Congratulations! You’re considering going back to school to get your online M.Ed. (Master of Education) or your online MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching). Whether you’ve been out of school for one year or 20, there is no better time than now to be going back and continuing your education.
For most teachers, a master’s degree means a lot of different things. Among many other reasons, you’re able to start teaching at the college level if you wish, you can get a more in-depth understanding of a specific area, and there is generally a pay raise involved. Clearly, there are a lot of good reasons to go back to school and get your masters degree, but how do you choose a program? It’s not as scary as it sounds, and these 4 questions will help you to choose the right online MAT or M.Ed. program for you.
1. Is the program reputable?
This is by far the most important component of choosing an online MAT or M.Ed. program. With so many different options when it comes to online education, making sure that you’re in a program that is well respected is an absolute must.
In order to determine credibility, the first place you should look is at the accreditation of the program. If the accrediting body is listed by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education, you can consider it a legitimate program. If not, you probably want to consider other options.
For more on college accreditation, take a look at our complete guide.
2. Will you be able to achieve your long-term goals?
Getting a master’s degree in education will allow you to dig deeper into the topics that you studied during your undergraduate work. For many educators, that means digging deeper into a particular area of study. This could be anything from reading methods to science instruction.
When you’re doing your research, make sure that the program will allow you to focus on the areas that you’re most interested in and achieve the goals you set for yourself. If possible, talk to current students in the program to see how they’re working to achieve their personal goals. Their experiences will give you valuable insight into the program and what to expect.
3. How much time will you need?
Any master’s program will take a significant amount of time. There is a vast amount of reading and writing as well as participating in class discussions and projects. Take an in-depth look at the requirements for the program and, if possible, talk to the professors to see how much time they expect their students to spend working on their classes.
Also, look into the flexibility of scheduling your classes. If you can knock out a solid amount of work during the summer, when you’re not in the classroom, that could be a serious plus for the program you’re considering!
4. How much will it cost?
It’s no secret that being a teacher doesn’t always equate to a high salary. Take a hard look at the cost of the program and how you’ll be able to pay for it. There are grants available, but a large portion may need to come from graduate student loans. If you’re choosing an online program with a campus near you, you may be able to log some hours as a research assistant or TA to pay for a portion of your classes.
Remember, there is generally a pay bump involved with higher education, so consider your ROI when making this decision.