Whether you want to be a principal, college administrator, teacher or tutor, there are a variety of degrees available that can suit your career plans. If you want to teach in a public school, then you will need to obtain a state license and pass a competency test. You will also need to complete certain educational courses in order to become a teacher. Here are some of the most common types of education degrees.
Early Childhood Education Degrees
Teachers who choose this specialty will teach children between the ages of two and five. States do not require that teachers have a college degree with a specialty in early childhood education. It is recommended that teachers pursue this specialty in order to learn teaching methods that are catered to this age group. Some states now suggest that teachers pursue this type of degree, but there is still no legal requirement that teachers have this type of degree.
Educational Leadership Degrees
People who choose to pursue an educational leadership degree frequently have a desire to eventually become a principal of an elementary school, middle school, or high school. They may also wish to become part of the administration for a college. They may also want to become the president of a college. If one plans on becoming a president at the university level, then obtaining this type of degree is essential. This type of program focuses on teaching effective leadership skills. One will learn how to communicate with parents, teachers, and students. One will also learn how to manage the administrative tasks associated with running a high school or college.
Associate Degrees in Education
Associates are two-year types of education degrees offered by community colleges. Earning an associate degree requires completing 60-70 credits of general education and major courses. Associate programs are usually available in early childhood and elementary education. Graduates with associate degrees qualify for becoming preschool teachers and educating young children under age six. Associate graduates can also teacher’s aides or classroom assistants. To get certified to teach K-12 students, associate graduates must continue into a bachelor’s program. Going the associate transfer route is much cheaper. CNBC reported an average community college cost of $3,660. High school graduates or GED recipients can shave thousands of dollars off tuition by earning an associate first.
Bachelors in Education
A bachelor’s degree in education will provide students with classes on classroom management and the psychology of students. You will also learn effective teaching methods when you take education courses in this degree program. A bachelor’s degree in education usually takes four or five years to complete. One can pursue a B.S. in Education and also obtain a specialty in a science field such as biology, physics, or chemistry. A student may also decide to double major in a field that interests him or her. For example, a student may know that he or she ultimately wants to teach Spanish classes in a high school and may decide to pursue a minor or major in Spanish.
Masters in Education
A master’s degree is usually a two-year program. In a master’s program, a student will learn innovative teaching methods for the classroom. He or she may also learn new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. A master’s program helps teachers advance their teaching careers. Upon obtaining this type of degree, a teacher may be promoted to teach a new course in a high school. A teacher may also be promoted to an administrative position if he or she has this type of degree. A school will usually pay for a teacher to obtain this type of advanced degree in his or her career.
Doctoral Education Degrees
Doctorates are the highest, terminal degrees in education. Doctoral candidates typically take 90-120 credits beyond a bachelor’s. Master’s graduates may need as little as 48 doctoral credits. There are two main doctorate types: Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Education. Ph.D. degrees are more scientific and research-based to develop scholarly skills. Ed.D. degrees are more practical and teaching-based to sharpen pedagogical strategies. Both require advanced 700-level seminars, internships, and doctoral dissertation research. Earning a doctorate is a crowning achievement that opens careers in higher education. Graduates with Ph.D. or Ed.D. degrees often become professors, deans, and college presidents. Some graduates stay in K-12 education as school superintendents.
Graduate Certificates in Education
Graduate certificates aren’t technically one of the types of education degrees. Nonetheless, certificates are helpful for bachelor’s graduates to gain specialized knowledge. Graduate certificates are short-term, post-baccalaureate training programs with about 12-18 credits. According to Forbes, graduate certificate enrollment has skyrocketed 50 percent since 2005. Certificates offer an appealing way to take master’s-level courses without paying for another whole degree. Education graduate certificates can make K-12 educators eligible for specialized state endorsements. For example, certificates in reading education, autism spectrum disorders, gifted education, educational technology, and STEM education are popular. Graduate cohorts can quickly finish certificates in six to 12 months fully online.
English Language Learning Degrees
English language learning degrees are unique K-12 credentials that aren’t usually housed in colleges of education. They’re awarded by foreign language departments. Coursework is focused on linguistics and language acquisition with applied school practica. Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) degrees prepare teachers in English-speaking countries to educate non-native speakers. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) programs are designed to help educate people abroad in English. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) credentials let graduates find positions overseas or at home. All three paths are in high demand as the number of English language learners grows. The Pew Research Center counted nearly 5 million ELL students nationwide.
Education degrees come in diverse shapes and specialties. Regardless of the length or format, education degrees prepare for a growing, rewarding public service profession. The Foundation for Economic Education predicts the U.S. shortage of teachers will hit 200,000 by 2025. Hiring in education occupations will jump 5 percent for nearly 513,000 new openings this decade. About 2.2 percent of America’s 3.4 million K-12 teachers retire each year too. Getting an education degree leads to an average starting teacher salary of $39,249. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists median teacher earnings of $59,420 at elementary and $61,660 at high schools. Education administrators have the highest mean pay of $97,440. Postsecondary administrators particularly cash in with a $111,210 average. Compassionate, patient people who love working with children should consider all the types of education degrees.