What Type of Degree is Needed For a Job in Education Policy?

Education PolicyProfessionals who wish to make a difference in education by changing state standards and altering curriculum requirements are often curious about the degree needed for job in education policy. According to the Huffington Post, this growing field combines extensive research into current educational practices as well as an affinity for data aggregation policy drafting, and often demands seasoned educators with an extensive background in both the act of teaching and behind-the-scenes curriculum and instruction work. For educators who are interested in going beyond the classroom, and changing how today’s curriculum is taught at the head of the class, there are a few degrees that can make this happen and a few other requirements that must be met in order to land a job in this field.

A Bachelor’s Degree is Not Enough for the Typical Policy Job

Most educational policy jobs are based in private firms that conduct research into educational outcomes, draft revised standards that can achieve the same goals more efficiently, and develop textbooks or other materials used to enforce those new standards and practices. This is a job for someone with a significant academic background in education, and most firms therefore require degrees that go beyond the scope of undergraduate work. Those applying for the job should, however, have a bachelor’s degree in a teaching-related field. Whether it’s early childhood, elementary, or secondary education, these degrees do offer a great platform for future policy work.

For a job in the policymaking field, however, more education must be obtained. A master’s degree is typically considered the bare minimum for this field, and it must be in an area that specifically relates to curriculum development and academic research. In fact, the two most popular degree programs for future policymakers are a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction, or a Master of Science in educational research. Other popular programs include those in school administration and leadership, curriculum design, and other fields that focus more on education than on strictly teaching a classroom full of students. Those who wish to be even more successful in landing a job in this field should commit to a doctoral degree in these same fields.

On-the-Job Skills: Bring More than a Degree to the Policy Field

Educational policymakers don’t just need to be highly educated. They also need to be excellent at collecting data, proposing theories and changes within the education field, and using data to produce a visual representation of the current outcomes in today’s schools. They need to be at home with charts, graphs, and advanced analysis, and they need to be committed to helping students first and foremost. Educational policymakers must be prepared not only to come up with new theories about instruction, but also to admit when their theory just isn’t the best way to change how students are taught. Policymakers should be versatile enough to work within several academic fields when proposing new standards, and they should be comfortable speaking to large groups of teachers about changes to books, standards, teaching styles, technology use, and student involvement.

Related Resource: Master’s in Educational Leadership

This is a Great Field for Decision-Makers and Leaders

Education policy is changing rapidly as technological changes alter learning styles and government regulations demand better student outcomes. Those who are considering which degree is needed for job in education policy should focus on graduate-level and doctoral education in areas like curriculum, research, and policy, in order to be most successful in this thriving area of the education profession.