Teachers who want to boost their career and teaching skills by earning a graduate degree are making an investment in their own future. It’s an especially smart move in Massachusetts where earning a master’s degree prepares you for taking the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL).
Is an Online Master’s Degree Right for You?
Teachers face an initial, major decision before entering a degree program: Should you enroll in an online master’s degree program or take traditional on-campus courses? In terms of quality, online programs are equal to their on-campus counterparts. But there are other significant differences. Online education might be a good fit for you. If you see yourself in the following descriptions, an online master’s degree is worth your thoughtful consideration.
Flexibility is one of the main attractions of online education. Especially for working professionals. Just cutting out driving time to class makes a significant difference for those with busy schedules. In addition, online courses allow students to focus on coursework on their own time when it doesn’t interfere with their professional and personal lives.
Tuition costs for online classes are typically similar to those for on-campus classes, but students save other ways. The lack of a commute saves the cost of gas, food, parking, and other fees that have a substantial impact on your budget over time. Working professionals can continue to work while planning classes around work hours, allowing students to continue to bring in the same income they are used to while attending classes.
Some online master’s degree in education programs, including the one from Merrimack College, assign teacher education program specialists to each student. That means you have a personal guide that can help with coursework, scheduling, planning your educational pathway, and even a bit of cheerleading (you’ll want that, too!). Teacher education program specialists at Merrimack College have specific expertise in education degrees in Massachusetts.
Until you experience an online class, it’s difficult to explain the amount of discipline that is needed. You don’t have to (usually) attend class at a specified time. It’s up to the student to keep track of due dates and complete required work on time. Online courses require self-discipline and motivation, and if you think this sounds like you, an online master’s degree may be the right choice.
Convenience & Collaboration
This may seem unbelievable but collaborating with other students is often easier via online chat rooms and message boards than it is in person. Communication tools are built into a quality online degree program system. Setting times to meet online to discuss group projects and creating areas to post work as the project unfolds can be simpler than trying to get everyone to the campus library at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night. The same flexibility that applies to taking classes also applies to collaboration.
Some online programs provide the opportunity to attend special events in person. For example, Merrimack College offers optional “immersion events.” These are often workshops that enhance your professional development. They also offer the chance to meet and network with fellow students, faculty members, and education professionals.
How to earn your master’s degree is as important a decision as where to earn it. As a busy professional you might discover that online classes, though unfamiliar, are not so scary, and maybe the best decision you’ve ever made.