Teachers still pursuing advanced degrees thanks to quality of online options

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Sponsored - As you may have seen in recent news, teachers in Kentucky are no longer required to obtain an advanced degree under a decision made in August 2018 by Kentucky’s Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), the formerly independent state entity, now under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Education, that oversees educator preparation and certification. But that doesn’t mean they won’t (and shouldn’t) continue to earn them.

Until earlier this month, Kentucky teachers were formally required to earn Rank II through a board-approved master's degree program in their first 10 years of teaching. Although continuing education is no longer required by the state, Kentucky teachers select advanced degree preparation throughout their careers for many reasons. As education professionals, most are vested in lifelong learning practices and realize the impact advanced degrees have on quality student instruction. Kentucky teachers trust the state’s Colleges of Education, staffed by experts in both pedagogy and curriculum, to be the best providers for enhancing their skill sets.

According to Dr. April Blakely, the Director of the College of Education Online Learning programs at Eastern Kentucky University, “EKU experienced an increase in new degree enrollment this fall. The newly announced waiver had no immediate impact on our advanced licensure programs. We’re thankful that our students’ value what we provide through advanced licensure degrees for Rank II, and standalone Rank I, certification and endorsement programs.”

There are other incentives too. In addition to enhancing the quality of student instruction, completing advanced degrees leads to salary increases through the Kentucky rank system and better positions teachers seeking licensure outside the commonwealth. EKU strives to make obtaining the degrees a rewarding process and many educators report they appreciate the flexibility to attend classes fully online at Eastern Kentucky University in accredited degree programs.

Blakely added, “Kentucky school districts also trust university preparation programs for the same reason. We anticipate that most districts will still seek to hire educators holding advanced degrees over those without one.”

Kentucky education professionals will continue to have several pathways open to them for Rank increases in salary and job advancement. EKU’s College of Education offers an extensive list of options for students and takes pride in its ability to customize programs that are specific to student’s goals.

To learn more about graduate education online programs at Eastern Kentucky University, visit go.eku.edu/education2018 or contact John Hepner at 859-622-8610.