Teaching FAQs

Browse through frequently asked questions about teaching and the different paths you can take in your career.

If you’re aiming to become a K-12 teacher, there are many specialties and career paths to consider. Browse through these frequently asked questions to explore the right route for your career and find a UMass Global program that helps you achieve your goals. Plus, explore our robust resource page with information and strategies you can leverage in your classroom and beyond. 

About UMass Global

  • University of Massachusetts Global's Credential and Authorization Education programs are accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). In fact, UMass Global is the second largest provider of teaching credentials in California and has been training teachers throughout the state for more than 65 years (previously as Brandman University).

Early Childhood Education

  • Early childhood education describes formal and informal educational programs that guide the growth and development of children throughout their preschool years, typically spanning between birth to age five. Some programs focus on academic readiness while others embrace a holistic approach that emphasizes mental and emotional preparedness. Explore more about ECE.
  • Simply put, the purpose of ECE is to provide children with strategies that help them develop the emotional, social and cognitive skills needed to become lifelong learners. Curricula is set up to encourage young students to learn about themselves and the world through play and sensory experiences. Read more.
  • During the early childhood education years, the brain makes millions of synapses every second that allow us to move, think, communicate and comprehend our environments. Children in ECE programs are less likely to repeat a grade, more prepared for school and more likely to earn more in the workforce. Explore more benefits.
  • A good early childhood education program is dynamic, challenging, enriching and carefully planned. A typical ECE curriculum might incorporate songs, books, art, games, toys, experiences and nature exploration into the daily lesson plans for a class or group. Explore more important elements.

Educational Administration

  • The demand for Master of Arts in Education, Educational Administration graduates varies depending on several factors such as location, level of experience, and the specific job market. However, in general, there is a growing demand for professionals in these fields.

    Educational administrators — including principals, assistant principals, and other school administrators — are essential to the functioning of educational institutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of education administrators is projected to grow 10 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by increasing student enrollments in schools and the need for administrators to oversee and manage these institutions effectively.

    Likewise, a Master of Arts in Education can lead to a variety of career opportunities, such as curriculum development, instructional design, and educational leadership roles. These roles may be in K-12 schools, higher education, government agencies, or private organizations. According to the BLS, employment of instructional coordinators (who often hold a Master of Arts in Education) is projected to grow 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

    In summary, MAE, Educational Administration graduates are in demand, and the job prospects for these professionals are generally positive. However, as with any profession, the demand and job opportunities may vary depending on location and other factors.

  • EDUU 600 Research and Evaluation Methods is a prerequisite for all other core courses and candidates are advised to take this course first. Students may take another course concurrently with EDUU 600. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss course sequencing with their academic advisor.

  • After completing the six core courses, candidates must submit a Portfolio of Evidence demonstrating abilities or competencies in the core courses through LiveText, including a reflective essay. A standardized rubric will be used to determine that the candidate has demonstrated program competency.

  • A Master of Arts in Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration can lead to a variety of leadership and administrative positions in the field of education. Here are some potential career paths for individuals with this degree:

    • School Principal: School principals are responsible for managing the daily operations of elementary, middle, and high schools, including curriculum development, student discipline, staff management, and budgeting.
    • Assistant Principal: Assistant principals work with the school principal to oversee the daily operations of schools, such as managing student discipline and instructional programs.
    • School District Administrator: School district administrators are responsible for overseeing all schools within a school district, including managing budgets, developing policies, and ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations.
    • College or University Administrator: College and university administrators oversee the daily operations of higher education institutions, including managing budgets, developing policies, and overseeing academic programs.
    • Education Consultant: Education consultants provide expertise and advice to schools and school districts on a variety of issues, such as curriculum development, teacher training, and student assessment.
    • Educational Researcher: Educational researchers study the effectiveness of various educational programs and policies, using data analysis to improve educational outcomes.
    • Curriculum Developer: Curriculum developers design and implement educational programs and materials, working with teachers and administrators to create engaging and effective curricula.
    • Policy Analyst: Policy analysts work for government agencies, non-profits, or think tanks, analyzing education policies and making recommendations for improvements.

    Overall, earning a Master of Arts in Education, Educational Administration can lead to a variety of rewarding careers in education, with opportunities to make a significant impact on the quality of education and the success of students and educators.

  • University of Massachusetts Global awards a block of 12 semester credits for successful completion from an approved Preliminary Administrative Services Credential program. Please contact an academic advisor for more details.

