Earning a Master’s in Math Education Online

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A specialized online math teaching degree gives teachers an advantage in career advancement. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, online learning enrollment has increased from 17 million to 20 million from 2005 to 2015. Many states have teacher shortages, particularly in subjects such as science, technology, engineering, and math, according to the Education Commission of the States. To incentivize students to go into teaching, some colleges offer discounts to teachers. Keep reading to find out what it takes to earn a master's degree in math education.

Student Profile: Who Earns an Online Master’s Degree in Math Education?

Numerous incentives motivate students to pursue an online master's degree in math education. Teachers and other working professionals wanting to boost their salary potential often pursue an online master's degree in math education. Many students with a bachelor's degree in teaching, or another related subject, often get a master’s degree in math education.

Why Get a Master’s Degree in Math Education?

Pursuing Specialization

Graduates with a master of science in mathematics education have more mobility to advance their careers. These graduates teach geometry, algebra, and other mathematics classes. The skills that graduates gain can be applied to other high-paying fields outside of education. With an online math teaching degree, graduates find jobs as actuaries, statisticians, investment analysts, quantitative analysts, and research analysts.

Career Advancement Opportunities

With a master of science in mathematics education degree, graduates can more easily advance within their current careers. Promotions provide graduates with the opportunity to take on more responsibility, and also enter a higher pay bracket. Teachers possessing a master's degree have higher earning potential. Some jobs may even provide monetary incentives to help employees earn a master of science in mathematics education degree.

Online Learning Technology

When students enroll in a master's program in math education, they earn a specialized education. Online students must use the latest technology to participate in lectures, to submit assignments, and take tests. This directly translates to a student's current or future profession, where they can use the same technology to communicate with clients internationally or teach.

Prerequisites for Online Math Education Programs

Prospective students should consider all prerequisites needed to apply for a master of science in mathematics education degree, which we have listed below.

    • Work Experience: Many students begin an online math teaching degree with prior work experience. Some programs require applicants to have a teaching certificate. However, students do not need work experience. Students often apply to graduate school immediately after earning a bachelor's degree.
    • Exams and Test Scores: Every program has different admission requirements. Some master’s degree in math education online programs may ask applicants to take a graduate record examination (GRE). More commonly, applicants can apply without taking any graduate-level exams. If a program does ask for a GRE exam, students should know that those results remain valid for up to five years.
    • Coursework: Applicants typically need two college-level calculus courses and higher mathematics courses beyond calculus to gain admittance. Potential students must provide college transcripts demonstrating at least a minimum 3.0 GPA. Colleges do accept applicants with a lower GPA, but do so on a case-by-case basis.
    • Recommendations: Admissions offices typically require 2-3 letters of recommendation. These should be professional or academic references, such as former or current bosses, or professors. Recommendations should be sent either by email or uploaded with your application.
    • Essays: Potential students must often write a personal essay or statement of purpose. This essay should include the student's personal background information and reason for pursuing an online math teaching degree. Students should take note of program question prompts and make sure they are answered.
    • Interviews: Programs may ask an applicant to interview, although such requests are not common for master of science in mathematics education programs. Interview are often conducted through video conference or, in some cases, an in-person meeting.
    • International Students: International students face additional admission requirements, such as a course-by-course evaluation of previous college work and taking the test of English as foreign language (TOEFL) exam or international English language testing system (IELTS) exam. Required scores vary from college to college.

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s Degree in Math Education?

The skills gained from an online math teaching degree can help land jobs in a variety of fields. The potential salaries vary depending on the field. A high school math teacher makes a median annual salary of $59,170, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employers often seek out candidates who have broad skill sets, which many graduates of online master's in math education programs have.

Traditional Careers for Master's in Math Education Graduates

Career Stats Description

High School Math Teacher

Median Pay: $59,170

Job Growth: 8%

High school math teachers teach geometry, algebra, calculus, and other subjects to students in grades 9-12. They develop lesson plans, grade assignments, and administer exams. They also prepare students for state standardized tests.

