Career Options With A Master’s in Education Policy
Master’s in education policy degree holders may find themselves brainstorming about what path to take next. Winding up their studies is just the beginning of a long journey ahead.
There are dozens of rewarding careers within grasp for education policy graduates. These careers allow them to employ their skills and share their deep understanding of educational issues and trends to positively influence stakeholders in the education system, including teachers, students, and administrators.
However, with all the options available, it can be tough for most graduates to settle on the best career path. It’s imperative for future education policymakers to understand the potential positions in their field, including those that help analyze and reform local, state, and national education policies.
Read on to learn more about the career options available to master’s in education policy graduates.
What’s Expected of Education Policy Graduates?
Understanding what’s expected for education policy degree holders can help guide those who are wondering whether a career in education policy might be right for them. Some may be trying to decide whether it’s suitable for someone interested in teaching or for a person whose focus is working with bureaucrats and corporations.
Education policy refers to the principles and government policies designed to govern the educational sector, as well as the laws and regulations that preside over the operation of education systems. It seeks to define the purpose of education, the objectives it is designed to attain, the best ways of achieving them, and the tools for measuring its success or failure.
Some of the common areas of debate in education policy at the school level include:
- School and class sizes
- School privatization
- Teacher education and certification
- Teacher salaries
- Teaching methods and curricular content
- Graduation requirements
- School infrastructure investment
- Values to be upheld by schools and institutions
Students pursuing a master’s in education policy can study organizational development, education planning, and research methodologies with a focus on different education spheres. These education spheres include the government’s impact on education, how to increase opportunities for students, how to deliberate special education issues, and how to leverage the community to improve education.
Typically, graduates gain advanced planning and communication skills, the ability to make and implement sophisticated strategies, and the ability to critically analyze complex education-related issues at many levels.
Careers Available to Master’s In Education Policy Degree Holders
A master’s degree in education policy can lead to a rewarding career with plenty of opportunities to positively impact students. Some graduates may opt to become institutional advancement administrators, program directors, or learning specialists at the school- or district-level.
Most graduates take positions as education policy analysts, education liaisons, or independent contractors for policy developers, such as regional and federal government agencies, public and private partnerships, and private groups focused on making a difference in education.
Here are some careers in the education policy field, along with their expectations and salaries:
Education Policy Analyst
Education policy analysts identify and seek to solve various issues facing the American education system. By looking at education systems, structures, and processes, education policy analysts can determine whether the current institutional and legislative guidelines serve students effectively.
Typical duties for education policy analysts include:
- Researching issues affecting the U.S. school system
- Evaluating how education policies affect the public
- Collecting and analyzing data from surveys and research
- Assisting with monitoring and responding to federal, state, and local policy activities concerning higher education
Education policy analysts also explore public school funding, K-12 curriculum development, and adult education and job training.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary for education policy analysts is $60,413. The field of policy analysis is expected to grow by 5% by 2028.
Superintendents guide and manage education policy at the school district level, working directly with school principals, district staff, and government officials to ensure students throughout the district obtain a quality education.
Typical duties of a superintendent include reviewing, revising, and making recommendations to school and district proposals, including budgets and infrastructural projects. They also help with the hiring of new staff, advocating for more funds or resources for the district, and monitoring performance at individual schools.
According to Payscale.com, the average salary for a school superintendent is $118,655.
Postsecondary Education Administrators
These professionals work in higher education institutions, such as universities and colleges, helping with administrative tasks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they can work in specialized departments in universities and focus on the concerns of students, trainers, and support staff.
Typical duties for these professionals may include ensuring students and faculty have the resources they need, helping students register and obtain financial aid, and supporting “at risk” students to ensure their academic success.
According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for postsecondary education administrators is $60,708. Job growth depends on the institution and its budget, as well as the individual’s experience in the field and education level.
Instructional coordinators develop curricula and other educational materials, as well as measuring their effectiveness in the classroom. According to the BLS, these professionals can:
- Attend classes and observe teachers
- Review student test data
- Discuss curricula with stakeholders, such as school staff
- Recommend curriculum changes to the school board
Instructional coordinators can work in public and private schools, institutions of higher learning, regional and federal government agencies, and other agencies interested in educational matters. The BLS projects an 11% job growth in this field between 2016 and 2026, which can be attributed to schools working towards meeting state and government test score standards.
According to PayScale.com, the average annual salary of an instructional coordinator is $61,951.
The Bottom Line
If you’re passionate about making changes in the education system, a career in education policy matters might be for you. There are many career opportunities available to those who hold this coveted degree.