If you are studying for a Master's in Education degree, it is important that you research whether or not a practicum is a graduation requirement. It is very common for schools with Colleges of Education to require their graduate students to complete practicums before they graduate from the program. While it is a common requirement for traditional programs, many distance education learners are left wondering if online programs have the same requirement.
What are Practicums and Why Are They Required?
While it might sound like more of a hassle than an enjoyable assignment, the purpose of a practicum is for students to apply what they have learned in their program as they are engaged in activities that help them develop their skill set. It is very common for a requirement to last the length of an entire semester, but some requirements are minimal.
As a student completes their credit hours, they must be under the supervision of an educator, counselor or an administrative professional. When the requirement has been completed, students will evaluate their own performance and this is what will ultimately be graded by the professor.
Are Practicums a Requirement for a Master's in Education?
Practicums are not required for every terminal master's degree. Even though the requirement is not universal all across the board, it is commonly found for respected Master of Education degree programs. When a student who is pursuing a M.Ed. completes their requirement, they will observe, apply, and reflect on the theories and methods they have learned as they completed their coursework.
The field-based learning opportunity places them in a real-life classroom or counseling office under the direction of a specialist. While not all accredited programs have this requirement, employers place value on students who did gain field experience.
Can an Online M.Ed. Program Have a Field-Based Experience Requirement?
If you were to look through a list of all of the best online Master's of Education programs, you would find that many of them do have this face-to-face requirement. In fact, for many programs, practicums are the only face-to-face component of the curriculum. The requirement is to be completed during the final semester of the program and must be completed in a setting relevant to the concentration that was studied. The coursework and exams may be delivered online, but the experience will always take place in person.
What are the Benefits of Earning Your Master's of Education?
If you are hesitant to attend a program with a requirement like this, think about all of the benefits of earning your M.Ed. degree. When you have a Master's, you can be seen as a specialist in whatever area of education you want to work in. You are also seen to be a much more attractive candidate for positions and can increase your earning potential. In fact, a study conducted by CareerBliss.com shows that you can earn about 19.2 percent after you earn a Master's in the field of education.
Before you enroll in a program, be honest about how much time you can commit. If you are able to commit the time to your coursework and the final semester projects, you should take the dive and apply for a program. Be sure to focus on only accredited Master's in Education programs, and do not shy away from options just because they have a practicum requirement.
Related Resource: Top 10 Online Ed.D Programs in Educational Leadership