Get the Facts on Beginning an Education Program

If you’re passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, an education degree could be just the ticket. Whether you want to teach, become a guidance counselor, or work in school administration, the right education degree can help you make a lasting positive impact. The future of the education field is very bright, with more students going to college every year and preschool teachers also in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average growth for all kinds of education careers in the years to come.

What type of degree you should pursue comes down to which career path you want to follow. If you want to teach at the elementary or secondary level, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and state licensure. Teaching at the college level or entering the school administration field will require a master’s degree. If you want to be involved in the research that drives change to our educational systems, you’ll typically need a doctorate. Associate’s degrees in teaching are generally best for those who want to teach in preschools or become teaching assistants.

An associate’s degree curriculum will provide the general coursework that forms the foundation of more advanced education degrees. You can expect to learn basic teaching strategies and lesson planning techniques as well. When earning a bachelor’s degree, you’ll gain more in-depth knowledge of teaching philosophies and education technologies. Completing a bachelor’s degree also prepares future teachers to earn their state certifications.

You should expect to do some student teaching if you plan to become a teacher at the elementary or high school level. Classroom experience is a must, so you’ll need to put in a certain number of hours of supervised training with actual students. Student teaching can be performed during a bachelor’s degree program or after graduation as a kind of internship.

Master’s degree programs in education can cover advanced topics such as school finance, legal and ethical issues, and curriculum development. At the doctorate level, students learn about assessment techniques, strategic planning, and an array of research analysis concepts. Those who earn PhDs in education can also fill high-level government positions related to school systems. The type of degree you should pursue all depends on where you see yourself fitting into the education system.

Beyond education and credentialing requirements, there are also a few core attributes potential educators need to possess. These include:

  • Organizational skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Patience
  • Understanding

Salaries for education careers vary widely from state to state. This is especially true for elementary and high school teachers. Instructional coordinators, guidance counselors, and social workers can expect to earn around $50,000 per year. Teaching assistants average $25-30,000. Postsecondary teachers in fields such as engineering and health specialties often earn $100,000 or more. Elementary, middle, and high school principals often earn in the $80-100,000 range.


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