SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Independent School District's goal by the end of 2020 is for 90 percent of their students to have complete an advanced college course.

To do that their own teachers have to head back to class and get their master’s degree.

With this new program, teachers can earn a master’s in 15 months, enabling them to then teach dual-credit courses.

Rita King is a teacher at Edison High School. She got her master’s degree 20 years ago and upped her pay. She's now encouraging other teachers to do the same.

According to SAISD, 200 teachers will be able to receive a free master’s degree over the next five years and have it paid for through a combination of local and federal grants.

An SAISD spokeswoman said teachers with a master’s will get an additional $2,000 in pay. She added that the raise is covered out of school district operating costs.

The district said it’s important to have more teachers with master’s degrees in these core subject areas.

"I would recommend it," said King. "And with the district paying? I would say go for it."

SAISD further described the program in a press release saying:

“The Master of Arts degree program is a 15-month commitment that will allow experienced SAISD secondary teachers to reach professional mastery in techniques that transform urban classrooms. The 75 teachers will be selected from among English/language arts, math and science educators, with 25 teachers from each subject area. There is an option for renewal for an additional cohort.

The program will enable more high school teachers to teach dual-credit courses; dual-credit instructors are required to hold a master’s degree in the subject they teach. The program also will provide middle school teachers with coursework that prepares them to take the state certification exam in their content area.

SAISD’s need for teachers with advanced degrees is increasing as the District seeks to provide high school students with more courses for which they can simultaneously earn both high school and college credit.

The District’s goal is that, by the end of 2019-20 school year, 90 percent of SAISD students will complete an advanced course, whether it’s a dual credit, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or career and technical education course, to ensure they are better prepared for college.

Applications for the Secondary Master’s Program will be taken Nov. 1-Dec. 15, with the program to begin in March.

These teachers will continue to work full time throughout the program, which is structured so that 40 percent of their work will be online and 60 percent in person, at the program location.

Instead of paying tuition, teachers will make a commitment to remain in the District for three years after completing the program. Teachers will cover the cost of books and fees.”