Ideal for: Even-keeled, optimistic personalities with good multitasking skills. Those who enjoy working with teenagers and leading small and large classrooms.

Postsecondary Math Teacher

Median Pay: $76,000

Job Growth: 15%

Postsecondary math teachers work in colleges, teaching various mathematics courses. To become a professor, graduates generally need a Ph.D. With a master's degree, graduates can work at the community college level.

Ideal for: Highly organized and passionate individuals who want to make a difference in the education of students at the college level.

Instructional Coordinator

Median Pay: $63,750

Job Growth: 11%

Instructional coordinators work in schools at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. Many instructional coordinators have previous teaching experience. They organize workshops and conferences to educate teachers and recommend textbooks. They also review and assess student test scores.

Ideal for: Individuals with strong leadership and organizational skills.

Nontraditional Careers for Master's in Math Education Graduates

Career Stats Description

Educational Consultant

Median Pay: $62,890

Job Growth: N/A

Educational consultants typically work as self-employed freelancers or for school systems. They possess a deep understanding of school curriculum, provide counseling for students, and give feedback to colleges on improving policies and curriculum. Some also work for textbook companies.

Ideal for: Detail-oriented, highly organized, and motivated individuals who work well both individually and in teams.

Actuary

Median Pay: $101,560

Job Growth: 22%

The majority of actuaries work for insurance agencies. They use statistical data to determine the potential risks and financial costs of business and insurance policy decisions. They use statistics, mathematics, and analysis to determine their findings.

Ideal for: Highly analytical, logical, and hardworking individuals with good time management skills who can also excel at multitasking.

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

Paying for an Online Master’s in Math Education

The total cost of college hinges on numerous variables. Going to school part time rather than full time affects what you ultimately pay for your college education. To offset the cost of college, students often apply for grants and scholarships. Keep reading for more information on how to reduce costs through grants and scholarships.

Subject-Specific Financial Aid, Grants, and Scholarships

A student's best bet to find funding for college comes through scholarships and grants. See the scholarships and grants listed below for more information.

What to Expect from a Master’s Level Online Math Education Program

Typically a master’s degree in math education online takes two years to complete. However, the graduation timeline varies depending on whether students take part-time or accelerated classes. Online students complete lectures and homework remotely. The bulk of the required credits include core coursework. Students also take electives and often a capstone project or thesis at the end of the program. You can review more information on program timelines and courses below.

Major Milestones

  1. Internship

    Students may apply for internships at any time during a master’s program. However, many wait until the middle or end of the program when they have gained more knowledge. Often, programs have six-credit internship courses in the final semester of the program.

  2. Capstone Project

    A capstone project, although not always mandated, requires students to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the program. The capstone, also substituted for a thesis, may require a research project and/or a presentation.

  3. Thesis

    Not every online math teaching program requires a thesis. Often, programs give students the option to complete either a creative project, thesis, or capstone project. A thesis requires students to complete a written research paper while working with a thesis adviser, and then present their thesis to a panel.

  4. Licensure Exam

    Many graduate students arrive at an online master's in math education with a teaching certification. At other times, programs lead to certification, allowing students to teach elementary, middle school, or high school after graduation.

  5. Intent to Graduate

    Students in their final semester complete an intent to graduate form. They must submit this form to receive a diploma. The college then reviews the student’s records to determine their graduation eligibility.

  6. Send Out Resumes

    In their final semester, students should begin preparing cover letters and CVs to seek employment. Most colleges have career counselors to help with the process. Students should also ask for any needed letters of recommendation from their professors.

Coursework

The exact courses you take in your math education program are program specific. However, most core courses remain the same across all colleges. Listed below, you can find some sample classes and their descriptions.

Research Methods

This course teaches students how to critically conduct research at the graduate level using specific methodologies. Students develop their analytical and logical reasoning skills, and also must complete a research project and presentation.

