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Educators: 5 Big Reasons You Really Need That Advanced Degree

Educators: 5 Big Reasons You Really Need That Advanced Degree

Thu Sep 22, 2016 at 08:00 AM

As a school Principal for thirteen years, I knew the degrees and certifications of every teacher in my building, their years of experience and what pay step they were on. In trying to staff a school building with even small changes in enrollment, I quickly learned the value of teachers with multiple certifications and advanced degrees. Why continue your formal education after obtaining that first Bachelors or Masters Degree? You may have just paid off your student loans or are looking at other major life expenditures, like a house or car. You may think you "just can't afford it." (I heard teachers say this a lot.) Maybe you even think you just don't need it. Here's why you're wrong about that.

  1. You're an educator. You went into this profession because you love to learn and teach and grow. Re-connect with that part of you that is a lifelong learner. Education is a complicated business as well as a complex individual and collaborative process. We continue to learn over our entire careers. Making the formal commitment to learning from those in the university setting and obtaining that Masters, Education Specialist or Doctoral degree is proof you mean what you say when you identify as a lifelong learner. Building and district leaders are often asked about the number of educators on staff with advanced degrees and they value the ability to quote high numbers.

  2. You can advance your career path. You may think right now that your current position is the only one you will ever want, but things change, you will change and you will grow. Being prepared for a different position in the field of education may require additional certification or an advanced degree, and you will be ready when opportunity arises.

  3. You can't afford NOT to. If obtaining an advanced degree allows you to earn more on your current salary scale (and we are betting that it does), the sooner you start earning more, the more years you will earn more! Get out your contract and do the math. A Masters degree may have a ROI of 4-6 years, depending on your individual district contract, but taken over a 30+ year teaching career, it is more than worth the investment. If that isn't enough to convince you, think about your retirement. It may seem like a long way off, but a higher at retirement means a larger pension - the gift that keeps on giving for the rest of your life!

  4. Networking. In a cohort model, you will meet colleagues from other school districts and form close relationships that provide networking opportunities for the future. Here at OUSEHS, most professors are former school practitioners (superintendents, principals or other school leaders) who maintain important networking connections with current K-12 decision makers. Both collegial and university friendships are not only personally rewarding, they can provide professional connections to your future in education.

  5. The education profession needs leaders. Are you tired of the current political environment that involves teacher-bashing and underfunding of education? You may not need an advanced degree to become an advocate for education, but the knowledge gained through higher education certainly will help you to obtain skills and information for effective advocacy.

When will you take the steps needed for you to continue your education, advance your career goals and connect with like-minded colleagues and professors? OUSEHS offers numerous pathways toward that additional certification and/or degree. Find out what program is right for you at https://wwwp.oakland.edu/ops/.

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