How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's in Education?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

If you're a teacher looking to further develop your current teaching skill set or curriculum, you may have considered pursuing a graduate degree in your field. Besides expanding your knowledge in a field you're passionate about, master's degree programs can also help teachers prepare for advancement into administrative roles. Additionally, a graduate degree is typically required to teach at the college level.

So just how long does it take to earn a master's in education, and how can you decide if it's the right time to pursue an advanced degree?

Online vs. Campus-Based Programs: Time to Complete a Master's Degree in Education

The amount of time it takes to get a master's in education can depend on several factors, including your previous educational background, the university and program you choose, and whether you attend classes full- or part-time. Additionally, there are various types of master's degrees in education that teachers can pursue, and the type of degree and any chosen specialization(s) may also affect the total number of credits you have to complete.

While some master's programs can take up to two years to complete, there are colleges and universities with Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs that can be completed in 12 months. One fact to consider when trying to determine how long it will take you to get your M.Ed. is whether you can take hybrid or online courses. If you plan to continue teaching full-time while pursuing your degree, then online classes may offer more flexibility in terms of when and where you choose to study and complete coursework.

Selecting an M.Ed. Program

Knowing how long it will take to get a master's in education is helpful if you're trying to plan out the next steps in your career, but the time investment isn't the only reason to consider. You should also know what other key criteria to look for as you research which university's M.Ed. program is the best fit for your needs and goals.

Does the curriculum cater specifically to current teachers?

Look for a graduate education program designed for experienced teachers and not those without a teaching background. You may also look into whether the program uses an adaptive learning platform, like AIU's intellipath™ adaptive learning technology, that is designed to help you use your study time efficiently. The intellipath™ learning platform creates a customized learning path based on what you already know and what you still need to learn.

Look for flexible programs that are designed to fit your schedule.

Teachers work long hours in the classroom and take home extra work grading papers and preparing lessons. Finding a flexible program with online, evening, and/or weekend classes can give you more options to help you fit the demands of an advanced degree into your busy schedule.

Does the program have experienced faculty?

As a teacher yourself, you know that great teachers can enhance a student's education. Look for professors who understand the challenges and changes today's teachers face.

Verify university and program-level accreditation.

Before enrolling in a master's degree program, make sure the school and program are both properly accredited. For example, AIU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and our M.Ed. program was awarded TEAC initial accreditation by the Inquiry Brief Commission of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

It is important to keep in mind that one-year master's degree programs can be comprehensive and challenging. However, just like teaching, they can be worth the extra effort.

*Note: AIU's M.Ed. program does not provide teacher certification.


American InterContinental University cannot guarantee employment or salary. For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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