Teaching is a versatile and rewarding career choice. If you have a lifelong love of learning and want to influence others, it’s a perfect fit.
Benefits of a Teaching Degree
Think of the many classes you’ve attended throughout your education. That should give you a feel for the broad range of options you have in teaching.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to be part of children’s first experiences in kindergarten. Maybe you see yourself in a high school biology lab. Those scenarios are certainly appealing, but teachers aren’t necessarily locked into a classroom setting. There are even more career paths to explore. A teaching degree could land you a job as a school counselor, a community health educator, or an instructor in the juvenile correctional system. You could author textbooks. You could teach literacy to adults. You could become a corporate trainer.
Teaching is not an especially lucrative career, but most educators are in it for personal satisfaction. Longtime teachers rarely have regrets. Molding young minds are almost like a special calling.
Salaries vary widely from state to state. Education level, subject matter, and experience also come into play. In 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, kindergarten and elementary school teachers earned $57,980 on average. Pay at the middle school level was slightly more at $58,600 and high school teachers earned $60,320.
Job growth at all three levels should hold steady if not increase. Baby boomers across all fields, including education, are retiring at astonishing rates.
If you’re willing to get a master’s degree and gain a few years’ experience, you could work as a school counselor or principal. Principals earned $95,300 on average in 2018.
Which Degree Should You Get?
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require at least a bachelor’s degree and state certification.
Each state’s board of education sets its own standards, but most certification programs are fairly rigorous. You’ll take a series of exams that test your academic skills, teaching methods, and subject-specific knowledge. Student teaching is required, and candidates must undergo a criminal background check.
Some state certifications are valid in other states, but it doesn’t always work that way. Again, each state has its own requirements. Many allow teachers from other states to start working provided they recertify in the new location within five years.
A bachelor’s in education usually takes 120 hours, or about four years, to complete. Some students shave off a year in accelerated programs, but fast-tracking isn’t for everybody. Condensed learning is hard work.
A traditional bachelor’s program involves both mastering the content you’ll be teaching and learning the art of teaching itself. You’ll start with core subjects in the first two years before moving on to upper-level education courses. Around 40 to 45 hours are allotted for general course requirements. Education courses require 35 to 40 hours, while electives total 40 hours.
These or similar classes may be part of your study:
- Instructional strategies;
- Child and human development;
- Group behavior;
- Math concepts;
- English language learning;
- Curriculum creation;
- Student evaluation, and;
- Classroom management.
Most programs offer specialized curricula like early childhood or special education.
There are several benefits to adding a Master of Education, or M.Ed.
For one, you have more career options. A second degree may also boost your earning power. According to an article published by the University of San Diego, you could make five to 10 percent more if you put in the extra time and study. If you can study full time, you may be able to finish your master’s in a year or two. Specialized teaching jobs you could consider with a master’s include childcare director, curriculum developer, and education policy developer, which is a government job.
Continuing education is a requirement for certification in most states, so it makes sense to go ahead and get the postgraduate degree. Also, in some states, teachers are required to earn a master’s within the first five years of teaching.
In any program you choose, accreditation is essential.
Why Get a Degree Online?
There are many advantages to studying online.
It’s significantly less expensive. You can work just about anywhere that has Internet service. In some programs, you can set your own hours and go at your own pace without giving up your job. You avoid the hassle and expense of a commute. There is an opportunity to virtually interact with teachers and fellow students, so you’ll still experience the college vibe.
Purdue University Global offers several degree programs for future teachers. You can study online at any of the accredited schools in its system. Once you’ve graduated, check out Purdue’s accelerated certification programs. These prepare graduates for licensure exams in specific states. If you have the focus and determination, Purdue also offers an accelerated master’s program that you can complete while you earn your bachelor’s degree. Best of all, Purdue has a free, three-week introductory trial. If a program isn’t a good fit, you’ll only lose the application fee.
Western Governors University is known for versatility, an innovative teaching model, and highly competitive tuition rates. Its specialized education programs include interdisciplinary studies, special education, math, science, chemistry, physics, biological science, and geoscience.
Pay attention as you research schools online. Some provide a limited-time promo code that waives the application fee.
It’s Easy to Start Earning Your Degree
The convenience and affordability of online study can’t be beaten and there are numerous and diverse programs to choose from.
If you have a passion for sharing knowledge, do your homework. Find an accredited online plan and start earning your degree now. You could be just a few clicks away from a rewarding future.
At the very least, you can look forward to snow days and summers off.