What Is a Master of Education Degree?


If you’re searching for higher level education degrees, you may have seen the initials M.Ed. This is the Master of Education abbreviation. But what does M.Ed. stand for in a broader sense?

An M.Ed. is a flexible graduate-level program in education which offers a choice of specialty, concentration, and program length. Some M.Ed. programs can be completed in 12 months. Master of Education programs can focus on curriculum development, leadership, technology, adult and career education, and many other specialties. In general, M.Ed. programs provide students with the opportunity to study educational theory and pedagogy. They also serve as a stage for pursuing additional post-baccalaureate studies in education, including doctoral programs.

Who Should Consider a M.ED. Degree

If you want to pursue a career in education that involves curriculum design or higher level school administration, a Master’s in Education degree represents an ideal starting point. For many states in the US, a master’s degree is also a prerequisite for more specialized areas of education. For example, 36 states require a master’s degree for speech-language pathology teachers, along with additional qualifications for licensing and certification. 

Having an M.Ed. may also enhance your appeal to school districts as a classroom teacher. The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) reports that 88 percent of large school districts offer more pay for teachers with master’s degrees, including the largest districts in all 50 states.

The M.Ed. Curriculum

The curriculum in Master of Education varies between programs, schools, and specialties, but there are some common types of coursework that all candidates will be asked to complete. Most M.Ed. programs include courses in educational theory, legal considerations, diversity, equity and inclusiveness. They may often cover classroom management and best practices in education for the 21st century classroom. 

A M.Ed. focusing on instructional design and technology will include theories of classroom and online learning as well as courses in universal design and accessible online lessons for students with physical or learning disabilities. A Master of Education with an educational leadership focus, on the other hand, will include courses in human resources, leadership skills, and planning and evaluation.

One difference between M.Ed. programs and Master of Arts in Teaching (M.AT.) degrees is program flexibility and increased opportunity to study theories and educational research. M.AT. degrees are two-year graduate programs which usually include three semesters of coursework in teacher education with classroom observation and a final semester of observed student teaching.

M.Ed. Specializations

While some educators receive general Master of Education degrees, most people specialize in a subject area, educational level, organizational leadership or specialized focus, like ESL or special education. If your goal is to be a senior teacher supervising student teachers, you could benefit from an M.Ed. program. An M.Ed. degree can benefit aspiring school leaders and administrators, special education teachers, speech-language pathology teachers, and teachers interested in designing courses for other teachers. 

Adding to their versatility, online M.Ed. programs, in-person programs, and hybrid programs are all available. If you’re already teaching and would like to advance yourself in your career, an M.Ed. may help you achieve your goals.