How helpful may be a Masters in Teaching

It's not difficult to find a news article with charts and graphs and definitive figures on the average cost for a graduate degree versus the average increased wages that it will provide. What is difficult is assigning any credibility to those studies because they are based on averages and medians and speculation about job markets. It's a little easier with a Master's in Teaching to make this analysis because there are a number of constants not readily available in analyzing other job markets.

Perhaps the first point to make regarding a MIT is that uniformly, public school districts pay their teachers with master's degrees more than their teachers with bachelor's degrees. The other factors that influence teachers pay are seniority and the grade level and academic specialization, if any. But across the board, teachers with a master's degree are paid more. The State of Hawaii pay scale for public school teachers is a good illustration of how most public school organizations chart compensation for teachers. Master's degree teachers are paid roughly $4,000 more than bachelor's degree teachers.

At the San Francisco Unified School District the salary schedule differentiates between a bachelor's degree licensed teacher and a teacher with a bachelor's degree plus thirty or more credit hours. That would lead to a master's in teaching in some university programs, particularly accelerated MIT degrees. The difference is five thousand dollars per year. In the Chicago Public Schools the difference is also about $4,000 between teacher compensation for those with a bachelor's degree and those that have completed a MIT.

That disparity is not always the case. In the Los Angeles Unified School District there appears to be little difference in compensation based on degree. In Louisiana the difference is a thousand dollars or less. It depends on the school district or the state and to a lesser extent, years of seniority. But if we take the figure of $4,000 as an average annual improvement in salary range for teachers with a master's degree we can balance it against the cost of obtaining a master's in teaching.

There is an article on tuition costs for the MIT elsewhere on this web site. Depending on the school you can spend as little as $20,000 or as much as $70,000 for this degree. But the public universities and many of the smaller professional education schools charge from $24,000 to $28,000 to complete a master's in teaching, a master of arts in teaching or a master's in education with a teacher licensing track. If we take the higher figure of $28,000 and divide it by the $4,000 average increase in pay for working teachers with a graduate degree, the MIT has paid for itself in seven years.

Even if you deduct two year's salary for the loss of working years caused by additional years of school, the degree will have paid for itself in less than a decade. If your teaching career is thirty five years or so you will be well ahead in the game. In addition, the master's degree may allow for additional certification and promotion at some point to a position of seniority or administrative management within a school or a district, an opportunity that would not be open to a teacher working with a bachelor's degree. The MIT is well worth the effort.