Earning a Master of Education in Massachusetts

Earning a Master of Education in Massachusetts
You don't technically need a graduate degree to start your education career in Massachusetts. Even so, a graduate credential represents an excellent opportunity to advance your education career. Image from Unsplash
Lucien Formichella profile
Lucien Formichella September 16, 2020

Massachusetts educators earn higher incomes than their peers in most other states. Thanks to the presence of many top education schools, the Bay State is an excellent place for teachers to train as well as work.

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If you’re looking to earn a comfortable living in the classroom, Massachusetts should be on your radar. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, secondary school teachers in the Bay State earn an annual mean income of $81,070, while elementary school teachers earn $82,450. Both rank third-highest in the nation for their categories.

And teaching is hardly the only option for those holding an education graduate degree. Massachusetts hires plenty of administrators, curriculum specialists, and other education executives. All you need is the right credentials and experience.

You don’t technically need a graduate degree to start your education career in Massachusetts. Even so, a graduate credential represents an excellent opportunity to advance your education career. Does it matter whether you earn that degree in-state? Technically, no, but practically, it helps if you do. In part, that’s because licensure requirements vary from state to state. Completing your degree where you want to work is the best way to prepare for that state’s licensure requirements.

Second, Massachusetts is home to two of US News and World Report‘s top 20 graduate education programs—Harvard University and Boston College—as well as a number of other highly regarded schools. It’s a great place to learn about learning.

Continue reading to learn more about Massachusetts master’s in education programs. This article discusses a few Massachusetts schools that confer education degrees and answer the questions:

  • What are the different types of master’s in education degrees? What are the differences?
  • Does it matter where I get my master’s?
  • Should I get my degree on-campus or online?
  • Which Massachusetts schools offer an accredited master’s?

What are the different types of master’s in education degrees? What are the differences?

The term master’s in education covers numerous degrees with unique structures and requirements. Even within a specific degree program, students frequently can specialize is such areas as early childhood education or school counseling. Master’s degrees for educators include:

Your career goals should drive your degree choice. The MST and MAT prepare graduates to teach. You’ll learn education theory and pedagogic techniques, and perhaps even specialize in a particular subject. In contrast, the MEd is a versatile degree that can prepare teachers and more often leads to school leadership and policymaking jobs.

You’ll often find MEds in the following jobs:

You may even find work outside of the school system as a corporate trainer or museum director, depending on your degree focus.


“I'm Interested in Teacher Education!”

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Does it matter where I get my master’s?

It sometimes matters where you get your master’s degree. Earning a diploma from a Massachusetts school simplifies the all-important state licensure requirement. Sure, Massachusetts has a teacher reciprocity program that allows graduates and current teachers or administrators from recognized states to qualify for a license. However, the process involves testing, endorsement, and background check requirements. It’s doable, but it’s definitely easier to earn your degree in-state. The Massachusetts Department of Education maintains s a list of more than 70 approved programs that lead to initial licensure. This license lasts for five years and can be extended for five more.

It’s possible to teach in Massachusetts with just a bachelor’s degree. But, while you don’t need a master’s to get an initial teaching license, you frequently do to further your career. High school teachers must earn a master’s degree and a professional license to continue teaching after the initial licensure period expires.

The same is true for school administration jobs. Massachusetts school principals are not actually required to have a master’s degree to get their initial licensure. That said, candidates with a graduate degree almost certainly enjoy a significant advantage over those who lack one.

Check the education requirements for your desired career path in teaching or administration before jumping into a master’s—you may not need it right away. However, if you do, the most sensible option for a Massachusetts-based educator is attending a Massachusetts school.

Should I get my degree on-campus or online?

The answer to this question is: yes! Significant differences between the two degrees make each the right fit for different situations.

Online programs offer greater flexibility than on-campus does. Most online course materials are accessible 24/7 (i.e., asynchronously). Some programs are 100 percent asynchronous, with pre-recorded lectures taking the place of live sessions. Even programs that feature live classes typically record those classes, making them available asynchronously after the class is old Flexible scheduling and the ability to study from home make online study a preferred choice for many working students, including those teaching with only a bachelor’s degree.

In-person master’s degree programs afford more access to networking and collaboration opportunities, which cannot be discounted. The ability to meet with professors face-to-face is beneficial. Also, some students prefer the structure of an on-campus program. Part-time on-campus programs allow students to attend while continuing to work.

