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Online Master’s Degree in Teaching Mathematics

A masters degree in teaching mathematics, also known as mathematics education, is a popular subject for both K-12 math teachers who want to learn how to maximize their effectiveness in the classroom and careerchangers who want to transition into teaching math. The degree can lead to higher salaries for teachers who only hold a baccalaureate degree as well as help those who don’t have teaching certification become certified. Since many students who attend such programs are working teachers, many of today’s universities have begun offering accredited online masters programs in teaching mathematics. Program length varies by the school, though an online masters degree in teaching mathematics typically takes two to three years to complete. Online masters degree programs may take longer if they incorporate a teacher certification component, if it’s part-time, or if a student must complete prerequisites beforehand.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Teaching Mathematics

The courses a student takes in an online masters degree program in teaching mathematics typically cover theories on how students come to learn and understand mathematic principles, as well as practical means of teaching mathematical concepts. Students might take courses in advanced mathematics to brush up on their own skills in more complex areas such as calculus or trigonometry, as well. Most master’s degree programs also require a research component in which students learn how to analyze and conduct research in mathematics education. Required classes vary from school to school, though courses you might encounter include:

  • Methods of Teaching Middle and Secondary Math
  • Learning and Teaching Geometry in the K-12 Classroom
  • History, Current Trends, and Technology in Mathematics Education
  • Learning and Teaching Algebraic Concepts, Data Analysis, and Probability
  • Transformative Mathematics in the Differentiated Classroom

Students are required to complete a variety of projects while working toward their online masters degrees. Depending on the program, this could mean a master’s thesis, or a capstone project in which students identify a mathematics education problem in a real-world instructional environment, implement a new initiative to address that problem, collect data on the results of the initiative, and turn in the results of their research to their professors, who will then provide a conclusion on the effectiveness of the initiative. Other programs might incorporate practicum experiences where students must implement the best practices they are learning in actual high school and middle school classrooms, ultimately turning in a portfolio detailing their method of assessing their students as well as samples of their students’ work.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Teaching Mathematics

Most individuals who earn a master degree in teaching mathematics go on to work as high school and middle school math teachers. The minimum requirement to become a high school or middle school teacher at public schools is a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but some states require teachers to earn a master’s degree after becoming certified. Even for states where a masters degree is not required, a teacher’s salary often increases based on educational attainment, making a master’s degree an attractive option for teachers who want to increase their earning power. Employment of high school teachers and middle school teachers is projected to grow by 7% and 17%, respectively, between 2010 and 2020.

Depending on their background, some graduates may go on to teach mathematics at the community college or junior college level. The minimum degree requirement for teaching positions at two-year colleges is a master’s degree, although a Ph.D may be preferred, notes the BLS. Employment growth for postsecondary teachers is projected to be 17% between 2010 and 2020, with the most job growth expected in for-profit higher education institutions. Job growth will be driven by the increasing number of people expected to enroll in college over the next 10 years.

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