A degree in education can be truly worthwhile for those interested in service oriented professions. Education careers will always be necessary because educators lay the foundation for other jobs, and people rely on various forms of instruction at all levels of life. People with degrees in education can expand their options beyond the classroom because many youth organizations, learning centers, and government agencies look to hire people with education backgrounds. Because the field of education is so versatile, its employees take on various roles within the public and private sectors. Some potential careers include:
- Childcare workers
- K-12 Teachers
- Education Administrators
- Adult Education Specialists
- Reading Specialists
- Learning Coaches
Prospective students who wish to become classroom teachers in public schools should be aware that teachers must be certified. Depending on the state of residence, there are a number of ways to obtain this certification. Almost all of these routes to licensure involve passing an examination called the Praxis. For more information about the Praxis and state requirements, visit www.ets.org.
Acceptance into an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program requires a high school diploma or equivalent, and many colleges ask for students’ previous academic records. Both of these degree programs typically have application fees, but applicants should inquire about waivers if necessary. Prospective students should also work with financial aid counselors at their potential schools to learn about ways to fund their education.
Associate’s Degree in Education
Acquiring an associate’s degree constitutes an important first step in an education career. At the associate degree level, students most often enroll in general education, early childhood education, and/or elementary education courses. Those who have an associate’s degree in education qualify for employment as teacher’s assistants (often called paraprofessionals), pre-kindergarten or preschool teachers, or day care workers/supervisors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for childcare workers in 2010 was $19,300, $25,700 for preschool teachers and $23,200 for teacher assistants. An associate’s degree in education also qualifies its holder to become a tutor; earnings for tutors can vary depending on the employing organization.
Bachelor’s Degree in Education
As is the case with many professions, access to education careers with higher salaries corresponds directly to the level of a person’s degree. Having a bachelor’s degree in education offers those interested in the field a broader range of opportunities. Becoming a classroom teacher requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Most bachelor’s degree programs in education allow students to choose an area of specialization including, but not limited to, elementary education, secondary education, academic subjects (i.e. math, history, English, etc.), curriculum and instruction, research and evaluation, and adult education. The coursework for the bachelor’s in education depends a great deal on specialization, but in general, students learn about childhood development, classroom management, and evaluation techniques. The median annual salary for elementary school teachers in 2010 was $51,380, $51,960 for middle school teachers, and $53,230 for high school teachers. To see complete salary information, visit www.bls.gov.