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How does having an MA affect one's career?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by DleP, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. DleP

    DleP New commenter


    I'm a maths NQT thinking about my next steps in my career.

    One option I have is to do a masters degree, most likely in Mathematics Education. I'd quite like to do this partly because I'd be interested in it and would like to understand the research behind my practice better. But also because I would hope that it would affect my career positively - but I'm not sure how, and indeed if, it would.

    So I'm wondering: if you've got an MA, how has it affected your career? If you recruit staff, is that kind of higher qualification something you look for? Or do you have any other perspective on this?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. DleP

    DleP New commenter

    A little bit more context: my BA is in English Literature, and I know that some schools prefer all their maths teachers to have maths degrees. Could a maths education MA make up for this deficiency, do you think?
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'm quite surprised that you were accepted on to secondary maths teacher training without a maths based degree.

    Doing the masters would affect your career only in the sense it might improve your ability in the classroom (not saying you aren't already fabulous, but more knowledge always helps). A masters in maths education is likely to overlap an awful lot with your training, so won't be half as useful as you might think. However, if you are interested in the theories of learning maths and enjoy study, then it certainly won't do any harm.

    Much, much later in your career a masters in some kind of leadership could well be useful when applying for those positions, should you go down that route.
  4. DleP

    DleP New commenter

    I'm a Teach First person, they don't insist on subject specific degrees and the universities they work with (in my case, the IOE) seem to take their word that we'll probably do all right without. So far I seem to be.

    You're absolutely right of course that more knowledge always helps.

    Do you think that only a masters in leadership would be useful for moving into leadership positions? Or might a maths ed one be of value there as well?
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Wow! Didn't know that. I assume people need to have A Levels in their subjects at least!

    A maths ed masters will be of no value career wise, except to demonstrate that you enjoy studying and can work hard and manage your time.
    Tinycat1234 likes this.
  6. DleP

    DleP New commenter

    Oh god, I've got an A level in maths! I got an A and everything! Just not a degree.

    ETA: Just re-read your comment, had misunderstood first time. Yes, you do need an A level, of course.
  7. DleP

    DleP New commenter

    Fair enough on the maths ed front, thank you.
  8. Pomz

    Pomz Lead commenter


    If recruiting a teacher I would want to see evidence the candidate was good at teaching.

    Not really.

    If recruiting a leader I would want to see evidence the candidate was good at leading.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Do you just want to teach in England?
  10. secretteacher2357

    secretteacher2357 Occasional commenter

    I have a masters that has been very useful in my career. However it is in a very specialist area (SEND) and it meant that when a SENDCo position came up I was the most qualified to take it.
    My research project also ideally positioned me to lead cpd on teaching and learning for SEND students.
    However this has all come about while I was already on the school. It had little or no impact on my initial hiring - it just came in useful later on.
    Tinycat1234 likes this.
  11. Sanz1981

    Sanz1981 New commenter

    Think about it. You're only doing a masters because there is funding. You wouldn't do it otherwise. What would you have done
    Curae likes this.
  12. Curae

    Curae Established commenter

    In my school there have been HTs that have fewer formal qualifications than our poorly paid technical staff who held post doctoral qualifications and were published and this has frequently been the case. It really doesn't matter as most career progression in education will be 'satisfied ' by CPD middle management through to NPQH. Yes there will always be someone looking at CVs that want a first from Oxford followed by a PhD from Harvard ...but that's rare.

    Now if it's a passion of yours that's a whole different kettle of fish ..I for one intend to do my PhD during retirement and out of interest.
  13. Tinycat1234

    Tinycat1234 Occasional commenter

    No I really don’t think an MA in maths will.
    You need to make sure you have meaningful appraisals and be vocal that you’re ambitious and keen to climb the ladder. Do the best you can do in the classroom and google lots of job adverts that you like the look of and see what they are asking for.
    Agree that SEND seems to be the only area where a post grad is useful.
  14. BYusuf

    BYusuf Occasional commenter TES Careers peer advisor

    In short, it does very little for your career. The advice you have already received shares possible ways in which it *may* help with leadership.
  15. dts

    dts New commenter

    A counter-point to some of the views above - I took an MSc in education leadership, and was told that my willingness to undertake further study had been a factor in appointing me to my current position. What I suspect really helped was that I had had the opportunity to take some time to reflect on leadership within teaching, to read more widely, and to meet teachers from a wide range of schools. I could definitely put together a stronger application and a better interview performance post-Masters, although I would agree that the qualification itself doesn't necessarily open many doors.

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