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AETeach90 AETeach90 is offline
 
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When to get my master's Degree
Old 02-15-2016, 01:53 PM
 
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Hi all,
I am currently a junior studying elementary education at my university. I need some advice on when to get my masters degree. I have heard from multiple to go right out of school or to start teaching, wait a few years, and then go back. I have heard pros and cons from both. It would be helpful to hear from new teachers and what they chose and why!

Thank you!


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When should I go to get my masters?
Old 02-16-2016, 01:38 PM
 
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Hi Everybody!

I am a sophmore in college and I have been tossing around this idea since my senior year in high school. I am curious to know when is a good time to get my masters... Should I do it right after I graduate (meaning I put off teaching and stay in school) or should I go straight into teaching after I graduate and go back to school for my masters later?
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Old 02-20-2016, 10:05 AM
 
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I'm not a new teacher, in fact I'm retired after 36 years of teaching but thought I'd put my thoughts in.

I started teaching immediately (needed the money) and went to school during summers and took evening classes during the year to get my Master's.
I know some schools now allow a master's to be granted by going an extra year which does save time and money but there may be some things to think about before doing so.

Are you sure-100% that you want to teach. Many have started teaching and found it isn't what they thought it would be and want a career change. If you already have that master's in education may not be as valuable when looking for another career.

What would your Master's be in? Can you specialize it in an area like reading, math, special ed or other that may help down the road if you decide classroom teaching right but you still want to remain in education. Reading and math coaches are a big thing now.

I don't want you to rush into a master's if you are not sure of your future beyond the next 5 years. I think once you begin teaching you will know what you want whether it be in the classroom, a more specialized area or maybe not teaching at all.

I never regretted teaching. I knew after 2 years in I wanted to stay and based my Master's on that, but after about 10 years in I wish I had my Master's in reading as that was what I really enjoyed and it would have helped me be a reading specialist.

As for getting a teaching job with or without a Master's...I think that depends on where you teach and what the degree is in.

It's a tough decision and you need to think it through. Proteacher has many wonderful boards on many subject areas that you may want to read through. Choose the boards in the areas you are interested in. Good Luck!
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Old 02-20-2016, 06:16 PM
 
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I agree that you should look and see if the schools in your area (or wherever you want to teach) require a masters or prefer a masters. My general opinion is that you should get a job first, work for at least a few years, and then pursue a masters (whether full or part-time) once you have a good idea of what you want to focus on as a teacher and are sure you want to continue in education.

In the interest of full disclosure I'm also not a new teacher. I started teaching in 1993 straight from undergrad, worked for 4 years, then pursued a masters f/t in a related education field (not teaching). While I was teaching those 4 years, I took p/t courses to get a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement and one in a foreign language (almost all of my students spoke this language).

I have heard of several people on this board who got masters immediately after undergrad having trouble getting hired because they cost more than a teacher with only a bachelors. With a masters but no experience, some locations don't take you very seriously. Other locations may expect a masters. Several years ago, teachers in my current state could only get a teaching degree as part of a masters. So most teachers hired came in with a masters and no experience. You could get a job from out of state without a masters, but you were supposed to pursue a masters within a certain number of years.

Sorry for my not-very-well-organized thoughts, but I think it all comes down to knowing the expectations in the district in which you'd like to work to maximize your changes of getting your first job. Personally, I think there is a LOT to be said about going into a masters program with some good hands-on experience as a teacher (beyond student teaching), so that would be my overall recommendation.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:17 AM
 
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I would (if it were me) start working as a teacher, to get experience, and build a good practice. I would become frustrated if I could not do the job I had spent all those years preparing for. Then, when I was established, and felt competent and professional, I would start going part time to get my masters, possibly on line, but through a bricks and morter school, not a strictly on-line school.

That's just me, but I have had some experience with not being able to do the job I had prepared for.


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good question!
Old 02-21-2016, 06:23 AM
 
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I think it depends on your particular situation. I got my masters right away, but that was because I got a scholarship. It seems that was an "easier" way to get it, since I was still in the swing of being a full time student, and I was living at home still. All I needed to do was go to school, and my part time job.

The only thing to consider is whether the districts you are interested in would rather hire a teacher with a Bachelors as opposed to a Masters, because it would be cheaper. My district is affluent, so they didn't care. Maybe you could find data on whether new hires in your desired districts usually have a Bachelors or Masters?

Lastly, many districts will pay a percentage towards your course work. Lots to consider! Best of luch to you, and welcome to PT! We're glad you're here!
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:07 PM
 
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Thank you so much for your advice! I have not really thought about teaching first to make sure that it is the right job for me! I will definitely take your advice for my future!
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:09 PM
 
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Thank you for your advice! I thought you had great thoughts, and will definitely be taking your advice for my future!
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Is a Masters degree required in your state?
Old 02-22-2016, 03:03 AM
 
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I was required to earn a masters degree within the first 10 years of teaching. I made the decision to teach right out college and then take classes part time while teaching. It was difficult to balance teaching and going back to school. I took 6 hours each semester and had an hour commute both ways. I had to leave right after work and didn't get home until after 8 p.m. two nights a week. If I had to do it again, I'd start my masters before teaching.
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:45 PM
 
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Ahh, good point! Thank you for your advice!


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Work or Masters first
Old 02-22-2016, 04:52 PM
 
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Would it be more beneficial to try and get a job right after I get my Bachelors or wait and earn my Masters first and then apply for jobs?
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:06 PM
 
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My district requires us to be GT certified (within the 1st year of being hired) and have a ESL/Bilingual certification (before being hired). I would take care of those requirements before a Masters.

I got mine after 10 years of teaching in an unrelated field!! Find out where you heart takes you after a couple of years of teaching.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:53 PM
 
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I never thought of some of those questions that you brought up.. Such as what I would even want to master in... Everything you stated are such good points that I didn't even think about. I know for sure that teaching is what I want to do. I am currently and sophomore and am doing an internship at an elementary school and although I am placed in a 5th grade class and have decided that maybe 5th grade would be too old for me, I am 100% sure that I want to teach.

I have been on the fence about when to get my masters every since being a senior in high school but I never thought about the stuff you brought up.... Now I feel like I have a better idea of what to be considering in helping me make my decision.

Thank you so much! Your advice has been so much help in giving me direction!
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Topic of masters degree
Old 02-29-2016, 08:07 AM
 
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Previous posters brought up excellent points about when to pursue your masters. I am a retired teacher (after 31 years in elementary classrooms) and I got a masters after teaching for about four years. I felt it was important to have some experience and it was! I do wish I had considered other majors. My masters is in elementary education and I now wish I had specialized, specifically in social work but for you that could be anything that could lead to a position outside a classroom. I loved my years in the classroom but the last few years are exhausting no matter how much love you have for your students. I think I could have worked longer if I had more options. Getting the masters was key to my retirement plan because the bump in pay for all those years made a huge difference in my final retirement amount. I am sure that is not on your radar screen yet��, but it is a consideration. Also, the camaraderie of the other graduate students along with having my mental envelope pushed helped me shape my teaching strategies for years to come. I did have small children while I went to school and worked, but having them there to see me march in my cap and gown was a proud moment that made an impression on them about the value of being a lifelong learner. Good luck with your career and studies.
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:50 PM
 
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I chose to wait. My district has been known to fire people if they have a Master's Degree before they earn tenure. Rumors have said that it is due to the additional money they will have to pay you. So, I chose to be safe rather then sorry, and waited until I had tenure.
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