What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Educational Technology Program?

While the digital revolution has certainly altered modern society as a whole, the field of education has been rather slow to embrace it. Many schools across the country are underfunded and don’t always have the budgets for purchasing technology equipment for students to use in the classroom, and, according to a 2013 study from PBS, 68 percent of teachers “expressed a desire for more classroom technology.” Equipped with an online master’s in educational technology, you can help teachers integrate technology elements into the classroom to help students learn and help make teaching more productive and efficient.

Sometimes called instructional technology, the field of educational technology is the study of a wide variety of tools, platforms and learning management systems that are used to facilitate and enhance student learning at all academic levels, from kindergarten through postsecondary education. It’s a popular specialty area among students seeking a master’s in education. When choosing an online program, it’s important to consider options to make sure it’s right for you and your career goals.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Educational Technology

CONCENTRATION DESCRIPTION POSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
Distance Learning Apply distance learning theories to the design, delivery and management of distance learning (online) programs. Distance education coordinator, eLearning specialist director or manager at a college or university
Curriculum, Technology & Educational Reform Provides educators with a better understanding of technology as a whole and how to integrate it into the classroom or the workplace and prepares them to help other educators they work with to do the same. Technology specialist
K-12 Enables graduates to integrate technology into curricula, classroom instruction and assessment. Technology resource personnel, technology facilitators, education training specialists

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Educational Technology

In general, when enrolling in a master’s degree in educational technology program, you’ll be learning techniques and strategies for integrating technology in the classroom at all grade levels, and some concentrations result in you becoming a technology specialist, which means you would be helping teachers do this in their classrooms.

While individual classes are going to vary depending on the program you enroll in and your chosen concentration, there are some common courses you can expect to take.

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Introduction to Educational Technology General overview of industry standards, including the International Society for Technology in Education and the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers. In this course, you can expect to incorporate instructional technology as a tool for teaching and learning in school and nonschool settings.
Mobile Technologies in Education Explore mobile technologies, including tablets and smart watches, and how they’re used to help teach students in classroom settings and other informal environments.
Distance Teaching and Learning Examines theory and practice of various forms of distance education models, including synchronous and asynchronous. In this course, students typically learn how to apply theory, research and standards to distance learning design, development and evaluation.
Instructional Design Learn how to apply instructional design principles to instructional development. Topics may include foundations in learning research, learning situations and instructional models and innovations in software and hardware.
Philosophies of Education Study the educational issues that society faces and philosophical problems. It provides students with an understanding concerns regarding modern society and education as a whole.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Educational Technology?

The overall length of your program is going to vary by school and concentration area; however, the average program requires around 36 credits and two years of full-time study for completion. Part-time students can expect to complete their program in about three years, depending on their pace. Many programs also require internship work, which typically involves a certain number of hours of supervised instruction. Working professionals can enjoy the convenience of an online program, as many of them are self-paced, so you can take courses when you have time.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Educational Technology Prepares For

In most cases, technology specialists who may work in a school setting don’t necessarily need to have a teaching license, but this may vary by state, and many programs may result in a type of technology education license or certification. This depends on the school and the state where it’s located, however, so be sure to investigate your state or the state where you plan to work. One general certification most programs result in is a certified education technology leader.

CERTIFICATION DESCRIPTION
Certified Education Technology Leader This credential demonstrates the mastery of knowledge and skills necessary to successfully build and implement technology programs in modern K-12 classrooms. It prepares individuals for careers as chief technology officers (CTO), technology directors, chief information officers and directors of digital learning.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Educational Technology

When selecting a program for completing your online master’s in educational technology degree, it’s very important to select an accredited program. For a school to be considered accredited, it has to meet minimum standards of quality that are outlined by certain industry groups, institutions or government agencies. These standards often relate to the quality of the instruction and appropriate coursework offered. Accreditation is also important for employment purposes, as many schools and nonschool companies hire individuals who have completed accredited programs.

