Earning a Master's in Educational Technology Online

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Educational or instructional technology stands out as the study and practice of integrating new and emerging technologies in education to enhance learning. This rapidly growing industry presents many opportunities for growth and development.

According to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, undergraduate enrollment in education remains stable, while enrollment in technology-related fields is on the rise. Many new grads seek to set themselves apart by further advancing their careers with an online master's degree in instructional technology. This page outlines the potential salary increases for degree holders, general job outlook, degree funding and requirements, and other resources that can support students and graduates.

Student Profile: Who Earns an Online Master's Degree in Educational Technology?

Educational technology online master's programs provide a path to degree completion suitable for many learners. Bachelor's-level students aiming to advance their careers and those interested in pursuing this specialization stand out as the most obvious learners. Working professionals seeking to broaden their career prospects or enhance their salary find the convenience of an online master of educational technology especially advantageous, as do those weighing their options between professional certification and a graduate degree.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Educational Technology?

Pursuing Specialization

An educational technology online master's allows learners to further specialize within the industry or to branch out in adjacent industries. Growing specializations such as instructional design and web development allow learners to rise as valued experts in industry-specific fields. Concentrations such as information science and human resource management place students in an excellent position to pursue career opportunities in a variety of related industries.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Individuals holding an online master's in instructional technology almost always stand in a better position to advance their careers than those with a bachelor's degree. The skills this degree promotes remain highly sought after by potential employers, making degree holders valuable assets in the industry.

Online Learning Technology

Individuals with an online master of educational technology remain proficient in the latest communication and web-based learning technologies. The ability to deftly use tools such as screencasts and webcasts places learners in an excellent position within the growing industry, while working familiarity with virtual classroom platforms increases mobility within relevant job sectors. Experience with these tools and resources adds important value to professional portfolios and enhances future career development.

Prerequisites for Online Educational Technology Programs

Prospective students should note several important prerequisites before pursuing an online master of educational technology. Students should satisfy these requirements before admission.

    • Work Experience: Most online educational technology degrees do not include work experience prerequisites, but potential applicants should consult admissions departments, as requirements can vary. Students with field experience can discuss their work in an application essay.
    • Exams and Test Scores: Many schools require recent GRE test scores, which must be no more than five years old. Most online master of instructional technology programs that require test scores do not stipulate a minimum score range, though exceptions may exist.
    • Coursework: While no universal coursework prerequisites exist, applicants should consult specific admissions protocol for more information. Most programs generally require a minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0. Some schools require a minimum 3.5 GPA.
    • Recommendations: Online master's in educational technology programs generally require 2-3 references or recommendation letters. These documents should come from recommenders who can cogently assess the applicant's work experience, academic aptitude, and potential for future success.
    • Essays: Applicants for the online educational technology degree must submit an essay, application letter, or purpose statement. This document should address the applicant's intentions in pursuing the degree, outline their professional goals, and explain why the specific program stands as the best avenue to achieve those goals. Some school applications may include specific questions that the essay must address.
    • Interviews: Interviews generally do not remain a standard prerequisite for an online master's in educational technology. Potential applicants should consult specific admissions resources, as this requirement varies by program.
    • International Students: International students must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Additionally, international students seeking admission to online master's programs in instructional technology must hold an equivalent four-year bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

How Much Can I Make with a Master's Degree in Educational Technology?

The average salary for individuals possessing an online master's degree in instructional technology hovers around $65,000. Previous work experience plays a role, but formal education also remains important, as employers often seek candidates who possess a broader set of hard skills. Specific knowledge of emerging technologies, familiarity with learning management systems, and engagement with new media tools remain just a few of the skills learners gain along the way. This knowledge and expertise places learners in a better position to think outside the box and pursue nontraditional career paths.

Traditional Careers for Master's in Educational Technology Graduates

Career Stats Description

Curriculum Specialist

Median Pay: $54,823

Job Growth: 11%

Curriculum specialists analyze, evaluate, and fine-tune an organization's general learning plan in concert with teachers and administration officials. This full-time, office-based role may require some travel.

