Earning a Master’s in Science Education Online

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

Should I Pursue a Master's in Science Education Online?

Experienced teachers at the elementary, middle school, or high school levels can advance their careers and earn higher salaries with an online master's in science education. Some teachers use this degree to specialize in teaching K-12 science, while others go on to work in higher education or science curriculum development. Science teachers can also serve in adult education settings or instructional leadership roles.

By earning their master's in science education online, teachers can maintain their current vocational roles while earning a graduate degree. Online students also typically finish their degrees faster and spend less on tuition than their on-campus counterparts. Online degrees in science make use of technology-enhanced visuals and at-home lab kits so students do not miss out on the hands-on portion of their education. Students who are good fit for an online master's in science education show self-discipline, an interest in the field, an aptitude for learning, and a passion for advancing their science education careers.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Science Education Graduates

Master's in Science Education Salary

While many classroom teachers may not receive a salary commensurate with that of other professionals, educators who have earned a master's in science education online often find they are among the best paid teachers in their schools. Areas throughout the country need science teachers at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels. States with strong science and technology economies, such as California, New Mexico, and Massachusetts, typically pay science instructors above the national average wage. As in many fields, experience level helps determine salary for educators, but a graduate degree may prove more valuable than time spent teaching in the classroom.

Top Paying States for Postsecondary Biological Science Teachers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 320 $145,750
California 4,520 $121,310
New Mexico 80 $117,100
Utah 550 $112,540
Massachusetts 2,410 $105,930
United States 49,910 $93,010

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master's in Science Education Careers

Science teachers can work at the K-12 or postsecondary level, serving in either the classroom or the administrator's office suite. Good teachers typically know their subject well, but they also have a passion for instruction and for the students they teach. In a field such as science education, teachers should enjoy hands-on projects and experiential learning, and feel comfortable with direct instruction models. Educators interested in teaching science at any level can explore a variety of careers using their degrees.

High School Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $59,170

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

High school science teachers introduce students in grades 9-12 to the elements of science. These educators provide direct instruction in the content field, manage classes, meet with students, complete paperwork, serve on committees, sponsor clubs, attend conferences, and maintain communication with parents. A master's degree typically increases a high school teacher's salary.

Postsecondary Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $76,000

Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Postsecondary educators teach in public or private colleges, community colleges, or universities. They often instruct students in their core subject, such as science, as well as serve on committees, sponsor clubs, and meet one-on-one with students. A master's degree is the minimum education level required for this profession.

Instructional Coordinator

Annual Median Salary: $63,750

Projected Growth Rate: 11%

Instructional coordinators work in elementary and secondary schools, colleges, professional schools, and in government settings. These professionals select, manage, develop, and implement standards and curricula in conjunction with the school principal. They have accrued many years of teaching experience and hold at least a master's degree. Instructional coordinators may be academic generalists, or they may specialize in a single content area, such as science education.

Department Chair (College/University)

Annual Median Salary: $84,451

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

Working in higher education, department chairs take leadership over a single academic unit's curriculum and goals. They may supervise professors and adjunct instructors, oversee curriculum development in departmental majors, and help plan and manage department finances and budgets. Department chairs may also serve on university-wide committees and play a role in hiring staff.

High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $52,100

Projected Growth Rate: -5%

Working in junior colleges, secondary schools, and even correctional institutions, these teachers help adult learners gain skills in reading, writing, and speaking English. Most often, high school equivalency diploma teachers are working with students who hope to earn their GEDs or finish high school through a nontraditional means.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statstics / PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Science Education Program?

The courses required to earn a master's in science education online vary according to each individual college and university. In most programs, however, students take classes in research, educational theory and practice, and pure or applied science. While the details vary, the courses listed below exemplify the coursework students in a science education program can expect to encounter.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Science Education

Action Research

Action-oriented research defines a system of self-reflective inquiry with a tripartite goal of better understanding a practice, improving that practice, and enhancing the context within which the practice is carried out. In this course, students learn about the nature of action research and data analysis, how to conduct research, and how to make research public.

