There are many paths to becoming a great addition to the education workforce. Your path will depend on a variety of factors including your educational background, location, interests, and your motivation to make a difference in education. To become licensed as a teacher, students must learn about pedagogy, methodology, and technique to provide them with a comprehensive knowledge of teaching. Most education programs incorporate classes on the philosophy of education, psychology of learning, and technology in the classroom into their courses of study.
Finding time to fit in all of this learning can be difficult, particularly if you are working part or full-time to make ends meet. With society's increased reliance and emphasis on technology has come the emergence of online degree programs as the easiest way to advance ones education without sacrificing income and location. Whether you are a natural teacher seeking the credentials to start your career or an educator trying to make the leap into administration to enact change, Teach.com has all the resources to guide you to success.
Types of Online Degrees for Teachers
Depending on how far you want to take your career in education, there are a variety of degree options that can help you achieve your goals. For those looking to make a difference in the classroom and affect the lives of students, a Masters of Art in Teaching (MAT), Master of Science in Teaching, or a Master of Education (ME) might be the degree you're best suited towards. For those looking to address change at a higher level or make an impact in education administration, a Doctorate in Education might be the right fit. Each of these degrees can be completed online, something that might be a lifesaver if you are a full-time worker who can't put their income on hold while they attend school.
Learn a little more about each degree option below:
Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
The Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is a degree designed for both current and prospective K-12 teachers who are looking to obtain an initial license or advance their career in education. Often, it is easier for education professionals to complete the MAT degree online, in an effort to maintain an income and use their time efficently. Many Online MAT programs offer specializations within the field of education including special education and childhood education, allowing students to concentrate their studies on a passion area.
For people in the education sector that are already working full-time but wish to bolster their credentials in pursuit of career advancement, specifically towards a career in high-level administration or policy, an online EdD might be the perfect option. An online EdD delivers top quality coursework and content through a blend of online interactions and real-world experiences aimed at creating well-versed and informed social innovators in the education sphere.
An Online Master of Science in Teaching is a degree program specifically designed for students seeking their initial teaching certification. Online MST programs are perfect for someone who does not have a background in education but is looking to make a career change or begin their career within the education field.
An Online Master of Education (ME) is a graduate degree that is generally geared towards current and aspiring teachers and school professionals who are look to advance their careers within the field of education. Online ME programs (also referred to as MEd, EdS, MSEd, and EdM) are typically designed for educators who are seeking additional certifications OR individuals looking to work in the education sector outside of the classroom.
The classroom experience is the greatest differentiating factor between an online degree and an in-person one. Many people assume that that an online degree is an impersonal approach to education, featuring less interaction with peers and professors but this is not always the case. In many ways, a comprehensive online experience can feel a lot like a traditional one. With some basic access to technology and the know-how to use it, anyone can become a successful online student. Some examples elements of an online education experience are virtual live classes using a webcam, a learning management system for discussions and assignment access, interactive course content designed by university faculty, and access to tech support to assist you.
Some key components to look out for in determining an online degree program that works for you are:
Synchronous learning, in the world of online education, refers to classes that take place in real-time. These live classes bridge the gap between in-person and online programs and make the learning experience as interactive and engaging as possible.
Access to Tech Support
A strong technical support team is crucial, especially given the time sensitive nature of many assignments that come with participating in a degree program.
Offline and Mobile Access
Mobile access to coursework and lectures is extremely helpful and provides students with the greatest flexibility for their learning experience. This, along with offline access to course materials via a mobile app, enables students to be in the best position to succeed during their online program
Small Virtual Classrooms
While in a traditional university program you may be attending lectures in halls with dozens of peers, many innovative online programs cap the sizes of the live classes at around 15 students. This ensures that each student gains a community of peers to work with and guarantees face to face interaction with the professor of the course.
Careers in Education
Many careers fall under the overarching umbrella of the education field. Besides the most obvious, like teachers and school administrators, those with an interest in making a difference in education can become library and media specialists, school counselors, speech pathologists and many more. The job market for each of these career paths varies but, typically, careers in the education sector are fairly reliable - everybody needs an education!
Below are snapshots of possible careers in education:
Careers in Teaching
Elementary and Secondary schools hold the most jobs for potential teachers, with 378,700 and 284,000 projected job openings respectively from 2014-2024 according to the BLS. Teacher Salaries can vary widely depending on subject area, education level, and school setting, but are typically dependent on years of experience. Here are a few example median salaries for teachers in a variety of settings:
Elementary School Teacher - Median Annual Salary of $54,890
Secondary School Teacher - Median Annual Salary of $57.200
Special Education Teacher, Middle School - Median Annual Salary of $57,280
Biological Science Teacher - Median Annual Salary of $75,320
Find out how to earn your teacher certification and become a teacher in your state by selecting your state from the list below and exploring what it takes to become an educator. Each state has a wide variety of teaching statistics and information on roles, salaries, career trajectory, and state-specific requirements. Find your state and learn more about what it takes to become a teacher:
School administrators, such as principals and superintendents, typically have a fairly consistent job outlook and are prepared to exerpeience growth in the field by 8% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. To get a better grasp on what a career in school administration might look like, here are some snapshot school administrator salaries:
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principal - Median Annual Salary of $94,390
Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School - Median Annual Salary of $97,440
District Superintendent - Median Annual Salary of $155,978
Although the career outlook for librarians in general isn't quite as rosy as that of teachers, school librarians are a vital part of the education system and experience more stability with a projected growth rate of 9% until 2026 (according to the BLS). Although salary info for librarians varies greatly by employment setting and location, here is a snapshot of a few librarian salaries:
Elementary and Secondary School Librarians - Median Annual Salary of $63,170
Public (local government employed) Librarians - Median Annual Salary of $54,560
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schoool Librarians - Median Annual Salary of $66,650
The job outlook for School Counselors has recently experienced a surge, with 13% growth in job availability projected by the BLS from 2016 to 2026. The salary potential for School Counselors is largely dependent on location of the school and the counselor's years of experience in the field. With that being said, here are some example salaries of School Counseling professionals:
Elementary and Secondary School Counselors - Median Annual Salary of $66,180
Educational Support Service Counselor - Median Annual Salary of $56,930
Behavior Analysts work in schools, homes, and in clinical settings to provide support to people with autism and other similar disorders. The job outlook is generally optimistic in fields of this nature and, although salary info for behavior analysts varies greatly by employment setting and location, here is a snapshot of a few salaries related to that of behavior analysts (according to the BLS):
Behavioral Disorder Counselors - Median Annual Salary of $44,160
Psychologists- Median Annual Salary of $78,690
School and Career Counselors - Median Annual Salary of $55,410
The primary duty of social workers who work in a school setting is ensure the overall well-being of students in their school, homelife, and community. Social workers are expected to enjoy much faster than average growth in the field and, although they have one of the broadest career fields, we have compiled a snapshot of a few example social work salaries using the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Elementary and Secondary School Social Workers - Median Annual Salary of $62,690
Individual and Family Services Social Worker - Median Annual Salary of $42,300
Social Advocacy Organization Social Workers - Median Annual Salary of $41,360
Occupational Therapists help students re-gain and maintain performance of activities required in daily life. The growth outlook for the field of occupational therapy is quite good, with an expected 24% increase in openings over the next years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational therapists, and people in related fields, typically enjoy good salary prospects, with a few examples of median salaries featured below:
Occupational Therapist - Median Annual Salary of $83,200
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides - Median Annual Salary of $56,690
Physical Therapists - Median Annual Salary of $86,850