Ideal for: Critical and analytical thinkers interested in development metrics and measurements of success.

Education and Training Consultant

Median Pay: $63,409

Job Growth: 10.8%

Education and training consultants develop and implement the strategic priorities specific to educational institutions through employee training and developmental planning. This typically full-time position may require some travel.

Ideal for: Long-term, strategic thinkers with strong written and interpersonal skills.

Instructional Coordinator

Median Pay: $63,750

Job Growth: 11%

Instructional coordinators administer school curricula and manage a school's teaching standards. They assess overall effectiveness, create instructional material, and coordinate that material's implementation. Instructional coordinators work the entire year and remain vital in nearly every educational organization.

Ideal for: Analytical individuals with experience in administration and educational metrics.

Instructional Technologist

Median Pay: $55,326

Job Growth: 11%

Instructional technologists work in conjunction with school administration to identify technology-based tools applicable to their settings. They facilitate the overall implementation of these resources and assist in determining appropriate curricula.

Ideal for: Individuals who prefer to work behind the scenes and those familiar with emerging technologies.

Nontraditional Careers for Master's in Educational Technology Graduates

Career Stats Description

Technical Writer

Median Pay: $70,930

Job Growth: 11%

Technical writers develop an organization's technical information in the form of instructional manuals, guides, and other supporting documentation. While many industries need technical writers, most work in the computer and engineering industries.

Ideal for: Detail-oriented individuals with excellent writing skills and some experience in an adjacent technical field.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale, 2017-2018

Paying for an Online Master's in Educational Technology

Many online programs in educational technology offer differing tuition rates and multiple paths to degree completion. Keeping these rates and paths in mind can help lower costs. For example, students might save money in the long run on a faster, more accelerated degree path, while learners pursuing a traditional, full-time pace earn eligibility for financial aid opportunities through their school. All potential students benefit from the many nationally available grants and scholarships specific to the field.

Subject-Specific Financial Aid, Grants, and Scholarships

Beyond institutional aid, many subject-specific scholarships and other financial aid opportunities exist that help defray the cost of pursuing a master's degree in educational technology online.

What to Expect from a Master's-Level Online Educational Technology Program

Regardless of specific path or tuition timeline, all students pursuing an online master of educational technology face the same requirements. These involve completing core coursework, exploring electives and possible specialization areas, and participating in robust virtual classroom experiences. Some programs require students to pass a final comprehensive examination, though this does not exist as a universal requirement. Many programs allow students to complete an optional final thesis or capstone project relevant to the field and their interests.

Major Milestones

  1. Application Submission

    Students typically submit applications during the academic year prior to matriculation, though exceptions exist. Prospective students must gather and submit all application documentation and supplementary materials.

  2. Program Entry and Matriculation

    Most programs begin in the fall, though some allow for spring or summer matriculation. Accepted students register and enroll in their first load of courses, which is typically 6-9 credit hours for full-time learners.

  3. Completion of Core Coursework

    Fulfillment of core coursework requirements stands as the first major milestone toward program completion. Students often take these courses together during their first semester.

  4. Exploration of Electives and Areas of Specialization

    Once students meet core requirements, they can explore course electives of interest. During this time, most learners choose an area of focus or concentration that allows them to specialize in subfields that cohere with their long-term career goals.

  5. Comprehensive Examination

    Some programs require students to take and pass a comprehensive examination. Other than graduation, the exam serves as the the culmination of the degree and requires learners to synthesize and integrate their knowledge and skills from their course of study.

  6. Graduation and Job Market Entry

    Following the comprehensive exam, students move to graduation and program completion. At this stage, many learners seek employment, while others consult career services for support.

Coursework

Courses for online master of educational technology programs include core requirements, specializations, and electives. The courses below represent a cross-section of these divisions and remain indicative of the main objectives of the course of study.

Technology and the Science of Learning

This course explores the role technology plays in learning and cognition. Students learn to develop and execute strategies for technology education in active learning environments that facilitate collaborative knowledge acquisition.

Educational Technology Integration

Students in this course examine the burgeoning intersections of teaching, learning, and technology use. The class examines emerging multimedia channels, as well as traditional hardware and software tools, with the aim of empowering learners to implement seamless technological integration in a broad array of educational settings.

Emerging Issues in Digital Age Learning

This course gives students a greater familiarity with the use and understanding of new, digital-age technologies that often remain specific to internet-based culture. Participants examine augmented and virtual reality technologies, social media, digital libraries, gaming, and data mining. Students evaluate these tools for their efficacy and potential classroom integration.

Theoretical Foundations of Learning, Design, and Technology

Learners in this course explore a variety of theoretical resources that pertain to the nexus between learning, pedagogy, and technology. The course prepares students to develop and analyze the conceptual and philosophical principles that both support and complicate technology usage in contemporary learning environments.

Measuring the Impact of Technology on Learning

This course prepares and empowers learners to effectively evaluate the present and future effects of technology use in educational settings. Students learn to develop important metrics for measuring these effects in conjunction with standards of learning at the federal and state levels.

Licenses and Certifications

Earning an online educational technology degree typically prepares students for entry into the field. However, some additional certification and licensure requirements may exist. These continuing education opportunities allow learners to demonstrate their expertise. They can open the door to more job opportunities in related industries and often position individuals as more attractive employment candidates.

    • Teacher Licensure: Individuals who wish to teach in K-12 classrooms must hold a teaching license. The cost and requirements for this license remain state-specific and usually involve passing a standardized exam that demonstrates general competency and knowledge in specific subject areas.
    • Library and Information Science Certification: Employment in the field of library and information science requires additional certification. This certificate proves that an individual meets all state-mandated requirements by passing an exam that demonstrates overall competency in the area. The certification cost varies by state.
    • Corporate Training Certification: Students interested in careers in the corporate sector benefit from professional corporate training certification. The requirements and cost for this certification vary by industry. However, most certifying organizations require that candidates pass a skills and knowledge-based exam that demonstrates their aptitudes and prepares them for technical training facilitation.
    • ATD Certification in Professional Learning and Development This certification provides learners with professional learning and development in instructional design, learning technologies, and knowledge management. Candidates must possess at least five years of related work experience and must pass a knowledge and skills application exam. The cost stands at $900 for ATD members, and $1,250 for nonmembers.

Professional Organizations and Resources

A variety of professional organizations and resources further enrich the educational and instructional technology field. Professional organizations provide useful networking opportunities and continuing education programs. Many host annual conferences where members can mingle with their colleagues while staying current on recent field developments. Industry-specific resources provide useful tools such as realtime job boards and general career services that remain indispensable for students and working professionals.

  • Association for Educational Communications and Technology: AECT exists as an organization of instructional designers and educators concerned with raising awareness and leveraging technology to enhance learning and teaching. The organization hosts events, provides awards, and houses a field-specific reference library.
  • International Society for Technology in Education: ISTE exists as a global organization interested in harnessing the power of technology to transform education and encourage creative innovation. The society hosts an annual conference, facilitates international collaborations, and provides many tools and resources for industry professionals.
  • Instructional Technology Council: Founded in 1977, ITC focuses on advancing distance education by providing exceptional leadership in the field and promoting new, innovative practices. The council hosts a career center, facilitates eLearning academies and webinars, and supports industry professionals through grants and awards.
  • Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education: An international, nonprofit, AACE exists to advance eLearning research and information technology. The group hosts an annual conference, publishes several field-specific journals, and provides learners with a digital library and career center.
  • American Educational Research Association: AERA stands as a national research organization that aims to promote general knowledge about education in order to serve the public good. The organization hosts an annual conference and provides a variety of resources, including professional advancement tools, publications, education research, and policy information.