Working with students, shaping the future, delving into your academic passion -- these are all reasons why aspiring educators pursue bachelor's degrees in teaching. Whether you're interested in inspiring a future scientist or starting a young musician on an artistic path, your first step is a bachelor's degree.
Public school teachers generally must have bachelor's degrees plus a state license. Bachelor's degrees in teaching should cover the fields in which you eventually want to specialize, such as art, language, math, science or social studies. Specialized classes delve into literature written for children or young adults. Training for elementary education tends to be multi-disciplinary and more focused on childhood development.
Professional education courses may cover teaching methods, the psychology of learning, classroom management, use of technology in education and educational statistics. In short, teacher training gives you the material you'll work with and the methods you'll use to do the work.
Salary and growth outlook for teachers
Salaries for teachers vary based on experience, school district and education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these median annual wages from 2010, excluding special education and vocational training:
- Kindergarten teachers: $48,800
- Elementary school teachers: $51,660
- Middle school teachers: $51,960
- Secondary school teachers: $53,230
The BLS projects the following employment opportunities and growth rates between 2010 and 2020:
- Kindergarten teachers: 32,700 jobs; 18.2 percent
- Elementary school teachers: 248,800 jobs; 16.8 percent
- Middle school teachers: 108,300 jobs; 16.9 percent
- Secondary school teachers: 71,900 jobs; 6.9 percent
The BLS notes that the teaching profession in general should see a growth rate just below the U.S. average for all occupations.
Going beyond bachelor's degrees in teaching
Some private schools and school systems require teachers to hold a master's degree. The Department of Labor's O*NET website reports that 13 percent of secondary school teachers have a master's degree. To become a college professor, you typically must complete a Ph.D. program, writing a book-length thesis on the topic of your choice. Teachers may also go on to administrative roles with a master's degree in education administration.
Commit to your future with a bachelor's degree in teaching and prepare yourself to educate others. If you already have a full-time job, you can even go to school online to earn your degree, giving you a chance to finance your education as you further it.