The field of education is concerned with the instruction of knowledge and skills. There are a variety of methods that educators use to guide learners through the attainment of experience and information. This is most commonly accomplished through teaching in a school or other educational institution. The exact nature of educational professions depend on the specific subfield, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These subfields include:

  • Early childhood educators.

    Early childhood education involves the nurture and care of infants and toddlers. Teachers at this level focus on the development of independence, motor skills, and emotional management.

  • Preschool teachers.

    Preschool teachers nurture children from age 3 to 5, setting the foundation for the learning that will occur in elementary school. Preschool education focuses specifically on child development, and the preschool curriculum is often holistic, covering a wide range of subjects and milestones.

  • K-12 teachers.

    K-12 teachers design lesson plans to guide students through a variety of subjects, including math, science, history, and English. In addition to providing classroom instruction, K-12 teachers evaluate student performance through the use of exams, presentations, and reports.

  • Special education teachers.

    Special education teachers are specifically trained to work with students who have disabilities. These teachers commonly focus on adapting curriculums to meet the needs of students with emotional, physical, and/or cognitive impairments.

  • Vocational teachers.

    Career and technical education teachers train students in specific, career-oriented fields. They teach courses specifically for in-demand trades to prepare students for their future jobs.

  • Post-secondary teachers.

    Post-secondary teachers instruct high school graduates in a variety of fields. These teachers usually work in colleges and universities, planning lessons, evaluating student progress, and imparting their advanced knowledge onto others. Post-secondary teachers also perform a lot of research to stay current within their particular specialization.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in Education?

Researching online options for education degrees is an excellent first step for aspiring teachers. At a minimum, prospective teachers are expected to hold bachelor’s degrees. Online programs in teaching can help students acquire those degrees. Those who earn master’s and doctorate degrees from online colleges commonly earn more than those who hold bachelor’s degrees, according to the BLS. Specific requirements for licensure vary based on state, but they often involve the fulfillment of observation hours and student teaching. Observation hours are the time a student spends watching a teacher instruct in a classroom environment. The next step is student teaching, wherein students teach lessons under the direct supervision of a veteran teacher. Online colleges act as facilitators. They help students acquire the necessary field hours by communicating with local schools to arrange a good classroom fit for the student.

Salaries for teachers vary based on school district, experience, and education level. However, preschool teachers generally make $29,200, less than the elementary teacher average, which is $54,330. Special education teachers can average up to $58,080, depending experience and the grade level to which they teach. Post-secondary instructors must have at least a master’s degree, and usually make more than K-12 instructions, with specific salaries varying based on field.

Students interested in education can also research educational psychology. Educational psychologists serve students by determining specific, beneficial methods of learning. They learn the psychology of teaching and use their knowledge to establish effective approaches to education. Educational psychologists are typically required to have at least a master’s degree, according to the BLS.

Some of the best cities for prospective K-12 teachers include New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles, as average salaries for teachers are higher there than in other U.S. cities. According to PayScale.com, New York City teachers make an average of $50,021 annually. Los Angeles teachers make around $49,325, and Houston teachers average $45,106. Post-secondary teachers average $71,979 in New York City and $70,782 in Los Angeles, according to PayScale.com. However, even with an advanced degree, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find a career in the field. Your success will depend on the job climate, your employer, and the region in which you live.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in Education?

Online colleges utilize an online portal through which students can access homework, class work, projects, and grades. Online early childhood education programs offer course work geared toward emotional, cognitive, and motor development. Course work for early childhood education at the undergraduate level involves curriculum design, effective strategies for teaching, and the instruction of core content areas, such as math and English. As the goal of the bachelor’s degree is to facilitate a well-rounded foundation, undergraduate students also complete general education requirements.

Students must earn a bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling in a master’s or Ph.D program. At the graduate level, education students delve deeper into research and take classes that explore the theories behind learning and teaching methods. Graduate programs in educational psychology involve clinical research and extensive study on psychological theories of learning. Master’s students are usually required to complete a thesis, and doctoral students must complete a dissertation prior to graduation.

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