Frequently Asked Questions (Top)
1) What Types Education Degrees Exist and What are They Called?
Getting an education degree is an important part of becoming a teacher. In addition to a higher education, teachers often also major in the subject they want to teach. Because there are many different types of teachers and other academic professionals, there are also different types of education degrees and we have listed just a few below.
- Associate’s in Early Childhood Education (A. in E.C.E.)
This two year degree prepares students for roles in preschool and other forms of early education.
- Associate of Arts in Elementary Education (A.A. in El. Ed.)
Students learn the issues that impact student learning such as education, diversity, and learning.
- Bachelor of Science in Childhood Development (B.S. in Ch.Dev.)
Learn how children learn in this education degree. Available in several specialties such as psychology, child and adolescent studies, and infant-toddler.
- Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S. in Ed.)
This degree is one of the standard four year degrees teachers may have before entering graduate school and is also offered in several specialties.
- Master of Arts in Education (M.A. in Ed.)
Learn how to teach, along with some of the arts, in this degree. Concentrations such as mathematics, science, computers, and language are all offered.
- Master of Science in Teaching (M.S. in Teach.)
This graduate degree not only shows students how to teach students, it also shows how to teach teachers.
- Master of Science in Postsecondary and Adult Education (M.S. in Post. and Adult Ed.)
Students learn how to become teachers to college level and adult students.
- Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Become a professor at the university level with this degree. Concentrations include educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, and educational technology.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D. in Ed.)
Similar to the degree above, it is a graduate level degree in education. Although each school varies, the main difference is that the Ph.D. has more of a theoretical research, while the Ed.D. leans more towards applying research.
- Education Specialist (Ed.S.)
This specialization is intended for educators and administrators who have completed a master’s degree and want to gain additional knowledge and increase their career options.
The above degrees are not just for teachers alone. Anyone from administrators, enrollment professionals, academic leaders, and even teachers at the preschool or private level can also be required to have a degree from a college, university, or vocational school.
2) Where Can I Find Education Degree Rankings?
The first step to choosing an education degree is to make sure that the school offering it is accredited. It only takes a quick trip to the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs maintained by the U.S. Department of Education. Simply type in the name of your future school to see if it is accredited and which agency it is accredited by.
To get the accreditation status for other schools offering educational degrees, there is the map offered by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Click on your state to get accredited education programs that cover all aspects of developing educators for work in P-12 school settings, including off-campus, distance learning, and alternate route programs. They also offer lists on nationally accredited programs as well as candidates.
Another recognized accrediting agency for education degrees is the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Member schools from Abilene to Xavier are listed and you can sort the list by alphabet, state, and Carnegie type. They even offer short reports for some of the accredited schools that can be read with a click.
While many private rankings, such as the ones found on USA Today, are helpful, they are made using the standards the editors set. It is up to the student to decide which factors are important to him or her, such as tuition, location, amount of financial aid available, and whether or not they would like a teaching license in addition to an education degree. The best course of action is to narrow the choices down to a few schools, apply to all, see which accept you, and then choose.
3) Can I Transfer Education Degree Credits?
Students studying for all sorts of degrees, including education, are changing institutions in growing numbers. As a result, they often find themselves having to repeat coursework due to a lack of coordination between their previous and current institutions of study. Whether academic credits earned by students at nationally accredited institutions will be accepted when transferring them to regionally accredited public and private nonprofit colleges is an issue of concern for students and differs on a school by school basis.
Although both nationally and regionally accredited schools are listed on the U.S. Department of Education’s database, they can be accredited by completely different agencies which means that credits may not transfer to or from the other, or that only some will. That is why it is important to learn the answers to the question(s) of transfer credit as early as possible so that students know what courses to take at their present school and what courses to save for the school they plan on graduating from.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if schools are accredited by the same agency, such as the NCATE or TEAC, transfer credits are more likely to be allowed. Among some of the more common transfer credits allowed are for freshmen and sophomore classes, including English, math, government, history, and science. Even schools that allow transfer credits may impose restrictions such as how many courses the student can transfer and passing with a 2.0 grade or better.
One of the easiest ways to get past the hassles of transfer credits is to already have a degree from an accredited institution. This can drastically cut down on time spent studying. For example, someone with an associate’s degree can begin studying for a bachelor’s degree at the junior level and bypass the first two years of school. Likewise, someone with a bachelor’s degree can begin studies for a master’s of education at the graduate level and complete the degree in anywhere from 18 months to three years, depending on the school.
4) What Sorts of Careers are Common With an Education Degree?
Although teaching is the first career to come to mind, there are also many other choices available to those with an education degree.
- Early Childhood Educator
Work in a preschool, day care, or similar setting in this career.
- Elementary School Teacher
Grades one through eight are taught as part of this career.
- High School Teacher
The educational requirements to teach students at the high school level can be more stringent than those of the above, especially if teaching an advanced subject.
- Special Education Teacher
Work with special needs children of all types in this career.
- Guidance Counselor
Help students prepare for graduation from a high school, college, or even university.
- Teacher’s Aid
This position is usually taken by those looking to get a teaching license or as part of becoming a teacher at the university level.
