Archive for May 2012
The teaching profession will continue to be an employment growth sector in the foreseeable future. Education policies and benchmarks will evolve as social changes and technological developments happen, but teachers will always be needed.
Teachers will Thrive
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that demand for teachers will grow by 17 percent through the year 2020. These jobs require completion of a four-year degree, certifications specific to areas of competency and passing the requisite licensing tests. Indeed, aspiring to teach entails commitment, sacrifice and financial resources.
How to Finance a College Education
Much has been said about the mounting costs of obtaining a college degree. This is a critical concern for would-be teachers faced with the prospect of financing a college education geared towards a job not normally associated with top-tier pay.
The FAFSA Process
Typically, students headed to college will start the search for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is the form that most colleges use to determine eligibility for financial aid. The review will include detailed information on family income, assets, size of the family of number of household members currently enrolled in college, prospective colleges and other identifying information.
The application can be completed online at FAFSA.gov. Alternatively, the form is downloadable at StudentAid.ed.gov for offline completion and filing or requested by phone at 800-4-FED-AID. The form should be submitted on or shortly after January 1 of the year that financial aid is requested. Complying with all FAFSA requirements earlier rather than later improves the odds of obtaining federal aid.
The amount of financial aid will depend on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) determined using a formula that analyzes FAFSA information provided. Students will be advised of their entitlement with a Student Aid Acknowledgement report that will also be sent to the preferred colleges.
The federal aid package is paid directly to the student’s college of choice to cover tuition and other fees. Room and board may also be covered if the school provides these services. These payments are disbursed at intervals linked to the school calendar. Any leftover amounts will be paid to the student by the school for other educational expenses.
Federal Pell Grants are awarded based on need defined by family income and other demographic considerations. Students enrolling in their first bachelor’s degree or who are entering a post baccalaureate program for teachers may be considered for a Pell Grant. The amount awarded is linked to the EFC and the cost of attending the school. The grant will also vary for full-time and part-time students.
Students younger than 24 years old must submit their parent’s financial information regardless of who is paying for college costs.
Academic Competitiveness Grant and the National SMART Grants
To encourage students to major in math, science, engineering, technology and certain foreign languages that are critically needed in the world economy, the Department of Education launched two new grants in 2006. The Academic Competitiveness Grant can be applied to expenses for the first and second years. The National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant are for students entering their third or fourth year of college.
Service grants are available for survivors of military personnel who served in Afghanistan and Iraq in the post 9-11 era. Students must be younger than 24 years old on the date of their parent’s demise. They must not qualify for a Pell grant to avail of a service grant. The award could amount to $5,500 annually.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) program awards as much as $4,000 annually to qualified students who agree to spend four years teaching in a school that serves a low-income community. The award is good for four years for undergraduate students and two years for postgraduate students enrolled in an eligible program. The Education Department determines program eligibility through its nationwide list of teacher shortages.
Failure to meet the conditions of the Agreement to Serve will result in conversion of the grant amount to an unsubsidized federal Stafford loan. Interest will accrue starting the date the grant money was first awarded.
Stafford loans are government-subsidized loans that can provide additional financing when grant money is inadequate or unavailable. These loans have fixed interest rates that are lower than unsubsidized college loans. The rate is 3.4 percent compared to 6.8 percent interest for unsubsidized financing. The rate will remain unchanged for the life of the loan. Stafford loan applications will not require a credit check.
Loan Management after Graduation
For most student loans, amortization begins after graduation. Aspiring teachers will face additional credentialing and licensing requirements to find employment in the school systems. At this point, it may be wise to explore how student loan payments can be deferred or forgiven.
Forbearance or Postponement by Deferment
It is possible to ask loan servicers for forbearance by invoking active military service or showing proof of financial hardship. Payments can be deferred for a specified time and interest will not accrue.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
State and local agencies may offer loan mitigation in exchange for employment in high-need areas that include teaching positions in underserved schools or economically depressed areas. The American Federation of Teachers provides a state-by-state directory of these programs.
Loan Forgiveness for Volunteer Participation
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is awarded to AmeriCorps volunteers. The award can be used to pay off student loans.
Volunteering with the Peace Corps will be beneficial because this nonprofit agency pays a stipend and a transition allowance. They will also facilitate a write-off of at most 70 percent of student loans.