  • A Master of Arts in Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration is typically designed for educators who wish to advance their careers in leadership and administrative roles in education. This program is for individuals who already hold a Preliminary Administrative Services Credential from an approved program and are seeking to earn their graduate degree to enhance their career advancement opportunities in education. This emphasis program does not lead to a state license or credential.

MA Education in Early Childhood Education

  • The length of time it takes to become a qualified early childhood education teacher can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of education required for the position, the program's structure and format, and the individual's prior education and experience. Depending on the program's design and intensity, a certificate or diploma can take a few months to a year to complete. Assuming full-time enrollment, an associate degree program typically takes two years to complete. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes four years to complete. A graduate degree program, such as a master’s, can take up to two years, and a doctoral program can take one to four years or more to complete, depending on the program’s structure and intensity.

  • An early childhood education degree can prepare you for various careers working with young children in different capacities. One of the most common paths is becoming a preschool teacher in a typical program serving birth to five-year-olds. You could also pursue a career as an elementary or special education teacher. Other potential job opportunities include becoming a family childcare provider, a child development specialist, a curriculum developer, an adjunct instructor, a program director, a regional manager, a parent educator, or an educational consultant. With an early childhood education degree, you will have the skills, knowledge, and disposition to work with young children in diverse settings, helping them learn and grow during their formative years.

  • Early childhood education (ECE) refers to the formal and informal early learning programs, care, and practices that support young children's development from birth to age eight. ECE is a critical period in a children’s development as the brain experiences rapid growth enabling the acquisition of foundational skills, attitudes, and knowledge that will shape their lifelong learning, health, and well-being.

    Early childhood education encompasses a range of settings, including nurseries, preschools, kindergartens, and early elementary grades. It can be offered as a full-day, part-day, home-based program, or co-op setting. ECE programs aim to support children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth.

  • A Master of Arts in Education (MAE) degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree are both graduate-level educational programs but have different focuses and goals.

    A Master of Arts in Education degree typically focuses on advancing a teacher's knowledge of educational theory, research, and policy. The program is designed to give teachers a deeper understanding of the broader context of education, including topics such as educational psychology, curriculum development, assessment, and educational leadership. Graduates of MAE programs may go on to pursue careers in education administration, curriculum development, policymaking, or research, as well as teaching positions.

    A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree is designed to provide students with advanced teaching skills and strategies. The program is often geared toward individuals with bachelor's degrees in a field other than education and who want to become licensed teachers. MAT programs typically focus on practical teaching skills and may cover classroom management, instructional design, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

  • The highest degree in early childhood education is typically a doctoral degree, such as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Early Childhood Education. These programs are designed for individuals who wish to pursue research, teaching, or administrative positions in early childhood education.

MA Education Instructional Technology

  • While some consider the terms interchangeable, the truth is that Instructional Technology is a broader degree. Instructional Technology opens the focus of learning theories beyond the educational cannon. A Master of Arts in Education, Instructional Technology, extends beyond the educational world to also encompass the most relevant modern thinkers from the worlds of leadership, business, communications, media, and technology.

  • This program inspires students to achieve transformational growth in their knowledge, skills, and abilities. The overriding goal is to encourage each student to be an authentic lifelong learner. What is gained throughout these studies enables students to elevate their instructional practice far beyond their time as graduate students.

  • This master’s degree opens multiple career pathways: educational technology specialists, teachers on special assignments, curriculum designers, instructional designers, education and instructional consultants, and engaged instructional practitioners/teachers/coaches/educational assistants. These roles serve today’s learners through the most relevant means and modes necessary to prepare them for the future.

  • A 21st-century educator realizes that education has changed forever. Utilizing the latest tools and technology, 21st-century educators seek higher levels of engagement and subsequent learning going beyond the exchange of static information typical in 20th-century education. Today’s students are different and need different approaches to achieve the most effective learning. The 21st-century educator seeks to flip the norm and deliver this education in multiple settings utilizing constantly evolving tools.

  • A 21st-century learner is anyone currently in education (formal or informal), whether voluntarily or out of necessity. These learners are being taught in far more fluid and flexible learning environments than in the 20th century due to exponential changes in communication tools, information sharing, knowledge creation, and work environments. Society has recognized that education can no longer be an isolated exchange of content but needs to mirror the fast-paced, just-in-time, continuous amalgamation of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking that is the modern world.

