Online Master's Degree in Educational Technology

Why Pursue a Master's Degree in Educational Technology?

Our classrooms, industries, and personal lives are inundated with new technology. Specialists with a master's in educational technology play important roles in helping integrate technology and learning in a wide variety of settings. Students can finish an educational technology degree online or at a traditional brick-and-mortar campus within two years, and some online programs may be completed in just one year.

Students can finish an educational technology degree online or at a traditional brick-and-mortar campus within two years

Graduates of educational technology programs wear many professional hats. They are employed in school districts helping teachers incorporate technology into their lesson plans. They might hold administrative positions in training and development, or they might create new technologies, designing e-learning platforms, software, or multimedia applications. The demand is expanding for instructional technology specialists, instructional technology coordinators, curriculum designers, and similar occupations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of instructional coordinators to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026. Professionals find positions in government and the private sector as well as in school settings. The median salary for instructional coordinators is over $63,000 annually. Because many elementary and secondary schools require their instructional coordinators to be licensed teachers, a master's degree coupled with this additional educational credential have bumped the salaries of instructional coordinators significantly above those working in higher education or in industry alone.

Choosing a Master's in Educational Technology Program

An on-campus or online master's degree in educational technology generally entails two years of full-time study, or 36 credits, but each school structures its degree differently. Some programs focus on the integration of technology in K-12 or postsecondary schools. They may be geared toward licensed teachers or emphasize curriculum design. Many degrees include a practicum encouraging real-world experience or require a final thesis.

Accreditation is a significant factor in selecting your graduate program. Regional accreditation is the best indicator of a school's overall quality, and how other institutions and prospective employers evaluate its degrees. Financial aid eligibility may also be affected by regional accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation provide comprehensive lists of accredited schools on their websites.

You might also consider a master's with programmatic accreditation, especially if you are interested in working in a K-12 setting. These include educational technology master's degrees accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) has been authorized to gradually take over these two programmatic accreditations in education, including those in educational technology.

When deciding on an online master's degree in education technology, the degree format may also affect your choice in what program to attend. If you work full time or have family responsibilities, find out if you can take courses at your own pace. Degrees delivered fully online or hybrid programs may be easier for you to balance.

Type of Educational Technology Degrees

A master's in education technology can be completed either as a master of education or a master of science. An M.Ed. program attracts teachers and others who want to work in school systems integrating technology and learning, while an MS may appeal to students with an interest in IT, computer applications, or management. While both types of master's degrees take about two years to finish, there are differences in the curriculum and potential careers.

An online master's in educational technology or a master's in instructional technology in an M.Ed. curriculum appeals to those already employed or seeking careers in a K-12 school environment. An M.Ed. offers courses in instructional theory, research, and design. Programs for licensed teachers often specialize in applications for specific grade levels and subject matters.

The degree you choose ultimately depends on your personal career goals.

In contrast to an M.Ed., a master of science in educational technology prepares students for careers in technology-based learning beyond traditional school settings. Graduates with an MS find careers in software design or creating online learning platforms. They may move into technology management, providing training and development for businesses.

The degree you choose ultimately depends on your personal career goals. While an MS with a specialization in instructional design and technology garners a higher salary overall than its M.Ed. counterparts, employment prospects for both are expanding. Both degrees offer financially and professionally rewarding career opportunities.

Where Can I Get a Master's Degree in Educational Technology?

In choosing the program that is right for you, one of the most important factors is accreditation. Check which schools are regionally accredited, and find out if the master's in educational technology degree has programmatic accreditation from CAEP, NCATE, or TEAC. Another consideration is the school's location, especially if coursework in the program is not delivered completely online but in a hybrid format requiring some on-campus attendance. If you work full time or have family commitments, you will have to make time for travel and campus-based classes.

Entry Requirements

Admission requirements for a master's in educational technology depend on the program curriculum. While some programs are designed for educators who already have their teaching credentials, others need a program that includes teacher licensing as part of the degree. These programs address how to implement new technology in the classroom and across school systems.

Some educational technology programs restrict admission to licensed teachers and may specify a minimum number of years of teaching experience. Programs that emphasize curriculum and instruction may require students to have a bachelor's in education, while others accept students with undergraduate degrees in other subjects. Some of these programs emphasize instructional design and multimedia production for creating online learning applications, while others focus on training and using technology in adult learning.

Academic requirements vary widely but most programs look for a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Some specify minimum scores on the GRE. The best way to make sure you have the necessary qualifications is to contact the school's admissions office directly.

Directory of Accredited Master's in Educational Technology Programs

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What Can I Do with a Master's in Educational Technology

Educational technology jobs are plentiful. Schools from K-12 to the postsecondary level hire educational technology specialists who train teachers to utilize new technology applications. The growth in online learning degrees for non-traditional students at the undergraduate and graduate level has also translated into opportunities for technology specialists who can create and maintain distance-learning platforms. While many positions are in educational institutions, businesses of all kinds increasingly employ educational technology professionals in their training and development programs.

Instructional Coordinator

These professionals train educators at the K-12 and postsecondary levels, helping them integrate technology into their curricula. They also work in human resources departments in many different kinds of organizations training and supporting new staff. Instructional coordinators also research, evaluate, and implement new technological applications and methods. A master's degree is increasingly preferred.

Median Salary: $63,750

Academic Director

An academic director develops and administers academic programs. They review data in anticipation of new trends and make recommendations about instructional technology. Much of their time is spent interacting with the public, the media, faculty and staff, and students and their parents. A bachelor's in business or education is required; a master's and previous administrative experience are desirable.