Those who participate in Volunteers in Service to America affiliated with AmeriCorps, can also earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or a stipend that can be used to pay off student loans.
Loan Cancellation for Public Service
Teachers who are public servants for at least 10 years can have the balance of their student loans written off provided the loan is not in default. This opportunity exists only for those with an income-based repayment plan for their federal student loans.
The future is bright for aspiring teachers. There are many incentives for those who are determined to pursue this career path. Research the financing options carefully to avoid overwhelming student loans.
An online master’s in education from reputable schools require students to possess the same attitude they would demonstrate in classroom-based programs. These masters of education programs allow teachers to improve earning potential and professional prestige. Additionally, they will be able to gain more specialized skills and knowledge to make them stand out in their chosen career.
Recommended Masters in Education Programs
- 1. Ashford University MA in Education
- 2. Walden University MS in Education
- 3. Capella University MS in Education
Ranking the Top 10 Best Online Masters in Education Programs
Choosing to take a masters of education from a top online school allows students to accomplish their goals in their own time. They can study from anywhere at any time. Online schools do their best to offer the highest quality education possible for students. With this, we have chosen ten of the top online Masters in Education programs according to their credentials, services, students and instructors.
1. Oregon State University
2. St. Josephs University
3. Western Governors University
4. Kaplan University
5. Liberty University
6. Wright State University
7. Syracuse University
8. Northern Illinois University
9. Fort Hays State University
10. Bowling Green State University
10. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green State University is a public school that offers a Master’s of Education online. Bowling Green education classes are all posted and recorded online. With this, students can easily get access to the information any time.
Bowling Green is ranked number 13 for its faculty credentials and training by U.S. News and World Report. Bowling Green has made it to the magazine’s honor roll. This simply means that their online master’s of education program is among the best in the country.
Students living in-state pay $424 per credit for this program. Out-of-state students pay $434 per credit. These figures are the tuition costs for the 2011-2012 school year.
The M.Ed. program instructors are considered to be among the best in the entire country. The cross-section of students adds richness and depth to the program.
9. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays offers masters of education online programs through Fort Hays State Virtual College that was established in 1999. It is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. This program is also called the Advanced Education Program
The US News ranked Fort Hays as the 14th best M.ED. online program based on three of four modules. This includes faculty credentials, student services and technology and student engagement and accreditation.
Fort Hays Virtual State College requires online graduate students to pay $235.50 per credit hour. This tuition cost is for fall 2011 and summer of 2012.
Expert instructors will guide students all throughout the program. Fort Hays offers graduate education programs that do not require students to set foot on campus, but they will be able to maintain their relationships with classmates and instructors. Communication methods used include Skype, Adobe Connect, Wikis, blogs, Facebook, Google Docs, podcasts, Youtube, Ning, iTunes and other innovative methods.
8. Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University’s online master’s of education program aims to hone the next generation of school administrators and teachers using cutting edge technologies. Departments offering these programs include the Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundation and the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment.
Northern Illinois University was among the top 14 online programs in the country that was included in US News. NIU College of Education got first place in online M.Ed. program faculty credentials. It ranked seventh in student technology and services and twenty-sixth in student engagement and accreditation.
Illinois residents pay $7,297 every year to stay in the program. Meanwhile, students who live out of the state pay $14,595 per year.
The same faculty members teach students online and in real-classroom settings. All online faculty in the M.Ed. program hold doctoral degrees and have two or more years of experience in teaching online. This is the only school in the nation that has these top caliber instructors.
7. Syracuse University
Syracuse is a private institution that offers a master’s of education online. However, Syracuse students still work with their classmates when doing projects.
Syracuse University got first place in the US News rankings for student services and technology. Their admissions selectivity landed in the 11th spot while faculty training and credentials took 8th place. Syracuse’s student engagement and accreditation ended up in 15th place.
Residents in New York may take advantage of the education programs offered by Syracuse University by paying $1,206 per credit. Similarly, masters of education students living out of the state pay $1,206 per credit.
Online education programs have similar requirements to campus programs. Students need to take classes seven times a week online.
6. Wright State University
Wright State University posts nearly all of their classes online so that students can manage their education entirely on their own terms.
