There are a number of master’s degree programs available for teachers, administrators, and staff in K-12 education, so how do you determine which specialization is right for you?

Consider the following 12 degree programs offered by Capella University as a way to explore your interests and choose a program that fits your needs.

NOTE: The degree programs listed are not designed to prepare you for initial teacher licensure, and they are not a substitute for a teaching certification or licensure requirements.

1. Curriculum and Instruction

This program focuses on applying traditional curriculum design and instructional models. You’ll learn to use assessment and classroom management techniques to strengthen instruction and reduce achievement gaps.

Right for you? It’s a good choice if you want to improve learning outcomes and student achievement in K-12 education, either as a teacher or in leadership as a curriculum designer.

2. Early Childhood Education or Early Childhood Education Studies

You’ll study the latest theories and methodology for educating children up to 8 years old. This program includes courses on classroom management, early childhood learning environments, family engagement, and strategies for exceptional children in early years.

Right for you? Earning your master’s in early childhood education positions you to help young children learn as a teacher, early learning center director, preschool lead teacher, or early childhood services director.

3. English Language Learning and Teaching

This program focuses on preparing you to effectively teach English Language Learners (ELLs). You’ll acquire the skills necessary to contribute to instruction planning and implementation in ELL environments at the K-12 school and district level. Along with classroom skills, you’ll investigate language acquisition and how to help students adapt to new cultural environments.

Right for you? A passion for cross-cultural understanding and helping diverse student populations is a must. Career opportunities include teaching English Language Learning (ELL), supervising ELL programs, or coordinating language assessments.

4. K-12 Studies in Education

This program advances K-12 teachers as educational instruction and curriculum designers with a focus on a particular content area. You’ll develop your knowledge of current professional and educational theories and practices through customized tracks in standards-based English language arts, math, science, or social studies.

Right for you? Enhance your skills to help improve classroom instruction, reduce achievement gaps, and keep students engaged.

5. Leadership in Education Administration

This program focuses on sought-after leadership, management, and problem-solving skills for K–12 environments. You’ll develop the knowledge and skills needed to become an ethical and innovative leader in education, and learn how to create a positive working environment that allows teachers to grow and promotes student success.

Right for you? If you’re looking to step away from daily classroom duties and work in administration to have a positive impact in education, this program prepares you to become a director of admissions, dean of students, or principal.

6. Reading and Literacy

Gain knowledge and skills to develop effective K-12 classroom literacy and reading instruction. You’ll study theory, practice and assessment, reflection, and collaboration, taking a deep dive into assessment strategies, curriculum design, and instructional methods geared to drive student achievement in reading and writing.

Right for you? Enhance your passion for helping students comprehend and communicate with the written word. Hone your classroom teaching skills, or work toward a career as a reading and literacy coach or a coordinator of a reading and literacy program.

7. Special Education Teaching

Learn how to effectively instruct the increasingly diverse population of students with learning disabilities (LD) and special needs. Coursework includes current and emerging instruction practices, strategies for teaching LD and special needs students, and real-life examples of how to incorporate these skills into your current work.

Right for you? A master’s will provide you with the skills to make a lasting impact with a population that needs your attention.


Degrees with Technology Emphasis

8. Competency-Based Instruction

Use standards, outcomes, and competencies to guide curriculum and instruction decisions. In this program, you’ll learn how to use formative and summative assessment to improve instruction, and design authentic assessments to measure identified learning goals.

Right for you? Apply your passion and aptitude for measurements and statistics to improve instruction utilizing the latest ideas and technology tools. Career opportunities include curriculum specialist, competency-based learning specialist, assessment coordinator, or content management specialist.

9. General Education Technology

Gain a broad understanding of how to use digital tools to maximize educational potential in the K-12 setting. Coursework focuses on innovative educational strategies and the latest research on effective practice with instructional technologies. This program helps merge great content and instructional skills with the demands of incorporating technology into the classroom.

Right for you? Designed to help you build a program that fits your needs, both in the classroom and for your career. Choose electives that will develop your unique interests, and help schools effectively implement technology.

10. Instruction in the 1:1 Environment

Enhance your skills in the classroom or lead others to integrate technology into their day-to-day activities at a one-device-to-one-student ratio. This specialization will provide you with a thorough understanding of how to implement effective 1:1 learning programs in a variety of educational environments where technology is prevalent or being deployed.

Right for you? This program is a good choice if you want to increase your knowledge of technology and how to incorporate digital tools and resources into K-12 instruction. Career opportunities outside of the classroom include instructional technology coach, education consultant, and teacher-technology integrator.

11. Personalized Learning

This program provides teachers with the knowledge and skills to apply technology in the classroom. It’s different from 1:1 environments in that it’s strongly focused on helping students participate in authentic learning experiences that incorporate skill levels, interests, strengths, and challenges, regardless of technology.

Right for you? Apply your innovative spirit to creating personalized K-12 learning environments as a teacher, personalized learning specialist, content management specialist, or learning support specialist.

12. Professional Growth and Development

Acquire the skills to lead and mentor other teachers in their professional development. Coursework emphasizes best practices in coaching, pedagogy, and technology and multi-media use to support a network of teachers.

Right for you? This program positions you to become a thought leader in your field. Potential careers include instructional coach, personalized learning manager, or technology facilitator.


Learn more about Capella’s online master’s programs in education.