How to Choose a Masters in K12 Education

A master’s degree in K-12 education will prepare you to become a highly effective K-12 teacher. Your education will prepare you with the teaching and communication skills to educate students from all backgrounds in elementary school, junior high and high school. Many school districts strongly encourage teachers to obtain their Master’s degree in K-12 education within a few years of entering the school system.

K-12 Education Job Description

A teacher with a master’s degree in K-12 education is going to need to do much more than just give lectures and grade homework. You will need to deal with class discipline, supervise your students at lunch and recess, record their grades, develop many lesson plans, meet with parents, and take continuing education courses.

You will need to teach your students exactly what they need to pass state achievement examinations. Your raises and even your employment could depend on the performance of your students on state tests; school funding can be cut if it fails to meet minimum standards, and teachers are sometimes let go because of this.

Master’s in K-12 Education Requirements

What you will need to be admitted to a master’s program for a degree in K-12 education depends on the institution. You will probably be eligible for this degree with a bachelor’s degree in the arts and sciences, elementary education or secondary education.

Generally, you will need to submit a completed application, a college transcript that shows you earned your bachelor’s in education with at least a 2.5 GPA (varies). The college will need to be from an accredited college or university. You also will need to submit proof that you have an active teacher’s certificate that was issued at least in the last two years. Some programs also will require a background check.

The coursework requirements of your master’s degree will vary by university. However, we can generally say that you will need to take coursework in these areas:

  • Foundations of education
  • Educational psychology
  • Research methods for educators
  • Elementary mathematics
  • Teaching special students with learning disabilities
  • Trends and Legal Issues in education
  • Reading and comprehension
  • Advanced instructional methods
  • Classroom management

Career and Salary Outlook for Educators with Master’s in K-12 Education

Your salary will depend greatly on where you are teaching. Keep in mind that some K-12 teachers with master’s degrees are in higher demand than others. Generally, there are more opportunities today for teachers with expertise is mathematics, science and bilingual ed.

Here are some typical starting salaries for teachers with a master’s in K-12 education:

  • New York City: $48,000
  • Los Angeles: $55,000
  • Atlanta: $47,000
  • Chicago: $46,000
  • Houston: $43,000

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the median annual salary for all K-12 teachers in the US is $43,000-$48,000.

You will find that the states with the highest demand for K-12 teachers are NV, AZ, TX and GA. States in the Midwest are holding steady as far as demand, and demand is generally on the decline in the Northeast.  However, the Bureau has indicated that there is major demand for experienced teachers in urban and rural areas that are ‘less desirable.’

K-12 Education Scholarships

  • American Federation of Teachers Robert G. Porter Scholars Program -This program offers four 4-year, $8,000 post-secondary scholarships to students who are dependents of AFT members, as well as 10 one-time $1,000 grants to AFT members to assist with their continuing education.
  • ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award – Nominees for the ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Award should be preK-20 education professionals, 40 years of age or younger, and demonstrate exemplary commitment and exceptional contribution to the profession. The winner will receive a check for $10,000, be profiled in Educational Leadership Magazine, and be honored during a general session at the ASCD Annual Conference.

K-12 Education Link Resources