US News and World Report ranked Wright State #1 in faculty credentials and training, presumably meaning students in their education are receiving instruction from top notch teachers.
Tuition is cheaper if you live in Ohio at $3,942 per year but is still reasonable for out of state students at $6,696 per year.
Wright State University has rolling admissions, meaning you can get a start on your Master’s in Education at any time.
Liberty University Online offers a masters in education that is considered to be among the most affordable available today. LU is a Christian university that aims to help students pursue higher educational attainment in the most convenient and efficient way. LU offers many online programs related to education.
Liberty University has consistently been rated among the top ten online schools by the Online Education Database. This is based on the university’s high graduation and retention rates. US News ranked LU as the 80th Best College in the South.
Liberty University offers different tuition rates for part-time and full-time students. Part-time students pay $505 per hour while full-time students pay $465.
Liberty University promises to provide students with affordable rates, cutting edge technologies and innovative teaching strategies. Students can enjoy state of the art communication methods with accredited Christian instruction.
Kaplan’s online master’s degree in education is designed to prepare individuals who will have the power to motivate, influence and empower younger generations.
Students taking an online masters of education in the standard emphasis area track pay $385 per credit hour with a total tuition cost of $17,710. Masters in education students who choose the educational leadership track have the same cost per credit hour, but their total cost of tuition is $20,790.
Kaplan University has its own virtual classrooms that add a human touch to studying online.
A masters degree in education from Western Governors does not just prepare students to become classroom teachers. They may also become effective principals, vice principals or assistant principals. They can be leaders in their own schools.
Western Governors University changes its tuition costs every six months. Their online master of education tuition cost is $2,890 every term as of November 2011.
The tuition cost at WGU is considered to be its best feature. This is mainly because students pay for their classes per term and not per credit or course.
2. St. Josephs University
St. Joseph’s University has been offering masters in education online programs since 2010. The masters degree in education programs allow people to specialize in educational leadership, math education and special education.
St. Joseph’s University requires online masters of education students to pay $578 per credit.
St. Joseph’s University ensures the integration of academic, social and spiritual well-being for both online and on-campus students.
1. Oregon State University
The online masters degree in education at Oregon State is designed for licensed K-12 teachers. The M.ED. program aims to help them progress in the teaching profession with efficient and applicable academic programs along with opportunities for networking. Because of its reasonable cost, the rigorousness of its program, and the applicability of the lessons to the teaching classroom, we have chosen Oregon State University as the top online masters in education program in the country.
Oregon State University offers its online masters of education at $420 per credit in addition to a distance education fee of $17. This comes to a total of $495 per credit.
Oregon State University’s masters in education is a 45-credit degree program. It is 100 percent online for accessibility and convenience.
For students who are aspiring educators, there are a great many teaching scholarships, grants and other opportunities that are available. Here is a sampling of the many opportunities out there: 25 scholarships aimed at future teachers.
1. Robert G. Porter Scholars ($1000)
These scholarships are for teachers and students that are members of the American Federation of Teachers.
2. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship ($1000-$2000)
Minority students who are earning a GPA of 3.5 or higher can apply for this California teacher scholarship.
3. Zeta Phi Beta Isabel M. Herson Scholarship ($500-$1000)
Scholarships are awarded to several education majors each year.
4. Medical Imaging Educators Scholarship ($5000)
Students that are studying radiological sciences and maintain a GPA of 3.0 may be eligible for this teaching scholarship.
5. Future Teachers of American Scholarship ($250)
Students must be enrolled in a two or four year college and are tested on their curriculum to be awarded this scholarship.
6. Aspiring Educator Scholarship ($1000)
Members of Teachers-Teachers.com can apply for this opportunity if currently enrolled in a educational program at college.
7. Jean Evenstad Memorial Scholarship ($800-$1000)
English students of VCSU can apply for this yearly scholarships.
8. AFT Robert G Porter Scholars Program ($1000)
Education majors that are also AFT members can apply. Between four to ten students are selected each year.
9. Shela Z. Kouman Memorial Scholarship ($1000)
Financially strapped high school graduates that are interested in a teaching career may be eligible for this award. To be considered, an essay must be submitted and GPA needs to be at least 2.5.
10. Anna and John Kolesar Scholarships (varied)
Students that are enrolled in teaching programs and reside in Alberta, Canada must have a GPA of 3.0 to be eligible.
