See A Teacher Explain Why Master’s Degrees In Education Are A Ripoff

By Doug Norrie | Published

master's degree

When it comes to salary scales and pay charts, teachers are often looking for every last dollar they can squeeze out of a contract. That can mean taking on club advisor roles, coaching sports teams, chaperoning school functions, and much more. It’s part of the deal when entering the world of education, wanting to find those spots within the district that can offer a slight uptick in salary. And often a big one is furthering your education, getting advanced degrees which often lead to more pay within the structure of the pay tiers. But one teacher is saying that getting her Master’s degree in education is looking more and more like it wasn’t worth it at all. Based on her salary increase, she says that maybe going to get that next degree to hang on the wall wasn’t the right choice. Check out the video:

TikTok user Ms. Zak posted on the platform about her recent completion of a Master’s degree and how it would affect her yearly pay. With the soundtrack of High School Musical playing in the background, it’s a quick video but highlights some of the issues teachers feel like they are facing right now in the current educational climate. Ms. Zak says that her pay increased from $53,000 per year to $56,000 per year after she received her Master’s degree. She then goes on to compare this salary to a friend who makes $30,000 more per year with only a bachelor’s degree. She fails to say what exactly his or her profession is which would at least give that part of the comment some context.

Currently, the average cost of a Master’s degree in Education is $55,200 up about 10% or more in the last twenty years. There are a variety of programs out there for teachers which range in price and by and large getting a Master’s degree will help increase teacher pay in districts. But how much? According to Point Loma, the average teacher with a bachelor’s degree makes $45,390 (6-9 years of experience) and a teacher in the same career timeline with a master’s degree will earn about $52,750. Though according to In the Know a master’s degree in teaching increases a starting salary by only about $2,700 per year. This latter number projects closer to what Ms. Zak is referencing, but again there a myriad of factors here including district, contract, years teaching, and much more.

Now, one thing that isn’t mentioned here is that teachers aren’t often obligated to get Master’s degrees in education or similarly-related fields if they are working in public schools. It’s often optional and nothing more. A simple “solution” to this issue is to determine if the time and expense of getting a Master’s degree will actually pay off within a certain school district’s pay scale. This information is readily available ahead of time to teachers so it isn’t like it should have been some kind of surprise.

In general, by the available metrics, it would appear that getting a Master’s degree in education is a very close call in terms of whether or not it is worth it from a salary perspective. Of course, there are other reasons to get this advanced degree and it can open up other possibilities, like teaching at higher universities. But on the teacher pay scale it might be something of a ripoff.