Concentrations in M.Ed. Programs
- Educational Leadership
- Early Childhood Education
- Secondary Education
- Special Education
- Bilingual Education
Master’s programs in education offer multiple M.Ed. specialties to respond to the needs of a diverse student body and a wide range of teacher career paths. Unlike the M.A. degree, which is a pure research degree, the M.Ed. emphasizes learning to apply the latest research on education to practice, whether classroom teaching, administration, or developing education policy. The various concentrations focus on the different roles educators might fill and different types of students with which they interact. Some of these specialties include:
1. Educational Leadership
Moving into administrative or policy positions can provide a significant salary increase for many teachers as well as opening up an opportunity to apply one’s expertise in classroom teaching to more global issues that affect a wider range of students and colleagues. Although many of the planning and management skills one has as a teacher prepare one for administrative roles, studies in leadership enable one to add other skills such as data analytics, financial management, assessment, community relations, and human resource management.
2. Early Childhood Education
Degrees in early childhood education are designed for teachers interested in working with kindergarten, nursery school, or preschool children. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is a specialty with a relatively high projected job growth rate of ten percent over the next decade. An M.Ed. in this field can prepare teachers to work in schools or other childcare settings.
3. Secondary Education
Teachers can also specialize in secondary education in an M.Ed.degree. As well as offering widely applicable courses in such areas as classroom management, assessment, curriculum planning, teaching methods, and adolescent development and psychology, many programs offer coursework in more specialized areas such as working with students who are not native speakers of English at the secondary level and subject-area specific courses, such as teaching writing or history or laboratory science courses.
4. Special Education
With a wide variety of special needs students both mainstreamed into the general student population or in special education programs, an M.Ed. with this concentration is useful both for teachers who wish to focus on special education and for those who want to be able to work effectively with special needs students within a general classroom setting.
5. Bilingual Education
According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 18 percent of the United States population is Hispanic. Both Latino/a and Asian-American populations are growing at an annual rate of 2 or 3 percent. This means that bilingual education and English as a second language are increasingly important elements of education. An M.Ed. in this area prepares teachers to address the needs of bilingual or ESL students in the classroom and also to develop curriculum and policies to address this population more effectively.
Conclusion: General versus Specialized Degrees
As a student, one can choose among various different M.Ed. specialties, choose a general education program or work with an advisor to create a customized program. As M.Ed. programs focus on advanced professional development for working professional educators, they frequently offer highly individualized programs tailored to students’ particular needs, interests, and backgrounds.