Chemistry for Science Educators

In this course, created for science teachers, students learn about topics like thermodynamics, chemical bonding, surface chemistry, states of matter, solubility, and acid-base chemistry. This course focuses on the chemical properties of water and includes experimental work with a lab kit.

Pollution and Environmental Biology for Educators

Producing and consuming energy has consequences for the environment, the economy, and the populace. In this course, educators review the basic concepts of pollution and the effects of pollutants on the world around us. Learners also work together to create lab exercises to help secondary students understand these concepts.

Evolutionary Biology for Educators

Students consider evolution's processes and patterns, including the mechanisms of evolutionary change and how they help create biodiversity. Students use simulation software to explore topics such as mendelian genetics, phylogenetics, speciation, sexual selection, and human evolution. The course examines both popular and scientific literature related to evolution.

Inclusive Education for a Diverse Society

This course focuses on how culture shapes education. Students consider what culture is, the influences that shape culture, and the effects of culture on policies, practicums, and curricula in schools. The ultimate goal of the course is for students to understand how to provide quality education for all students across a spectrum of cultures.

Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Science Education Prepares Graduates For

  • Middle School Science Teacher License: Middle school teachers typically serve in grades 5-9, although that varies by state. To earn a middle school science teacher license, applicants need a bachelor's degree with a major in education and a minor in science or a master's in science education. They also need to pass the PRAXIS exam in the science content area.

  • Secondary Science Teacher License: In most states, a secondary science teacher license permits educators to instruct students in grades 6-12. Earning this credential requires an academic background in science education, such as an online master's in science education. Applicants also need to pass the PRAXIS exam in the appropriate content area.

Professional Organizations & Resources

Joining a professional organization gives science teachers access to an array of resources plus a network of other educators from around the country or even around the world. Member associations typically provide collaborative opportunities through their annual conferences and their online directories. They also offer high-quality continuing education courses and access to jobs boards. Members can subscribe to academic journals or even share their own research and knowledge in the industry by publishing in an organization's magazine or speaking at a regional or national conference.

  • National Association of Biology Teachers: Calling itself the leader in life science education, NABT equips members with nine copies of The American Biology Teacher along with teaching resources and discounts on publications, conferences, and insurance.

  • National Association for Research in Science Teaching: NARST is a long-standing membership organization focused on research-based teaching in science. Members can enjoy an international conference, access to a listserv, and a subscription to the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

  • Association for Science Teacher Education: About 800 members from countries around the world make up ASTE, which hosts an annual conference each January and publishes an academic journal entitled The Journal of Science Teacher Education.

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science: AAAS is a general science member association perhaps best known as the publisher of Science magazine. Members receive weekly issues of the magazine as well as opportunities to read specialized journals and connect with other science enthusiasts around the world.

  • National Science Teachers Association: With more than 50,000 members, NSTA is the largest association of science teachers in the world. Members can take advantage of books, periodicals, conferences, professional learning opportunities, and a career center.

  • American Association of Chemistry Teachers: This professional association publishes an academic journal for chemistry teachers and provides webinars and coaches for professional development. Teachers can also download resources for science classrooms of all levels.

  • National Science Foundation: NSF serves as the U.S. government agency that manages grant funding for scientific research. K-12 teachers and graduate students pursuing an online master's in science education can seek funds for their research in science education.

  • Smithsonian Science Education Center: This resource provides professional and leadership development training for science teachers along with an array of curricular resources, such as Smithsonian Science for Makerspaces and Girls and Women in STEM.

  • NOVA: A subsidiary of PBS, NOVA produces full episodes of shows on bodies and brains, space and flight, physics, evolution, and tech and engineering. Teachers can also purchase resources such as Gross Science lessons and NOVA Labs.

  • National Geographic Education: National Geographic offers educators the chance to apply for grants and take professional development courses. Teachers can also download interactive lessons and subscribe to Explorer and Young Explorer magazines.

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