What Can You Do With an Education or Teaching Degree?

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If you have a passion for working with children and want to make a difference in this world, then pursuing the various education careers available can help you reach those goals.

Education Careers

Educators have an essential job within our society, and they work tirelessly to instruct and educate the next generation of children in order to prepare them for life in the adult world.

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You may be wondering, “what can I do with a degree in education?” Luckily, even if teaching is not your passion, but education is, there is a wide range of career opportunities available for those with an education degree.

What Can You Do With an Education Degree?

You may wonder, what can you do with an education or teaching degree? When most people think of a degree in education, they think of teaching positions in either a public or private institution.

You can choose to take your education degree and become a kindergarten or elementary teacher, middle school teacher, or high school teacher. If you prefer working with higher education and adults, you can choose to become a postsecondary teacher at a college or university.

 

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If you prefer to work behind the scenes instead of in a classroom, you could be interested in becoming a school administrator or a curriculum director. An education degree is not just for teaching, you can choose to work in a variety of positions that best suit your skills and passion for educating.

5 Things You Can Do with a Degree in Education and Teaching

Earning a degree in education and teaching may allow you to take on many different careers in education.

The occupations in education are diverse and varied, meaning there may be something that appeals to you as an occupation and help to answer the question of what can you do with a degree in education.

This list of jobs for education majors features data obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and offers you a glimpse into the various positions you could apply for with a degree in education along with the projected career growth for the next decade.

1. High School Teacher

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree
Projected Job Growth: 5%

High school teachers usually teach one or two subject areas at the secondary level. They may teach a particular grade level or have different classes throughout their day.

They develop lesson plans, organize their classroom, and evaluate their students. Secondary school teachers may work in public schools or private schools.

2. Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree
Projected Job Growth: 5% 

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work with primary education students and are early educators of the youth. 

Primary school teachers typically work with one class throughout the day, teaching students multiple basic subjects to prepare them for further school.

They create lessons to teach kids basic reading, writing, and math skills and help students learn important concepts such as socialization with peers, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

3. Middle School Teacher

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree
Projected Job Growth: 4% 

Middle school teachers teach students in the intermediate years between elementary school and high school. They construct on the foundations of elementary school teachers.

Much like other teachers, middle school teachers create lesson plans and implement them in the classroom to teach their students diverse subjects.

Some middle school teachers may teach one subject while others teach multiple subjects to one class.

4. School Principal

Education Requirement: Master’s degree
Projected Job Growth: 5%

School principals are responsible for the day-to-day administration of elementary, middle, and high schools. 

These educators do not work in the classroom, and instead, manage faculty and staff, make curriculums and set standards, and enforce discipline in the schools. 

Principals also address the communities in which they work to ensure that parents are well-informed of the goings-on at school.

5. School Counselors

Education Requirement: Master’s degree
Projected Job Growth: 10% 

School counselors are integral parts of the school environment as they help students plan their educational career and their plans after graduation. 

School counselors help students choose classes, explore options after graduation, and navigate school life.

Depending on the type of school that they work in, the daily work a school counselor engages in may change.

Online Degrees in Education

There are many different forms that your schooling career may take. Universities may offer different online degrees in education.

Here is a list of four common online degrees in education for you to consider:

  • Associate’s Degree in Education: This degree usually takes two years to complete and covers the basic principles of education.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Education: This education degree usually takes four years. Students usually focus on either primary or secondary education or a particular subject.
  • Master’s Degree in Education: This degree takes around two years for students interested in taking their degree to the next level. A master’s degree is typically required for positions that focus on curriculum or administration.
  • Doctoral Degree in Education: This degree may take anywhere from 4 to 8 years to complete. Students engage in expanding their communication and leadership skills along with learning about educational ethics.

Different universities may offer different degrees depending on the individual strengths of their programs. It is important to ensure you apply to universities with the degree you want to earn.

Education and Teaching Careers & Salaries

There are many ways to utilize a degree in education, from direct instruction of students to helping schools develop curricula and policies that support the educational process.

