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School yourself in the basics before picking an online course

by Teru Clavel

Special To The Japan Times

There are many professions within the field of education and just as many online graduate programs to match them.

Programs include year-long certifications and diplomas, two-year master’s and multi-year doctorates, which are offered by public, private and for-profit universities. Most online programs run on the quarter system with start dates throughout the year. Areas of specialty include teaching and curriculum, education policy, special education, student development, grade-specific teaching certification, educational leadership and management, higher education and learning technologies.

Specifically, the University of California’s Rossier School offers a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language) while Drexel University, based in Philadelphia, offers a Master of Science in Global and International Education for those interested in a wider scope of study.

Deakin University in Australia offers a Master of Education in Leadership and Administration while the University of Liverpool in England offers a Doctorate of Education. Johns Hopkins in Baltimore also offers a Doctor of Education online. Lehigh University in Pennsylvania offers a Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education.

Before investing in an online program, though, applicants should consider the required qualifications of possible future employers. While some private English schools such as Roots International — with multiple locations and thousands of students throughout Tokyo — require a minimum of three years teaching experience and TESOL certification, positions at universities such as International Christian University and Temple University in Tokyo require a minimum of a master’s degree. However, at the private international K-12 American School in Japan, teaching experience and certification is required while a master’s is not taken into hiring consideration.

Several factors can influence which program is best to select. The reputation of the actual brick-and-mortar school and whether the school offers teaching certification to teach in your native country upon repatriation are important considerations. Cost and financing options offered by the school can also determine whether pursuing a graduate degree is feasible.

Students seem to gravitate toward schools in close proximity to their hometowns due to familiarity. Ultimately, students need to do their research online and speak with school representatives to find the right fit.

Application requirements vary and include previous academic transcripts, two to three recommendations, a resume, a GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) standardized test score, personal statement(s), writing samples and an interview.