- College Professor
Becoming a professor at the university level usually requires a Ph.D. in that area and years of experience teaching.
- Assistant Principal
Assistant principals work under the principle to ensure educational and safety standards are met, along with other tasks.
Take charge of an elementary, middle, or high school in this career.
- Academic Dean
Head up an entire branch of learning in a university such as arts, science, business, and more.
If looking to teach a particular subject, such as math, teachers are usually required to have a degree, minor, or concentration in it. The older the students, the higher up the degree generally has to be. For example, a preschool teacher may need an associate’s degree, while a high school teacher may need a master’s degree, and a college teacher is most likely to need a doctorate.
5) How do I Become a Teacher?
The traditional route to becoming a teacher involves attending and graduating from an institution of higher learning with at least a bachelor’s degree. This degree doesn’t necessarily need to be in education but must also be accredited and approved by the state issuing the teaching license. Public teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are required to have a license. Usually granted by the individual state board of education, they can also mandate passing of a teaching program that can involve candidates following and supporting actual teachers. For a list of the teaching requirements by state, visit here to get a guide for education and licensing requirements for each of the 50 states.
However, not all teachers need to be licensed. Those working with younger children from infants to preschoolers are not required to have a license but will generally asked to have some form of educational or other degree or college credits. Those who teach in private schools are also not required to have a license, although many private schools ask for a bachelor’s degree or higher. Specialty schools such as religious, vocational, or other can also ask that teachers be particularly knowledgeable about the subjects they focus on.
No certification is required to become a teacher, but there are many that can help a teaching candidate stand out. For example, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards offers 25 different certificates for teachers that are applicable to over 95 percent of teachers in the United States. Subjects range on everything from art to world languages.
If looking to work in the non-teaching side of academics, there are also many positions. Schools, colleges, and universities often hire enrollment professionals, financial aid officers, guidance counselors, and many other types of administrators. Becoming one involves a bachelor’s degree or higher in education or an applicable field. Things like experience, knowing a second language, and technical knowledge can all be helpful in an academic setting.
6) What is the Salary of Someone With an Education Degree?
As with any degree, the average annual salary of someone with an education degree depends on what type of the career they go into. Beginning with teachers, many education graduates go on to teach at the kindergarten through high school level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, median yearly wages of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $47,100 to $51,180 in May of 2008. Teachers can also enjoy other perks such as shorter work days, summers off, pensions, and more.
An education degree and a career in administration also has an impact on pay. Positions such as registrar, director of student financial aid, and dean of students had average annual salaries of $71,764, $74,261, and $88,280. Both principals and vice principals of schools from elementary to high school had salaries of $85,907 to $97,486 and $71,192 to $79,391, respectively. The best paying career for those with an education degree according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statists is academic dean. With universities needing one for just about every area of academia, the lowest paying dean was the one in occupational studies/vocational education with an average annual salary of $92,622. The best paid dean headed up the business branch of the college, with a yearly salary of $158,000.
7) Where Can I Find Education Degree Scholarships and Grants?
Use the below as a starting guide to finding scholarships and grants to help pay for a degree in education.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be filled out by everyone from college freshmen to those completing their last year of doctorate study. This one form can tell you what and how much scholarship and grant money is available to you.
The Institute of International Education manages undergraduate and graduate level scholarships at accredited academic institutions throughout the world. Current choices include global education, science and technology, mutual understanding, and corporate scholarships.
- NEA Grants and Awards
Provided by the National Education Association, they offer opportunities to educators, students, schools, and communities. Click on grants such as foundation and rural to learn more.
- NASSP/Herff Jones Principal’s Leadership Award
The National Association of Secondary School Principals co-sponsor this scholarship awarding affords by high school principals to recognize a student leader by nominating him or her for this national scholarship.
- CDA Resources
The Child Care and Development Block Grant and T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Program is provided to help students obtain a credential through the Council for Professional Recognition.
- USA Funds
Get links to loads of scholarships across the nation provided by USA Funds. They also have podcasts and many other tools for planning for college.
Studying abroad can have loads of appeal for any student, including education majors. The International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search can help you locate financial aid, college scholarship, and grant information for U.S. and international students wishing to study abroad.
- AFT Scholarship
If you are the child or dependent of a member of the American Federation of Teachers, you are eligible for this scholarship for four years of study or continuing education.
- Educational Advancement Foundation
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Society provides academic scholarships, fellowships, and community assistance awards. Students are awarded scholarships from $750 to $2,500 for both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Teach for America
This national organization trains teachers to commit to teach for two years in one of 39 urban and rural regions across the country. Over 20,000 educators and education students have participated in the program which provides salary, health insurance, money to repay student loans, and many other benefits.
Although there are many legitimate forms of scholarships and grants for education degrees, there are also a number of fraudulent ones. The best way to tell the difference is that a legitimate scholarship or grant does not require an application fee and isn’t guaranteed. Whereas scholarships are competitive with many students applying via essay or other mode and few being awarded, grants are given out by the government to everyone who meets the requirement.
Because experience is an important part of becoming an educator, learning as much as possible about teacher’s aides, tutoring, fellowships, and teaching abroad positions can help not only pay for an education degree but get valuable experience as well.