Individuals interested in becoming teachers must first complete a teaching program from an accredited university, college, or other institute of higher learning. Becoming a teacher is a very honorable profession because teachers are responsible for not only introducing young children to their academics for the first time and helping shape them, but teachers are also responsible for helping young adults make their final preparations before entering into the work force and making significant contributions to society. There are a variety of teaching programs individuals can enter and they will each lead into different career paths within education.
There are a variety of undergraduate and graduate teaching programs available that will help launch an individual into a career in education. While there are certain specialized professions within education that individuals can get into with the completion of just a Certificate program or Associate’s degree, the majority of teaching careers require the completion of at least a Bachelor’s level teaching program. The following are examples of teaching programs individuals can complete in order to become a teacher:
- Bachelor of Science in Education
- Bachelor of Education
- Master of Science in Education
- Master of Arts in Education
- Master of Education
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D)
Each of these teaching programs prepares individuals for a different career path within the teaching career field. Completion of the highest programs (Doctorate level) is not required for an individual to become a classroom teacher, instead higher level graduate degrees exist to prepare teachers for jobs outside the classroom or in more advanced teaching positions.
The Bachelor’s level teaching program is the minimum requirement for individuals wishing to become licensed as professional teachers. There are two routes individuals can take at this level. A general Bachelor of Education degree will prepare an individual to work in elementary school settings where teachers are required to have knowledge in a wide range of topics. Individuals interested in teaching in middle school, junior high, or high school can consider a more specialized Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, or mathematics with the goal of teaching those specialized classes in a school setting.
Master’s level teaching programs are not required by most states in order to teach in elementary and secondary education programs. However, they can be very beneficial for teachers to complete as they can lead to many different career paths upon completion. Teaching salaries are often determined based upon the education and experience of the teacher, so current teachers who return to complete a graduate level teaching program will increase their earning ability. Master’s level programs are also beneficial for those wishing to do the following:
- Transition from elementary to secondary education
- Transition from teaching to school administration roles
- Teach in community colleges, technical, or vocational schools
- Work as a Guidance Counselor in schools