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Is completing a masters worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by scoggins1992, Mar 12, 2016.


Is a masters worthwhile in a teaching career?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Unsure

  1. scoggins1992

    scoggins1992 New commenter

    I completed my PGCE last year and have 90 credits towards a masters. I lose these credits if I don't do anything with them in the next three years.

    I am looking at completing the masters in Educational Practice and Research... partly because the course is tailored around teaching and I already have half the credits! I want to do this for the obvious reasons... it looks good on my CV, I like to learn etc. But it is a lot of money as it has to be self-funded. I know it won't earn me any extra money or get me any further at the moment but any education is good and I'm hoping it looks good in a few years if I want to go into the higher levels of management. I'm currently in a small primary school so not possible at the moment. It also means I have no possibility of saving any money for the next two years. Lots of pros and cons.

    Does anyone recommend studying at masters level in education? Is it actually worthwhile considering the time, effort and money put into it?

    Thank you!
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I'm doing it but more for me than any career benefit. We have to do CPD and I would rather do something structured and accredited than endless twilights teaching grannies to suck eggs.
    scoggins1992 likes this.
  3. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    I feel the same way, @scoggins1992. I would sort of like to do a Masters course, but it is a lot of money and I'm unsure about whether it would be particularly useful for career development. I will keep my eye on this thread in case someone else can offer any other insights!
  4. Hannadelaney

    Hannadelaney New commenter

    Depending on what it is you are teaching, you should think about what your Master's is in.

    For example, I had advice from senior tutors at University (that taught PGCE'S and Education courses) that sometimes it is more beneficial to complete an Master's in your specialist subject.

    The reason I didn't go for a Master's in Education is because it can be quite vast. A Master's in your subject could have different advantages such as developing your subject knowledge further (they always ask about how you keep subject knowledge up to date).

    Another reason for me not doing a Master's in Ed was because of things like, what if I don't want to teach for the rest of my working life? At least in a subject specialism, you could transfer a lot of the content and skills to other careers e.g. if it was in IT you might go somewhere else in that field. I could still do other things with an English Master's. I've left myself open.

    The decision is yours ultimately. Having a postgraduate degree doesn't necessarily make you a stronger candidate. It is just a factor that could make an employer's decision easier. There are other ways to prove that you are committed to CPD and career progression. I have been shortlisted down to the last 2 candidates before and found that we both had MA's. I lost to the other candidate because she was more experienced. The MA just separated us from other candidates (perhaps!?).

    You could even ask your employer to support you in achieving a postgraduate degree. I know of institutions that run Master's courses as CPD, or at least financially support some of it.

    I hope this helps.
    Rozario123 and cazzmusic1 like this.
  5. Malachi_Constant

    Malachi_Constant New commenter

    Exactly this. I completed an MA in Education with the Open University in the first few years that I was teaching. It was great at the time and I mostly enjoyed it but I feel that many of the benefits in terms of understanding teaching would have developed with experience anyway. It did improve my academic writing and research skills which is valuable.

    The rules on funding for HE courses have changed since I completed the MA. I would like to take a second masters qualification but that means (in many cases) paying the non EU student fees without access to the new post graduate loans that have been introduced. This is because I already have a masters degree. The MA was much cheaper when I completed it back in 2011 so I didn't think much of it. I think these days it much more expensive and so you are likely to be more mindful of the cost.

    If the MA is going to be your final degree (or if you might go on to study a doctorate) then this isn't a problem. If you might want to do something different later on then I'd consider the cost implications carefully and take a look at what universities are charging for second masters level qualifications.
  6. Rozario123

    Rozario123 New commenter

    I agree - do an MA in your subject area. I have and its opened more doors than a general MA would have.
  7. scoggins1992

    scoggins1992 New commenter

    Thanks everyone, it's been really helpful to read your answers. I decided against completing the masters for financial reasons but have since seen that they have changed the rules for postgraduate loans and I would not be eligible so now I'm not sure! For anyone who has completed or is completing the masters whilst teaching - how did you find the workload? Thank you!
  8. Rozario123

    Rozario123 New commenter

    I did mine part-time over 3 years. It was hell combining work with study as well as looking after my family. Evenings/weekends were spent in front of the computer. MA is so time consuming, but certainly easier than my first degree. Was so glad when it was over. Never want to go through that again.
  9. cellerdore

    cellerdore Occasional commenter

    I finished mine part-time over two years. It was tough but completely worth it in my opinion. Yes, much of the information could have been learnt through experience however the critical analysis part and making sure that you base changes in practice on educational research has been invaluable to my general teaching practice. It has meant that I have became a much better teacher as I now research, evaluate and reflect on the changes I make in a more systematic manner.

    In short, the knowledge of an Educational masters may not be as beneficial as another subject area but the "soft skills" are invaluable in my opinion. Oh, and while you are told "it will help your career" I would take that with a pinch of salt... while I am sure that it might be a reason you are shortlisted, in the (many) interviews I have had since I achieved my masters I have only been asked about it once even though my dissertation was published... grr.
  10. bob79

    bob79 Occasional commenter

    Masters yes, but in either your subject area or a related one - educational MAs offer nothing you would not get through experience. I started a similar MA to you and gave it up, leaving with a post-grad certificate; I later completed an MA in a subject area close to but not the same as my under grad. Whilst work and study are hard to balance, I am so glad I did it. It is always commented on at interview, especially as it is an additional core subject which I have been told many times by different panels that it demonstrates an ability to adapt and succeed at new challenges (which I never considered but it is nice to hear). I use the skills and subject matter all the time in my teaching as it improved the way I approach my teaching/subject - it was the best decision I made academically.
    questionsandanswers likes this.

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