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Best Careers for Education Master’s Grads in 2024

This guide outlines how MEd graduates can shape the future of learning through today’s fastest-growing educational careers for recent grads.

Author: Marcella Ellsworth

Editor: Kim Zaski

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A person stands at a podium giving a presentation to a seated audience. The presenter is facing the audience with a laptop open on the podium and a projection screen behind them. The lecture hall is filled with attentive attendees.

“With great power, comes great responsibility.” This phrase doesn’t just apply to Spider-Man, but it can also be a great piece of advice for anyone interested in teaching.

Most people can name at least one teacher who inspired them to be a better person and pursue a better future. By earning a master’s degree in education (MEd), you can open a plethora of opportunities — either as a teacher working directly with students or as an educational leader implementing change within schools.

An MEd could also lead to a significant pay increase. According to a 2023 National Education Association report, a teacher’s starting salary averages at $42,845 and tops out at $77,931. Additionally, the average beginning salary for teachers with a master’s degree is $3,273, 7.6% more than the starting salary for those who with a bachelor’s degree.

You’re likely to find better-paying jobs within certain states, especially if there is a need for educators who specialize in subjects like special education. We’ve compiled a guide that lists some of the most common traditional jobs you can get with an MEd, as well as jobs that are outside the classroom. You’ll also find details on what these jobs entail, how much they pay and what it takes to work in the position.

10 Careers You Can Pursue with an Education Master’s Degree

Educators help shape the next generation of national leaders, engineers, scientists, doctors and more. Earning your master’s in education could mean a better-paying position as a teacher, inspiring young minds to explore new possibilities.

It could even lead to a job developing curriculum and setting standards within schools. Here’s a look at 10 traditional jobs you can obtain by earning a master’s degree in education. Salary and job growth data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher

  • Average Salary (2022): $61,620
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 1%
  • Requirements: To work in this field of education, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree. You’ll also need a state-issued license or certificate to work in a public school. Later, you may even consider earning a master’s degree in elementary education.

Are you passionate about inspiring young children? Then working as a kindergarten or elementary school teacher may be the right career move for you. Elementary school teachers provide instruction in basic studies such as reading, writing, and math to prepare their students for middle school. You can also specialize in certain subjects such as art, music, or physical education.

You’ll work with your students during school hours and grade papers and prepare lessons in the evenings and on weekends. You will also be expected to help individual students overcome specific learning challenges and connect with parents or guardians about their child’s progress.

Middle School Teacher

  • Average Salary (2022): $61,810
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 1%
  • Requirements: Middle school teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree, as well as a state license or certificate to work in public schools.

Children who are little bit older, within sixth through eighth grades, are just beginning to develop their own views of the world. As a middle school teacher, you’ll have the chance to guide them through this phase of self-discovery and prepare them for high school.

You’ll need to create lesson plans and grade assignments and exams, in your free time. You will also be responsible for teaching certain subjects. While you may focus on teaching only math to several different classes throughout the day, some schools require middle school teachers to educate their students on every subject in a single class. To advance, you will want to consider earning a master’s degree in secondary education online.

High School Teacher

  • Average Salary (2022): $62,360
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 1%
  • Requirements: Many states require high school teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in a specific study area, such as mathematics or science. You’ll also need either a license or a teaching certificate to work in a public school. Once you’ve obtained a certificate and work experience, you may even be required to earn a master’s degree in secondary education, depending on your state.

At this stage in their lives, teenagers are starting to develop a sense of purpose in the world. High school teachers play a critical role in preparing students for life beyond the classroom.

As a high school teacher, you’ll likely need to specialize in one area of study, and you may end up teaching several different classes within that subject area. Some teach within core subjects such as math, science, or history, while others specialize in elective courses such as art, music, or physical education. Additionally, some teachers take on extracurricular activities such as coaching sports or overseeing academic clubs.

You will likely interact with students from different grade levels from nine to 12, meaning you’ll need to adjust your lesson plans to fit the learning needs of your students.

Postsecondary Teacher

  • Average Salary (2022): $80,840
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 8%
  • Requirements: Requirements vary depending on your specialty and the educational institution. Some schools require postsecondary teachers to have a PhD or another doctoral degree within their field of study, while others hire faculty with master’s degrees. Teaching experience is preferred for these roles.

As a college or university professor, you’ll wear many hats. You’ll have a chance to work with your students and prepare them for their careers, and you may teach large classes of several hundred students, often with the help of a graduate teaching assistant.

If you have tenure, you’ll be expected to apply for grants to conduct research or experiments and publish your findings. Many tenured professors are also required to serve on college and university committees and serve as thesis and doctoral students advisors.

Instructional Coordinator

  • Average Salary (2022): $66,490
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 2%
  • Requirements: You’ll need a master’s degree in education or in curriculum and instruction in a specialized field to work as an instructional coordinator in a public school. You’ll also need related work experience as a teacher or school administrator.

If you want to impact what children are taught in school, you might want to consider working as an instructional coordinator or curriculum specialist. Instructional coordinators oversee school curricula and teaching standards, develop instructional materials, and conduct curriculum assessments.

