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Learn While You Earn: How to Complete an Education Master’s Degree While Working Full Time

February 13, 2024

A master’s degree in education enhances professional credentials and can increase teachers’ impact on student outcomes. It can also significantly improve earning potential: the NCTQ Teacher Contract Database indicates that 88 percent of large school districts offer higher pay for teachers holding advanced degrees

A Master of Education can be an invaluable credential for educators looking to elevate their careers while contributing more to student learning, but earning one can be a challenge, especially for full-time professionals. Flexible online programs offer a solution. Online education has revolutionized the pursuit of advanced degrees, enabling professionals to integrate learning seamlessly into their busy schedules and facilitating continuous professional development without the need for a career hiatus.

This article explores the advantages of pursuing a master’s degree online, providing insight into how to manage a full-time job and higher education commitments effectively.

Exploring the Advantages of Online Learning for Working Professionals

Online learning presents a transformative opportunity for working professionals to earn a graduate degree without hitting pause on their careers. The flexible format allows students to tailor their study schedules around work commitments and learn at their own pace. Unlike traditional campus-based programs, online education eliminates the need to relocate, offering accessibility regardless of geographical location. 

Students in the online Master of Education (MEd) at Tulane University can continue earning a salary while pursuing their degree, potentially mitigating some of the financial pressures associated with full-time graduate study. The student experience at Tulane also aligns with the dynamic lifestyles of working educators. A sophisticated learning management platform centralizes assignments for maximum convenience. A mixture of asynchronous coursework and synchronous classes supplements independent work with classroom discussion and engagement, delivering the best of both worlds.

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How to Balance a Full-Time Job and an Education Master’s Degree

Balancing a full-time job while pursuing a master’s degree in education requires some planning and ongoing management of the process. Many students find the following tips helpful. 

Allocate Your Time Effectively

Professionals should delineate specific weekly hours dedicated solely to studying. This disciplined approach ensures consistent progress without impinging on work responsibilities. 

Use Digital Tools to Your Advantage

Calendars and reminder apps can help create a well-organized schedule that accommodates work and academic commitments.

Create a Distraction-Free Study Environment 

Research indicates that a quiet, organized space significantly reduces the risk of poor exam performance due to distractions. Such an environment fosters concentration, aiding in the efficient comprehension and retention of course material. Ideally, this space should be separate from areas associated with relaxation or work to maintain clear mental boundaries.

Communicate With Your Employer

Informing supervisors and colleagues about your academic schedule can lead to a mutual understanding and flexible work arrangements during critical academic periods like exams or project deadlines.

Embrace Your Support System

It can be hard to ask for help, but balancing work, school, and life can be a challenge for anyone. Now is the time to reach out to your friends and family for a helping hand. 

Connect With Your Academic Peers

Remember, you’re not alone in this academic journey; classmates are only a Zoom call or email away. Schedule time to study and help each other stay motivated and on track. 

Set Realistic Goals and Priorities

Be gentle with yourself! Balancing work and study demands a pragmatic approach to task management. This involves acknowledging your limits and focusing on key priorities in both domains.

By adopting these strategies, professionals can ensure consistent progress in their academic pursuits without compromising work responsibilities.

The Tulane Advantage: Overview of the Online MEd Program Design

The MEd curriculum at Tulane includes a variety of specializations and comprehensive student support services. The degree program’s core learning objectives align with National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards, which may be familiar to working professionals. Key goals include ethics and professional norms, equity and inclusiveness, practical learning and instruction, and continually building professional capacity. 

The curriculum provides a deep dive into the American education system, its foundational concepts, and contemporary challenges. Five core courses encompass education’s historical, philosophical, and practical aspects. The program also includes an experiential learning component that blends theoretical knowledge with practical application. 

Specializations within the program cater to diverse career paths. Pathways include Equity-Centered Education Leadership, Learning Experience Design, Teaching English Learners, and Special Education. The program also offers the flexibility to pursue a graduate certificate integrated with the MEd or as a standalone credential.

Set Yourself Up for Success in the Online Classroom

Tulane designs its online programs to cultivate an environment of success for working professionals. That success hinges on active participation, aligned expectations, and a mutual commitment to professionalism between the learners and faculty. 

Students are encouraged to engage with course material, ask questions, and contribute meaningfully in class chats and online discussions. This approach fosters a productive learning environment, driving peer engagement and enthusiasm. 

An in-house team of instructional designers has designed the online classroom to encourage high engagement levels. Lessons often involve videos, podcasts, and interactive activities. This approach ensures an online learning environment that cultivates success. 

Achieve Your Degree While Advancing Your Career

Pursuing an online Master of Education while maintaining full-time employment enriches learning, as real-world experiences contribute to a deeper understanding of academic concepts. Establishing sustainable habits is pivotal in balancing commitments on both sides. Time management and prioritization are crucial to success.

Tulane‘s supportive virtual environment accommodates the needs of working professionals. The program’s flexibility allows students to engage with coursework at their convenience while providing the necessary resources and support, ensuring students can effectively manage their dual roles.

The next step for those ready to join this rewarding path is to explore the program in more detail. Then, prospective students can apply or schedule a meeting with an enrollment advisor.

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