Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who Needs A Master's Degree, Anyway?

Teachers from some states might be surprised to learn this, but in California, teachers do not need a master's degree. I don't have one, and I'm frozen on our pay scale until I get a master's degree (or 28 more units), but I could conceivably retire without ever having to get an advanced degree. I have a bachelor's degree and a teaching credential, and that's enough for California.

What I learned last week, though, is that school administrators in California don't need a master's degree, either. All they need is an administrative credential.

I don't know why, I just assumed that all school administrators had advanced degrees.

16 comments:

maxutils said...

I'm actually shocked that you thought that administrators would need academic credentials. Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach administrate.

Darren said...

Don't they "administer"? Perhaps we should conversate about this :-)

KauaiMark said...

...who can't teach delegate

Ellen K said...

It's very odd here. Some elite districts assume and expect people to earn Masters' degrees-but then they only pay a thousand bucks more than the regular scale. Since a Masters' costs about $9K, it doesn't really pay to do it because even the stipend doesn't cover the loans and interest. I would LOVE to get an MFA, but it would require at least five years of work every day and night. It's just not worth it. On the other hand, we have constant spam mails from what seems to be diploma mills, which seems to be the alma mater of many administrators that were former coaches. I guess they don't scrutinize too closely on those winning records.....

allen (in Michigan) said...

This is an especially shocking and troubling revelation in view of the critical nature of administration.

How many teachers could teach without at least a few administrators busily administrating to prevent the sorts of catastrophes that are inevitable without a sufficient flow of administration?

Makes me tremble with fear just thinking about it.

[/sarcasm][/belaboring the point]

Anonymous said...

Well sure, you could pile up the necessary credits to be credentialed. School law, school finance, etc. Getting hired would be another matter. Not many places would hire a candidate with only a bachelor's.

Richard

mazenko said...

Well, as I've argued before here and my blog, as well as others, the US places an exaggerated emphasis on bachelors and masters degrees. Albeit, I will concede that my masters in literature has truly impacted my teaching in a positive way. I don't know that an extra degree in education would have.

In terms of management, there is much to praise and much to criticize about administrative degrees. In many ways, I adhere to the comments of a former busboy turned restaurateur I worked for in my youth - "If you want to learn how to run a restaurant, run a restaurant. College degrees in that are a waste of time and money."

Darren said...

Richard, I'm not sure you're correct--at least in California. Keep in mind though, that in California we don't have bachelor's degrees in "Education". The traditional university route to a teaching credential requires a "5th year" of education courses after earning a bachelor's degree.

My B.S. in Applied Math will get me in the door of most schools in California, I'm pretty sure.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it does vary from state to state. But I think mostly the state certifying folks look to see if you have the required courses and degrees don't enter into the certification. Like I said, state to state.

The better question is, who the heck would want to be a school principal? Terrible job.

Richard

neko said...

Darren, I find that the right B.S. will get you into a lot of places, including the White House! It's just a matter of who you can sell that B.S. to.

Polski3 said...

I don't know if it is still the same today, but back in the early 1980's when I was subjected to the CSU (Calif. State U.) "Fifth Year" program to earn the priviledge of getting a California Teaching Credential, we were not awarded a MA degree in Education, BUT, we paid "Graduate" tuition fees.

orominuialwen said...

In the district I went to school in (Madison, WI), it was nearly impossible for teachers to get hired if they had anything over a bachelors'! Because it's a college town with a huge university, hundreds of people graduate with bachelors' degrees every year wanting to be teachers. Thanks to union regulations, the starting salary for a new teacher with a master's is $5,000 more than one with a bachelor's, and it's $5,000 more than that if you had a Ph.D. No principal in his right mind would break the budget by hiring someone with a graduate degree when there are tons of newly-graduated teachers looking for a job. Many of my teachers did have masters' degrees, but as far as I know, every single one of them went through graduate school while teaching at the same time.

My mom has found it impossible to get a teaching job in the public schools there because of that. She has a B.S. in biology, master's in science education, and Ph.D. in botany. She'd happily take a job teaching for lower pay, but union regulations forbid it, so she ends up with no job!

maxutils said...

Darren, just realized your jab. To administer is to apply something . . .to administrate is to run/organize. Pretty sure I was correct.

Darren said...

"Administrate" is not in any of my dictionaries, so I looked it up on dictionary.com:

administrate
–verb (used with object), -trat⋅ed, -trat⋅ing.
to administer.

maxutils said...

Well, if that's correct, leave it to education to screw it up.

Sara said...

Yeah can't go wrong getting that masters degree especially if it will help you make more money. The economy is so bad who knows what will happen. You might need that money one day if you loose your job or if inflation gets to high. At least extra money from the masters degree can help cushion a potential fall.