“…Penn State was a large beautiful school. It offered many different fields for students to choose to major in. There were many activities to do, organizations to join, and people to meet.” – Michelle
There is an art to systematic instruction in any subject, which is where earning a degree in education comes in. Offered at the associates, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate levels, education degrees are a mix of theoretical and applied courses. There are facets to education degrees, such as early childhood education, primary teaching, or secondary education. The key goal behind acquiring a degree in this area of study is to learn how to create a dynamic learning environment, typically within a specific age range or in a certain topic.
Associate degrees in education typically take 2 years to complete when attending full time. There are two different types of degrees offered at this level, an Associate’s in Science and an Associate’s in Art. The AS focuses more on science and mathematics, making it a precursor for teaching in those areas. An AA is geared towards the liberal arts, including literature, music, performing arts, and art. This level of education also comes with a few different specializations, including in Early Childhood, Paraprofessional, Elementary and Secondary.
Careers for graduates with an associate degree in education include: Teacher Assistant, Preschool Teacher, Childcare Worker, Tutor. The entry-level salary ranges between $21,000 and $29,000.
Education management and the psychology of students is addressed more in-depth at the baccalaureate level. Educators play many roles in students’ and parents’ lives and learning how to wear those different hats is crucial. Learning to create a lesson plan, and then learning to be flexible about it are both necessary skills at this level. Curriculum will include classes on developmental psychology, social and personality development, classroom technologies, assessment strategies, arts education, mild and moderate disabilities, as well as teaching english, math, and foreign languages.
Like the associate’s degree, baccalaureate degrees are conferred in two different ways, as a Bachelor’s in Science or a Bachelor’s in Art, and they function the same way. At the baccalaureate level, however, there’s room to take on a second major or a minor that complements the focus of the education major. For instance, minoring in Spanish can be a huge leg up towards becoming a high school Spanish teacher. The average salary for graduates with a baccalaureate in education is $43,000.
Careers for graduates with a bachelor’s in education include: High School Teacher, Academic Advisor, Career Counselor, Recruiter, Admissions Staff, Adult Educator, Job/Skills Trainer, GED Instructor, English as a Second Language Instructor, International Teacher, School Board Member, School Administrator, Museum Learning Programmer, Standardized Test Developer, Instructional Coordinator, Education Consultant, Textbook Author/Editor, Prison System Teacher, Health Educator, Activities Director.
Much like the associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in education, there are several paths for earning a Master’s in this area of study: a Master’s of Education (M.Ed.), a Master of Science in Teaching (MST), or a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). For the MAT and MST, the focus of the 2-year program is the grade of students taught and the subject matter. This level and type of degree is popular for concentrating in Special Education and is often considered a pre-professional degree. In other words, the intention is to teach. Many colleges offer a 5-year program that ecompasses both a baccauleate and master degree.
A Masters of Education is geared more towards advancement within the educational world and focuses on research rather than applied knowledge. The focus of the degree is limited to curriculum and instruction; counseling; school psychology; and administration. It’s often used as a precursor for a doctoral degree, as well. Other similar degrees include a Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) and a Master of Science in Education (MSEd).
The primary perk for earning a master’s degree is the ability to become a National Board Certified Teacher. This certification can open a number of opportunities within the academic world, as well as a generally higher salary. Available careers, depending on degree type, for a master’s level graduate include: Principal, Administrator, Special Education Teacher (higher level or specialized), School/Career Counselor, Educational Coordinator, Corporate Trainer, Curriculum Developer/Instruction Specialist, Academic Dean.
There are options aplenty at all levels of the education field of study, and that include at the doctorate level. The two prominent options are a Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD) and the Doctorate in Education (EdD). Unlike what’s typical, the PhD is designed for further knowledge to put in practice, whereas the EdD is geared toward research and improvement of the educational system as a whole.
Career options for doctorate holders include: School Board Executive, Education Researcher, Policy Maker.