Today, many school districts and state departments of education actually require their teachers to pursue a Master’s degree in their field in order to obtain a continuing license, sometimes referred to as a permanent license. This ensures that the teacher is highly qualified in the eyes of state licensure boards and federal regulators and, at least in theory, it means that the teacher should be able to better educate their students. With that said, many young teachers have only recently completed their Bachelor’s and are understandably weary of another obligation.

The good news is that the education Master’s degree is a pretty compact and efficient process, requiring just 36 credits in almost all concentrations. Though today’s full-time graduate students don’t typically take as many credits per semester as their undergraduate counterparts, it’s still easy to get the degree finished in a few years’ time.

Full-Time Coursework is the Best Method of Quick Completion

The best way to finish a graduate degree in education without spending many years taking courses is simply to enroll as a full-time student. This might be challenging for teachers who are already employed by a school district, but those who are pursuing the Master’s degree immediately after graduation from an undergraduate program will have no problem committing to this allocation of time and resources. By taking nine credits per semester, two semesters per year, educators will finish their Master’s degree in just two years.

If the school allows for summer coursework, that timeframe may be shortened by up to a semester. In this case, teachers would have to dedicate only an additional year and a half of their time to become fully qualified for a permanent teaching license and highly qualified status.

Part-Time Coursework Isn’t a Deal-Breaker for Educators

Though some students might be able to enroll in a Master’s program immediately after graduation with a Bachelor’s degree, most people in pursuit of this degree will wait until they’ve found a teaching job that will reimburse some or all of their tuition expenses. Those individuals probably do not have the time it takes to enroll in full-time courses. For schools that only offer spring and fall semesters to gradate students, this means completion may take between three and four years on average.

Schools are starting to offer summer coursework. Students who enroll in at least one summer session may be able to finish their degree in two and a half years. Some may even cut that time down to two years depending on required courses, availability of those courses, and how many credits they schedule throughout the year.

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An Efficient, 36-Credit Program for Long-Term Career Benefits

Whether teachers enroll part-time or full-time in a graduate-level education program, one thing is clear: Increasing flexibility at today’s best education schools will allow for some unique course schedules and a quicker rate of completion overall, according to an article in US News and World Report. It’s understandable that today’s educators might want to finish as soon as possible, so that they can dedicate themselves full-time to the hard work of educating others rather than themselves. The best way to make that happen is to do extensive research of both online and offline schools where greater flexibility reduces how long it takes to get a graduation degree in education.