What Kinds of Degrees Are Available in Teaching and Education?

The foundation for a career in education is…you guessed it…education.

You can get started in an entry level job as a teaching assistant without a college degree. With annual salaries of $25,410, though, this is also one of the lowest-paying jobs in education.

You’ll need at least an associate degree to move up in the field, and the highest-paying roles with the most opportunities for advancement will require advanced degrees.

Do a deep dive into the field by heading over to our Teaching & Education homepage.

Associate Degrees

These two-year degrees are focused on preparing graduates to enter the workforce, or to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. The courses you will take in an associate degree program will mostly be in your major, with some general education requirements as well.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool instructors for Head Start programs may be hired with an associate degree. This kind of job can be a great way to get your foot in the door for your education career. And if you plan to continue on to a bachelor’s degree program, the work experience will only help you as you advance into higher-ranking roles.

Bachelor’s Degrees

Consisting of courses in your major along with a significant general education component, bachelor’s degree programs usually take four years to complete.

A bachelor’s degree in Education will give you a lot of flexibility in your career. That’s because, in addition to preparing you for a variety of possible jobs, you’ll also be ready to go on to graduate school if that’s what’s required for your career goals.

A bachelor’s degree in special education or a related field could prepare you to work as a special education teacher, helping students with learning, emotional, and physical disabilities.

The median salary for special education teachers is $57,910 per year, and the highest-paid teachers can make upward of $93,090.

Master’s Degrees

For workers who are transitioning to teaching from another career, a master’s degree in education will give them the training they need to work as a teacher.

And for people who are already working in Education, a master’s degree might help them advance into leadership positions, or simply command a higher salary in their current role.

If you already have experience in Teaching and Education, a master’s degree could help you find work as an instructional coordinator. In this role, you would work to develop curriculum and instructional materials for teachers.

Instructional coordinators may work for public or private school systems, or for the government, and they earn a median salary of $62,460 per year.

Doctoral Degrees

For teachers and educators, doctoral degrees play a different role than they do in many other types of occupations. That’s because for college professors, you need a Ph.D. in the field you want to teach, not a doctorate in education. A Ph.D. involves completing original research and writing a dissertation, and this degree can take five to seven years of full-time work to complete.

A doctor of education (Ed.D.) degree, on the other hand, is geared more towards students who hope to advance into leadership positions, like education administration. These programs are designed for working adults, and usually take around three years to complete.

So, how much can you make with a doctoral degree if you work in Teaching and Education? Averaged across all subjects, college professors make a median salary of $75,430 per year, while the highest-ranking administrators in a school district earn a median salary of $118,000 per year.