leadership and Change is more for those who want to work in academia at the university level, or even those who are looking for global leadership positions in the non-profit world or government agencies. This degree can take you beyond the school setting and allow you to utilize your leadership skills in a variety of settings.

Additional Career Outcomes

Special Education Teacher

Graduates with an MA in Teaching who have a passion for teaching students with special needs, you'll be well-equipped for a role as a Special Education teacher. This role involves working with students who have a range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. Special education teachers adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects to students with mild to moderate disabilities. They also assess students' abilities, develop individualized education plans (IEPs), and collaborate with parents, teachers, and other professionals to ensure student success.

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional Coordinators, (sometimes also referred to as curriculum specialists) are responsible for overseeing school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess effectiveness of learning strategies. They may also provide training and workshops for teachers to enhance educational practices based on current research and technology.

School Principal

An MA in Teaching can lead to administrative roles such as a School Principal. Principals manage all school operations, including daily school activities, coordinating curriculums, overseeing teachers and other staff, and providing a safe and productive learning environment. The MAT program gives aspiring principals the added benefit of having teaching experience and a deep understanding of instruction, which will benefit them in many aspects of the school principal role.

School District Leader

Similarly, aspiring school district leaders can benefit from a deeper understanding of instructional theory and methods. Having classroom teaching experience can help bridge the gap between the district and the classroom, as leaders will have firsthand knowledge of how district-level policies affect actual classroom teaching and student learning outcomes.

Education Consultant

Education consultants have the unique opportunity to work in a variety of different settings. Whether you choose to take on an in-house role in a district or work independently and contract with multiple institutions, your strong grasp of educational theory combined with practical application sets graduates up as experts in education who can provide guidance to schools, educational organizations, and even policymakers.

Earn Your MA in Teaching at Pepperdine University

If you're ready to take the next step in your career, consider a MA in Teaching from Pepperdine University's School of Education and Psychology. The program benefits everyone from public school teachers to career changers and aspiring instructional leaders. Start preparing your letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and statement of purpose so you can submit your application for the next round of early and priority deadlines