Teachers play a role in shaping our lives from preschool all the way to adulthood. Those who wish to inspire future generations might discover their calling in an education program. Aspiring teachers, school administrators, librarians, and trainers can specialize in instructing students at various ages, such as early childhood, K-8, or high school. Those who enroll within an education degree program can also choose to specialize in certain teaching topics, such as language arts, social studies, chemistry, or mathematics.
Positions within teaching, school administration, and corporate instructional design are open to job seekers with a strong background in either childhood or adult education. Overall, education majors gain deep insights into skill development, learning abilities, and leadership practices; this expertise makes them valuable members of any community.
Prospective educators will take a wide breadth of courses at the undergraduate level, which will cover the fundamentals of pedagogy, childhood development, and instructional techniques. Some courses may even delve into recent national and state politics that impact teaching regulations, resources, and curricula. The course load for this degree will vary from student to student, depending on one's specialization, which is generally selected when the student applies to an undergraduate program.
Special education courses help prospective educators gain a strong familiarity with autism spectrum disorders, physical disabilities, and assistive technologies within academics. Early childhood education courses focus on the psychological and physical stages of infants and toddlers, their nutritional needs, and classroom safety techniques. Elementary education courses emphasize language and logic developments amongst students in grades K-8. Secondary school courses allow aspiring teachers to focus on developing curricula for any number of high school subjects they will go on to teach, often to the exclusion of other core areas of education.
Before students are admitted into an undergraduate education program, they are generally required to apply for one of the following specializations: special education, elementary education, secondary education, or early childhood development. A special education degree prepares teachers to work with students of diverse ability and disability backgrounds. Educators who wish to focus on the academic development of toddlers or K-12 students can choose a degree path that corresponds with students in a particular age group within the age group.
In addition to the various degree specializations, students can also apply to education degree types ranging from the associate to doctoral level. The following degree types can determine the amount of time a student remains in college and possible career choices.
Since most states require a bachelor's degree for teacher certification, most colleges only provide associate degrees to students who intend to use the credits toward a bachelor's degree in the future. This two-year degree can help students grasp the general fundamentals of teaching techniques, but an associate degree alone will not lead to licensure.
This degree type usually takes students four to five years to complete. Students are generally encouraged to choose a specialty right when they apply, since it will dramatically influence the curricula and on-site classroom training experiences. A bachelor's degree in education can prepare students to take their state board exams to receive a teaching certification.
This graduate degree is usually pursued by educators who wish to refine their expertise in certain academic subjects and teaching techniques, such as teaching advanced biology to high school students or teaching English studies to elementary learners. Others might pursue a master's degree to gain school administrative experience or school counseling experience.
Ed. D. or Ph.D.
There are two doctorate level degree options available for prospective graduate students – a Ed.D or a Ph.D. The Ed.D. focuses on developing skills and practical techniques to apply as educators or administrators at a school. The Ph.D. route tends to emphasize research and experiments of a more theoretical nature.
Ideal Candidates for Education
An education degree is a great fit for natural leaders and lifelong learners. Teachers, school administrators, and counselors will be expected to lead large groups of students, while remaining open to new teaching ideas and academic approaches. Candidates who effectively collaborate with others will find success in the field of education. Educators are frequently called upon to work together with parents, communities, and other teachers.
Students who graduate with a degree in education can pursue several career paths within classrooms, libraries, publishing houses, and even businesses. Teaching at the classroom level is a very popular option, but students holding an education degree can also work as administrators, overseeing the operations of an entire school or school district. Education graduates are often valued by companies that need employee training curricula and instructional materials. Publications that specialize in textbooks and training manuals often hire education graduates, since they are acquainted with a wide-range of learning styles, instructional needs, and current academic standards.
Teachers at the kindergarten and elementary levels can expect to earn an average of $53,090 a year, with an average job outlook growth rate of 12% before the year 2022. Graduates who work as teachers at the high school level make a slightly higher wage, $55,050 annually on average. However, the job outlook for high school teachers is significantly lower than other grade levels, with an unfavorable growth rate of 6% before 2022. Librarians have the most favorable pay rate, reaching an average of $55,370 a year, however their job outlook has the less-than-favorable growth rate 7% before 2022.