I are a college student!....Now what?!?!
November 13, 2010 11:57 PM   Subscribe

How should I map out my higher education plan to fully maximize my hiring potential?

I have my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and a Master's in Early Childhood Education. I am currently tinkering with the idea of either getting another Master's in Education Administration OR a Ph.D in Elementary Education.

My argument for Education Administration is that it will allow me to be qualified for a Principal or Director position (I am currently a co-director), however, I am unsure how having two Master's degrees would look. I fear it would looks as if I changed my mind on the previous Master's I took. For the Ph.D in Elementary Education, I believe that, with my already existing Master's in Early Childhood Education (which only covers preschool through third grade), I can cover preschool through eight grade. This broadens what positions I can apply for, both preschools and elementary schools, not to mention I would be following the traditional route of bachelor's>master's>doctoral.

Currently, I am unclear as to which path is best. If any of you out there have experience in higher education or degree advisement, or just have a general opinion :), I would really appreciate any input! I would like my resume and experience to be as well-rounded and appealing as possible (and I am completely aware of the double-edge sword of being considered overqualified).
posted by penguingrl to Education (10 answers total)
Wouldn't the school district pay for you to get a Master's in Education Administration if they saw you going for a principal track? Also, do you have teaching experience? I imagine that would be important. I have a college acquaintance who taught social studies for many years before becoming a principal and I believe the school district paid for her master's in educational administration. She taught and is now a principal in a New Jersey suburb.
posted by anniecat at 12:55 AM on November 14, 2010

Meet with professors from both areas and, if you are considering jobs as the goal, ask to speak to recent alumni about their experience or search them out (on linked in, for example).
posted by parmanparman at 1:50 AM on November 14, 2010

Too much education can actually reduce, not enhance, your employment potential.

Work experience is very valuable as well, along with extra-curriciular projects and activities.

If you have two degrees already, IMO you ought to start work in some area, not continue your education. You risk becoming a perpetual student.

I wouldn't get extra degrees unless you've got some specific goal for yourself, which those extra degrees would be obligatory.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 4:57 AM on November 14, 2010

Seconding thermonuclear above, and adding that the people you should be chatting up/networking with are people who have jobs like the ones you want, or people who hire them.

That way you will learn for sure about the specific risks of overqualification in this field, get feedback on the degree plans, and some reality checks on whether it is worth paying for these degrees (hint: probably not).

You may also find from talking to the people running these degree programs, or graduating from them, that work experience is essential to getting the most out of the degree. There are quite a few fields where work experience before graduate school is the norm, rather than the exception. It may be time to get some real-world experience.

the traditional route of bachelor's>master's>doctoral.
This is not a true advantage. Your educational map should be a story that reflects what you want to do. If it does not fit this path, who cares. This is a story you write and you decide what happens next. Even if it seems like BS the first time you tell it, keep telling it until you believe it too.
posted by whatzit at 5:32 AM on November 14, 2010

Some of what you've said isn't entirely clear to me, so please feel free to set me straight if I've misunderstood.

You have
- a bachelor's degree in Business Administration,
- a Masters in ECE, and
- are currently working in an educational leadership position.

Is that correct?

If that is so, then you could actually go for a PhD in Educational Leadership without getting the second masters, if you're interested in the principal track, allowing you to keep the bachelors-masters-doctorate trajectory, as well as qualifying you for principal and director positions. Also, that doctorate looks to me like a good way of tying your undergraduate and masters degrees into a coherent trajectory of content, as well.

I'm not sure what you mean by having "preschool-3 covered" vs "preschool-8 covered." Is your concern that you can't teach at the upper elementary/middle school level, or are you concerned about not being seen as qualified to be a principal at those levels? I suppose the Elementary Education PhD would be better in that sense. But also, you could focus an Educational Leadership doctorate on elementary education, and make sure you do something that explicitly includes upper elementary/middle school education.

I realize that I'm telling you Option C when you've asked for help choosing between A and B, but I think your goals might be better achieved by C.

And what anniecat said about getting assistance from the school district would most likely still apply as well.
posted by bardophile at 5:35 AM on November 14, 2010

Also, it seems like a lot of people have PhDs in Education. I thought I read an article about how they are the most popular PhD handed out.
posted by anniecat at 6:40 AM on November 14, 2010

+1 on not worrying about degree trajectory so much as career trajectory. Two masters degrees can just be the result of wanting additional training in two areas (elem ed and leadership would clearly go together if you're on an admin track). I know several people with two masters degrees who have a clear trajectory.

To add option D--If you want to be a school principal, you can work on an Ed.D. instead of a PhD. Those are sometimes more in line with the goals of someone not as interested in research as in practice.

One more thing--PhDs are a time to specialize, not broaden your knowledge.
posted by parkerjackson at 6:50 AM on November 14, 2010

Does the principal certification in CA require a specific Masters degree? The reason I ask is that in my state, the requirement for a principal's certification requires a teaching certificate, ANY Master's degree, and completion of a principal's certification program. Most people fulfill the last two requirements by getting a Master's in Ed Leadership, but some go through alternative certification programs if they already have a Master's in something else. You will want to investigate all your options.
posted by tamitang at 11:24 AM on November 14, 2010

I don't know what sort of plans you have, but it seems crazy to me to hire principals or directors without classroom experience. I'm not an degree adviser, but my suggestion is to maybe get some work experience before returning to school, since a 24 year old with a masters is unlikely to actually have any.
posted by pwnguin at 9:41 PM on November 14, 2010

Response by poster: I think some of you may have misread my post. I am currently one of the directors of a school...which means I had to have classroom experience in order to acquire this position. So experience is something I have on a daily basis...I am not just a professional student in the making.

To those who were confused about my degree comparison....I want to be available for positions from preschool to eight grade. I think that by being qualified for these 10 grades (first to eight, then kindergarten, and preschool) opens up a lot more doors than just being qualified for ECE. I also researched some other education-related Ph.D programs and there was one for Language and Literacy, which covers a lot on education, but not the actual education leadership part.

You are all correct in that I need to contact alumni and advisors, so thank you for your input. I was just hoping that anyone who was acquiring additional degrees for their career path would chime in. :)
posted by penguingrl at 9:59 PM on November 14, 2010

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