As a teacher, whether you are considering graduate degree in education or continuing education for teachers, you need to choose a specialty. There are many graduate degrees in education available, ranging from Teaching to Administration to Operational Management. You can also choose to study Human Development and Psychology, Literacy, or Technology—all in the Education sector. By the time you’ve finished your undergraduate work, however, you’ve probably already discovered your personal preferences in the wide field of education. So it’s time to take that next step to get your graduate degree in education.
What education graduate programs will you apply to? What graduate program will you ultimately attend? Selecting a graduate school entails many considerations, much more than just choosing your education specialty. Although you may know what you want to focus on at the graduate level, you may not be aware that there are differences between graduate programs, both in academic goals and practical philosophies. In choosing your graduate school, you may want to spend some serious time thinking about your own precise goals and directions, and use that knowledge to weigh differing graduate programs before you decide where to attend.
First, consider the basic facts when selecting a graduate school. The location, the cost, and the types of programs offered are the most commonly cited considerations by most potential graduate students. What many students may not know, is that even though different schools may offer similar programs, many academic departments have very clear and specific goals for their students and graduates that can be very unlike a comparable schools graduate program. Graduate degrees in education are very specific in purpose and goals–be sure to research thoroughly and choose carefully.
To make the most of your graduate degree in education, it is worth the time to compare departments at different graduate schools and to learn about the professors and their teaching goals and their fields of expertise. Additionally, if you are considering a number of different colleges or universities that seem equally attractive, take some time to look over each school’s class offerings, deciding if any one program has classes that hold a particular appeal for you or seem to be particularly important in helping you meet your own personal goals. You might want to also evaluate the continuing education for teachers they offer.
It is also valuable to take some time to look into a department’s reputation. Are most of its graduates placed in desirable positions? Are there additional educational perks such as proximity to conferences, a professional journal, or opportunities to become published in your field? The Internet is a particularly useful tool for scanning the staff of colleges and universities across the country to see what schools the professors hail from.
Whether you are pursuing a Master’s or a Doctorate in Education, there are so many things to consider when selecting your graduate program. While it may seem time intensive and at times overwhelming, putting in that time and effort before going into a graduate program will pay off handsomely. When it comes time to hang that sheepskin on the wall and begin the next step into your future, you will find yourself more focused and prepared for that wide, wide world.