The 2020 Guide to Online Master of Science in Teaching Degrees

What is a Master of Science in Teaching Degree?

A Master of Science in Teaching (sometimes referred to as an MST) degree is specially designed for prospective teachers seeking initial teacher certification or current teachers looking advance themselves within the classroom with a masters in teaching. A master of science in teaching program is open to graduates who have no prior learning in the education field and seeking a career change, or are currently educators and are seeking a master's degree in teaching. The easiest way to accomplish this, with so many potential students already holding full time careers, is through the use of online education.

Online master of science in teaching programs focus on blending learning theory with hands-on, field-based teaching experiences. Prominent themes might include:

Advancements in educational technology built online programs to be better suited than ever for 21st-century learning. Basic computer hardware features provide the ability to quickly and easily watch video, as well as “Web 2.0” structures that allow for discussions and exams – these are all basic technologies that most people have access to, and the best online m.s. in teaching degree programs put these technologies to good use.

Strong online master of science in teaching programs should have the following:

  • Live virtual classes
  • Learning management systems
  • Interactive course content
  • Technical support
  • Mobile access
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Online Master of Science in Teaching Concentration Areas

The following are concentration areas candidates may find while pursuing an M.S in teaching:

  • Early Childhood
  • Childhood Education (Grades 1-6)
  • Childhood Special Education (Grades 1-6)
  • Adolescent Education (Grades 7-12)
  • Adolescent Special Education (Grades 7-12)
  • Art Education (K-12)
    • Master of Science in Teaching degree candidates can earn specialized certification in teaching art courses for all ages, and may require extension coursework for special education certification. 30 college credits in the arts is an expected pre-requisite.
  • Art Education for Students with Disabilities (K-12)
  • Physical Science Education (6-12)
    • M.S. in Teaching degree candidates can also earn specialized certification in teaching science courses for adolescent students, and may require extension coursework for special education certification. 30 college credits in the science field of choice is an expected pre-requisite.
      • Biology
      • Chemistry
      • Earth Science
      • Physics
  • Mathematics, English, and Social Studies
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
    • A TESOL masters of science in teaching offers prospective teachers an opportunity to specialize in teaching english to non-native speakers and may require extension coursework in advanced ESL education techniques and methodologies.

Master of Science in Teaching Degree vs. Master of Arts in Teaching Degree

While a Master of Arts in Teaching is a more popular degree choice, a Master of Science in Teaching paves the way for newcomers to the education field, providing the coursework to earn a teacher certification while developing a prospective teacher’s knowledge of educational philosophies and pedagogy skills. An M.S in Teaching can be age group specific and/or subject specialized.

An MA in Teaching is a degree designed for both current and prospective K–12 teachers who are looking to either obtain their initial teaching license or who are looking for additional certification as a means of career advancement inside the classroom. Read more about earning an MAT degree.

Online Master of Science in Teaching Curriculum

The curriculum of an online MST is nearly identical to that of a traditional MST program pursued on campus. MST coursework focuses on grade level and subject area, including multiple subject certification for elementary education degrees and/or subject-specific certification (like the concentration areas listed above).

MST certification typically requires 30-36 credits until completion, with an option of taking additional credits to earn dual certification. Typically, MS in teaching curriculum follows a structure similar to the one laid out below:

  • Core Requirements
  • Concentration Coursework
  • Fieldwork is a prevalent portion of the MST curriculum, demanding approximately 3-5 full days per week, totalling 600 hours.

Fieldwork, as well, is especially critical to the curriculum, acting as a major focal point for learning outside the classroom.

Admission Requirements for an Online Master of Science in Teaching

As mentioned above, while working educators can pursue their Master of Science in Teaching degree, the program itself is designed to accommodate students who do not have any previous teaching experience. Therefore, both online and traditional MST programs do not require students to have completed prerequisite courses in education. Minimum admissions standards typically only include a bachelor’s degree or greater from an accredited institution of higher education.

  • Examination requirements include either the GRE or Millers Analogy Test (MAT).

Online or Traditional: Which Program is Right for You?

Online MST vs. Traditional MST Coursework

A key difference between traditional and online MST degree programs is the coursework experience and concentration options. Depending on the program you enroll in, your experience will vary, but the best programs shouldn’t differ drastically in terms of their coursework.

Much like the distinction between in-class assignments and homework in a traditional on-campus program, online programs have synchronous and asynchronous elements.

  • Synchronous elements require real-time interaction through tools like text chat, voice chat and video conferencing.
  • Asynchronous elements can be addressed at your leisure, like reading documents, viewing presentations, listening to audio files or watching videos.

E-mails, discussion boards, social networks, collaborative documents and e-portfolios are also asynchronous elements. Like homework in a regular classroom, these offline components support the online curriculum. You’ll be expected to have watched lectures and completed homework assignments prior to attending live class sessions so you’re ready to participate in discussions and other in-class activities.

MST Job Outlook and Salaries

While most states do not require educational professionals to hold an advanced degree, there are a number of benefits to earning your MST. Having an advanced degree, both inside and outside the classroom, provides you with greater career options and the opportunity to earn a higher salary.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016, common job titles and employment figures for MST-related occupations include:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2016, median annual salaries and employment growth through 2024 for MST-related occupations are:

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