What to Know About Online Master's in Math Education Coursework
Math education master's programs explore math subjects commonly covered in K-12 classrooms. Students who specialize in a certain grade level take classes pertaining to math skills for that age group. For example, high school students may study calculus, while middle school students typically learn about less advanced math concepts.
Math education programs train students to build curricula and identify effective teaching techniques for typical and special needs classrooms. Learners also explore methods for motivating students, maintaining classroom order, and determining the learning needs of individual students. Participants gain skills in assessment, leadership, and communication.
Online learners complete coursework and interact with professors virtually. Distance students often work independently and must meet deadlines; online learning requires dedication and strong time management skills.
Master's degree-seekers typically complete 30-45 credits. Along with coursework, requirements often include seminars, workshops, fieldwork, and a capstone project. Most students graduate in 1-3 years, depending on factors like program format, learning speed, and credit requirements.
What Common Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Math Education Program?
The top master's in math education programs cover teaching methodologies and classroom organization. Students gain knowledge related to the math subjects they plan to teach, and learners develop assessment skills that graduates use to determine student needs. Required courses vary by school, but many math education programs include the following options.
High School Mathematics Curriculum
Coursework explores common high school math subjects, such as calculus and linear algebra. This class may address strategies for teaching these subjects, explore current research, and examine math education throughout history. Students may also learn techniques for adapting teaching methods for students with special needs. Programs may offer similar courses for elementary and middle school specializations.
Degree-seekers learn to determine classroom needs by observing and reviewing each student's performance. Teachers can use their assessments to structure activities and curricula and to improve classroom quality. This class may prepare learners to adapt lessons for various classrooms, such as multicultural settings. The course may also focus on certain grade levels.
Students in this course examine the research process, including finding research questions and clearly presenting conclusions. Candidates explore traits of scholarly sources, methods for action-based research, and strategies for interpreting research. Coursework may also address techniques for incorporating research conclusions into classrooms. Programs often require courses in quantitative and qualitative research.
Technology for Math Classrooms
This class covers common technology for math classrooms, such as graphing calculators, math websites, and relevant software. Learners explore issues and benefits related to each tool and learn how state educational standards incorporate technology. Students may learn to choose technologies that are appropriate for specific grade levels.
Degree-seekers study shapes, such as circles and parallelograms, to prepare to teach these concepts. Students learn traits of each shape and methods for determining volume, area, length, and angles. Master's in math education programs may also require coursework in subjects like algebra, number operations, and calculus.
What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Math Education Program?
Many accredited master's in math education programs allow students to specialize in a certain age group, such as high school or middle school. Concentrations may also focus on a learning style. Not all schools offer specializations; however, when available, concentrations provide focused coursework that prepares students for particular careers.
- Secondary Education
Degree-seekers examine curricula and teaching strategies for high school educators. Programs explore common high school math subjects, such as geometry and calculus, and train learners to assess classroom needs. Degree-seekers may also study classroom management and adolescent behavior. Additional topics often include technology and trends for math learning.
- Middle School
Students in this concentration often explore child development and classroom management. Specialization coursework examines typical middle school math subjects, such as algebra. Students also learn techniques for assessing student needs and structuring lesson plans. Coursework may address relevant technology and the history of math education.
- Special Education
Students learn to assess the needs of individual students and to effectively present course information. Learners prepare to create individualized education plans, and they gain an understanding of learning disorders. Coursework may examine policy and ethical concerns related to special education, along with strategies for social encouragement. This specialization may also cover methods for teaching gifted learners.
What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?
Master's in math education programs often require supervised fieldwork, which students may complete as a culminating experience or throughout the program. Learners typically undertake fieldwork in a setting related to their specialization. For example, learners specializing in secondary education may complete student teaching in a high school math classroom. Institutions may assign advisors to oversee fieldwork and approve practicum settings.
Other common capstone requirements for master's in math education programs include a math education thesis or an original research project. Departments may also require seminars and comprehensive assessments.
How Can I Choose a Quality Online Master's in Math Education Program?
Students should ensure that their prospective institution holds national or regional accreditation. In addition, the top master's in math education programs hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Learners can also research program statistics to find high-quality master's programs. For example, a low admission rate indicates that a program is selective, and a high student retention rate may suggest that learners are happy with the quality of their education.
A low faculty turnover rate can also indicate a high-quality program, with a content and established group of professors. Prospective students can also look into the credentials and focus areas of faculty members.
Degree-seekers should also consider each program's fieldwork and networking opportunities. Programs may host visiting speakers, connect students with internships, and provide webinars and on-campus events. These options can help students develop professional connections and build their resume.
Career Opportunities With a Master's in Math Education Degree
After earning an accredited master's in math education, graduates can pursue positions as K-12 teachers and instructional coordinators. Graduates often work with elementary, middle, and high school students. Individuals should choose a master's program with a specialization option related to the age group they plan to teach.
Graduates can also work in math-focused careers outside of education. For example, degree-holders can pursue roles in insurance and financial advising. Students who plan to work outside of education often have more program options since they do not need to qualify for teaching certification.
- Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
Elementary educators prepare children for middle school by teaching basic concepts in math, science, language arts, and science. These teachers create assignments and lesson plans based on student needs. These educators also plan activities that help students build confidence and social skills, discuss each student's progress with their family, and uphold classroom rules. A master's in math education can lead to certification for these positions.
- Median Salary: $57,980 per year
- Currently Employed: 1,569,000
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +3%
- Instructional Coordinators
Instructional coordinators shape curricula for school districts. These professionals consider student performance and discuss academic needs with faculty. Instructional coordinators may build new curricula; deliver training opportunities; and recommend textbooks, technology, and programs to improve classroom quality.
Coordinators typically hold a master's in curriculum and instruction, a master's in educational leadership, or a subject-focused degree. For example, a master's in math education may qualify candidates to shape math curricula. However, these positions typically require field experience.
- Median Salary: $64,450 per year
- Currently Employed: 181,600
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +6%
- Financial Analysts
Financial analysts provide guidance related to investments and review company records to identify financial issues. Organizations may require analysts to submit reports on suggested changes and financial pursuits. Analysts may also offer advice on which products to buy and sell. These professionals must stay up-to-date on market trends and discuss business goals with clients.
Financial analysts typically need a bachelor's degree in a field such as statistics, mathematics, or accounting. However, a master's in math education can signal math expertise and increase employment chances.
- Median Salary: $85,660 per year
- Currently Employed: 329,500
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +6%
- Personal Financial Advisors
Personal financial advisors help clients make decisions about investments, purchases, and savings. Advisors also help clients meet financial and life goals. For example, an advisor may suggest strategies to prepare for early retirement. Additional responsibilities may involve advising clients on tax regulations and determining when to alter financial plans.
This position often requires a bachelor's in a math-related field. A master's in math education demonstrates in-depth knowledge of mathematical concepts and can make degree-holders competitive for financial advisor roles.
- Median Salary: $88,890 per year
- Currently Employed: 271,700
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: +7%
- Insurance Underwriters
Insurance underwriters review applications for insurance policies to determine which applicants should receive a policy offer. Underwriters consider details like medical history. After approving applicants, insurance underwriters make decisions about policy terms and premiums. Companies typically require underwriters to hold a bachelor's degree in a field such as economics, business, or math. Candidates with a master's in math education may have a competitive edge for these positions.
- Median Salary: $69,380 per year
- Currently Employed: 110,400
- Expected Job Growth in Next 10 Years: -5%
Source: BLS, 2019
What Is the Expected Job Growth for Math Education Careers?
The job outlook for graduates of math education master's programs varies depending on the positions they pursue. For example, the BLS projects a 5% decline in insurance underwriter positions from 2018-2028 but projects personal financial advisor opportunities to grow 7% during the same time frame. Factors impacting job outlook for math education professionals include an increase in elderly citizens, higher attendance at K-12 schools, and decreased use of pension plans for retirement.
Industry and location can also impact job availability and salary potential. For instance, according to the BLS, personal financial advisors who work in real estate earn the highest average salaries. Additionally, financial advisors in New York earn a higher average salary than professionals in any other state.
Professional Organizations for Careers in Math Education
Math teachers can join field organizations to gain access to professional development opportunities and scholarly publications. Professional organizations often host national, international, and regional events that allow members to network and expand their field knowledge. These organizations may also offer career resources such as job boards and resume critiques.
- Teachers can access lesson plans and leadership tips through NEA's website. NEA also provides funding for schools and teachers, delivers events including the NEA National Leadership Summit, and hosts the Read Across America program.
- NCTM delivers the Centennial Annual Meeting and Exposition, along with regional conferences. Members can access publications, webinars, webcasts, and online seminars on topics such as state standards and teaching students with special needs.
- This association oversees events including the Research Symposium, MathFest, and regional conferences. The association publishes the Spring Series collection, which includes math-related content. Members can access career resources, such as a list of available positions.
- The MA hosts events including conferences and professional development days. The association also puts together several publications, including The Mathematical Gazette and SYMmetry Plus.
- The AMS hosts yearly meetings and connects individuals to events from other organizations, such as the World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society. AMS publications include Conformal Geometry and Dynamics and Mathematics of Computation.
How to Pay for a Master's in Math Education Degree
Students pursuing a master's in math education should consider costs like graduate tuition — which often surpasses undergraduate rates — and textbooks. Degree-seekers can explore the following financial aid opportunities to try and reduce the financial burden of earning a master's degree.
- Federal Financial Aid
Federal financial aid includes grants, loans, and work-study programs. Students attending accredited institutions who meet basic criteria can qualify for this aid. Candidates must demonstrate financial need to receive federal funding. Degree-seekers should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine whether they qualify for assistance from the federal government.
- Income-share Agreements
Students who participate in income-share agreements receive tuition assistance but must give a portion of each paycheck to the funding organization after graduation. Recipients do not pay interest. However, graduates make payments for a set amount of time, which means the repaid amount may surpass the borrowed amount.
Students can earn scholarships based on criteria such as academic merit, athletic performance, heritage, community service, and major. Educational institutions and private companies award scholarships. Application requirements vary, but many scholarship programs require applicants to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Math education students can apply for the Mathematics Graduate Course Work Scholarships for Teachers from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
- Institutional Work-study Programs
Students in institutional and federal work-study programs receive pay in exchange for part-time employment. In institutional work-study programs, the school provides funding. Institutions typically offer work-study placement related to the student's field. For example, math education students may work in an on-campus math tutoring lab.