MA Education Teaching and Learning

  • Whether a Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in Teaching and Learning is worthwhile depends on your personal and professional goals. Here are some potential benefits of obtaining an MAE in Teaching and Learning:

    1. Increased earning potential: An MAE in Teaching and Learning can increase earning potential and make you more competitive for advanced teaching positions and leadership roles in education.
    2. Career advancement: An MAE in Teaching and Learning can open up opportunities for career advancement, such as becoming a department head, instructional coach, educational administrator, or teacher on special assignment (TOSA).
    3. Improved skills and knowledge: An MAE in Teaching and Learning provides advanced training in teaching theory and practices and can help you stay current with education issues, research, and technologies.
    4. Increased credibility and recognition: An MAE in Teaching and Learning demonstrates a high level of expertise and commitment to the field of education and can enhance your credibility and recognition among colleagues and employers.
    5. Personal fulfillment: Obtaining an MAE in Teaching and Learning demonstrates your commitment to ongoing learning and professional growth and affords a sense of personal accomplishment.

    Ultimately, the decision to pursue a Master of Arts in Education, Teaching and Learning should be based on careful consideration of your career goals, financial situation, and personal circumstances.

  • With a Master of Arts in Education (MAE) in Teaching and Learning, you can pursue careers in education, research, and administration. Here are some examples of job opportunities in these fields:

    1. Teaching: Take on more significant roles, assignments, and responsibilities within your instructional role, no matter your grade level or subject area.
    2. Research: Education researcher, data analyst, assessment specialist, educational consultant.
    3. Administration: Department head, program coordinator, curriculum developer, practitioner leader.
    4. Higher Education: Community/junior college professor, instructional designer, academic advisor, distance learning
    5. coordinator.
    6. Non-profit and Policy: Policy analyst, advocacy director, program manager, non profit leader.

    These are just a few examples of the many careers available to individuals with an MAE in Teaching and Learning. The specific job opportunities and salary prospects can vary depending on your location, experience, and professional goals.

MAE Autism

  • A Master of Arts in Education, Autism can open a variety of career opportunities in the field of autism spectrum disorders. Some of the potential job roles include:

    • Autism Specialist: An individual with a master’s degree in autism studies can work as an autism specialist in schools, clinics, or non-profit organizations. They can provide support and guidance to families, educators, and other professionals working with individuals on the autism spectrum.
    • Researcher: A master’s degree in autism studies can be a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. and become a researcher in autism.
    • Educator: A master’s degree in autism studies can be helpful for educators who want to specialize in teaching students with autism in special education programs or inclusive classrooms if they have the appropriate teaching credential.
    • Community Services Coordinator: A master’s degree in autism studies can be helpful for those who want to work in community-based organizations that provide support services to individuals with autism and their families.

    Overall, a master’s degree in autism studies can be a good foundation for a career in various roles that involve working with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

  • To teach students with autism, the minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree in education and a teaching certification in the state where you plan to work. However, many states and school districts require or prefer teachers who have specialized training in working with students with autism or special needs.

    A master’s degree focusing on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be beneficial for teaching students with autism. This degree program provides advanced training in understanding the unique needs of students with autism, assessment diagnosis, evidence-based interventions, and strategies for creating inclusive learning environments.

    Some school districts may also require or prefer that teachers have a certification in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a behavioral approach to working with individuals with autism. Board Certification for ABA requires specific coursework, supervised field experience, and passing a national certification exam. Please see the information on UMass Global's ABA program.

    Additionally, states may have specific requirements for special education teachers and for Applied Behavior Analysts, such as passing a specialized certification exam or completing additional coursework.

    It’s important to note that requirements may vary by state, so it’s essential to check the specific requirements in the state where you plan to teach.

  • A Master of Arts in Education, Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorders or ASD, is a graduate-level degree focused on studying autism and related disorders. The program typically covers a range of topics, including the causes and characteristics of autism, assessment and diagnosis, intervention and treatment strategies, and the social and educational implications of autism.

    The curriculum of a master’s degree in autism typically includes courses such as "Introduction to Autism and Related Disorders," "Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism", "Behavioral Interventions for Individuals with Autism," "Social and Communication Development with Autism," "Educational and Community-Based Interventions for Individuals with Autism," "Creating Positive Learning Environments for Individuals with ASD," and "Ethics in Autism Studies."

    Additionally, a master’s degree program in autism usually includes a clinical or fieldwork component, where students gain hands-on experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.

    A master’s degree in autism can be helpful for those who currently work or wish to work in fields such as special education, applied behavior analysis, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, or psychology, as well as for those who want to pursue research or administrative roles in the field of autism.

MAE Curriculum and Instruction

  • Obtaining a master’s degree in teaching can be beneficial for several reasons.

    First, it can qualify individuals for advanced teaching roles and can lead to increased earning potential. Many school districts require or prefer teachers to have a master’s degree for certain positions, such as department head or instructional coach.

