Earning a Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Online?

Ideal for educators with a passion for working with exceptional students, earning a master's in gifted and talented education online provides rewarding education careers. Degree holders typically work for schools or school districts, or as private educational consultants.

Some professionals work directly with gifted and talented students to support their intellectual, academic, and social-emotional needs in the classroom or in special pull-out or accelerated programs. Others support classroom teachers by providing relevant professional development, resources, and curricula. Some schools, such as magnet schools, prefer teachers to possess graduate-level training in gifted and talented education to teach advanced courses or work with highly able students.

Pursuing your degree online offers the flexibility to complete coursework as your schedule permits. Many online master's programs are tailored to meet the needs of busy working professionals.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Graduates

Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Salary

Many master's in gifted and talented degree holders work as K-12 gifted and talented teachers, earning median salaries of $56,900 for elementary school teachers and $59,170 for high school teachers. Teacher salaries tend to increase with education and experience and vary by location. Some graduates provide support, curricula, and resources to classroom teachers as instructional coordinators. These educators earn, on average, about $10,000 more than teachers. See the charts below for more information about how salaries vary by industry and experience.

Salary for Instructional Coordinators by Industry

Industry Annual Mean Wage
Government $76,060
Elementary and Secondary Schools; State, Local, and Private $69,540
Educational Support Services; State, Local, and Private $61,330
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools; State, Local, and Private $56,630

Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Careers

Many teachers who pursue a master's in gifted and talented education online seek to teach advanced classes or work in specialized programs. While a bachelor's degree remains the minimum requirement for most teaching positions, many schools prefer teachers to possess a master's degree. Also, a graduate degree in gifted education qualifies teachers for leadership positions and advanced roles, such as those listed below.

Gifted Resource Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $47,694

Many schools employ resource teachers to provide enrichment and support to gifted students, especially in states that mandate individualized education programs or special education services for gifted students. Resource teachers may also provide specialized training, resources, and support to classroom teachers. This position typically requires professional certification or a graduate degree in gifted education.

Education Program Director

Annual Median Salary: $60,788

Some schools and districts offer specialized programming for gifted and talented students run by experienced educators with graduate training. These program directors select curricula, train teachers, and communicate with parents and community members about program options.

Instructional Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $63,750

These experienced educators oversee the implementation of curricula and standards in a specific content area, such as social studies or gifted and talented education. They ensure that classroom teachers possess the materials and curricula they need to adapt their instruction for highly able students.

Curriculum Developer

Annual Median Salary: $60,044

These educators design lessons, activities, and materials for teachers. With a master's degree in gifted education, an educator may qualify to develop lessons tailored to highly able students or provide strategies for modifying an existing curriculum to meet the needs of advanced learners.

Educational Consultant

Annual Median Salary: $61,997

These consultants offer professional advice on educational services, planning, and legal issues to organizations, parents, and students. Parents of gifted students sometimes hire consultants to advise them on appropriate programs, accommodations, testing, and schools for their children.

Source: PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Program?

The courses required by gifted and talented master's degree programs online vary by school and program. Since some states and districts require teachers working with gifted students to hold graduate-level certification, many programs ensure that course offerings fulfill these requirements. Programs typically offer core education courses followed by specialized courses in gifted education, such as those listed below.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Gifted and Talented Education

Fundamentals of Gifted Education

This course introduces the field of gifted education and the characteristics, identification, and educational needs of gifted youth. Students explore educational research, theory, and law as it applies to the development of effective programs for gifted children. Topics may include effective teacher qualities and strategies for collaborating with parents and caregivers.

Social-Emotional Development

This course explores the social and emotional growth patterns and needs of gifted children, including those with challenges, such as disability, poverty, or a history of underachievement in school. Participants learn strategies for meeting the social and emotional needs of gifted youth to maximize cognitive growth, emotional and physical health, and talent development.

Curriculum Design

This course introduces methods for differentiating instruction to provide challenging, appropriate learning activities for gifted children, including the adaptation of existing or required curricula. Participants learn to develop clear objectives, tasks, and assessments based on the needs of gifted learners. Topics include teaching strategies and accommodations proven effective with gifted children.

Program Development

This course prepares educators to design and implement appropriate and effective programs for gifted children. It introduces essential program elements, including identification of gifted students, curricula, counseling, and assessment. Topics may include programmatic strategies, such as grouping and acceleration.

Identification and Screening

This course explores prevalent methods and concerns for the identification of gifted and talented students. Participants learn screening principles and techniques based on measurement theory and giftedness constructs. Topics include relevant public policy, underrepresented populations, testing bias, and twice-exceptional students.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Gifted and Talented Education Prepares For

  • Teaching License: Every state requires public school teachers to hold a teaching license. These licenses indicate which subject areas and grade levels the teacher is qualified and eligible to teach. Gifted and talented teachers and gifted resource teachers working in public schools must first become certified teachers. Some master's degrees include a path to licensure or fulfill the requirements for additional specialized credentials, such as gifted education.
  • Gifted and Talented Teacher Certification: Some states, districts, and schools require teachers of gifted or advanced students to possess a professional credential or graduate certificate in gifted education. Requirements vary, although this credential typically consists of three or four graduate classes. Check with your state department of education or your employer for more information. A master's degree in gifted and talented education typically fulfills the requirements of this certification.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Professional organizations provide advocacy updates and toolkits, networking opportunities, resources, and professional development opportunities to members. Becoming involved with an organization like those listed below can help you advance your career, gain valuable expertise, and receive support.

  • Council for Exceptional Children: This organization promotes the interests of gifted students and students with special needs. It provides resources, professional preparation standards, and professional development opportunities for teachers of gifted students, including webinars, conferences, and publications.

  • The Association for the Gifted: This CEC special-interest group seeks to improve educational opportunities for gifted children through its advocacy efforts, promotion of professional standards, and resources. It provides position papers, a gifted education journal, research updates, and other publications.

  • National Association for Gifted Children: This association supports parents, teachers, and other professionals in their work with gifted children. NAGC offers resources including publications, strategies, special-interest groups, and legislative updates as well as awards and scholarships.

  • Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted: This national nonprofit organization supports gifted individuals and their parents. SENG offers networking opportunities including parent groups, an annual conference, and seminars. It also provides continuing education for psychologists and parent group facilitator training.

  • World Council for Gifted and Talented Children: This global nonprofit organization advocates for the needs of gifted children and their teachers. It also offers support, resources, and networking through an annual world conference, publications, and scholarships.

  • American Association for Gifted Children: As part of Duke University's Social Science Research Institute, this association seeks to promote diversity and access to appropriate educational services for gifted children. AACG monitors relevant research and shares research findings, best practices, publications, and other resources with educators.

  • Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth: CTY offers advanced enrichment online and summer courses to qualified gifted children. This university-based nonprofit also provides counseling and diagnostic services to gifted children and their families and conducts advocacy and research related to gifted education.

  • New Jersey Association for Gifted Children: This statewide association advocates for the needs of gifted learners. It also provides professional development, resources, and standards for teachers. Members receive a quarterly newsletter that includes instructional strategies.

  • Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development: This center based at the University of Connecticut conducts research on the needs of gifted and talented youth and best practices in gifted education, including some federally funded research. It also offers resources to educators and parents of gifted children.

  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: ASCD provides professional development opportunities, including webinars, online courses, and conferences. Through books, conferences, and the magazine Educational Leadership, ASCD promotes effective teaching strategies grounded in the latest educational research.