Skip to main content

Why Teachers are Turning to Online Classes to Earn a Master’s Degree in Education

October 16, 2018

Many advantages for teachers who choose to take online courses apply to every profession. But some of the key elements – particularly flexibility and the chance to earn a degree faster – are of particular interest for teachers seeking a master’s degree in education. 

Massachusetts has a challenging system for licensing teachers. That’s reasons why the state’s education systems rank among the highest in the nation. 

For Massachusetts teachers, there are plenty of online choices. Those wishing to earn a master’s degree in education and qualify for top teaching positions can choose from a wide variety of graduate programs. This allows teachers to specialize in focus areas, such as elementary education or curriculum design. 

While not broken down by state, a recent survey showed that enrollment in online college courses has surged to more than 6 million students. Interestingly, about 56% of those students took online courses at schools in their own state. 

Here are some of the advantages teachers enjoy when taking courses online.  


Teaching in Massachusetts is demanding. During the school year, it’s nearly impossible for teachers to consider adding the coursework of a master’s degree program to an already full professional plate. 

And there’s also the issue of maintaining a quality personal life. The demands for time are hard to juggle. 

Online degree programs can help manage that issue. Students work at their own pace. They select when and where they watch lectures, read materials, communicate with professors and collaborate with other students. They also save time not having to travel to classes on campus. 

The advantages of earning a master’s degree in education make earning one worth the effort. It’s a requirement to have a master’s degree in Massachusetts to attain a professional license. It’s important to choose a master’s degree program aligned with the state’s Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge requirements, such as those from Merrimack College. 

Competency-Based Programs 

Besides flexibility, competency-based programs rank among the main reasons for the increased popularity of online programs. Competency-based online programs combine the flexibility of online classes with a model that allows students to receive credit for a class once they demonstrate they have mastered the knowledge. The idea is not to hold students back in classes if they already know the material. It allows teachers to earn their graduate degree at a faster pace. 

Variety of Options 

Because of the continued innovation in online degree programs, teachers now can pick from a variety of specializations, all without having to go to a traditional classroom. Specialization includes:  

  • Curriculum and Instruction 
  • Elementary Education 
  • English as a Second Language 
  • Moderate Disabilities 

With the wealth of options, the flexibility in scheduling online work, and the chance to enter competency-based programs, online education is attractive for teachers who wish to bolster their career by earning a master’s degree in education.