Support students in the formative early adolescent years with an online master’s degree in middle school education. With this degree, you’ll be prepared to teach students in grades 6th through 8th as they become more independent and start taking subject-based classes. The ability to teach at this level is an incredible opportunity for teachers who are interested in supporting students as they begin to learn on a more serious level. And as the demand for qualified teachers at the middle school level continues to grow, you’ll enjoy a strong job outlook and good job opportunities with an advanced degree in education.
The Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Middle School Education
A master’s degree in middle school education will allow you to pursue teaching and leadership in education at a higher level. While most teachers may have a bachelor’s degree at the middle school level, a master’s degree is not as common, and will allow you to stand out. You may also choose to use your master’s degree to specialize in a middle school subject that interests you, such as math, science, history, or English.
Your master’s degree will likely place you at a higher earning level than a bachelor’s degree, and may also fulfill continuing education requirements set by your district or state. There’s the possibility of school leadership as well: often, lead teacher roles or administration positions will require a master’s degree, and with one, you’ll be prepared to step up to any opportunities that may become available.
Master’s in Middle School Education Curriculum
Coursework in master’s in middle school education programs is designed to offer teaching students a strong background in educational principles, along with teaching skills in specific areas of education. Courses in this degree program typically include:
- Classroom Management
- Teaching Methods
- Curriculum Design
- Adolescent Development
In addition to middle school education coursework, candidates may choose to pursue courses in teaching specific subjects, like English, math, or science. Students will also complete a student teaching requirement, and may be required to complete a capstone experience, such as a research project or comprehensive exam.
Trends in Middle School Education
Intriguingly, since their peak in 2005, stand-alone middle schools have been on a minor but steady decline. This trend has been accompanied by a jump in “elemiddle” schools (kindergarten through eighth grade), the result of schools and communities rethinking how kids develop and learn.
Another trend in middle school classrooms is a sharp increase in cyberbullying as mobile device usage and interest in social networks reaches middle school students. According to cyberbullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and more than one in three young people have experienced cyberthreats.
On the flip side, researchers and teachers at the middle school level and beyond are deeply interested in how new technologies can have a positive effect. Educational multimedia, gaming, and peer-to-peer social learning are changing the way that students absorb information.
Middle School Teaching Requirements
In the United States, all public middle school teachers must have a state-issued certification or teaching license. Private and parochial schools may or may not require one.
State licensure requirements vary, but aspiring middle school educators will usually need to provide evidence of:
- A bachelor’s degree in a chosen subject area (such as science), with a minor in education, or a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in their subject area
- Passing scores from teacher certification exams such as the Praxis tests
- Student teaching experience
In addition, alternative licensing programs are available for those looking to make a career change to middle school teaching. Check with your state licensing authority for details.
Working as a Middle School Teacher
Middle school educators teach, supervise and care for students in grades six through eight. This is typically a tricky transition time for adolescents, who are leaving childhood behind and preparing for the challenging prospect of high school.
Middle or intermediate teachers often specialize in a specific area of study, be it English, math, science or a foreign language. Their primary responsibility is teaching, but they are also responsible for grading papers, developing curricula, supervising homerooms and field trips and communicating with parents and administrators.
Middle School Teacher Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. jobs for middle school teachers are expected to increase by 12 percent until at least 2022, about the average for all occupations. Employment is likely to increase due to a decline in the student-teacher ratio and an increase in overall student enrollment, but will vary across regions. The South and West are the most promising areas for job growth.
The median annual salary for a middle school teacher is $53,430. Qualified middle school educators may choose to work in public or private schools, and as baby boomers retire, jobs are expected to open up. Certified middle school teachers can expand their career options with additional certification or higher education qualifications; for example, they can pursue a master’s degree in a chosen area of interest (such as administration) or voluntary teaching credentials such as National Board Certification.