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3 Ways an M.S. Dual-Degree Can Help Fast-Track Your Career in Education

Emporia State University's accelerated dual degree option, the Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Administration online program, is designed for educators looking to fast-track their careers. Participants enrolled in the dual-degree track will save time and tuition compared to pursuing the two degrees separately — and can earn a competitive advantage in the employment marketplace.

The dual degree combines the best of both programs. Students in the program are encouraged to first complete their Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction (M.S. in C&I), then work toward the Master of Science in Educational Administration (MSEd.). While pursuing their M.S. in C&I, students can gain valuable experience with a concentration in Curriculum Leadership or Instructional Coach.

After completing the dual program, graduates are prepared to stand out in career paths related to administration, school leadership, and curriculum and instruction. Some potential roles for graduates include school principal, athletic director, assistant principal, instructional coordinator, curriculum or education specialist, or director of curriculum and instructional design. Above all, the curriculum will prepare them to be educational leaders at a school-wide level.

Here are some notable benefits to enrolling in a dual degree program that emphasizes curriculum, instruction, and educational administration:

  1. Save Time and Tuition

The dual-degree track saves time, allowing students to work toward the requirements to become a principal while they complete coursework for their Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. This can be especially important for educators who are still working toward teaching requirements for educational leadership licensure.

The Kansas State Department of Education requires applicants for the license of building administrator (principal) to complete at least five years of experience in a state-accredited school while holding a professional level teaching, school specialist or clinical license. Emporia State University recommends at least three years of professional experience before starting the educational administration degree program.

Emporia's program also emphasizes flexibility. Dual-degree students can pause and return to their second program at any time, so long as all coursework is completed within seven years of the first dual course applied towards the second degree.

  1. Gain Marketability

With a dual degree, educators are well prepared to stand out in the job market and enjoy the pay increase associated with teacher leaders and administrators. Teacher leaders' roles may vary among different schools and districts, but they share a common purpose: to guide other teachers' instruction improvement in a way that increases student learning.
According to degree program information website Noodle, "Curriculum and instruction experts will always be in demand as long as education remains a critical national priority. …  It should also expand your marketability in the job market, your earning potential, and your effectiveness in supporting students and educators of all levels and learning styles across content areas." That potential is only increased when paired with knowledge from a Master of Science in Educational Administration.

Most of the career possibilities that the dual degree offers are in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projected jobs for school principals are expected to grow 4% by 2029, in line with the national jobs average. But for instructional coordinators, the BLS expects those jobs to grow 6% above the national jobs average. "As schools seek additional training for teachers, demand for instructional coordinators is projected to grow," the BLS projects.

  1. Increase Earning Potential

Obtaining dual degrees can accelerate an educator's career trajectory, putting them in a position for higher earning. The BLS places the median salary for elementary, middle, and high school principals at $98,490 annually; instructional coordinators in elementary and secondary schools earn $66,970. By contrast, the median annual salary for elementary school teachers is $60,660, and $62,870 for high school teachers.

Not only are salaries for such positions higher, but a dual degree program that accelerates the degree process allows attendees to potentially begin earning those higher salaries in less time when compared to completing the degrees separately.

Learn more about Emporia State University's online Master of Science in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Administration program.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook:
High School Teachers
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher
Instructional Coordinators
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Kansas State Department of Education: School Leadership License Requirements

Noodle: Aiming for a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction

Opportunity Culture: Defining Teacher-Leader Roles

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