What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Science Education?
Online master’s programs in science education prepare you to become a skilled teaching professional by building upon and expanding your understanding of educational theory and research. With this master’s degree, you can work as a math, science, engineering and technology (STEM) educator. Upon graduation, you should have a deeper understanding of evidence-based instruction and a range of science-related subject areas, including biology, environmental science, physics and chemistry.
Online master’s degree programs are typically more convenient than taking traditional on-campus classes. Distance learning programs are usually designed with busy working professionals in mind; you can often take classes at your own pace while meeting certain milestones along the way.
When you’re browsing for online master’s degree programs in science education, it’s important to find one that coincides with your overall career goals.
Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Science Education
Master’s degrees in science education prepare you to teach students how to engage in scientific problem solving exercises. While individual classes will vary from school to school and program to program, some common courses most programs feature cover general topics in science education that can often be applied to most grade levels.
|Global Themes of Science||Examine evolution, energy and other systems and interactions and apply them to concepts in biological, earth and physical sciences. This is a typical course for elementary school teachers.|
|Secondary School Science||Develop knowledge and techniques for delivering science instruction to high school students. This is a necessary core course for becoming a high school science teacher.|
|Advanced Natural Science||Explore topics related to earth science, and students usually engage in field projects while learning effective science teaching strategies for K-12 students.|
|Curriculum Design||Students learn to create curriculum and lessons that reflect local and national standards for science education. This course also typically covers how to make transitions between grade levels smoother.|
|Student Assessment||Covers how to determine objectives, the tools needed to perform effective assessments and the difference between informal and formal methods of assessing.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Science Education?
The total length of time it takes to complete your master’s in science education degree depends on multiple factors, including the specific program you choose, the school and the pace at which you complete milestones, including how many credits you take per semester. In general, most students finish within one to two years. Full-time students generally finish faster, while part-time students take longer to graduate.
Another factor that influences pacing is the program structure. Online master’s programs that are run as cohorts typically have the same small group of students taking classes together and moving through the program in a synchronized way. Other master’s programs in curriculum and instruction may have you complete classes at your own pace, so you can take more or fewer credits during a semester than you would as a cohort.
Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Science Education Prepares For
Teacher certifications and license requirements vary widely by state, so be sure to check with the board of education in the state you plan to teach in to find out what its requirements are. Many master’s in science education programs have licensure built into the program, so you receive both the license and the degree upon graduation. However, this varies by program, so be sure to investigate specifics before deciding to enroll.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Science Education
Looking for master’s degree programs in science education at accredited institutions is important, both for the legitimacy of your degree and for employment purposes. Many schools require that job applicants graduate from an accredited master’s program.
You can search for accredited institutions by school name or program by visiting the Council for Higher Education Accreditation‘s directory. For master’s programs in science education, you should also look for schools accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Science Education Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
While a bachelor’s degree can certainly help you gain entry-level positions in science education, such as an assistant or after-school instructor, most science classroom teaching positions require a master’s degree. With a master’s in science education, you are qualified for a wealth of job opportunities and also can benefit from a boost in salary.
Salaries for those with a master’s in science education degree vary widely according to position type. Below are some median annual salaries for common professions with this degree.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
In addition to workplace, geographical location also makes a difference when it comes to salary, and where you choose to teach can make a difference in your paycheck. Below are the top paying states for elementary, middle, and high school teachers.
Graduates of master’s programs in science education are qualified for many careers in the sciences and in public and private schools.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Elementary School Teacher||Although most states require a general elementary education degree, a master’s in science education that’s obtained by an already licensed teacher can help enhance their science instruction for their students at the elementary level to prepare them for future schooling and more advanced science classes.||$56,900 per year||7%|
|High School Teacher||High school science teachers work in either public or private schools and typically teach specific science subjects, such as life science, chemistry, biology or physics. They may have additional certifications or degrees in addition to their master’s in science education.||$59,170 per year||8%|
|Instructional Coordinators||These education professionals usually work at a school-wide or district-wide level and oversee curricula and standards. They often are responsible for developing instructional material, coordinating its implementation with teachers and principals and administering assessments to determine its effectiveness in the classroom. Those with a master’s degree in science education could potentially become science instructional coordinators.||$63,750 per year||11%|
Professional organizations are important for many reasons for science education professionals — they often provide support for science teachers in the classroom through lesson plans, webinars and other professional development resources. Many also hold annual conferences, which provide fun networking opportunities — so you can interact with and trade ideas with other science teachers from around the country and learn from their experiences.
National Science Teachers Association: The National Science Teachers Association provides resources for science teachers at all grade levels — elementary, middle school, high school and college. Members have access to multiple idea-packed journals for teachers at each grade level that focus on providing ideas and support for science classroom teachers and new ways to challenge their students. They also have a wealth of free online resources and host conferences and workshops each year across the country.
American Association of Physics Teachers: The AAPT is a “professional physics science society that’s dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in physical science education.” It hosts winter and summer national meetings, where physics teachers can get together and participate in workshops, trade ideas, and form tighter networks nationally and locally.
National Association of Biology Teachers: The NABT views itself as a leader in life science education. It supports biology teachers from around the world and helps them grow professionally. Members enjoy access to professional development opportunities, teaching resources and a subscription to The American Biology Teacher magazine.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Science Education
While obtaining an online master’s degree is often less expensive than participating in traditional on-campus instruction, students may still need financial aid to help them pay for tuition.
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a good first step to obtain information about grants, scholarships and loans available to you through the federal government.
Also investigate whether the program you’re most interested in has financial aid packages you can apply for. Nonprofit organizations and companies sometimes offer their own scholarships or grants.
Eligibility: In exchange for a four-year commitment to teach at a low-income school, the TEACH (Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education) grant provides up to $4000 annually to recipients who are enrolled in graduate education programs.
Eligibility: Open to experienced teachers continuing their education or aspiring teachers just beginning the process. Must have a 3.5 GPA.
Eligibility: For graduate students who plan to teach in a STEM field upon graduation at a U.S. school in grades K-12.