Some of the top distance learning master’s in education programs in the country offer a wide array of academic concentration options. Here are five of the best concentrations for online master’s in education students to pursue.

1. Special Education

Half of the top 10 affordable online master’s in education programs offer a special education concentration. Special education teachers have a higher median annual salary than their counterparts in general education, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows.

Some states require aspiring special education teachers to earn a master’s degree in order to attain a license or certification. A graduate degree can also help you earn more money.

Students in Master’s of Education in Special Education programs take coursework in special education foundations, mild to moderate disabilities, typical and atypical language development, instructional planning and classroom management, ethical standards in special education, learning environments for students with disabilities and methods of teaching specific subject areas like mathematics and language arts for students with disabilities.

 2. Science Education

With STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers among the fastest-growing occupations, schools at the elementary through high school level across the nation are seeking qualified science and math teachers.

Master of Education in Science Education programs are often intended to help candidates make a career change. Prerequisites include college-level science and math courses, but not education courses. Students in these programs prepare to earn their teaching licenses, complete student teaching experiences and study teaching fundamentals and instructional planning.

 3. Leadership and Administration

For many experienced teachers, a master’s degree in educational leadership or administration is the pathway to advancement. School principals earn a median salary of $90,410, the BLS reported, which means the degree can seriously improve your earning potential. Common subject areas in educational leadership degree programs include budget management, goal setting and achievement, managing staff members and representing the school in interactions with parents and the community.

4. Counseling

In many states, a master’s degree is required to attain a school counseling license. Master’s in education degree programs that include a concentration in school counseling often include studies in individual and group counseling, data-driven school counseling program development, fostering academic development and collaborating with teachers, parents and community organizations to improve students’ success.

5. Secondary Education

For aspiring teachers who aren’t attached to the idea of working with young children, secondary education can be a rewarding option to pursue. High school teachers have a higher median annual salary than elementary school teachers, the BLS illustrated. These students are also more independent and more capable of handling advanced subject matter.

Some states require high school teachers to earn a master’s degree after attaining certification. Coursework typically includes historical perspectives in education, adolescent psychology, writing and literacy across the curriculum and the theory and practical applications of teaching secondary school, including specific subjects at the middle school and high school levels.

Also see:

Top 10 Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Education