Earning an online education degree is an “A+” way to become part of a growing and vibrant workforce of teachers, tutors, course designers and educational administrators. The field of education encompasses pretty much everything related to watching over and instructing students, from the toddlers in childcare services to the adults pursuing a GED or college education.
Today, children and adults are entering the school system in record numbers. At the same time, legions of teachers, librarians and administrators are walking off the job, into their golden retirement years. Online teaching degree programs are springing up to train a new generation of instructors in flipped classroom techniques and the use of educational technology. There’s never been a better time to flick open your iPad and GetEducated ® online. Start here by exploring all your options for an online education degree.
THE CAREER PATH
Many professionals may carve their career in education from a variety of options. Some are dedicated to working with elementary students from the beginning of their career, and so they their education and certification right away. Other education professionals may choose to work in a college classroom after many years in a particular field—such as social work or medicine. The accessibility to online education programs has made it easier than ever for working professionals to advance their careers through higher education.
The responsibilities of different positions in education can look dramatically different from one another, although they share the core goal of successful outcomes for students. Entry-level education positions that require less postsecondary education typically require working under the supervision of another teacher in order to offer additional support in the classroom maintenance and instruction.
Teachers that work independently in a classroom setting, such as in elementary, middle, or high schools, are responsible for evaluating their students and developing and implementing lesson plans according to the strengths and weaknesses of their evaluations. They usually require at least a bachelor’s level education in order to gain the skills they need to measure student progress and work with teams of parents, staff, and other teachers in order to improve student outcomes.
Teachers that work in postsecondary settings or specialize in instruction and curriculum design typically have the most experience in their field of choice as well as the highest level of postsecondary education. Their responsibilities are typically oriented more around research and organizing effective learning opportunities for adult students, training workers, and developing teacher skills.
Almost every position in the field of education requires some type of certification or licensure to validate the skills of professionals. Most teaching licenses are issued by states, and specialized licenses may be required for specialized positions in early childhood development, special education, and similar roles.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CANDIDATE?
It goes without question that any professional in the field of education must be able to communicate well with others, whether it’s with students, parents, administrators, colleagues, or teachers. Relationships and communication are the key to successful outcomes in education, and these professionals must be analytical yet understanding when it comes to jobs in education. Each type of role in education is faced with unique challenges and opportunities, and professionals in the field must be ready think critically and be resourceful enough to recognize and take advantage of those challenges and opportunities.
Teaching isn’t easy, but if your passion is working to help students of the future succeed, then you could tailor your program to your own unique strengths, interests and goals. You could impact education by improving curriculums for whole schools or you could choose to work with students who are learning English as a Second Language (ESL). You can put your love for learning into action through a degree in education.
BEST EDUCATION JOBS
The demand for qualified professionals in education is only anticipated to grow across the board in the coming years, so there is a great opportunity to find a career that you are truly passionate about. Here are some of the popular education jobs described by the Department of Labor(DOL):
- Teacher – Teachers can work in elementary, middle, high school, or even postsecondary settings to get the hands-on experience of building learning opportunities for students. Teachers may develop skills in particular subjects—such as reading and literacy—or they can focus on the developmental needs of particular groups —such as elementary school. Teachers work in public and private settings and must have at least a bachelor-level education in addition to a license to each in their state of choice. The DOL lists most teachers as making upwards of $55,000 each year, although the role and rewards of teaching will depend on the school and state that is worked in. Postsecondary teachers tend to make much higher wages, more than $75,000 annually. Teachers can expect to always be in high demand considering the vital role that they play in our communities.
- Early Childhood Education (ECE) – ECE professionals work in child care centers and preschool to cater to the youngest generation of students. They help build up functional skills like language, motor, and social functioning before starting kindergarten. They also tend to the basic needs of children like feeding, changing, and overseeing play. ECE professionals can start a career as child care workers straight out of high school, and typically make some of the lowest wages in the education field, at just over $21,000. Preschool teachers are typically required to have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and are among the highest in demand. After gaining years of work experience, preschool teachers can often move on to direct their own child care centers.
- Curriculum & Instruction Design – Instead of working directly in classrooms, some professionals choose to work behind-the-scenes, researching and assessing how to improve the curriculum and instruction that is made available to students. They may create educational materials, train teachers on effective instruction methods, or work to adjust the academic goals and measures of success for schools. Most positions in curriculum and design require a master’s degree, but the payoff is one of the most substantial in education, with an average salary around $60,000 each year.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR?
Not all teaching degrees are equal when it comes to wages or job security. Demand and pay are notably high for graduates of online special education and ESL (English as a Second Language) programs. The online library science degree is escalating in popularity due to growing demand for digital media experts inside schools and corporations.
If your goal is to work as a licensed teacher in the K-12 public school system, check out a teaching degree online. Teachers often specialize. Popular majors and teacher certification areas include school counseling, physical education, early childhood education, elementary education and secondary education. Explore online master's if you've already earned a bachelor's degree and want to change careers and enter education.
Look for an education degree online that is pre-approved by your State Board of Education. Pre-approval means the program has been designed to meet teacher licensing requirements in your home state. If your goal is to pursue a career teaching in a public school (K-12), look for programs that are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE, the accrediting body for teacher preparation, is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Also, remember that not all teachers work with young minds. Lifelong learning is the new norm. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 40 percent of adults enroll in continuing education courses each year. If your goal is to teach older or nontraditional students, explore an online adult education degree, a credential in post-secondary education or a degree in training and development.
Another huge trend in education is tying technology to instruction in a national effort to reduce cost and improve learning effectiveness. Demand is heavy for educators who understand how to design, build and manage online courses and training systems. Review educational technology, instructional technology or teaching online programs for a degree that will help you make a career of web-based instruction. The online curriculum and instruction degree is a great option if you want to become a course designer or evaluator. If you already hold a bachelor's in a non-education field and want to start teaching, consider earning a MAT (master of arts in teaching) degree online.
If you want to take charge of an educational enterprise as a principal, superintendent or administrator, review your options for an online education administration degree or educational leadership degree. Educators who earn these majors also often work as leaders in nonprofit or community based educational organizations.
Careers in education can begin at any level of your education, with any level of experience—as long as you are passionate and hardworking. Expect to spend between $30,000 and $50,000 on an online bachelor's degree in education. Cheaper options do exist, however, so make sure to do your research! Our rankings reveal that an online master's in education costs just over $18,000, on average, in the United States. However, the most affordable options cost under $10,000. Click on a program below to view estimated total tuition cost (including fees!), accreditation, and admission information.