All U.S. states require teachers in public schools to meet specific certification requirements. Generally, these requirements include a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and in some cases, a master's degree. Certified teachers who would like to move into other roles within the education system need to pursue additional master's degree study in areas such as school counseling, curriculum and instruction, library science or reading.
Curriculum and Instruction
A Master of Arts in Education degree with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction programs focus on both theory and practical experiences in curriculum methodology and pedagogy. Students graduate with a greater understanding of the learner and the process of education. Often, students with a degree in this field move out of the classroom and take on school or district administrative roles, such as Instructional Coordinator, in which they develop policies and procedures and train other teachers on new technologies and instructional methods.
Some certified teachers find that they would prefer to be out of the classroom environment and in a role that helps students on a more personal level. School counselors help students with academics, personal issues, social problems and career development. To become a school counselor, the teacher must earn a master’s degree in school counseling. This degree focuses on classes such as human growth and development, counseling, testing, social foundations, career development and research.
Library Science or School Media Specialist
The school librarian or school media specialist is a certified teacher with education concentrating in school librarianship. Different states require different educational paths for this career, but in most cases, the school librarian earns either a Master of Library Science with a concentration in school media or a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in school media. If the student pursuing the Master of Library Science does not already have a teaching license, additional courses must be taken to meet the minimum state requirements for teachers. Courses in these degree programs include teaching literacy, children’s literature, library administration, cataloging and instructional technology.
Reading specialists are teachers who focus on literacy. Certification as a reading specialist can be obtained either through a master’s degree in education with a reading specialist concentration or through a graduate-level certificate program in reading. Both paths require most of the same courses, but the certificate programs are usually a few credit hours shorter. Courses cover topics such as psychology of reading, diagnosis of reading problems and English as a second language.
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: What Instructional Coordinators Do
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Librarians
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher
- University of Massachusetts: Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, M.Ed.
- Concordia University Chicago: MA in Curriculum and Instruction
- American School Counselor Association: State Certification Requirements
- American Association of School Librarians; ALA and AASL: Assuring Quality in School Librarianship Education Programs
- CalU: Reading Specialist
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