If you already have experience working in education – and most Master of Education students do – then you don’t want to start your graduate studies with the basics. Fortunately, some online master’s in education degree programs consider the information you already know and the skills you already have. This knowledge can help you make progress toward earning your degree. Looking for a school that will award you credit toward your degree based on your experience can be worthwhile, especially since you may even be able to graduate faster.
The Advantages of a Competency-Based Curriculum
Most students in a Master of Education program have some experience. Many already have a license as well as a number of years of teaching. One way to use that experience to earn your degree sooner is to look for a competency-based program. In a competency-based program, progress toward your degree is measured not by credits, but instead by your competence in required subject areas. If you already know the material covered in a course, you can take exams or complete projects that demonstrate your competency in the subject – and then move on. You won’t have to spend weeks or even months going over the information you already know.
You’ll find competency-based programs among the top online Master of Education degree programs in the United States. Western Governors University, for example, was the first university in the nation to embrace competency-based learning. The university offers the following competency-based education degree options:
- Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction
- Master of Education degrees in Instructional Design and Learning and Technology
- Master of Arts programs in English as a Second Language, Mathematics Education and Science education
Are Competency-Based Online Master of Education Programs Legitimate?
If you’re wondering whether a competency-based online Master of Education degree program is too good to be true, don’t worry. While it’s certainly true that a school that doesn’t require you to take any courses or exams may not be a legitimate institution, true competency-based schools are legitimate.
The United States Department of Education even recognizes competency-based learning systems – and praises them. The government entity noted that competency-based programs allow for more flexibility, “help to save both time and money” and “provide students with personalized learning opportunities.” In fact, the Department of Education even stated that competency-based learning can result in “better student engagement” and “better student outcomes.”
One way to make sure your competency-based program is legitimate is to check its accreditation. A high-quality Master of Education should be accredited by a specialized accreditation agency like the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the school as a whole should have regional accreditation.
For students who have past teaching experience and are eager to earn their degrees, a competency-based Master of Education degree program can help you make your dream a reality.