Online master’s degrees in educational technology can hold specialized accreditation through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization’s goal is to help advance the preparation of educators through accreditation that is evidence-based to assure quality and continuous improvement, which in turn help to strengthen student learning.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Educational Technology Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

While a bachelor’s degree can certainly help you gain entry-level positions in education, most positions related to classroom teaching, school administration and curriculum development heavily favor candidates with a master’s degree, and for some job positions in educational technology, a master’s degree is required for consideration. In general, unemployment rates are much lower for master’s degree holders working in education.

Expected Salary

In addition to enjoying better job prospects, students who earn a master’s in educational technology enjoy a higher-paying salary in their chosen careers compared to their peers who have earned a bachelor’s. Below are some median annual salaries for popular jobs associated with the master’s in educational technology degree.

Source: PayScale.com

Geographical location also plays a role in salary for technology teachers. The figures below provide the median annual salary for instructional coordinators by state.

Instructional Coordinators Wages by State
Figures in US Dollars per year

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Opportunities

Anyone earning a master’s in educational technology will be suitable to be a teacher, school administrator or instructional developer who has interests in bringing technology to the classroom for the purpose of helping students enhance their learning.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Instructional Coordinators Instructional coordinators develop and interpret curricula and learning standards at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools. They oversee school curricula and teaching standards, develop instructional materials, coordinate the implementation of it with teachers and principals and then oversee its effectiveness. Someone with a master’s in educational technology could be an instructional coordinator for technology. $63,750 per year 11%
Training and Development Managers Training and Development Managers oversee the organization’s workforce by planning, designing, conducting, and coordinating continuing education programs to enhance and improve the productivity, knowledge, and skills of the company’s employees. With an increase in employees working remotely, a master’s in educational technology would help foster modalities into classroom or on-the-job training, demonstrations, meetings, and conferences. $108,250 per year 10%
Training and Development Specialists Training and Development Specialists work under Training and Development Managers and are usually the ones that tasked with the responisbility of implementing, executing, monitoring, and evaluating the education progams within it’s organization. Specialists survey employees, consult managers and instructors, and often oversee the selection of assigning third party instructors or vendors for training. $60,360 per year 11%

Professional Organizations

Graduates from online master’s in educational technology programs benefit from obtaining memberships with professional organizations. These organizations grant access to academic journals and publications, host conferences and other networking seminars, and provide a wealth of professional development opportunities, often at discounted rates. Overall, these professional organizations provide advocacy services on behalf of individuals in the profession. Here are three leading organizations in the field of educational technology.

International Society for Technology in Education: This organization helps bridge the gap between educators and computing technology. For over 40 years, it has produced learning standards for teachers, administrators, coaches and computer science teachers. It holds an annual conference and offers a wide range of online courses and webinars.

State Educational Technology Directors Association: A nonprofit organization, SETDA provides resources for educators focused on five core areas: equity of access, digital content, online assessment, interoperability and digital learning. It also provides advocacy assistance for various educational technology policies, and members can enjoy professional development opportunities.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology: The AECT has 24 state and six international affiliates. Member benefits include exclusive invitations to conferences and professional networking events and access to an online library consisting of many publications. The AECT also offers scholarships, internships and reduced insurance rates.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Educational Technology

While online master’s degrees are often less expensive in general, many students will still require financial aid in order to help pay for individual courses. The first step for any student applying for financial aid for their online master’s degree is to fill out the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides you with information about grants, scholarships and other financial aid options available through the federal government to help you defray the cost of your education. Private grants and other scholarships are often available as well through individual programs and schools, so be sure to check with programs you’ve been accepted to or are considering applying to to find out if you qualify for any scholarships. Check out the resources below to help you get started.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Inspire Our Future Scholarship

Award: $2,500

Deadline: April

Eligibility: Any postgraduate or undergraduate student pursuing a degree in education with at least a 3.5 GPA.

TEACH Grant

Award: $4,000

Deadline: October

Eligibility: TEACH Grant recipients are eligible to receive up to $4000 annually to fund their pursuit of a master’s degree in education if they make a four-year commitment to teach at a low-income school upon program completion.