Jason Van Engen, class of 2020

Questions Answered by: 

Jason Van Engen, class of 2020

Andrew Fergen, class of 2019

Q: What costs beyond tuition can be anticipated? 

A: The cost of textbooks has been reasonable at USF.  I think the major cost for me would be cost of gas traveling to campus, cost of dorm rooms in the summer classes, and the time away from my family. - Andrew

Q: How long does it take to earn this degree from beginning to end?

A: I started working on this degree in the spring of 2018 and will graduate in the spring of 2020.  It is a two-year program, which includes ten three-credit courses. - Jason

Q: Is there a typical number of years of teaching experience someone has before seeking superintendent licensure? 

A: Honestly, it really just depends on when a teacher is ready to continue on with their own education.  I completed my M.Ed. from the University of Sioux Falls in 2011, and after taking some time off, I decided it was time to go back to school!  It’s important that we spend time working in the trenches in education before we seek out new opportunities.  Having a strong understanding of the classroom is so beneficial to strong administrators.  As a friend told me, “You’ll know when it’s time.” Indeed, becoming an administrator is a calling, and teachers who want to move in that direction will know when it is time.  For me, I still have a deep passion for the classroom.  One day, though, I do hope to be an administrator. - Jason

Q: Once this degree is complete, what additional state certification or licensure is needed, and how much does that cost? 

I had to update my teaching certificate to get the superintendent endorsement on my certificate. This had a cost of $75 and I did it online through South Dakota’s Department of Education website.  I wish that someone would have told me to get the superintendent endorsement on my teaching certificate a year earlier since you can get the endorsement prior to graduation (I think you need 12 credits toward the degree to get the endorsement). – Andrew

Q: Do school districts ever help pay for this?

A: I paid for the entire degree out of my own pocket and did not receive a pay raise during this time.  The payment of the degree was something I knew I was going to do in my future and it was not bad.  In my head, I used funds from teaching driver’s education in the summer to pay for this degree.  Also, my wife and I thought this was an opportune time in our lives to get the degree with a newborn and a two year old son when I started the degree.  I did not miss any major life activities with my kids or wife during the past two years but if I would have waited to get the degree it would have been harder to not miss major life events in their lives. – Andrew

“I have truly enjoyed this program.  Each of the classes have been taught by knowledgeable professionals who care deeply about education.  Moreover, those people have had significant leadership roles in schools. This program has offered me such a wealth of knowledge and insight that I apply to my profession daily.” - Jason

Learn more about Ed.S. in Educational Administration: Superintendent