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We have put together a list of the top 40 education or teaching careers & salaries according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This list also gives an idea of the options available after graduating with your degree.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Public Health Professors $102,720
Education Administrators $98,420
University Administrators $96,910
Horticulture Instructors $95,910
Business Administration Professors $94,360
Microbiology Professors $81,440
Postsecondary Teachers $79,640
Speech-Language Pathologists $79,060
History Teachers, Postsecondary $78,130
Information Technology Professors $77,910
Public Speaking Professors $77,560
Art, Drama, and Music Teachers, Postsecondary $75,940
Children’s Literature Professors $75,930
Physical Education Professors $72,440
Writers $69,510
Secondary Education Professors $63,910
Curriculum Directors $63,740
School Counselors, Elementary and secondary $63,460
Editors $63,350
Special Education Teachers, Preschool $62,420
High School Teachers $61,820
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School $61,640
Elementary School Teachers $61,400
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $61,350
Middle School Teachers $61,320
Librarians $61,190
Career and Technical Education Teachers $61,160
Kindergarten Teachers, Except For Special education $60,900
Education Counselors $60,510
Electronics Technology Instructors $59,840
Adult Basic Studies Teachers $59,720
Preschool Directors $47,310
Teacher Assistants $45,760
Self-Enrichment Teachers $43,580
Administrative Assistants $37,880
Tutors $36,470
Library Technicians and Assistants $34,050
Preschool Teachers $30,210
Substitute Teachers $30,100
Childcare Workers $27,490

When wondering what jobs can you get with an education degree, it’s helpful to know that qualified educators are a sought-after resource due to the essential role they play in society. The BLS provides valuable data on the overall education and teaching career outlook.

The BLS estimates that the growth rate for careers in education, training, and library fields will expand by 7% over the next 10 years.

More specifically, high school teachers are projected to see a 5% growth while kindergarten and elementary school teachers will see a 4% growth rate during this same time frame.

If you’re more interested in non-instructional education careers, instructional coordinators are expected to see a 7% growth rate over the next decade.

Much like with economics careers or careers in engineering, the salaries for careers with an education degree vary based on experience. While the numbers above show the median annual salary for a range of teaching and educational career ideas, you may make more or less based on your specific role within your institution.

10 Alternative Careers to Teaching

If teaching does not suit you, then you should not worry. There are many other alternative education major jobs that you could obtain with an education degree. 

You should feel free and explore the possibilities that exist for you to embark on a career you enjoy and that fits well with the degree you earn. 

  1. Career Counselor: Career counselors advise their clients as to how to best make their career decisions 
  2. Librarian: Librarians manage libraries and the materials they collect. They organize materials to make them easier to find and help clients with their needs.
  3. Editor: An editor reviews writing and ensures it follows style conventions and is grammatically correct. They make work freelance or as part of an organization. 
  4. Writer: Writers engage in the practice of writing for their clients, ensuring their vision is met and their writing needs are fulfilled.
  5. Curriculum Designer: A curriculum designer adapts curriculums and lesson plans to meet modern standards and practices 
  6. Lifestyle Coach: Lifestyle coaches ensure their clients are meeting their lifestyle goals by recommending changes to their lives and making sure they stay on track.
  7. Educational Consultant: This is a career for people who want to make school districts better by advising them on better educational practices. 
  8. School Psychologist: A school psychologist works with students to help them address the mental health issues and stresses that they face in their school life. 
  9. Corporate Trainer: These trainers teach employees of corporations new skills and give motivational talks and sermons to them to make them more efficient.
  10. Child Care Director: Childcare directors work in childcare facilities directing their programs and supervising their functions. 

There is no set path for someone who earns an education degree but does not want to teach. 

Depending on where you live and the circumstances at the time, the type and availability of jobs may change.

How to Know if a Career in Education is Right for Me

Though there is no correct answer to this question, there are a couple of signs that may show you have an aptitude for a career in education.

  • You care about society’s future: If you worry a lot about what our country will look like in the future, then education may be a good option as a career.
  • You like kids: Excluding the important field of adult education, most educators work with youth. If you like kids, then education may be for you.
  • You are a leader: If you are a natural at leadership, and can get others to follow your lead, then managing a classroom full of students may suit you.
  • You are patient: Teaching is a discipline that requires patience. Dealing with students and the issues that may arise in the classroom requires you to work through them.

Ultimately, only you can tell if a career in education is right for you. Review your career goals and explore more.

Education Licensure and Certifications

Teaching in primary or secondary schools will almost always require you to be licensed to teach by the state in which you teach. 

One common test you may have to pass in order to teach is the PRAXIS in order for you to teach. 

You may also have to graduate from a state-approved teaching program at an accredited university.

