What to Know About Online Master's in Educational Technology Coursework
A master's in educational technology typically requires 30-36 credits, although some degrees may require more. Online programs generally take about two years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated tracks that allow students to graduate in 12-18 months. Alternatively, part-time options offer more flexibility but may require an extra semester or year to finish.
Like any master's program, an educational technology track includes a variety of courses, such as foundational courses that introduce students to the subject; core courses that cover essential information, like different types of learning technologies; and elective courses that discuss issues like learning with social media or emerging trends. Universities may also offer concentrations that allow students to obtain a special skill set; you can find much more information about potential courses and concentrations below.
What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Educational Technology Program?
Each university runs its own educational technology curriculum featuring different courses and electives. However, most universities offer many similar courses that cover the basics of educational technology. These courses usually explore skills like instructional design and technological-mediated teaching techniques. The following list goes over five of these common courses.
Foundations of Educational Technology
Typically, colleges include an introductory course at the beginning of the curriculum to cover the basics of educational technology. A foundations course teaches students about the various schools of thought and practices of using technological tools for educational purposes. Students also learn about learning theories, like cognitive information processing and how to integrate tech applications and devices into those theories.
Schools and universities continue to offer more of their courses through distance learning. This class explores how to plan for online courses, run both asynchronous and synchronous components, and keep students engaged. Coursework may cover online education in general or focus on teaching K-12 or college classes.
Multimedia learning integrates many different educational tools and methods in the classroom, beyond reading, writing, and discussion. This might include PowerPoint presentations, videos, interactive games, and other technologies. Students learn about different theories behind multimedia learning, and they also learn which types of multimedia tools work more effectively than others.
To understand how to best implement educational technology in curriculum plans, students must thoroughly comprehend instructional design. Learners in this class study how to create lesson plans based on required curriculum standards. They also learn about technology-mediated methods meant to help students understand difficult skills and content.
Technology Integration Through Professional Development
Designed for teachers who train other teachers, this course covers how to incorporate educational technology into professional development courses. Participants learn to train teachers and show them how to merge technological tools into their own classrooms.
What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Educational Technology Program?
Master's programs in educational technology sometimes offer concentrations, although most programs do not. Instead, students may choose to earn a graduate certificate to supplement their degree. The list below offers two examples of specializations and one possible graduate certificate for master's candidates.
- Distance Education
Master's candidates can sometimes opt to pursue an entire concentration in distance education. Students learn about instructional design within the context of online content. They study how best to deliver course content, engage students of all ages, and evaluate student learning.
- K-12 Education
Individuals who want to focus on bringing technology into primary and secondary school classrooms can choose this specialization. Courses focus on using tech tools to aid teachers in instructing students. While certain techniques may help older children, they may confuse or distract younger children. Therefore, this concentration also examines how students learn at different ages and which technologies can offer the most effective teaching methods.
If you want to create your own education application, computer program, or game, consider earning a graduate certificate in programming. This certificate teaches students coding skills, enabling them to create computer programs. Graduates can put both their educational technology knowledge and programming abilities to work to create effective tools for kids and adult learners.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
Online master's in educational technology programs usually require students to complete either a capstone project or thesis research. A capstone may involve developing an interactive learning module, program grant or proposal, policy analysis, or any other project that synthesizes curricular material.
Other programs may require thesis research. This involves putting together a master's thesis faculty committee, writing a proposal, and carrying out research through quantitative and/or qualitative methods. When they are finished, students defend their results in front of their faculty committee. Some schools allow students to choose between research or a project, enabling master's candidates to fulfill a culminating experience that matches their interests and career goals.
How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Educational Technology Program
When researching online master's programs in educational technology, make sure potential programs possess accreditation. Accreditation ensures that schools offer students a quality education. Plus, employers look for new hires with accredited degrees, and states require educator certification candidates to hold accredited degrees.
Your college or university should hold accreditation from a regional accreditation agency, like the New England Commission on Higher Education or the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In addition, your master's program itself may hold specialized accreditation. Look for accreditation from agencies like the International Society for Technology in Education, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Finally, keep an eye out for low graduation and retention rates, which often serve as red flags. Read about faculty qualifications and look through course descriptions. If faculty members seem unqualified or if courses do not cover what you expect, you should consider another program instead.
Career Opportunities With a Master's in Educational Technology Degree
A master's in educational technology can prove useful when hunting for administrative jobs within education. Employers look for people who can effectively implement technology into learning curricula and keep up with technological changes. Therefore, many people who earn this degree can find jobs as instructional coordinators, principals, or training and development managers. The list below describes how a master's in educational technology can help you land these and other jobs. Keep in mind that a master's degree does not guarantee employment in any of these roles. Additionally, some positions may also require a certificate or license.
- Instructional Coordinator
Instructional coordinators plan curricula and set the teaching standards for schools and other educational programs. They check students' grades and test data to evaluate whether certain instructional approaches prove effective. They may also train teachers to implement curricula, including how to integrate technology and multimedia into lesson plans. Instructional coordinators need at least a master's degree, and they sometimes require a state license if working for a public school system.
