Online Master of Education Degree


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An online master’s in education degree provides educators with the expertise necessary to enhance student performance through leadership, curriculum development and class management.

This graduate degree is generally pursued by practicing educators who want to expand their expertise in a specific area, such as special education, or who plan to continue on to doctorate studies. The degree differs from an online Master of Arts in teaching, which is usually designed for those who want to become teachers but have no prior experience.

Some school systems require teachers to obtain a master’s degree to maintain licensure. Others give pay raises to teachers who receive a master’s degree. An online Master of Education degree is a convenient option for teachers as it can be completed entirely online in as little as 18 months. 

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Course Work

Potential specializations
Curriculum and instruction
Educational leadership and administration
Special education
Reading and language
School counseling
Adult education

In an online master’s in education degree, students choose among a variety of specializations, including reading and language, educational leadership and administration, adult education, curriculum and instruction, or school counseling. Course work varies based on specialization, but all students will study leadership, theory, instruction and goal setting.

The program generally culminates in a thesis, portfolio or research project.

Most online master’s in education degree programs require students to hold a valid teacher’s license and be a practicing teacher to enroll in the program.

Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Adult literacy/GED diploma teacher $40,000
Elementary school teacher $41,000
High school teacher $45,000
School counselor $46,000
Instructional coordinator $50,000
Reading specialist $51,000
Elementary school principal $77,000
Middle school principal $84,000
High school principal $88,000


In addition to teaching in an elementary, middle or high school setting, educators with a master’s in education can find work as a reading specialist, instructional coordinator, principal, school counselor or other occupation.

Professional organizations such as the Association of American Educators and the American School Counselor Association offer membership benefits such as liability insurance, legal protection and professional development resources.

Median salaries range from about $40,000 for an adult literacy/GED diploma teacher to about $88,000 for a high school principal, according to PayScale, an online salary database.

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