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What you can do with a Master of Arts in Education: Careers, tips and salaries

By Michael Feder

At a glance

  • A Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) can help prepare you to pursue leadership opportunities in school districts and other educational institutions.
  • Employment of elementary, middle and high school principals is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • A graduate who has earned a master’s degree in a graduate-level education program may find opportunities as an educator or a principal.
  • A master’s degree education program may be a good choice for current teachers as well as recent graduates who have achieved a bachelor's degree. 

If you’re looking to enhance your career in education, then pursuing higher levels of education can help make you a more qualified candidate. A master’s degree in education can help specialize your career path and prepare you to take on leadership roles as well. The curriculum in such a program focuses on honing the skills necessary to improve students’ educational progress in different areas.

Education isn’t just about teaching! Students interact both face-to-face and indirectly with principals, counselors, curriculum developers and administrators, in addition to teachers. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the career paths open to individuals who earn a master’s degree in education. From school principals to student behavior analysts, these roles can have a major impact on the community and the future. If you’re interested in pursuing one of these careers, University of Phoenix may be able to help. Please note that not all the jobs listed below can be achieved with a University of Phoenix degree. Some require additional education, licensure or training.

Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement. BLS data is geographically based. Information for a specific state/city can be researched on the BLS website.


Career paths available to someone with a graduate degree in teaching or education


Overview: Whether they work at the elementary, middle or high school level, school principals oversee the entire learning environment for students. They manage the instruction of teachers and staff, as well as class schedules, defining course requirements, general instruction, discipline and school budgets.

Education requirements: This position typically requires a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. To work in a public school, principals are generally required to achieve certification as school administrators, in addition to completing an education program at a master’s degree level.

Salary range: The salary range for elementary, middle and high school principals was $61,480 to $153,520 in May 2021, according to BLS.

Job outlook: Employment of elementary, middle and high school principals is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Instructional coordinator

Overview: By managing the overall school curriculum and teaching standards of a school or school district, instructional coordinators make sure that students and teachers are aligned and poised for success. Instructional coordinators can work in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and professional schools, as well as for state or local governments.

Education requirements: This position typically requires completion of an education program at the graduate level. A master's degree in education or curriculum development and instruction is a common prerequisite, according to BLS. In addition, instructional coordinators may require certification, like a teaching license or an education administrator license to work in public schools.

Salary range: The salary range for instructional coordinators was $38,390 to $101,090 in May 2021, according to BLS.

Job outlook: Employment of instructional coordinators is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.


School counselor

Overview: School counselors take a personal approach to developing student skills, assessing student interests and strengths, and helping students plan their work or education future after they graduate. This can involve work at several grade levels, as well as collaboration with parents and teachers.

Education requirements: Almost every state requires that school counselors have a master’s degree in school counseling or psychology, according to BLS. In addition, state-by-state certification and credentials will also likely be required, which means a graduate degree as a prerequisite.

Salary range: The salary range for school and career counselors and advisors was $37,550 to $98,190 in May 2021, according to BLS.

Job outlook: Employment of school and career counselors and advisors is projected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Postsecondary education administrator

Overview: Postsecondary education administrators perform a number of roles at colleges and universities. They can work in different departments, ranging from admissions to the registrar’s office to student affairs. This can include work in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Their work is determined by the position they hold. For example, an admissions officer is a type of administrator who determines how many and which students to admit to a school.

Education requirements: A master’s degree is typical for this role, according to BLS.

Salary range: The salary range for postsecondary education administrators was $59,150 to $190,770 in May 2021, according to BLS.

Job outlook: Employment of postsecondary education administrators is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Student behavior analyst

Overview: Behavior analysts in schools help students overcome mental and social disabilities that can be obstacles to their educational development. They perform psychological work based in practice and theory to help students succeed. They can help teachers accommodate the needs of particular students.

Education requirements: Most student behavior analysts require a specialized degree, such as a master’s degree in special education. A state-issued certification and/or licensure will also likely be required to work in public schools. While University of Phoenix has degrees in special education, job outcomes do not directly align to this position.

Salary range: According to May 2021 data from BLS, the median salary for school psychologists was $78,830.

Job outlook: According to BLS, overall employment of all types of psychologists is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030. Also according to BLS, the demand for psychologists has grown significantly due to COVID-19, the negative effect it has had on student psychologies, and new challenges to successful teaching as result. 

Special education teacher

Overview: Special education teachers focus on designing curriculum and teaching students with learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. Special education teaching can be demanding but rewarding. Teaching with an emphasis on the unique needs of students with disabilities, these educators implement a curriculum to make sure that such disabilities don’t get in the way of teaching students the skills they need to succeed.

Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree is required at minimum to begin teaching special needs students, according to BLS. Teachers in this field will also likely need to gain field experience in a student-teaching education program. A master’s degree in special education can enhance the skill set of a current teacher, such as in the area of classroom management.  

Salary range: The salary range for special education teachers was $46,180 to $100,040 in May 2021, according to BLS.

Job outlook: Overall employment of special education teachers is projected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, according to BLS.

Now that you have a sense of which jobs you can prepare to pursue with a master’s in education, you are better prepared to plan your education career. This degree sets the stage for leadership, development and success!

Ready to expand your skills and lead in the field of education? A master’s degree from University of Phoenix is a great first step!



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