- Median Salary: $64,540 per year
- Currently Employed: 181,600
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +6%
- Training and Development Manager
These professionals work for companies and other organizations overseeing training or continuing education courses. They may supervise training staff and teach sessions themselves. These managers must keep up with research in professional development and evolving technologies within their industry. They also update training programs based on recent advances. Although training and development managers can find jobs with only a bachelor's degree, many employers prefer job candidates with a master's.
- Median Salary: $111,340 per year
- Currently Employed: 37,800
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +8%
- Training and Development Specialist
Training and development specialists carry out training and professional development sessions at companies and other organizations. They may operate several different types of educational sessions, like working one-on-one with employees, running workshops for new hires, or teaching several people at once through workshops. Training specialists may sometimes perform their jobs through online sessions; as a result, they must know how to effectively use technology to educate others. In this way, a master's in educational technology can give these professionals a boost in their job search.
- Median Salary: $60,870 per year
- Currently Employed: 306,400
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +9%
- K-12 Principal
Principals act as the main administrators at schools. They can work at the elementary, middle, or high school level managing the operations of schools. These professionals supervise teachers and coordinate curriculum requirements. They also take on high-level administrative and financial responsibilities. Principals need state certification to work in public schools. States generally require principal certification candidates to earn a master's degree in a field like educational leadership, administration, or technology.
- Median Salary: $95,310 per year
- Currently Employed: 275,400
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +4%
- High School Teacher
Many people who study educational technology go on to work as classroom teachers. These educators work in secondary schools and usually focus on teaching one specific subject, like English literature or biology. They create and carry out lesson plans and evaluate students by giving tests and grading assignments. Although teachers do not always need a master's to work in high schools, this degree can boost their job prospects and help them bring new learning technologies into the classroom.
- Median Salary: $60,320 per year
- Currently Employed: 38,200
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 years: +4%
Source: BLS, 2019
What Is the Expected Job Growth for Educational Technology Careers?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects positive job outlooks for many workers with a master's in educational technology. Specifically, training and development manager and specialist jobs are projected to increase by 8% and 9%, respectively, from 2018-2028. Rapid changes in technology are expected to fuel this growth, according to the BLS. Training and educational programs continue to change and develop with the creation of new tools, like social media and mobile applications.
Professional Organizations for Careers in Educational Technology
Professional associations can help current students and recent graduates overcome several hurdles when beginning their careers. For example, students and graduates can network and meet potential employers at conferences, forums, and workshops. They can also access job boards, which professional organizations frequently host.
- This organization connects professionals who prioritize technology in learning and teaching. Members can earn certification; take advantage of webinars; and attend conferences, summits, and other events. They also receive access to ISTE-published magazines, podcasts, and journals.
- Founded in 1923, this organization promotes technology-based learning. The group offers networking opportunities like conferences and symposiums. Members may also participate in professional development events.
- This organization follows an interdisciplinary mission, promoting education and instructional design in all of its forms. The society runs a job posting website and hosts a special interest group — the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning community — for professionals interested in educational technology.
- This association aims to advance information technology and e-learning in schools. The group shares the latest research in education technology through conferences and journal publications. In addition, AACE gives its members access to a digital library and career center.
- This group focuses on introducing innovative teaching methods into the educational system. Members can take advantage of tools and resources hosted by Future Ready's online catalogue. They can also attend workshops, forums, and leadership institutes sponsored by the group.
How to Pay for a Master's in Educational Technology Degree
The cost of a master's degree in educational technology can seem intimidating. That said, don't assume that you need to pay the entire tuition cost listed on the university's website out of pocket. You can find several financial aid options, including federal loans, scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships, to lower the price.
- Federal Financial Aid
The federal government offers different types of grants and low-interest student loans, which come with borrower protections and a grace period. These loans are usually a better deal than loans from private organizations, like banks. Therefore, undergraduate and graduate students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year to determine whether they qualify for aid from the federal government.
- Institutional Scholarships
Colleges and universities often offer scholarships to students with an impressive academic or professional background. Search for general scholarships from your university, as well as specialized scholarships from your education department. For these financial awards, you may need to complete extra requirements while filling out your application, like writing an essay or creating a project.
- Outside Scholarships
Many organizations and groups unaffiliated with your college or university may run scholarship contests, as well. You may need to spend a bit more time looking for these awards, but the rewards can make a significant difference in funding your degree. Look for scholarships from companies, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, school systems, and professional associations.
- Fellowships and Assistantships
For this category of financial aid, recipients usually need to work or participate in academic research in exchange for funding. Universities offer assistantships to graduate research or teaching assistants; this money typically comes in the form of a paycheck every month. Fellowships may come from the college or another private organization, and students may need to carry out research or complete an internship to earn fellowship funding.