How Much Does an M. Ed. Increase Earnings?

People considering a graduate degree in the field of education might wonder how much an M. Ed. will increase earnings. A person can earn more money with an M. Ed. than with a bachelor’s degree in education, but it is important to understand the focus of an M. Ed. and how it differs from a master of arts in teaching, or an MAT.

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M. Ed. Versus MAT

Teachers can pursue an M. Ed. and return to the classroom with an advanced degree, but a more common path for them is to get a M.A.T. An M. Ed. opens the doors to a career in educational administration as well. Every program will vary, but typical coursework in an M. Ed. program involves learning about educational leadership and curriculum development. Depending on the student’s concentration and areas of interest, coursework might also cover student affairs, counseling, educational technology and various types of education, such as special education or adult education.

Careers With an M. Ed.

An M. Ed. can prepare an individual to work in a variety of different environments besides the classroom, including business environments. Some people get an M. Ed. and continue teaching. Others may pursue careers in curriculum development, including instructional coordination, or in corporate training. A person might work in a post-secondary setting in educational administration. This could include work as a registrar, in student affairs or in managing other student services at a college or university. People may go on to work in other capacities in elementary or secondary school settings as well. For example, they might work as school principals.

Earnings for Teachers With an M. Ed.

It is important to remember that salaries may vary significantly depending on the part of the country a teacher is in and the school system the teacher is working for. However, in general, teachers who return to the classroom after pursuing an M. Ed. have the opportunity to get paid more than their counterparts who have bachelor’s degrees. According to, elementary, middle and high school teachers can make thousands of dollars more per year with a master’s degree.

How Much Does an M Ed Increase Earnings

Earnings in Other Fields

One of the main ways that an M. Ed. increases earnings is the many opportunities that open up to individuals with this degree. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for high school teachers in 2018 was $60,320. By comparison, the median pay for elementary or high school principals was $95,310. For people working in educational administration at colleges and universities, the BLS reports that the median pay was $94,340. For instructional coordinators, who help develop teaching standards and curriculum within school systems, the difference in salary is not as stark, but it is still higher, with a median pay of $64,450.

Most people who go into the field of education do so because they hope to positively influence the development of children and young people. However, the classroom is not the only place to do this, and some people may choose instead to pursue educational careers in other capacities. It is important to ask how much an M. Ed. increases earnings but also to look at the expanded opportunities that can come from pursuing such a degree.