10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Science Education
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Professionals interested in a Master's in Science Education are aware that there is a growing need for graduate educators to help teach the next generation of scientists and leaders. For many employers, it is a requirement; for others, it's a preference. But all teachers know that this graduate degree is necessary for students in K-12 schools.
But with many teachers working full-time, a traditional pathway to this degree isn't available. They need something that is more flexible, like an online degree. This pathway enables a professional to learn on their own time and still take care of their work responsibilities. This ranking discusses ten of the best and most affordable options for teachers in this field.
All research done to compile this ranking was done by utilizing the National Center for Education Statistics, a government website, and its College Navigator tool. Thirty schools were chosen for the initial pool. From those schools, 10 were selected for their affordable in-state graduate tuition rates, which are listed below in descending order.
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These top, accredited schools offer online Master’s in Science Education degree programs. Figuring out where to apply? Consider one of these programs below.
Affordable Online Master's Degree in Science Education
Are There Any Requirements for an Online Master's Degree in Science Education?
The Master's in Science Education degree has requirements that vary by state and by school. Therefore, it is difficult to pinpoint a general set of requirements for professionals, especially as many schools are changing the requirements for graduate degrees in education.
However, most schools do require an accredited undergraduate degree in the field of education, with preference offered to students who have a degree in science education. Many schools also require the submission of transcripts, a personal statement, and GRE or MAT scores. In some cases, both the GRE and MAT are required for professionals who have scores that are over five years old.
Many schools also require not only a teaching certification but proof of at least one year's worth of work experience teaching at a K-12 school. This is mandatory because it enables the school to forgo practicums and internships; professionals already working as teachers do not need to fulfill this requirement when it's currently their job. It also shortens the amount of time a teacher actually spends earning their degree.
More science educators are needed, especially as science plays a larger role in everyday American lives. With employers requiring competent leaders in the classroom, it is safe to say that a graduate degree in the field is a way to secure a long and successful career. A professional who doesn't have time for a traditional education can still help their careers by earning a Master's in Science Education.
What are the Available Disciplines of Science Education?
Science education is a subfield of education; therefore, the main disciplines of this field are science and education. While it would be easy to think that these are the only disciplines that inform the field, it is a little more complicated than that.
The science field is massive. Biology, chemistry, and physics are all required courses in the United States for high school graduation. But there are other disciplines, such as natural sciences, geology, and ecology that are offered in many schools around the country. Some schools even provide electives in environmental biology and other specialties.
Science is also informed by math; it is one of the largest disciplines in this field. Without algebra, calculus, and other math concepts, science would be difficult to teach. In fact, many science classes, such as chemistry, continuously use math in homework assignments, labs, and tests.
The final major discipline is education itself. Becoming an educator means that it's not just about the curriculum, it's about the design of the curriculum and the psychology of educating young students. Communication, media, technology, interpersonal relationships, written and oral skills, psychology, sociology, and more are all disciplines that can be found under science education.
What are the Career Options for an Online Master's in Science Education Degree?
An online Master's in Science Education degree is a professional program; it is designed to prepare professionals to teach in the classroom. This means that the most common career option is that of a K-12 educator, working in private and public schools all over the country.
However, there are some options that professionals may be surprised to hear about. For example, a bilingual educator may find work at international schools in the country; these are found in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and other metropolitan cities with a high number of students that have English as their second language. French and Spanish schools are always looking for science educators.
It may also be possible for an educator to find work overseas working at an English-language international school or boarding school that has an aim of teaching students to speak English. As a science educator, their first responsibility would be to educate students on science, but they would also be helping students learn about STEM from an English-language perspective. This is a career option that will not work for all educators, but the benefits and compensation are higher than that found in America.
While the majority of the programs on this list focus on K-12 education, many offer the option to learn advanced science concepts that would make it easier for professionals to find jobs as professors at an undergraduate school or college. This is a unique route, but it is possible with a graduate degree, an additional advanced teaching licensure, and membership in professional organizations.
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How Much Can You Earn in this Field?
To put it simply, a science teacher salary in America for grades K-12 can expect to make anywhere from $45,000 to $50,000 annually. This salary is higher than other teacher salaries for K-12 because a great emphasis is put on STEM subjects in hopes that it will foster economic growth.
The actual salaries for K-12 science teachers depend on state and whether a school is private or public. Private school teachers make about $10,000 to $15,000 more than their public school counterparts, but these jobs are also extremely competitive. Science teachers will also find that their salary will be proportional to the cost-of-living in their area.
However, students with a Master's in Science Education can expect to make from $48,000 to $53,000. This is because public schools raise a teacher's salary based on work experience and by how well their students do on standardized tests.
Professionals who decide to take on a position overseas will find that teachers are very well paid; most make between $50,000 to $60,000 a year. Depending on a professional's science education expertise, they may find themselves making much more than that; it depends on the needs of the countries in which they are exploring for positions. It's also important to note that American science education teachers may also receive a housing allowance, health insurance, and airfare, making these positions much more lucrative.
Can A Master's Degree in Science Education Lead to Licensure as a Teacher?
The vast majority of the programs on this ranking require applicants to show proof a teaching licensure in good standing. This licensure must also have not lapsed in the previous three years. Students will rarely be accepted into a program without having licensure.
The reason is simple: because many professionals who take on a graduate online degree from a school in another state, they must already be licensed as a teacher in order to truly benefit from the degree. In fact, many states have regulations that prevent out-of-state students from acquiring teaching licensure at the graduate level if they don't live in the state.
While already having a teaching licensure is required by most schools, it is possible to find a degree that is considered a "Transition to Teaching" program. These are programs that are more comprehensive and teach non-educator professionals how to become teachers; these programs tend to take longer and require more coursework but is well worth it for ambitious students. There is at least one school on this ranking that offers this very program.
In some rare cases, such as found on this ranking, an online degree is accredited and provides a clear pathway to licensure without being a part of a transition program. These programs tend to be very competitive, especially for students who move straight from their undergraduate degree into a graduate program. It should be noted that licensure is only available in the state in which the school resides in, so some students may not be eligible. It is suggested that a student contact a program about licensure options prior to applying.
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