What Are the Requirements for a Career in Teaching and Education?

Teachers and educators play a very important role in society. They are responsible for teaching, inspiring, and preparing students for success beyond the classroom.

And in addition to those crucial functions, teachers and educators are also responsible for the physical safety and emotional development of their students during school hours.

Learn more about Teaching and Education at College Choice’s related homepage.

Because parents and students place so much trust in teachers and educators, it’s easy to understand why workers in Teaching and Education often have to meet legal requirements like holding a teaching license from their state.

The requirements for education, licensure and certification help to demonstrate that teachers and educators are able to do their work with high levels of competence and integrity.

Undergraduate degrees

For most careers in Education, you’ll need at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. It makes sense, if you think about it: in order to be an educator, you need to be educated yourself.

One job that you can get into with a two-year associate degree is teaching preschool…but only in some states. In others, preschool teachers must have a bachelor’s degree in a field like early childhood education. The median salary for preschool teachers is $28,790 per year, although the highest earners can make more than $54,000 per year.

A bachelor’s degree will open up the possibility to enter many other careers, too. Teachers of elementary school, middle school, or high school will need either a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, or a bachelor’s degree in the subject area they wish to teach. Teachers of K-12 in the U.S. earn, on average, around $56,000 per year.

Graduate degrees

Graduate degrees like master’s degrees and doctoral degrees aren’t necessarily required for most roles in education, although candidates with advanced degrees may be strongly preferred.

If you want to work as a school counselor, a master’s degree is usually the minimum degree required. Workers in this role help student to succeed in school, and they earn a median yearly salary of $54,560.

Professors and administrators in colleges and universities often need to hold a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in order to be considered for their jobs. These degrees can increase your earning power quite a bit. College professors make a median salary of $75,430 per year, while school superintendents can earn a median salary of $118,000 per year.

If you are planning to attend graduate school for a master’s or doctoral degree, you might need to take a standardized test as part of the admissions test. The Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, is the most common required exam.

Check your target college’s admissions requirements to see if you’ll need to submit scores for this test. And if it is required, be sure to schedule plenty of time to study!

Certifications and Licensure

To work in many careers in Teaching and Education, you’ll need to be licensed by the state where you work.

Teacher’s licenses are required for elementary, middles school, and high school teachers, as well as special education teachers and many librarians. To become licensed to teach, you will likely need:

  • A bachelor’s degree and a solid GPA
  • Completion of a teacher preparation program and supervised experience like student teaching
  • A clean background check
  • Passing scores on teaching certification tests, which cover both general knowledge and your teaching subject area

Like teachers, public school counselors must go through a state credentialing process in order to practice. The requirements can vary by state, and might include:

  • A master’s degree in school counseling or a related field like psychology
  • A supervised internship completed under a licensed professional school counselor
  • Passing scores on a certification exam
  • A clean background check

In some states, you’ll also be required to have classroom teaching experience, and/or to hold a teaching license.