11. Straightforward Media Teacher Scholarship ($500)
Students who are enrolled in an Education program can receive this award. The site gives out the money every three months.
12. Tennessee Minority Teaching Fellows Program ($5000)
Students from Tennessee that are in education and planning to teach in a K-12 school may be eligible for this program.
13. Jack and Jeanette Chu Scholarship Fund ($2500-$5000)
Students at UC Berkeley that are enrolled in the Haas School of Business may apply.
14. Alice L. Haltom Educational Fund ($2000)
North American students that are in Information and Records Management can get this scholarship.
15. Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship ($7000)
Students that are pursuing an MLS and are going to work in library services for children are eligible.
16. Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation ($250)
Freshmen students can get this yearly scholarship.
17. Christopher K. Smith Memorial Scholarship ($1000)
High school students in Delaware can get ahead with their teaching career.
18. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Scholarship Fund (varied)
Future teachers throughout the United States may apply.
19. Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship ($1000)
Education majors can get this annual award.
20. Army Staff Sgt. Special Agent Richard S. Eaton Jr., Scholarship ($1000)
Students pursuing fields such as Counterintelligence may apply for this award.
21. Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarships ($500-$1500)
High school or college students that are members of PDK or have a parent that is a member may be eligible for this scholarship.
22. Developmental Disabilities Awareness Awards ($500)
High school students that have performed at least 25 hours of volunteer work in developmental disabilities may apply.
23. Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program ($5000)
Minority students in Illinois that are looking to teach preschool elementary, or secondary school can take advantage of this scholarship.
24. Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation (varies)
Undergraduate and graduate students that are pursuing an educational career can apply for one of the many scholarships through this foundation.
25. AAIA Emilie Hesemeyer Memorial Scholarship ($1500)
Students with teaching majors can apply for this renewable annual scholarship.
So that concludes our list of scholarships for teachers. We hope that it helps give you a head start in your search for financial aid as you pursue your education and career.
North Dakota students in an outdoor learning environment (Via)
Miners used to say that to go on working, they had to follow the coal. The problem for teachers has been their form of coal just didn’t exist. Population contraction meant fewer children. Fewer children coupled with population migration meant that wherever the children were, they weren’t likely to be in the state where a teacher lived. This, along with cutbacks to education, amounted to hard times for the practitioners of one of the hardest and most important jobs of all. Wherever schools were hiring teachers, they were paying less. Layoffs are epidemic. Jobs are less secure. Teaching positions at charter schools bring a whole new set of opportunities but also challenges.
Featured Top Ranked Masters of Education Programs
For a teacher willing to relocate, there are schools that are hiring now. In most states, there is a severe need for bilingual, ESL, special education, math and science credentials. There’s also a growing need for special ed teachers whose training focuses on well-defined types of disability. Elementary school teachers may enhance their hiring prospects through being certified to teach a subject on a secondary school level.
The good news is with the baby boom generation reaching their sixties in droves, there will soon be one million teachers retiring. In fact, due to fewer people going into the profession, especially in the regions where there has been much of the job loss, there is expected to be a shortage of teachers over the course of the next seven years. This will be most problematic in the urban and rural areas of the southwest and southeast. That need for new teachers will be reflected in the following, compiled through data gathered from the US Department of Labor and the National Education Association.
1. North Dakota
Funding their school coffers in part with oil money, North Dakota doesn’t plan on any reductions in school funding. They also have a very low overall population, and college graduates generally leave the state in search of excitement, leaving the state chronically in need of teachers. Starting salaries are at or near the bottom at $25,000, but there are jobs.
In an attempt to lure teachers to their sparsely populated state, Alaska offers a beginning teacher salary of about $36,000. The state reports shortages in all areas, with a particular need in special education, math, and science.
This state has a higher starting salary of $37,500 and an average salary over $55,000. Illinois also has retirement waves going on. There continue to be shortages in all areas, with a particular need in special education, math, and science.
The retirement state is seeing its own wave of retiring teachers. Florida faces a current shortage of teachers due to this and because of a recent state constitutional amendment requiring reduced class sizes. Teacher salaries begin around $30,000. Job prospects are said to be fair to good.
Arizona has a need for teachers in many categories, especially foreign language, special ed, bilingual, ESL, math, and science. Salaries starts at $28,000 and average around $44,000.
Connecticut reports a shortage in speech and language, special ed, music Spanish, bilingual education, science and math teachers. Connecticut is known to be a teacher and education friendly state with many perquisites for those who enter the field.
Beginning teacher salaries in Alabama start around $31,000. The state has a teacher shortage in many areas, particularly in special education, science, and math.
Beginning salaries for teachers in Arkansas start around $29,000. They report teachers are needed in math, science, and ESL.
Texas has long been thought of as a bad prospect for teachers but lately is showing serious signs of life. School districts are said to be hiring thousands of teachers. The prospects are only going to get better. Again, the most severe shortages are in secondary science and math teachers. Starting salaries begin around $33,000. Average salary is about $41,000.
10. North Carolina
With current shortages in the usual fields, there are predicted shortages of teachers across many categories. The average teacher in North Carolina earns $43,000. Beginning salaries start around $27,000.
Some other good job prospects for years to come include Nevada and California. In general, the future for teachers is at last looking up.
The best teachers pursue degrees from programs that are respected and offer valuable training and experience. After all, the goal of any teaching program is to refine students’ skills and help them one day find great jobs. There are different schools with different degree programs. It is important that would-be teachers take the time to research different education programs to find the right one for him or her. To do this, students need to consider the reputation of the teaching program, its curriculum, internship and job placement options, and online class options.
Accreditation and Reputation
Accreditation means that the teaching program has met the standards of specific groups. It is important that schools have both regional and national accreditation by such groups as the National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE). Similarly, students should research the reputation of the school and its professors within the teaching world. Enrolling and graduating from a respected school makes it easier to secure great jobs.
Curriculum and Scheduling
Students often need flexibility when it comes to the class schedules and responsibilities. It is important to look into whether or not any past credits will transfer, when classes take place, and which courses are required. Students need to consider their own interests when reviewing the curriculum to make sure that the courses speak to their specific interests. Some students are interested in specific age groups and types of school. This should be reflected in the required and optional course selections.
Student Teaching Opportunities
It is important to review the internship and student teaching options offered by the school. This is an important piece of any teaching degree program. The best schools give people a range of options: from public schools to private schools. The goal of such placements is to give students hands-on experience working in a school environment. It is important that students placed in schools have experienced mentors, receive feedback, and have the resources they need to succeed.
The best schools help students find jobs after graduation. This is why it is important to look into job placement rates for different institutions and to research where alumnae are working. Many schools after career counseling services like resume and cover letter editing, interview preparation, and more. This increases the likelihood that graduates will find jobs after graduation.
Financial Aid Packages
Financial aid is always a huge consideration for students of all ages and backgrounds. It is important to review scholarships offered by different schools, read reviews about the institutions’ financial aid, and to see what packages are given. Staying out of debt takes work, but it is possible with hard work and research. Students should always take the time to call and talk with financial aid counselors. This is a chance to express one’s needs and really explore everything from financial aid packages to payment plans. School can be affordable if people are proactive and look into all of the available resources.
Many schools today offer online classes to students. This makes it easier for students to balance work, school, and family responsibilities. After all, a person can log into class when it is convenient for him or her. Online classes mean that a school understands that students need a flexible way to earn their degree. It is important to research which classes are available online.
Reputation of the Professors
The best schools have experienced faculty at the helm. This is why it is important to review the faculty of any institution one is considering. The best teachers have classroom experience, understand their field, and have a reputation for being experts in their field. It is easy to research the reputation of different professors online – here, one can read what past and current students have to say and research the educators’ experience.
Visit the School
If possible, students should always visit the school. This means doing everything from talking to representatives and taking a tour to exploring schools’ websites. Students need to get a feel for the campus, the students, the teachers, and the culture of the school. This ensures one understands what different degree programs are about. With enough research, one will orient him or herself to the various options.
It is important to take one’s time when choosing between teaching programs. There are many accredited groups out there. Finding the right degree program means thinking about what one wants from this experience. Some students want to get their degree quickly whereas others need a flexible way to gain credits and experience. The best schools have experienced faculty, teaching placements, and career guidance. All of this prepares people for their future. The right school nourishes people so that they can best understand their field. This prepares students for a life in the classroom.