Licensing does not last forever, and if you are licensed, you will have to renew it from time to time, usually around three to five years after you obtain it.

Professional organizations may offer opportunities for additional certifications to help you in your career.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Though college tuition is expensive, it does not have to break the bank. There are many sources of financial aid that you can apply for to help pay for your education.

One of the most common forms of aid is federal financial aid. This aid comes in the form of loans and grants from the federal government. 

To see your eligibility for this aid, visit the Federal Student Aid website to make an account and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

In addition, other organizations may offer scholarships that you may be eligible to apply and receive for. 

Employers may also offer assistance to their employees, helping them pay for their education.

What Is an Education Degree?

High School Teacher discussing with the class

An education degree is a degree program with a primary focus on education and prepares students to teach a variety of subjects and skills.

When studying education, you may take courses like:

  • Child Development
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Early Language and Literacy
  • Effective Teaching Skills
  • Classroom Management

There are also many educational degree options that can get you started in administrative and management positions within a school district.

To help busy adult students take on the challenges of earning a degree, several colleges also offer online education degree programs with flexible scheduling to help you balance work and home obligations.

Is Teaching a Good Career?

Yes, teaching is a good career for many professionals.

Teaching may allow you to devote yourself to a subject area you enjoy and develop lesson plans to impart that knowledge to others while making a good living. According to the BLS, middle school teachers earn a median annual salary of $61,400 while high school teachers can expect to earn around $61,820.

You may choose to work with a wide variety of different age groups and types of learners based on your preferences and skills.

What Skills Do You Learn in Education?

One of the good things about education is that you may learn many skills which come useful in many different settings.

Observation is one of the most important skills you may learn as managing a classroom requires you to pay close attention to your students and what they do and say.

Communication is also extremely important as an educator, as you will likely need to communicate clearly and efficiently to people who have very different viewpoints from you. 

How Much Do Education Majors Make?

Jobs for education majors may come with average salaries, though this depends on many variables, such as location, experience, and internal matters.

According to the BLS, high school teachers have a median average salary of $61,820 per year. On the other hand, kindergarten and elementary school teachers make $61,350 per year.

Middle school teachers make $61,320 per year. Meanwhile, school principals make a little more per year at $98,420.

What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Education?

Some jobs in education may pay well. However, the actual salary a particular job may offer depends on a wide variety of factors like geography and experience.

The data for median annual salaries below is from the BLS.

  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals: $98,420
  • School Psychologists: $78,780
  • Instructional Coordinators: $63,740
  • High School Teachers: $61,820
  • School Counselors: $60,510

It is important to emphasize the numbers above are national statistics. The actual salary you may be offered for one of the above jobs may differ depending on a variety of factors.

What Do Teachers Do?

Teaching is a very straightforward profession in its definition. A teacher is someone who has students and instructs them on one or a variety of topics.

The actual act of teaching involves many tasks that work together to build students’ knowledge:

  • Developing Lesson Plans: Creating a plan for each lesson to ensure that class is structured and that students are learning the correct material is essential to teaching.
  • Evaluating Students: Teachers evaluate students through a wide variety of instruments such as homework, quizzes, and exams to see where they are at with their education.
  • Communicating to Parents: Teachers build relationships with their parents and inform them of how their children are doing in school. 

There are also other responsibilities teachers engage in such as managing the classroom and disciplining students. 

Is a Degree in Education Worth It?

Yes, a degree in education is worth it for many professionals.

If you want to teach, then an education degree can help you prepare and learn the skills and earn the qualifications to teach at a variety of different levels. According to the BLS, elementary school teachers can expect to earn an annual median wage of $61,350.

If teaching is not your calling, then there are many other paths you could take with your degree in education. For example, curriculum directors can earn an annual median wage of $63,740.

These jobs may not require you to step in front of the classroom but are education-adjacent. 

Getting Your Education Degree Online
Preschool teacher guiding a student

Earning a degree in education online may be the right next step for your career based on your career goals. Earning this degree may open a whole world of job opportunities.

For those that want to teach, earning an education degree is almost natural as it may provide them with the means to become a teacher.

There are many careers apart from teaching that an education degree may also help you attain if you do not want to teach but still want to gain the skills an education degree may come with.

If education sounds like it may be a fulfilling career path for you, you can start researching what earning an education degree entails and what sort of opportunities it may help you attain.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.