With hundreds of different choices when it comes to choosing a Masters of Education online programs, it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many questions to answer: What will you specialize in? How do you know that the program is legit? Are you getting your money’s worth? Where do you even begin?!
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Not only will we help you to ask the right questions when choosing your program, but we’ll also help you to survive your online classes. But first, take a look at these simple tips for choosing your program and knowing what to avoid.
1. All Important: Accreditation
When looking into ANY educational program, it is incredibly important to look into the accreditation claims of the institution. This is the best way to gauge how reputable a program may be. In a field like education, where licensure is a requirement as well as meeting the standards of your district, state, and the country, the reputation of your program can literally be the difference between having a job and not being able to get one after graduation.
The good news is that finding out everything you need to know about a school’s accreditation is fairly easy–as long as you know what to look for.
First, you’ll want to find the accreditation claims of the program. This information should be prominently displayed in a relevant section on the school’s website. If it’s not, don’t worry just yet, you can email someone at the school to ask for information.
Once you know what accreditation claims this particular program is making, then you’ll want to evaluate those claims–and the agency that accredited them.
Because accrediting bodies are private agencies, there is nothing stopping Joe Schmoe from deciding that they are qualified to accredit colleges and universities.
In order to combat this, look up the accrediting body of the programs you’re looking at on either the US Department of Education’s website or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website. If the accrediting body of the program is recognized by either of these agencies, you can rest easy in the program’s legitimacy.
If not, RUN.
(For a more in-depth look at how accreditation works, take a look at our comprehensive guide!)
2. Double Check The Specializations Offered
When completing an M.Ed. Degree, you will be choosing an area of the education world to specialize in. It sounds common sense, but make sure that the program you are looking at offers your area of specialization and has a good reputation for that specialization. There is no use in completing your degree if you can’t get what you want out of it.
3. Hands-On Experience
In the world of education, there is nothing more important than getting experience in the field. Depending on what you decide to specialize in, your field experience may be in the classroom, shadowing a current administrator, or working at an internship or co-op with a government agency. But no matter what you will be doing, make sure that your program requires you to get your hands dirty.
4. Consider The Support Offered
As I’m sure you remember from your years as an undergraduate student, having the right amount of support can be the difference between making the Dean’s List and barely scraping by with a passing grade. The same is true for graduate school.
How available are the professors? Will you be able to expect a prompt response to emails? Do you ever have the chance to video chat with your professors and classmates? Is there an easy way to get help when you need it?
Just because the program is online doesn’t mean that you should be forced to go it alone.
5. Online Education Isn’t Always Cheap
It’s true that getting your degree online can significantly decrease your cost of tuition as well as the cost of travel and room/board fees that you may need based on the location of your program. But, that doesn’t mean that it is cheap. Look into the costs of the program before enrolling and do a little bit of cost-benefit analysis.
For more information on getting your M.Ed. take a look at some of our other articles here.