So you think you want to go back school to continue your education? It seems like a great idea(and it very well might be) if you take the time find the right fit for your situation. The purpose of this post is to get you thinking about what path you might choose. Look for upcoming posts that go into more depth on the 4 main ways to earn your Master’s Degree.
You might be itching to get back into working on your musicianship and teaching. Maybe your job is less than diserable or just not the right fit. You aspire to teaching at the collegiate level. Your district is offering compensation for continuing your education. Maybe you just need to be “recharge” your musical batteries. Of course, I would be niave to think that the salary increase isn’t a motivator on some level. Whatever the reason there are a variety of ways out there to earn your advanced degree.
The four main ways to earn your Master’s Degree:
1. Return to a university full-time for study.
2. Earn your degree a few classes at a time in the evenings and summers.
3. Summer only course of study.
4. Online programs.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each path. Ultimately, you must chose what is right for you. Let me offer a few suggestions.
You are a full-time teacher who is happy with your job. You can’t imagine leaving your students or school, but you know you’d be a better teacher if you took some more coursework. If that’s the case I recommend looking into programs that will allow you to study evenings and summers while keeping your job. Many universities offer programs like this.
You don’t want to leave your job, but you want to be more immersed in a program of study. I recommend finding a summer only program. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as three summers and will offer a more hands on approach to learning.
For the teacher who is really strapped for time and doesn’t have a way to commit to a regular schedule of classes there are online programs. Even though I’m a techie, I’m not completely sold on these programs because of the lack of face time with your teachers. I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but if you’re planning on going on to a D.M.A. or Ph.D. these degrees will not hold as much weight. Make sure you really check out the accreditation of any online programs as well.
If you are in place in your life where you can take the plunge and go back to school full-time, I recommend it. The immersion in your learning is worth it, if it is feasible for you (both personally and financially). In my opinion, this is absolutely neccessary if you want to get into college teaching or shooting for your terminal degree.
I hope now you’re thinking a little about what course of study might be right for you. In the next series of posts I will roll out some specific information on each of the four ways to pursue a graduate degree. Stay tuned!
Want to talk about it? Find me on Twitter @KFreesen or comment here!
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