What is a teaching degree?

A teaching degree, or an education degree, is a credential earned by individuals who want to become teachers or college professors. This credential is most commonly a Bachelor’s Degree, which is the minimum requirement for individuals to earn a teaching certification.

Currently, more professionals are pursuing higher education and are seeking a Master’s Degree in education. Additionally, many colleges require educators to hold a doctoral degree.


What kinds of teaching degree programs are available?

Many future educators earn a Bachelor’s Degree in education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2010-2011 Occupational Handbook (BLS). This program typically includes courses such as social science, music, art, literature, mathematics and physical science as well as education classes like psychology of learning and teaching methods. Additionally, many four-year colleges require individuals to complete a student-teaching internship, in which people are required to work in a school to gain experience.

When students graduate from a Bachelor’s of education program, many take licensure examinations. Currently, individuals in every state must be licensed in order to teach in public schools and some colleges. Usually, this credential is given by the State Board of Education or an advisory committee, the BLS reports. Students who complete a Bachelor’s Degree and a licensure may be qualified to teach in most kindergarten, elementary, middle, secondary, vocational and special education schools. Many teachers also hold a Master’s Degree in education or in a specialized area in which they wish to teach. These programs last for approximately two years. Individuals who hold a Master’s Degree may be qualified for a variety of positions, including those at two-year schools.

Some four-year colleges and universities require professors to hold a Doctoral Degree in the discipline in which they plan to teach. These courses of study take about six years beyond a Bachelor’s Degree.


What jobs are available for people who earn this credential?

Students who earn a teaching degree can become kindergarten, elementary, middle, secondary, vocational, special education or postsecondary educators.

Individuals who are employed in kindergarten, elementary, middle or secondary schools work with children and teenagers in public and private institutions. They are responsible for maintaining discipline in the classroom, assigning work, grading papers and teaching subjects that range from math to English.

Special education professionals work with students who have mental or physical disabilities, according to the BLS. While a majority of these educators teach children who have moderate challenges, some work with those who have severe mental, emotional or physical problems. These professionals are typically responsible for teaching their students life skills, as well as adjusting the curriculum to fit their needs and abilities.

Postsecondary educators work with students who are pursuing a college degree as well as those who are seeking a certificate or specialized career skills beyond high school. These professionals include college professors, graduate teaching assistants and technical education teachers. Postsecondary educators respond to students’ needs, create lesson plans and introduce new material in class.


What will the future of teaching jobs look like?

According to the BLS, job opportunities for kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school educators are expected to increase by 13 percent through 2018. Employment for special education teachers should grow slightly faster, with a predicted 17 percent increase through 2018. The number of positions for postsecondary educators could increase by 15 percent.


What is the salary for people in this profession?

According to PayScale’s 2011 National Salary Data, high school teachers make about $43,466, elementary school educators earn approximately $40,063 and special education teachers tend to make about $41,882 annually. Individuals who become college professors may see higher salaries than other educators. These professionals can earn up to $144,709 annually, depending on the institutions where they work, according to Payscale.

However, the salary of educators varies by state. Currently, California pays its teachers the most, giving them up to $67,330 annually.


*Source Reference: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov