Online Degrees in Education
From teaching children how to tie their shoes to guiding students through Shakespeare and Western civilization, teachers are responsible for countless acts of motivation, instruction and encouragement.
Perhaps because most students can point to teachers who inspired them, education is one of the most popular majors for college students. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that education was the third most popular bachelor's degree awarded in 2007-2008, with over 100,000 potential new teachers graduating that year.
Not everyone is cut out for a career in education. According to College Board, teachers must have plenty of patience, be very organized and enjoy working closely with others to achieve common goals. In a typical day, teachers are responsible for planning lessons, keeping a classroom on time and on topic, advising students on a wide variety of subjects, and adapting to unexpected events.
There are certain traits that set some teachers apart from the rest. A study from the University of Memphis identified 12 traits that students say characterize their favorite teachers. Those traits include fairness, creativity, preparedness, positivity, and compassion, among others that the researchers note are all linked to caring in one way or another.
Education degree programs are generally divided into early childhood education, elementary education and secondary education. Each of these degrees emphasizes the specific psychology and developmental needs of children in that age range as well as age-appropriate teaching methods and games.
Additionally, many elementary education degree programs and nearly all secondary education programs require students to pick a secondary field in which to major or minor. This field, which can be anything from chemistry to music to history, allows the teacher to specialize in a particular subject for middle and high school students.
Other degrees in education include bilingual education and special education. These degrees prepare teachers to work with a specific student population rather than a particular subject.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 101,708 bachelor's degrees in education were awarded in 2009. The largest number of those--39,870--were in elementary education. Other popular education degree programs include physical education teaching and coaching, and early childhood education. Degrees in special education, secondary education and music teaching were also among the top degrees in education in 2009.
At the master's degree level, 26,057 general education degrees were awarded in 2009. Popular areas of specialization included education administration, curriculum and instruction, special education, elementary education, and counseling.
Online schools allow students to juggle work, family and other commitments while pursuing an education. According to the U.S. Journal of Academics, advantages of distance learning include flexible scheduling, easy accessibility, self-paced learning and more opportunities to study the most current and up-to-date material.
It's important to note, however, that some education degree requirements, such as supervised teaching before a group of students, cannot be completed online. At the bachelor's level, online degrees in education can be pursued as part of a hybrid educational plan. In a hybrid degree program, most courses are online, but students still have to meet certain requirements, such as student teaching, in person.
Many working teachers earn master's degrees in order to move into administration or qualify for higher salaries. For working teachers, online degrees in education may be most convenient. Master's degrees in education often focus more on educational theory and can be available completely online.
Individuals with education degrees often end up in front of a classroom, but that's not the only career path open to education graduates. Curriculum design, administration and supervision, instructional technology, and education evaluation are just a few of the fields open to those who pursue teaching degrees. Those who want to pursue something a little less traditional can branch out into educational testing, counseling, adult literacy, corporate leadership, library science and more.
In most cases, public schools require teachers to hold a teaching certificate or license before they can be awarded a job. Private schools might not require a license, but they almost always require a bachelor's degree.
Jobs for K-12 teachers are expected to grow by 13 percent from 2008 to 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. Education administrators are expected to see job growth of 8 percent from 2008 to 2018.
According to the BLS, the best job prospects for K-12 teachers are expected to be in rural areas and "less desirable" urban areas. Teachers who specialize in high-demand fields, such as science, mathematics and bilingual education will likely see more job opportunities as well.
A teacher's salary depends on many factors, including the area of the country in which he or she teaches, years of experience, local budgets and teaching level. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, elementary school teachers made a mean annual wage of $53,150 in 2009, secondary school teachers made $55,150, and special education teachers at the middle school level made $54,750.
Instructional coordinators made a mean annual wage of $61,270 in 2009 and education administrators at the elementary and secondary level earned $87,390.
The Institute of Education Statistics estimates there were 3.7 million teachers in the classroom in the fall of 2009. Those who pursue their own higher education and earn a degree can join the ranks of those who open the doors of learning to new students every day.
At a glance
- There are 3.7 million teachers in classrooms today
- The most popular education degree program is elementary school education, followed by physical education and early childhood education
- Teachers in high-demand fields can expect more job opportunities
- Income for teachers can range from around $50,000 for some positions in the public system to $80,000 or more in post-secondary education
Online Degree Programs in Education
At University of Phoenix, we believe everyone deserves access to higher education.
Capella courses focus on real-world application, so you’ll gain skills and knowledge you can apply right away.
Keiser University offers degrees in fields that are in demand and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
Earn your degree online with Grand Canyon University. We offer approximately 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of fields that can be completed 100% online.
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.
Online. Accelerated. Affordable. Accredited.
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.