Median Salary: $60,834

Instructional Designer

These professionals develop instructional materials, such as customer training courses, and instructor-led and online learning packages. They must be knowledgeable about instructional design principles and adult learning theory in order to assess training needs and the appropriate method of instruction. This position requires at least a bachelor's degree in education or instructional design.

Median Salary: $61,049

Instructional Technology Specialist

Instructional technology specialists direct technological training for their staffs. Depending on the needs of the organization, they must be skilled in supporting and teaching differently-abled learners to use computer technology. Those employed in school settings integrate and evaluate computer hardware and software technologies into the curriculum, as well as assess the technological training needs of students and faculty.

Median Salary: $51,449

Training Coordinator

Employed in a wide range of settings, training coordinators determine the training needs of workers, design and implement training programs, and assess their effectiveness. In smaller organizations, they may also be responsible for conducting on-the-job training. Some training coordinators engage in contract work for consulting firms providing training to multiple businesses.

Median Salary: $48,230

Paying for Your Online Master's in Educational Technology Degree

While paying for your online master's degree in educational technology may be challenging, several different ways to finance graduate school are available. Many students seeking their educational technology degree apply for loans, work study, and scholarships. Students who are able to pay for their graduate studies with personal savings, family contributions, or other resources should check with their intended school about its tuition payment schedule and the availability of quarterly or semester payment plans.

Financial Aid

The very first step in applying for any kind of financial assistance is to fill out and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a prerequisite to qualify for any form of need-based federal financial aid for both graduate and undergraduate studies. Many schools require applicants to complete the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for private funds such as grants, state-sponsored awards, or college-specific assistance.

Most students pay for their education through a combination of private and public sources of aid. Work-study, scholarships, and bank loans are examples of private sources of funding. Public funds include federal subsidized or unsubsidized loans, which are obtained through application with the FAFSA.

Federal loans generally have lower interests rates than private loans. Graduate students may be eligible for two types of federal loans. The Subsidized Graduate Stafford loan is need-based; the government pays the interest while the student is enrolled, and loan repayment is deferred until after completion of the degree. The Unsubsidized Graduate Stafford loan is not based on need and interest on the loan accrues as soon as the loan is awarded. Stafford loans are disbursed directly to the school and credited to the student's tuition account each term.

Work Study

Work study is a federal, state or school-funded employment program for students with demonstrated financial need. Students with work-study awards are often employed in on-campus, part-time jobs, though some positions off campus may be available. Students must file the FAFSA to be considered for need-based federal work study. Some states sponsor work study programs and many schools offer their own institutionally funded student employment opportunities. The level of need and school regulations determines the number of hours a student can work for work study. Graduate students awarded work study sometimes find employment in their academic departments or in jobs related to their field of study.

Tuition Reimbursement Programs

In these programs, students seeking postsecondary degrees initially pay their tuition, and later employers reimburse them. Tuition reimbursement benefits both employers and students. It supplies companies with a well-trained workforce and it assists students in need who otherwise would not have access to higher education. Most employers specify program requirements, such as meeting a minimum cumulative GPA while enrolled or completing your degree within a certain time frame. Some companies require that recipients remain employed for a specific period of time after earning their degree. If students fail to comply with these requirements, they may have to forfeit their reimbursement benefits or repay any disbursed funds.

Grants, Fellowships and Scholarships

Grants, scholarships and fellowships are outright monetary awards. Unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid.

Grants are most often applied toward tuition, fees, and other expenses, deposited directly into a student account maintained by the school. The federal government is the major provider of need-based grants.

Scholarships can be sponsored or funded by the university or private organizations. Oftentimes, scholarships are merit based or restricted to applicants who fulfill eligibility requirements based on racial, ethnic, or other group affiliations.

Fellowships, in contrast, are always merit based and geared primarily toward students enrolled in graduate programs. While some fellowships cover tuition, others may be used to fund an independent research project. A fellowship may sometimes require an internship or other service commitment.

Scholarships for Online Master's in Educational Technology Degrees

Women Techmakers Scholars Program $10,000

Who Can Apply: Must be enrolled or accepted in an accredited graduate program in computer science, computer engineering, information technology, or related fields. View Scholarship

BHW Scholarship for Women $3,000

Who Can Apply: Must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) and submit a 500-800 word essay on using computer applications. View Scholarship

Maley/FTEE Scholarship for Technology and Engineering Teacher Professional Development $1,000

Who Can Apply: Must be a member of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association pursuing a graduate degree in educational fields related to technology or engineering. View Scholarship

Robert E. Knight Professional Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Must be a practicing educator seeking a graduate degree in the field of educational or instructional technology and also be a member of the Texas Computer Education Association. View Scholarship

Graduate Leaders Academic Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Must have a GPA of 3.2 or higher and accepted or enrolled in an online or campus-based graduate program; applicants must demonstrate leadership in their field of study. View Scholarship

Resources for Online Master's in Educational Technology Students

  • National Education Technology Plan This is the official policy document of the U.S. Office of Education Technology. It presents a plan for collaborative leadership to achieve greater equity of access to educational technology in the nation's schools.
  • ERIC Clearinghouse/Educational Technology Resources ERIC is a digital library of education research sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences. Its educational technology listings are comprehensive, including academic and professional journal articles for early childhood through postsecondary education levels.
  • Ed Tech Developer's Guide This guide for software designers, developers and others in the field of educational technology addresses ways to create digital tools and applications for learning that meet the needs of teachers and students alike.
  • The Learning Technology Project This report examines learning programs and strategies through the use of mobile devices. It presents best practices for improving educational effectiveness through mobile learning and micro-learning applications for tablets and smartphones.
  • Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation This is a policy brief sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. It outlines ways that teacher-training programs can prepare graduates to effectively incorporate appropriate technologies and resources to advance student learning.
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