Author Topic: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency  (Read 2962 times)

fallstoclimb

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Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« on: August 23, 2016, 08:00:25 PM »
My husband is a teacher in a state that requires you to receive either a master's or master's equivalency (36 credits of classes) by your 10th year of teaching. 

He has been doing a program online and just finished his coursework.  All that remains is his capstone and comps.  Comps are a bear, 3 full days of testing and you have to get an 80% in each subject area.  The capstone is even worse, which we just learned -- he had planned to complete it this fall semester, but through a mixup with the graduate program just learned that one semester is not considered sufficient time to complete the thesis and they are strongly suggesting he take both the fall and spring to complete it.

My husband is not an academically inclined type of person.  He has hated every second of this.  We have paid about $17,000 for this program, roughly half of which has been reimbursed.   

With the news that the capstone will be worse than we thought, we simultaneously realized he has his master's equivalency via his coursework (he MAY be one class short -- TBD).  He is strongly considering just stopping at this point.  I encouraged him to continue, but honestly I'm not sure why.

The equivalency is enough to meet his credential requirements and ensure his (small!) raise.  The master's degree does not confer any additional benefits.  He has no interest in ever teaching outside of the elementary/secondary education level, absolutely no interest in going into administration.  To be honest it is likely he will leave the field in 10 years.

The only hard benefit I could find is that he could maybe charge more for private lessons with the degree, but I'm not convinced by that.  With a BA, master's equivalency, and 10+ years teaching in the schools, would a masters degree make much of a difference?  Plus, we are not really hustlers.  He's not very interested in private lessons right now.

I still have this little voice inside of me saying he's so close that he should just finish, but also, I'm kind of sick of higher education and the fact that he had to do this at all always really annoyed me.  I don't believe that there are any hard benefits to this at all.  I'm sure there are people out there who respect the piece of paper more than we do who will think we are crazy, but am I missing any actual REASON for him to complete the degree?

At this point, even if we learn he's 3 credits short, I'm inclined to have him just take a one-off whatever class to see the requirements rather than deal with the capstone and comps. 

arebelspy

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2016, 06:38:01 PM »
If it's making him miserable, and has no benefits you can see... get out ASAP, IMO.

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Littlekind

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2016, 07:41:59 PM »
In my district, you need a masters or 40 credit hours beyond the bachelor's. But the next pay increase comes at masters+10 credit hours. You have to keep taking classes to maintain your license, but you can't move higher up the pay scale without the masters. Every district is different so he should comb over his negotiated contract carefully.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 12:41:46 PM »
And with the arebelspy stamp of approval!

Yeah, he's decided to quit. There's no benefit. But, littlekind -- mind sharing what state you're in?  I haven't been able to find an area where the equivalency isn't treated as the same as the degree for certification purposes, but pay is something else, I suppose.

Littlekind

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2016, 12:51:04 PM »
I'm in Colorado and have worked in 3 Denver metro area districts. In 2 of them, pay advancement for education was capped if you didn't have a masters. But for the state and maintaining licensure, credit hours are all that matter here.

Eta: look at the salary schedule for his district on their website. The education increase categories should say what's required. Mine goes "bachelor, b+10, b+30, b+40 or masters, m+10, m+20" so on mine you can't go past level 4 without the masters, no matter how many credits you do. Since you have to continue credits for the Dept of Ed and licensure, it made sense to me to finish my masters.

Also the capstone requirements are hyped up in a lot of these programs. I saw lots of pretty lazy and disinterested classmates in my cohort squeak by and complete the degree. I think I lot of these programs make a big deal of how rigorous they are just for their own credibility. Of course I can't speak for the one he's in, it's just my impression.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2016, 12:56:41 PM by Littlekind »

Goldielocks

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2016, 10:51:51 PM »
Get what you need to get the raise, then stop already!   Find a side hustle that interest you or have time together.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 04:53:01 AM »
@littlekind, he chose a program that was specific to his teaching field which meant that his degree has been distressingly "real," to our chagrin. Both real and completely unhelpful, in fact!

His salary scale actual does state "masters" but he has already called and confirmed that that refers to either the degree or the equivalency, in our state. Thank goodness.

sandsoftime

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2016, 02:00:31 PM »
I definitely understand the temptation to stop now, but here's what I think the little voice might be saying:

We don't know where life will take us in the next 10+ years.
The pay scale at the current district could change and reward the master's degree more than it does today.
He might want/need to change districts, and the new district might either require the master's degree, reward it more than the current district does, or give him an edge in hiring for having it.
He might want/need to change careers, and the master's degree may be required or be associated with higher comp, whereas saying "I have 36 master's credits" wouldn't count for much.
Later, even post-FIRE, he might want/need to do the private tutoring (see "change careers" above).

Could any of these points be what the voice is saying? : )  My 2 cents: It's worth listening to the voice.  Although it hasn't been fun, he's already invested a lot of time to get the credits and has become accustomed to being in school mode.  He should take advantage of that momentum and see it through.  It'll never get easier than it is now, and the options that it opens up for the future are well worth the effort.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 02:07:33 PM by sandsoftime »

MrsPete

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Re: Teacher: masters vs masters equivalency
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2016, 11:00:08 AM »
Today the equivalency is enough ... will that still be true tomorrow?  Will it be true if you move to another state? 

He's close.  He should finish.  That unhappiness today will make him more marketable for the future, not only in education but in other fields as well.