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'Mini-Guide' to Advanced Degrees in Education

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Ever since she was a little girl, Jennifer Finney-Ellison wanted to be a teacher. She would play school on her back porch and sometimes coax her little sister or the neighborhood children into playing as her students. She even assigned them homework. Jennifer couldn't wait until the day when she could take attendance with a class of her own. She fulfilled that dream after receiving her bachelor's degree in 1991 and teaching credential in 1992. But after years of teaching, she wanted more.

"I always knew that I wanted to further my education," said Jennifer, whose profile can be viewed on "It was time."

For personal reasons, Jennifer was not interested in attending a traditional brick-and-mortar institution and decided to pursue her degree online. So she turned to a virtual university. However, Jennifer, like many people, knew very little about online degree programs and wanted to learn about her options.

"It took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that I was actually going to enroll," she said candidly. "Online education was still fairly new to the general public at the time." Despite her fears of not attending a traditional school, Jennifer enrolled and received her master's degree after 18 months from Walden University.

If you are considering an education degree in order to expand your career opportunities, online schooling may be a perfect fit.

Master's Degree in Education: What are My Options?

Fortunately for today's busy education professional, there are a number of excellent universities that offer advanced online education degrees. Many of these degrees can be completed in less than two years. Before deciding on a graduate program in education, it is important to understand that different master's degree options can help you to achieve different goals.
  • Master's of Education.
    A Master's of Education degree, or M.Ed., is a professional, graduate-level degree geared toward individuals who are seeking to move beyond the classroom into administrative-level positions or other specialized roles. It is generally not a teaching degree.

  • Master's of Arts in Teaching.
    The Master's of Arts in Teaching, or MAT, differs from the M.Ed. and the other master's degrees in education primarily in that a majority of coursework focuses on the subject to be taught (i.e. history, English, math, biology, etc.) rather than on educational theory.

  • Master's of Arts in Education.
    A Master's of Arts in Education is perhaps the most flexible degree in the field and often allows an educator to specialize in one of several concentrations.

  • Master's of Science in Education.
    As the name Master's of Science in Education suggests, this degree program provides ample opportunity for the student to take a more scientific approach to the study of education. Many of those individuals who choose to follow the scientific route concentrate on topics like instructional technology or educational research.
Whether a teacher desires to remain in the classroom, to move into administration, or to branch out into educational research, earning an advanced education or teaching degree online can provide an affordable means of career advancement. Getting a degree online also allows the flexibility to study at any hour of the day and from the convenience of home. To learn more about the online options available, log on to
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