Many education master’s programs are offered in-person only. Degree requirements teaching students frequently include field experience and training, which means you’ll spend time in a classroom regardless.

Which Massachusetts schools offer an accredited master’s?

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Lynch School of Education and Human Development

Founded in 1863, Boston College features a highly regarded education school—ranked 19th nationally by US News and World Report. The school delivers MEd options in education leadership, teacher education, education psychology, and counseling. It also offers a broad range of graduate-level certifications.

Each of the school’s degree programs emphasizes social justice derived from Jesuit principles. According to the Lynch School website, “Theory, research, and practice are integrated across programs, which also leverage the robust practicum opportunities available in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and universities in the Boston metropolitan area.”

Boston College provides both licensure and non-licensure track programs (for those already licensed in Massachusetts). It offers in-person, hybrid, and online options for its programs (although not all three for all programs). Students can complete the in-person ten-course, 30 credit Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in twelve to eighteen months. The Master of Education in Leadership and Policy, delivered online or in a hybrid format, offers more flexibility. It takes students approximately two years to complete.

Boston University

Boston, MA

Wheelock College of Education and Human Development

With 300 degree programs, Boston University is a behemoth of higher education. BU’s master’s degree programs in education include:

  • Master of Education
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Master of Arts in Educational Policy Studies
  • Master of Science in Child Life and Family Centered Care

Many BU graduate degrees are quite flexible and can be completed by professionals or those seeking initial teacher licensure. The early childhood education EdM concentration has two paths—one for students looking for their initial licensure and one for those with existing teaching experience. Your coursework will depend on which track you select.

Most BU programs—including the Online Master’s in Curriculum and Teaching, which can be taken part-time—can be completed within two years.

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA

Brandeis is a mid-sized liberal arts school located on the outskirts of Boston. According to the University, “Our faculty are leaders in their fields, as passionate about teaching and mentorship as they are about pushing the boundaries of knowledge.” Though not affiliated with any particular religion, Brandeis has strong ties to Judaism (approximately 30 percent of undergraduates are Jewish). All the teacher education programs—both undergraduate and graduate—qualify students to work at Jewish Day Schools.

The university offers two main graduate programs in education: a one-year Master of Arts in Teaching and a two-year Master of Education in Teacher Leadership, including an online component. Brandeis focuses heavily on practicum experience, which means that graduate students spend a lot of time teaching in the classroom.

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Harvard Graduate School of Education

The oldest university in the country also boasts the best graduate program for education (along with many other best programs). According to the school’s website, “Our year-long, intensive master’s program will allow you to gain professional skills and theoretical knowledge, access to world-renowned faculty, and a network of education leaders.” Graduates from the Master of Education program become school leaders, policy creators, language development specialists, tc.

While the entire education school is going online for the 2020-21 year due to COVID, programs are usually offered in-person. Students are split into cohorts to facilitate bonding and group work. Students also spend a good deal of time doing fieldwork and internships on top of their classes.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Amherst, MA

College of Education

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst offers a two-year Master of Education degree, which “is designed to further the professional development of elementary and secondary school teachers and other school-based practitioners in the various fields of education, and to train educational specialists in a variety of the College’s areas of concentration.” The MEd is a two-year, 33-credit program completed in person. While the college does offer some online master’s programs designed for students who are already working professionals, the selection is more limited.

Available MEd concentrations include:

  • Children, Families, & Schools
  • Language, Literacy, & Culture
  • Elementary Education
  • Science Education Online

Amherst also offers education specialist degrees and PhDs, which have stricter admissions requirements—meaning you need a master’s degree. Finally, students can get on an administrative path with concentration options like School Counselor Education and Social Justice Education. Keep in mind that each concentration may have a unique set of curricular or even admission requirements.

University of Massachusetts – Boston

Boston, MA

College of Education and Human Development

With 19 distinct master’s in education options, the University of Massachusetts at Boston has a comprehensive collection of graduate programs—MA, MS and MEds. Students can pick from subjects like:

  • School counseling
  • Middle and secondary education
  • Education administration
  • Special education
  • Elementary school education

Generally, programs take between two and three years to complete, but that depends on the degree path. The school offers an instructional design MEd and a vision studies MEd 100 that are percent online (excepting classroom fieldwork). It also offers an online counseling MEd (a two-week kickoff residency is the only in-person requirement for this program). An accelerated program option for undergraduate students allows them to complete graduate-level courses during their bachelor’s degree.

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

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