A bachelor’s degree in education offers a strong liberal arts education and combines theory with practice to create confident, effective teachers. Earning an education bachelor’s degree will qualify you to teach at most public schools. If you are an undergraduate student who wants to become a teacher, read on to learn whether pursuing studies in education would be the right path for you.
An Overview of the BS and BA in Education
A bachelor’s in education takes about four years to complete.
You can earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. Although most courses will overlap in either degree type, a BA in education will tend to have a curriculum focused more on liberal arts courses, whereas a BS in education will focus more on the sciences.
The admissions requirements for a bachelor’s program are usually a high school diploma or GED and minimum required SAT/ACT scores.
You can choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, health and physical education, elementary education, secondary education, and special education, among other specializations. You may also have the option to combine your education degree with a specific content area, such as Math, English or Social Studies.
Curriculum for an Education Bachelor’s Degree
Typically requiring students to complete 120 credits, a bachelor’s in education helps aspiring teachers to build their instructional skills and develop a strong foundation in the field of education. The curriculum will cover principles and procedures in educating children to prepare graduates to successfully lead a classroom. Students pursuing an education degree are also generally required to complete a practicum, so they can gain experience and practice teaching under the supervision of a licensed teacher.
Some of the education courses you might be required take include:
- Child development
- Classroom discipline
- Curriculum development
- Children’s literacy
- Principles of education
- Instructional practices for math teachers
- Special education instruction
Upon completing a teacher education program, you must pass a general teaching certification test in order to earn a state teaching license and be fully qualified to teach. If you plan to teach a specific subject, you will also be required to pass a test that demonstrates your knowledge of that subject. In some states, you may be required to earn a master’s degree after completing your bachelor’s degree.
Career Opportunities in Education
Licensed teachers instruct students from grades K-12. Their responsibilities include developing and delivering lesson plans, leading classroom lectures and activities, preparing and grading assignments, assessing students’ progress, overseeing classroom discipline, communicating with parents, and administering standardized tests, among other duties.
Types of Teachers
A bachelor’s in education can open doors to a variety of teaching opportunities, such as:
- Preschool teacher
- Kindergarten teacher
- Elementary school teacher
- High school teacher
- Middle school teacher
- Special education teacher
- Health and PE teacher
Teachers typically work full-time during normal school hours from Monday to Friday. Some teachers may participate in extracurricular activities after work. Teachers may also spend time outside of school grading papers and developing lessons, especially if they are teaching a course for the first time. Most teachers will have school breaks and summers off.
Job Outlook for Teachers
From 2012 to 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for preschool teachers school increase at a faster than average rate of 17%. Positions for elementary and middle school teachers will increase by 12% in the coming decade, which will be about as fast as average. Special education and high school positions should increase by 6%, which is slower than average. The employment of teachers in public schools depends on local and state budgets. Opportunities are expected to be best in the South and West.
Teacher salaries vary depending on your position. In 2013, the median annual wage for the following teaching positions were:
- Preschool teachers– $27,570
- Elementary school teachers– $53,590
- Middle school teachers– $53,940
- Special education teachers– $55, 060
- Secondary school teachers– $55,360
Most career advancement opportunities for teachers require you to earn a master’s degree in a related field. For example, you could pursue a master’s degree in education administration and become a school administrator. If you want to become a school counselor, you could pursue a master’s degree in school counseling. With a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, you could become an instructional coordinator, overseeing school curriculums and teaching standards. With a doctorate in education, you could teach at the postsecondary level.
Instil the Love of Learning
The best teachers instill a love of learning into their students and impact the way they view the world. A bachelor’s in education will equip you with the skills needed to be an effective teacher. If you would like to prepare to meet the challenges of today’s classrooms, earn a bachelor’s degree in education today.