If you’re passionate about helping to shape the minds of the future, consider a career in education. There are a few accredited online programs that offer the training and technical skills you need to pursue a career in education or to receive teacher certification.
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People with education degrees can find jobs in many fields besides teaching. Many education majors become instructional designers, writers, tutors, child caretakers, and business owners. A degree in education prepares you future long-term success.
When choosing an education program with the goal of becoming a certified teacher, or to pursue a graduate degree in the future, you need to receive a bachelor’s degree from an NCATE-accredited program. In addition, only colleges that have met their state’s quality standards qualify for federal financial aid funds that can be vital to most students’ completion of their educational goals.
Within the field of education, you should look for programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Programs without NCATE accreditation may offer coursework that does not transfer to other higher education programs or count towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and may also be insufficient to become certified as a teacher.
Online education degree programs are available at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree to be able to earn your teaching certification and teach at the elementary, middle school or high school level.
A long as your online program is accredited and meets the educational requirements for certification in the state in which you choose to teach, your online degree is completely valid.
While you can complete most of the coursework through online programs, you cannot fulfill your student teaching requirement online. Individuals seeking certification in K-12 education will need to complete a term of supervised, full-time classroom teaching experience that typically lasts between 12 and 20 weeks.
Depending on your interests, there are a number of degree programs in education, with many options available online:
Remember that, while you can complete most of the coursework through online programs, you cannot fulfill your student teaching requirement online. Individuals seeking certification in K-12 education will need to complete a term of supervised, full-time classroom teaching experience that typically lasts between 12 and 20 weeks.
When choosing an online program in education, you should look for institutions accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE accredits both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
NCATE offers upper-level institutions accreditation based on the following eligibility requirements:
Of the 689 institutionally accredited online education schools, only a select few are NCATE accredited.
Students who attend a top accredited online education college can anticipate taking a variety of classes to prepare them for teaching in public and private schools. Accredited online education classes will offer students basic knowledge in:
There are generally no special prerequisites for an education program, except for eligibility for admission into the undergraduate college of your choice and completion of any core curriculum as required by your college, such as courses in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and arts and culture.
There are many career options open to people with education degrees. Here are a few to consider:
Obtaining teaching certification is the final step to becoming a classroom teacher. To qualify for your license, you must complete a variety of requirements determined by the state in which you wish to teach, and in some cases, pass the Praxis Examination administered by the Educational Testing Services.
While licensing requirements will vary state by state, the minimum requirements to receive certification include:
Visit Teach.Org’s Teaching Certification page to find out about state-specific licensing requirements.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates an approximate 17% increase in new teaching jobs for kindergarten, elementary and middle school grades between 2010 and 2020. Although a slower rate of growth is anticipated for high school level teachers, a 7% increase between 2010 and 2020, those who are qualified to teach science and math-related courses will be in higher demand.
Tenure-track positions for college professors are projected to be highly competitive; however, increased employment opportunities for temporary/adjunct and part-time professors are expected.
The job market for certified teachers varies widely by location, with some school districts desperate to hire teachers and others with highly competitive positions. It’s worth considering whether or not you would be willing to relocate to find a good teaching position.
The median yearly salary for classroom teachers is $53,000 to $56,000. The median salary for full-time faculty in the field of education is $83,000. Teacher salaries vary greatly depending on which state or city you look at. Some urban districts pay new to mid-level teachers close to $65,000 a year.
Pursuing a degree in education and teaching will provide you with a wide array of marketable skills that can be useful both within the teaching profession as well as in careers outside of education. These include:
Other marketable skills include:
Because student-teaching work is expected as part of the coursework, internships are not often an essential part of obtaining and education degree. However, if you are planning to work in a field other than teaching with your degree, you might want to consider internships that involve:
NCATE has been reviewing new online courses for accreditation and has added additional approved programs within the past few years.
The following programs offer accredited programs for individuals in a number of different states:
The University of Massachusetts (UMass Online)
Western Governors University’s Teacher’s College