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Our educators play an important role in our society. They are prepping our children and us, as adults, to become successful human beings in our society, our businesses and our careers. If children are not well prepared for the real world then what does our future entail? Teachers are not just responsible for instilling knowledge. They are role models, guidance counselors and cheerleaders. They show their students how to conduct themselves, provide advise when it is sought and encourage them to try and do their best. This is why we need more great teachers who genuinely care and have a passion for teaching.

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What is an Education Degree?

What can you do with an education degree?

Some people may assume that your only option with an education degree is to teach in a school setting. In reality, you have many other career paths to take with an education degree in hand. You can become a writer, librarian, school counselor, school administrator, health educator, textbook sales representative and more. If you’re looking to take the more traditional education route, you can choose from teaching elementary, middle, vocational, high school, or college classes. All levels of education play important roles in our culture and community.

Comparing the Levels of Teaching:

For obvious reasons, a day in the life of a kindergarten teacher will look different than that of a college professor. Here are a few ideas of what each kind of teacher experiences:

  • Kindergarten: Show your students how to behave in the classroom and play nice with others. Plan your curriculum for each day for basic skills such as reading and writing. Use creative hands-on play and easy instructions. As a role model, you will guide the children in their social skills, art, music and even personal hygiene. Yes, some kindergarteners will have potty time accidents.
  • Elementary: Teaches children grades first through fifth. Responsible for not just their education, but their emotional growth, too. Build confidence, teach core subjects such as math and science, address behavior issues, expand to other subjects such as social studies, prepare students for standardized testing, curriculum planning, teacher/parent conferences and testing/grading. Elementary school teachers should be fun and kind yet stern and in control of their classroom.
  • Middle: Typically teaches children grades sixth through eighth. Prepares lesson plans for subjects such as science, math and literature. Meets school-wide student performance goals by delivering instructional activities in a positive setting. Grades exams and papers and keeps record of them in a grade book. Observes and evaluates student performance. Middle school teachers will most certainly find themselves managing student behavior in the classroom by invoking disciplinary punishment such as detention.
  • High School: Generally, teaches students in grades ninth through twelfth. Prepares informational yet engaging lessons plans in subjects such as history, English, economics, algebra, biology and physical education (P.E.). Uses textbooks, visual aids and creative projects to gain student interest and involvement. Computer skills are a must since technology is used frequently in the modern classroom. In addition, high school teachers may chaperone field trips, enforce disciplinary action and provide parent to student counseling.

    All of these levels may be taught in a public, private or charter school, which is something to consider while job hunting.

  • College: College educators may work at a two-year community/junior college, a technical/trade school or a four-year university. They may also work at a night school or via online learning. They will specialize in a vast array of subjects such as chemistry, civics, and American literature. Their main responsibilities are divided up between lecture and discussion but then they go home and spend hours grading papers, correcting exams and advising their students (Note: that last part is not conducted at home, but in a campus office or even via texting!). College teachers are ranked based on seniority and educational background from instructors all the way up to professors. You must admit that having “Professor” in from of your last name sounds way cooler than “Instructor”.

Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons of Teaching:

    Pros:

  • Multiple job opportunities on not just the previously mentioned levels of education but teaching internationally, inspiring others to learn more about a subject you are passionate in or help adults prepare for the real world.
  • Awesome benefits like vacation time, sick pay and healthcare insurance perks
  • More Days Off! Hello summer vacations and a full 2 weeks for the holidays!

    Cons:

  • Most teachers usually put in at least 50 hours a week
  • Tolerating bad behavior and sentencing punishments such as detention
  • A lot of teachers, depending on the state, receive an average salary that is not the best of pay*

Occupational Outlook:

The median pay for teachers ranges from $57,000 to $78,470 per year, depending on the level of education. The job growth outlook for kindergarten and elementary school teachers is just 3%. According to the BLS*, rising student enrollment at kindergarten through high school institutions should increase the demand for these teachers. On the contrary, the job growth outlook for postsecondary teachers is on an upward curve of 11%.

*Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm

How to become an Educator

The amount of time you will need to spend earning your degree depends on the level of education you are seeking to teach. Becoming a kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school teacher requires you to have a Bachelor’s degree in education. Bachelor degrees take four years, on average, to complete. During your junior or senior year of school, you will enroll in a student teacher internship program, that will last between 8 to 12 weeks. This is where you will experience hands-on what it is like to be a teacher in your sought after setting. For example, you may think you want to be an elementary school teacher but after experiencing the classroom setting and interacting with the younger students, you come to the realization that you would rather work with older, more mature children. A good internship program will also place you in at least two different grades for diverse experience.

After you have graduated and completed your teacher internship, you will take your state’s licensing exam(s), which vary state to state and by education level. Middle school teachers, as an example, must pass three exams: basic skills, the subject taught and teaching methods.

In addition, you may choose to sit for voluntary certifications through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

Future teachers must apply for their teaching license or certification, which varies state to state. There are four types of certifications:

  • Elementary and Middle School Certification
  • Teaching Certificates and Endorsements in Secondary Education
  • Teacher Certification for Specific Subject Areas
  • Nationally Recognized Teacher Certification/Board Certification

There are also alternative paths for those who qualify. If you already have your Bachelor’s degree, in any subject or major, you may then enroll in an accelerated teacher certification program. Accelerated teacher certification programs allow you to earn your teaching credentials while you’re actively teaching or working elsewhere.

You can work without a certification in special scenarios such as substitute teaching, overseas teaching and teaching support positions such as a classroom aide.

Your options and potential paths in the world of education are absolutely broad and full of variety.

If you display confidence, creativity and motivation and you have a true passion for educating others, a career in education is an A+ option for you. Find a school near you right here at AmeriColleges.com.

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