Today, the educational setting is not limited to the four walls of a school building; instead, it spreads out into the home, the neighborhood, and even the entire world. Information is not contained mainly in books but is widely accessible in bits and bytes. The field of education is continuously evolving, with new standards being set regularly. Teachers are reinventing their roles to serve schools and students better.
In our fast-paced society, obtaining a master's degree in curriculum and instruction is one way teachers can keep abreast with emerging teaching methods. With this degree, you'll be able to advance your teaching career and still make a huge impact, both inside and outside of the classroom. Here are some reasons why you might want to get this degree.
1. You can complete this degree more quickly.
A typical master's program is completed in two years of full-time study, spread over four semesters. This implies you'll take three to four years or longer to earn your master's degree if you're working and can't take a full-time course every semester.
For graduate programs, classes usually last between 6 and 8 weeks per semester, so you could finish your degree up to twice as fast as you would in a traditional on-campus program. Thanks to online accelerated study programs, students can finish their graduation requirements in as few as 12 months. This is good news for those who had avoided pursuing a master's degree all this time because they wouldn't be able to pay the rent if they left the workforce for full-time graduate education.
As accelerated semesters best suit ambitious, hardworking adults driven to fast-track their degrees, the prerequisites for accelerated degree programs are tougher than for regular programs. For instance, the accelerated FGDCU elementary education program for a master's in curriculum and instruction requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 at the undergraduate level to apply.
2. You'll receive breadth and depth of learning within and across disciplines.
The master's in curriculum and instruction, also called a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (MEd) or an MS in Curriculum and Instruction, is a professional development option for teachers and aspiring education administrators who are passionate about:
- Curriculum evaluation and instructional design
- Student and institutional assessment, evaluation, and reporting
- Best pedagogical practices for improved learning outcomes
- Differentiated instruction strategies for effective lesson plans and teaching materials
- Education laws & policies and their implementation
- Utilization of educational technology
As the program covers a lot of ground in curriculum and instruction, a master's degree will help you gain insights into new approaches that best engage, inspire, and sustain students' love for learning.
3. You'll qualify for the highest-paying jobs in education.
Perhaps you became a teacher to join the ranks of Jaime Escalante, Anne Sullivan, and several others, whose efforts in the classroom inspired their students to pursue higher goals, think differently, and imagine new futures. Perhaps you didn't go into education to become rich. But the truth is, with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, classroom teachers can expect to receive a reasonable salary premium.
Imagine how much a master's degree in curriculum and instruction can improve your lifelong earning potential! Even if you want to quit teaching and become a curriculum specialist or an instructional coordinator — develop instructional material, oversee school curricula, and assess their effectiveness — your degree will deliver a higher payoff than you'd have imagined. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the median annual wage for instructional coordinators was $63,740 in May 2021, which is higher than that computed for high school teachers ($61,820). The pay gap is even wider for teachers who use their master's degrees in curriculum and instruction to become learning leaders and explore administrative roles. The BLS reports that elementary, middle, and high school principals take home an average of $98,490 per year.
4. You'll be ready for new challenges in education.
The field of education is constantly changing because of how quickly new technologies are being made and how often new policies, standards, and best practices are being implemented. Schools are under more pressure than ever to design curricula that meet academic standards and prepare students for high-end tech careers.
A master's in curriculum and instruction can give you the skills and knowledge you need to keep up with these changes, whether you want to stay in the classroom or work in administrative or instructional design roles.
You'll get practical experience in the following:
- Analyzing teacher feedback and student data to design a student-centered curriculum
- Assessing existing curricula, identifying flaws, and fixing them
- Making sure that new or existing curricula are in line with the latest education theory
- Adjusting courses and teaching materials to ensure they meet new academic standards
- Modifying current curricula for special education or gifted programs
In addition, you will develop the communication skills necessary to effectively engage and foster long-lasting relationships with various groups, including parents, community investors, and school administration. The master's program will also help teachers build their philosophy of education to better understand their own teaching ethos and the methods they find most effective for imparting new knowledge to their pupils.
Educational research is a big part of many curriculum and instruction programs. This lets the student learn more about a topic that interests them and teaches them how to find good and trustworthy sources when they need answers about other educational issues in their daily teaching routines. This is a valuable skill that will help you become a better teacher.
5. You can be a primary agent of change for improved classroom instruction and student learning.
Outstanding teachers are as passionate about acquiring a well-rounded understanding of proven instructional strategies as they are about helping all children learn effectively.
A person with a master's degree in curriculum and instruction is qualified to design curricula that encompass a wide range of disciplines and learning styles. Thus, if you pursue a career in school administration or curriculum design, you will still be able to improve learning outcomes for students falling behind academically.
If, on the other hand, you decide to resume your post as classroom head, the degree will equip you with dozens of tried-and-tested best teaching practices, data-driven assessment skills, and student engagement strategies to create an engaging classroom.
Before the pandemic, teachers across the country needed help creating and delivering relevant and carefully-structured lessons. Now they have to deal with even bigger problems, like mental health challenges, higher rates of student violence and misbehavior, and lost instructional time, many of which are out of their control. Teachers who want to make a difference in how their students learn in the current education system can benefit immensely from a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.