Find the right education master's degree program for your goals.
You earned your bachelor’s degree in something other than education and started your career. But something in you wants to answer the call to teach. Now you’re looking for the best graduate school and teacher preparation program to reach your goal.
First, you'll need to enroll in a state-approved master’s degree program leading to initial teacher licensure from a regionally-accredited institution. But since you have lots of choices, you may be wondering how to pick the right one. Here are the questions we recommend you ask.
1. Does the graduate school have a strong reputation for preparing teachers?
In 2017, Radius Global Market Research surveyed 200 Massachusetts principals and other hiring decision-makers on the qualities they value most in new teachers. The majority indicated that the number one quality was that the teachers had graduated from a school with a “longstanding tradition of preparing experts in education.”
2. Which teacher preparation programs are offered at the school?
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issues teaching licenses for set grades and subjects. Each state-approved teacher preparation program leads to a specific license. Make sure the graduate schools you’re looking at offer a program that’ll help you become the kind of teacher you want to be. If not, ask if the school has a self-designed program based on your interests.
Getting Started as a TeacherYou think you might have what it takes to become a great teacher, but you’re not sure where to start. That’s where we come in. Check out our eBook on becoming a licensed teacher in Massachusetts
3. Who are the faculty teaching the courses?
Look for bios of faculty on the graduate school's website or in other materials. Read up on their experience, accomplishments, philosophy, or academic interests to determine if the school is a good fit.
4. Will I graduate prepared to work with diverse learners?
Today’s schools are increasingly diverse. Teachers must help all students reach their potential while creating spaces where everyone is valued. See if the school’s materials call out their commitment to diversity and inclusion, social justice, and working across cultures. Look for programs that provide courses in topics like teaching English language learners, adapting instruction to teach students of varied abilities, or responding to today’s diverse classrooms.
5. Will I need to take prerequisite courses? How many credits are in my selected program?
Some graduate programs require that you take prerequisite courses, especially if you didn’t major in education as an undergraduate student. The number of courses or credits you might need to take could vary, so compare what each school and program require. Knowing the total number of credits will help you map out a plan from your first semester to graduation and figure out the earliest you might begin your new career.
6. How much will my degree cost?
Consider tuition, which may be charged for each credit you take, and other fees. Dig into each school’s scholarships and financial aid options.
7. How flexible is the program?
The way the program is taught could affect the time to complete and its cost. There are many options out there—full-time or part-time programs on campus, online, or off campus at a satellite location. Some courses run on a 15-week semester, while others are delivered in shorter, accelerated terms. In a teacher residency program, you’d teach full time for one year while taking courses.