Teaching and Education

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What Do Teachers Do?

Teachers educate learners of all ages in a variety of settings. While many work in the classroom, educators can also work in curriculum development, policymaking, and educational administration.

Educators can specialize in a variety of areas. For example, high school teachers educate teenagers, while special education teachers work with students with disabilities. Experienced educators can also work as school principals or other school administrators.

A teaching career requires creativity, patience, and dedication. Educators need strong communication and interpersonal skills in addition to content knowledge in their teaching area. This guide introduces the field of teaching and education, including common specializations and professional resources.

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FAQ

  • Is teaching a good career?

    Educators benefit from a rewarding career that offers stability. In many districts, teachers can earn tenure after several years of experience.

  • How much money do teachers make?

    The median teacher salary is around $60,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Teachers with a master’s degree and professional experience may earn higher salaries.

  • What degree do you need to be a teacher?

    Public school teachers generally need to complete a bachelor’s degree from an educator preparation program to earn their teaching license.

  • How do I start a career in teaching?

    Many educators begin their teaching career by earning a bachelor’s degree. Before completing a bachelor’s degree, prospective teachers can pursue paraeducator or early childhood education roles.

How Much Money Can You Make If You Study Teaching and Education?

Teaching and education offer stable career paths with many opportunities for career advancement. The average teacher salary remains around $60,000 per year, but salaries vary by role, location, degree level, and experience. Public schools, which require a teaching license, tend to pay higher salaries than private schools.

Teachers earn above-average salaries in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. Educators can also increase their earning potential by moving into administrative roles. For example, K-12 principals make a median salary of over $96,000 per year. Many of these higher-paying roles require a master’s degree.

  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct children in core subjects like reading, math, and writing. They design lesson plans, evaluate student abilities through observation and assignments, and identify students' strengths and weaknesses.
  • Middle School Teacher Middle school teachers generally teach 6th-8th grade, helping to prepare students for high school. They create lesson plans, instruct students in subjects like language arts and math, and grade assignments to assess student learning.
  • High School Teacher High school teachers prepare students for college and the workforce. They may teach a variety of subjects, such as math, science, social studies, or language arts. They develop lesson plans, instruct students, and assess students' knowledge. They also adapt lessons based on students' abilities and prepare learners for standardized tests.
  • Special Education Teacher Special education teachers educate learners with disabilities. They modify and adapt lessons to meet the abilities of their students. They also assess students' skills, develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and work with administrators and parents to implement IEPs.
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher $59,420 4%
Middle School Teacher $59,660 4%
High School Teacher $61,660 4%
Special Education Teachers $61,030 3%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kinds of Teaching and Education Degrees Are Available?

Teaching and education students can pursue degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These degrees prepare graduates for specific teaching careers. For example, public school teachers typically need a bachelor’s degree, while principals need a master’s degree. This section introduces various types of teaching and education degrees.

An associate degree in education introduces learners to foundational techniques and knowledge in the field. Learners take courses on topics like building an inclusive classroom environment, childhood development, and early childhood education. They also study curriculum development, assessment, and educational research.

Earning an associate degree typically takes two years for full-time students. With an associate degree, graduates can work as preschool teachers and paraeducators. They can also transfer into four-year education programs to meet the requirements for a teaching license.

A bachelor’s in teaching and education prepares graduates to earn teaching licensure. During a bachelor’s program, education majors study topics like pedagogical techniques, assessment strategies, and curriculum development. They often specialize their degree by choosing an elementary, secondary, or special education focus.

Most teaching programs incorporate a student-teaching experience to build classroom management skills. After completing a four-year bachelor’s degree, graduates can pursue licensure and apply for teaching jobs.

A master’s degree in education prepares educators for career advancement. Teachers often pursue master’s degrees to add endorsements to their license or move into leadership roles. Many educators see an increase in salary with a master’s degree.

Specialized master’s programs in educational administration train school administrators, including principals. Educators can also earn a master’s in higher education administration. Completing a master’s degree typically takes two years, though some programs offer an accelerated one-year route to the degree.

A doctorate in education trains educators for top roles in research, policymaking, and academia. An Ed.D., or doctor of education degree, emphasizes practice, while a Ph.D. in education emphasizes research. With either degree, graduates can work as education professors, higher education administrators, and education directors.

Earning a doctorate in education typically takes 3-6 years, depending on the degree. Doctoral students typically take coursework in their specialty area and complete a dissertation.

Teaching and Education Resources

Education Specialities

Education students can specialize in a variety of areas. These focus areas may be called specializations, specialties, concentrations, or tracks. Education degree-seekers can choose from specialties based on grade level, subject area, and job title.

A specialty prepares educators for focused roles after graduation. For example, an elementary education specialty trains teachers to educate students in elementary school, while secondary education majors learn how to teach middle school and high school students. Graduate programs often offer specialties in administration, training learners for school principal and administrator jobs. Many specialties lead to an endorsement or license after graduation.

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Teaching and Education Contents

Certifications and Licensure for Teachers

Educators at public schools typically need a teaching license to qualify for jobs. In addition to a state-issued teaching license or certification, educators can pursue specialized credentials, such as national board certification or elementary education certification. This section introduces optional certifications for educators.

  • National Board Certification Teachers with a bachelor's degree and three years of classroom experience can pursue national board certification in 25 areas. Candidates must submit three portfolios and pass an examination. Certification areas include English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and world languages.
  • Elementary Education Certification Experienced teachers can pursue American board certification in elementary education. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree, pass a background check, and pass a professional teaching knowledge exam. The credential also requires passing scores on a subject area exam for elementary education.
  • Special Education Certification Candidates for American board certification in special education must hold a bachelor's degree and pass a professional teaching knowledge exam. The certification also requires passing scores on the American Board special education exam and the elementary education exam.




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