Other responsibilities include planning, organizing, and conducting teacher training workshops and conferences, assessing and evaluating curriculum standards with school staff, reviewing and suggesting textbooks and other academic material, and recommending teaching techniques and the use of new technology.

Principal

  • Average Salary (2022): $101,320
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 1%
  • Requirements: If you’re interested in becoming a principal, you’ll need a master’s degree in education administration or leadership, as well as teaching experience.

Are you looking to move into a leadership role? Earning your master’s degree could mean better-paying opportunities within your school system. Principals, for instance, oversee all school operations, including daily activities, coordinating curricula, managing staff, and providing a safe and productive learning environment.

Some principals work directly with students in counseling or disciplinary roles. You may also need to meet with parents and teachers to discuss a student’s progress and behavior. As a principal, you could work in either public or private elementary, middle, and high schools year-round.

Postsecondary Education Administrator

  • Average Salary (2022): $99,940
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 4%
  • Requirements: To become a postsecondary education administrator, you’ll need a master’s degree in education. However, there are some exceptions for those who only hold a bachelor’s degree, depending on the employer. Candidates who also have work experience in a postsecondary education administrative office, such as registrars and academic deans, are also more likely to be considered.

Postsecondary education administrators oversee student services, academics and faculty research at colleges and universities, which may be a great career choice if you like leadership and management. As a postsecondary education administrator, you’ll work full-time within various departments at either public or private schools. Your duties will depend on the size of the college or university.

For example, if you work in admissions, you’ll be responsible for determining how many students are admitted, meeting with students and encouraging them to apply, and reviewing applications.

School/Career Counselor

  • Average Salary (2022): $60,140
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 5%
  • Requirements: Most school counselors need a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field, and they must also have a state-issued credential. Career counselors and advisors may also need a license to work in certain states.

School counselors are critical in helping students develop both academic and social skills, and career advisors guide students to a career path that is right for them. These roles are perfect for those who are passionate about helping students achieve their social, academic and career goals.

School counselors work in both private and public schools, while career counselors and advisors work in colleges, universities, career centers, or in a private practice. Both work full-time when school is in session.

Coach/Scout

  • Average Salary (2022): $44,890
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 9%
  • Requirements: Coaches and scouts typically only need a bachelor’s degree, depending on the job. Some employers may require extensive knowledge of a particular sport, likely from play experience.

Coaches can inspire a love for a particular sport and help students develop the skills they need to succeed both on and off the field.

Scouts, on the other hand, evaluate athletes as possible recruits. It’s common for coaches and scouts to work part-time. However, full-time coaches may work more than 40 hours a week for several months during a sports season. Both jobs may also require you to work irregular hours such as in the evenings, weekends, and holidays and often entail frequent travel.

Childcare Director

  • Average Salary (2022): $49,690
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): -3%
  • Requirements: Childcare directors typically only need a bachelor’s degree to obtain a job. However, some employers require directors to have a nationally recognized credential that may include, for example, a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.

For most working parents, leaving your child in someone else’s care can be nerve-racking. It may also be a necessity and is why childcare directors play such a crucial role in supervising preschool teachers and childcare workers. They work to develop educational programs and standards, maintain instructional excellence, and prepare budgets and allocate program funds. They also establish policies for parents and staff.

Childcare directors spend most of their day in an office and often visit classrooms to check on students, teachers, and childcare workers. They may also meet with parents and typically work full-time, often more than 40 hours a week. Earning a master’s in education in early childhood education can help you develop the skills you need to manage a childcare center.

Non-teaching Careers for Education Master’s Graduates

Earning an MEd can lead to other careers in education that may not be in a traditional classroom. For example, you may be interested in corporate training, helping employees develop critical skills that could impact their company.

Graduating with your education master’s may even lead to implementing national educational policies that could help provoke meaningful change for future generations. Here’s a look at five careers you can pursue outside of a school setting.

Corporate Trainer

  • Average Salary (2022): $63,080
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 6%

You may be wondering how a master’s degree in education can lead to a job as a corporate trainer. Earning a master’s in curriculum and instruction could provide insight for creating training programs that promote employee growth and development, according to Western Governors University.

The goal is to support career development among employees, as well as train new workers and help current employees sharpen their skills.

Other duties for corporate trainers may include:

  • Developing employee training schedules
  • Creating employee surveys
  • Compiling team data
  • Working with management to implement needed training
  • Reviewing team performance and progress

According to 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, training and development specialists make a median annual wage of $63,080. In contrast, the median wage for training and development managers is $120,000.

Educational Policy Analyst or Developer

  • Average Salary (2022): $64,059
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 11%

Are you a teacher or school administrator who is passionate about education and wants to enact change within the school system? It might be time to pursue a career as an educational policy analyst or developer.

An educational policy analyst or developer evaluates the effectiveness of existing policies and designs solutions that address challenges within school systems to improve educational experiences among students, teachers, and administrators.

You can also specialize in teacher compensation, education finance, equitable access to educational resources, and special education, among other areas, according to Drexel University School of Education.

Most jobs in this field require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in education policy, education, public policy, political science, or social science, or other related studies and experience. That may include at least two years working in education, government, or policy analysis. Some employers also require a master’s degree in education policy, instructional design, or related subjects. Additionally, earning a master’s degree can give you a leg up in the job market.

According to PayScale, you’ll make between $47,000 to $91,000, depending on the job. The site lists the median annual wage for an education policy analyst at $64,059. Job openings are expected to grow by 11% through 2028, according to Zippia.

Educational Director

  • Average Salary (2022): $99,510
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 6%

Education directors work with schools, school districts, or other educational institutions to implement curricula and learning materials. They oversee and evaluate the effectiveness of curricula and may work outside of public education.

Most educational directors work in elementary, middle, and high schools, but you can also find jobs within businesses and organizations. There, you’ll work to plan and coordinate training to help corporate teams and employees learn new skills. Other job opportunities may include working at nonprofits like museums, developing lectures and installing exhibitions.

Working in this field may require a master’s degree in education, curriculum development, educational administration or leadership. You may also need a state license to work in schools.

Salary varies depending on the job. For instance, educational administrators who work in computer and management training at business schools make an annual mean wage of $112,020, according to the BLS. Those who work in museums, historical sites, and other similar institutions make an annual mean wage of $82,750, and those who work in educational support services average $99,510 a year.

Educational Researcher

  • Average Salary (2022): $60,410
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): -4%

As an educational researcher, you’ll always learn something new. Earning a master’s in educational research and evaluation can help you dive into quantitative methods and advanced research techniques that can sharpen the skills you need to conduct research studies.

You’ll also learn about statistical analysis, survey design and data collection, according to Ohio University, which offers a master’s degree in education research and evaluation. With your master’s degree, you’ll be ready for roles within research organizations that involve analyzing educational data, evaluating programs, and contributing to evidence-based practices.

Similarly, survey researchers design and conduct surveys and analyze data. According to 2022 BLS data, survey researchers make a median annual wage of $60,410. Employment is projected to decline by 4% through 2032.

Curriculum Developer

  • Average Salary (2022): $66,490
  • Projected Growth (2022-32): 2%

Curriculum developers assess educational requirements and learning outcomes for specific subjects or programs and design curricula that align with state or national standards.

Outside of the classroom, you can work in government collaborating with policymakers, educators, and others to shape educational programs and initiatives. Curriculum developers also create training programs for government employees and design programs related to workforce development, according to Franklin University.

Jobs are available designing courses, workshops, and virtual training programs for companies investing in employee skill development.

Salary and Job Growth for Teachers

Earning a master’s degree in education can lead to a major pay bump. For example, education administrators who hold a master’s degree earn a median annual wage of $75,000, while those with a bachelor’s degree make $52,000 a year. That’s 44% more, according to BLS. Preschool and kindergarten teachers see a similar wage increase of 43%, while elementary and middle school teachers earn 28% more.

Earning an MEd could provide an opportunity to advance where you work or could lead to better-paying jobs elsewhere. To give you a better understanding, we’ve listed several different job opportunities that pay more than $60,000 a year.

10 of the Highest-Paying Jobs in Education

Career Median Annual Pay (2022) Projected Growth Rate (2022-32)
Postsecondary Teacher $80,840 Faster than average
Education Administrator: Kindergarten through Secondary $101,320 Little to no change through 2032
Education Administrator: Postsecondary $99,940 About as fast as average
School Psychologist $85,330 Faster than average
High School Art, Drama, or Music Teacher $80,840 Faster than average
Instructional Coordinator $66,490 About as fast as average
Educational, Guidance, and Career Counselor or Advisor $60,140 Faster than average
Farm and Home Management Educator $63,090 4.8%
School Superintendent; College or University President $189,520 As fast as average
Speech Pathologist $84,140 Much faster than average

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I teach with a master's in education?

Not only can you teach at K-12 schools, but earning a master’s degree in education opens the door to job opportunities in higher education. Earning an MEd can lead to specialized teaching positions in special education, mathematics, science, or bilingual education.

Keep in mind that all states require teachers working within public schools to be licensed or certified in the specific grade level that they will teach, according to the BLS. It’s important to review licensure requirements for the state where you plan to work.

How long does it take to get an education master's degree?

The time it takes to earn a master’s degree in education varies depending on the program you choose. It can take anywhere from 12 months to two years of full-time study to earn your degree. For instance, an accelerated online program may take two semesters plus a summer term, while a traditional on-campus program may take four semesters to graduate.

Can you get a master's without teaching experience?

While classroom experience can provide context and help you grasp the course materials at the graduate-level, it may not be required for programs admissions. Most programs focus on your academic record during the admissions process rather than your field of study. You’ll likely also be required to submit letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.

How will an online MEd help develop my teaching skills?

Earning your degree online can give you the flexibility you need if you’re already teaching full-time. For instance, most online MEd programs offer asynchronous classes, meaning you don’t need to login at certain times. You’ll still need to meet assignment deadlines and complete your exams before the due date, but studying online helps you avoid a commute to campus.

Online education programs can also be more affordable, without the typical fees associated with on-campus living. Some schools charge a set rate for online students, whether you live in-state or elsewhere.