    Additionally, a master’s degree in teaching often provides opportunities for professional development and can deepen an individual's understanding of effective teaching practices and strategies. It can also provide access to specialized knowledge and skills in curriculum development, assessment, and instructional technology.

    A master’s degree in teaching can also provide career advancement opportunities for individuals who wish to move into administrative or leadership roles within education.

    Whether or not a master’s degree in teaching is worth it depends on an individual's specific career goals and aspirations. It is essential to research and understand the benefits and opportunities that a master’s degree in teaching can provide before deciding.

  • An MAE in Curriculum and Instruction focuses on transforming the educational landscape through improved curriculum design and teaching best practices. Practitioners — instructional coordinators — design, implement, and evaluate instructional materials and programs to ensure they adhere to organizational standards and deliver effective outcomes. The result is a better-educated population with superior achievements, goal attainment, and career outcomes.

  • Curriculum and instruction is the study of the design, development, implementation/facilitation, and evaluation of education — from individual lessons to full blown programs. Beyond coursework, an in-depth examination of teaching methods, philosophies, and strategies used to deliver what has been designed is an equally important component of this work. It involves understanding how to create and organize curriculum content, align instruction with curriculum goals and standards, and assess student learning and progress. It also involves understanding how to create a compelling and engaging learning environment and support all students' diverse needs.

Special Education

  • Historically, students with disabilities were taught separately from the other students, hence the term "special education." That is no longer the case. Today, schools strive to deliver "inclusive education," where special education services are delivered in the general education environment. "All means all" is the philosophy where all students can learn together in the same classroom. Get strategies for fostering inclusive learning

  • IEP stands for “Individualized Education Program.” Once a child has been evaluated and their eligibility for services is confirmed, the IEP serves as the roadmap for success based on the student’s unique needs. Special Educators work with a team that includes parents, administrators, and other related service providers to develop the IEP and document.
  • There are many characteristics that are essential for teachers who work with special needs students. Some examples include:

    • They are active listeners
    • They have strong social perception skills
    • They understand how to support different learning styles
    • They’re adept at complex problem solving
    • They are service oriented

    Find out more about these qualities and explore if this helping profession is right for you.  

Teaching Credentials

  • The licensure process confirms that instructors are sufficiently qualified to teach their specified subject and/or subjects. A background check and assessment is also required for the age they want to teach to ensure the safety of each student. More info.
  • A Multiple Subject Teaching Credential is the primary requirement for teaching in California's elementary schools, grades K-6, but may authorize the holder to teach in higher level grades as well. It includes course work to allow teachers to support students who are learning the English language (ESL). Get more info.
  • If you have your sights set on teaching a particular subject, you should pursue the Single Subject Teaching Credential. Educators holding this credential are authorized to teach a specific subject to students ranging in age from preschool to 12th grade, and less commonly, adult students. See possible subject areas.
  • The Education Specialist Instruction Credential authorizes educators to teach and support students with identified disabilities and provide special education support for students in a particular area of focus such as autism and language development. They can also conduct educational assessments to identify how to best help students progress toward achieving their academic goals. See more specialties
  • Even if a teacher meets a different state’s requirements, they will still need to apply for a new license to teach there. See the specific guidelines and dig deeper into earning your credential with our resource, "The California educator's guide to choosing the right teaching credential."
  • Each state has its own agency that governs its public school teachers' qualifications to ensure education standards are met. Some even have specific coursework requirements. For example, California requires coursework on the U.S. Constitution, while Alaska requires educators to take courses on it's state history. Learn more.
  • Even if you stay in your home state and have no intentions of moving, most teachers still have to renew their credentials every five years. One of the main criteria for renewal is showing proof of dedication to continuing education, whether through in-service training sessions or formal academic study. 

Teaching Strategies

  • Scaffolding is teaching strategy that simplifies concepts by breaking them up into smaller chunks and providing a tool, or concrete structure, to guide students through each chunk. Modeling is a great method of scaffolding because it shows students exactly what they are expected to do before they try each lesson.
  • “STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM teaching methods integrate all four areas into well-rounded, practical lessons that are intended to have long-term benefits for both the students and the sustained growth of the economy. Some curricula add Art to the mix, creating “STEAM” initiatives in schools. 
  • ESL stands for “English as a Second Language.” Teachers who specialize in this area help non-native speaking students learn the formal vocabulary, grammar, and verbal pronunciation of the English language. Training may vary and can be embedded in a formal degree, teaching credential or add-on certification program. 

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