Education Career Overview
The field of Education encompasses a wide variety of teaching disciplines whose principal distinctions relate to the age groups of the students being taught. Generally speaking, educators at the pre-school, kindergarten, and elementary school levels are assigned one class to which they teach a variety of subjects. On the other hand, educators at higher levels (middle school, high school, and post-secondary) tend to focus on one subject (e.g., math, history, a specific science or foreign language, etc.) and teach this subject to different classes at different times during the school day. Another distinction relates to the depth to which subjects are covered. Typically, the higher the level of education, the more the educator tends to delve deeply into a particular subject and to expose students to more facets of the subject material.
Individuals who would like to teach can choose to do so in either a private or public school system. As a general rule, teachers in private schools generally enjoy smaller class sizes and more control over the curriculum and performance standards. However, the work duties are typically similar and the main differences relate more to qualification standards than to the job characteristics. The actual work environment for a teacher is more dependent upon other factors such as school location, management policies, and educational benchmarks. Educators often put in more than a 40-hour work week; however, most enjoy long summer breaks.
Education Required to Prepare for a Career in Education
The minimum education requirement for teaching is a bachelor's degree or higher, although some positions such as teacher's aide and pre-school teacher may have less stringent requirements, depending on the state. In addition, most states require public school teachers for grades K-12 to earn a specified number of education credits during their course of study. These credits usually involve a combination of classroom study along with some time spent in supervised practice teaching. Those who aspire to teach a particular subject would be best served earning their college degree in the subject they intend to teach. In some states, public school teachers are required to earn a master's degree within a certain amount of time after starting to teach.
Education and training for teaching positions beyond the high school level is more stringent. Four-year colleges and universities usually require full-time tenured professors to hold a doctoral degree. However, a master's degree will sometimes suffice for certain disciplines or for part-time or temporary jobs. Two-year colleges will fill most of their full-time teaching positions with holders of master's degrees, although in some cases a doctoral degree is required or preferred.
Postsecondary vocational education teachers (those who teach classes for occupations that require specialized training), who usually teach at community colleges or career and technical schools, generally need a bachelor's degree or higher, plus at least 3 years of work experience in their field. Actual requirements vary by state and subject matter, but a genuine knowledge of the specialty and the skills most needed in the current workplace for that specialty are absolutely necessary.
Schools for Education are listed in the column to the left.
This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers||58,810|
|Elementary and Secondary School Administrators||242,970|
|Elementary School Teachers||1,392,660|
|Library Technicians and Assistants||93,410|
|Middle School Special Education Teachers||N/A|
|Middle School Teachers||626,310|
|Middle School Vocational Teachers||12,730|
|Postsecondary Education Administrators||138,430|
|Preschool and Child Care Administrators||48,530|
|Preschool and Elementary School Special Education Teachers||N/A|
|Secondary School Special Education Teachers||N/A|
|Secondary School Teachers||1,003,250|
|Secondary School Vocational Teachers||80,100|
|Special Education Teachers||40,190|
|Training and Development Specialists||N/A|
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