History of Mathematics

A history of mathematics course teaches students about the development of mathematics throughout history, from early mathematics systems to calculus. Students examine the modern world by reviewing how mathematics has impacted civilizations.

Scholarly Writing

Students learn how to develop their academic writing skills in various mediums, including journal writing, research papers, and grant writing. Students further refine their skills through writing and reading assignments. Often, students conduct peer editing to further understand common mistakes among writers.

Equity and Diversity in Mathematics

Students examine the current teaching goals for the creation of equity and diversity in math classrooms. The class teaches students how to promote diversity in the classroom and helps them understand multicultural issues in math classes.

Introduction to Education

Students gain hands-on experience in the classroom through an introduction to education course, which looks at America’s educational system through historical and philosophical lenses. Students learn about managing classrooms and keeping up to date on departmental policies.

Licenses and Certifications

A career in math education has certain requirements. To work as a teacher, students must acquire a license from their current state of residence. Having work or internship experience and other certifications can help graduates get a leg up as they apply for jobs.

    • Teaching Certification: Every state sets specific rules for teacher certification. Generally, states require prospective teachers to have teaching experience. Students must also pass three Praxis tests, which costs $150 to $300. Once graduates passes the exams, they can apply for the state certification, which requires an additional payment ranging from $40 to $200. Applicants also need to submit to fingerprinting and pass a background check.
    • Post Graduate Certification in Mentoring and Coaching Teachers: Graduates helping other teachers develop skills can receive a mentoring and coaching certification. This certification benefits students who want to work as instructional coordinators or postsecondary education administrators. The certification, often offered through colleges, typically requires an additional 18 to 20 credits in classes such as ethics and foundations in mentoring.
    • Actuarial Exams: Graduates seeking to become actuaries must take the Validation of Education Experience to receive an association certification in the following topics: economics, mathematical statistics, accounting, and finance. After applicants gain work experience, they can get a fellowship certification through the Society of Actuaries or Casualty Actuarial Society, which require them to take several exams.
    • Educational Consultant Certification: To earn an education consultant certification, students must take up to 10 additional classes. The certification prepares students to handle the legal and financial issues associated with education. Interested applicants must take courses in classes such as financial aid network and college admissions processes.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Community assistance can be vital in helping a graduate succeed in their career. Graduates seek communities of like-minded peers by joining professional organizations. These organizations, which often provide student membership discounts, help students connect to other master of science in mathematics education graduates through workshops and conferences. Students can also find employment and continuing education opportunities through these organizations. Below, you will find five professional organizations and other resources which may benefit you.

  • American Mathematical Society: Founded in 1888, AMS unites teachers across the world and promotes the sharing of mathematical research. Members get access to MathSciNet, which allows them to search articles and reviews. They also have access to employment listings, grants, and fellowship programs.
  • Mathematical Association of America: With members across the globe, MAA seeks to promote "the understanding of mathematics and its impact on our world." Students and teachers receive discounted membership. Members are subscribed to industry journals and magazines, and often receive travel discounts. They also get discounted registration to annual MAA meetings.
  • Society of Industrial & Applied Mathematics: SIAM, an organization of more than 14,500 mathematicians around the world, aims to promote mathematical and computational science. Founded in 1952, SIAM offers numerous prizes and fellowships. Recent graduates may receive discounted "early career" membership, which provides discounts to registrations and eligibility to group insurance.
  • National Education Association: With 3 million members, NEA serves as one of the largest professional organizations. The NEA traces its roots back to 1857, when it sought to provide equal rights to teachers and kids. NEA, which also offers grants and scholarships, boasts more than 50,000 student members.
  • American Federation of Teachers: Founded in 1916, AFT boasts a membership of 1.7 million teachers, school personnel, and healthcare professionals. Famous members include Albert Einstein, John Dewey, and Hubert Humphrey. AFT provides scholarship opportunities, travel discounts, and a database of more than 420,000 lesson plans.