A Career in Education Is a Labor of Love
If you have a passion for making a positive difference in people’s lives, there are few better ways than to enter the field of education. Whether your goal is to guide, teach, or work on the administrative side, a degree in education gives you the power to make a lasting impact. What’s more, the future of education in general is very bright. As the population continues to increase more children will be entering the school system, and more students are going to college every year than ever before as well. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that careers related to education will grow at a faster-than-average rate in the coming years.
Having a general idea of what kind of career path you want to follow is a good idea before pursuing a degree in education, as the requirements are pretty specific. There are different standards for pre-school, elementary, middle school, and high school teaching certificates. Being a middle school special education teacher requires a different focus from elementary school and high school too. If you don’t want to teach, but instead want to pursue a career as a guidance counselor or administrator, your degree program will look dramatically different. A great question to ask yourself, once you’ve decided that you want to work in education, is this: “Do I want to work directly with a classroom full of children, or do I prefer working one-on-one?” Your answer – especially if it’s “neither” – will go a long way toward informing your career choice.
The amount of time you want to spend earning a degree will also impact the type of career you are qualified for. To teach at either the elementary or secondary level, you’ll need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to start with, plus licensing. Once hired, many school districts require that you work toward a master’s degree within a certain amount of time in order to continue teaching. Professors at the community college level need to start with a master’s, and those at the college and university level require a PhD (or an equivalent degree, such as an EdD). Administrators at all levels generally need to have a master’s degree to be hired, as do guidance counselors. With an associate’s, you can work at the preschool level, or as a teacher’s assistant.
An associate’s degree will provide the general coursework that forms the foundation of more advanced education degrees. Expect to learn basic teaching strategies and also some lesson planning techniques. When earning a bachelor’s degree, you get more in-depth, gaining an understanding of different teaching philosophies while familiarizing yourself with the latest in education technologies. The bachelor’s will also prepare you for certification in the state you plan to work in. Then, when/if you pursue your master’s degree, you will study advanced topics like school finance, legal and ethical issues in education, and curriculum development. PhD and EdD candidates will often go on to fill state and federal government positions or become professors.
There is a large salary range for public school teachers depending on the state you work in and whether you work in a metropolitan or rural area. Instructional coordinators and guidance counselors average around $50,000 a year, while teaching assistants make $25-$30,000. Post-secondary teachers and administrators often make from $80-$100K.
FIND COLLEGES FOR EDUCATION
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Colorado Technical University
Since 1965 Colorado Technical University has been proud to educate career focused students to advance their education and help achieve their goals. CTU’s commitment to provide innovative, real-world...
Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionallyrelevant, and academically-rigorous education...
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing...