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Aside from parents, teachers spend the most time with and may arguably have the biggest impact on children's lives. And for adults, interacting with young people and influencing the future of our society can be an incredibly gratifying vocation.

Overview of Education and Teaching Degrees

The type of educational career someone is interested in often dictates the level of education and focus sought. For example, careers in early childhood education may be attainable with a high school education and the appropriate certifications. However, a degree in early childhood education may make applicants more competitive for these positions. Becoming an elementary, middle, or high school teacher almost always requires a bachelor's degree as well as teaching certifications.

Careers in education can span more than just teaching. Individuals interested in school curriculua and teaching standards may seek careers as instructional coordinators. Instructional coordinator positions may require a Master's degree in addition to related experience, often previous work as a teacher. This means that a bachelor's degree in the appropriate educational level may be desirable.

Still others may be interested in becoming elementary, middle, or high school principals. Many principals have previous experience as teachers (along with the appropriate bachelor's degree). Upon discovering an interest in administration, they may then return to school for a Master's degree in education administration or leadership.

Education and Teaching Courses and Curricula

The coursework offered by any particular degrees in education vary. For example, individuals interested in early childhood education may take courses in childhood development or child psychology. Those interested in working at the middle or high school level may also take additional coursework in the subject area they plan to teach, such as history or science.

Those interested in becoming instructional coordinators, on the other hand, may take courses in:

  • Curriculum design
  • Instructional theory
  • Data analysis

Students in education administration or leadership may take:

  • Management strategy,
  • Budgeting and finance
  • Public policy

Individuals who are considering degrees in education should carefully review the curriculum of programs they are interested in prior to enrolling.

Career Outlook in Education

Careers in early childhood education are expected to grow 17 percent between 2012 and 2022 according of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is faster than the average for all occupations.

Here are a few of the growth rates broken down by specialization:

  • Kindergarten and elementary school careers are expected to grow 12 percent over the same period, or about as fast as the average for all occupations.
  • Instructional coordination jobs are expected to grow 13 percent.
  • High school teachers and elementary, middle and high school principals are both projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations.

It is important to note, however, that growth is expected to vary by region, particularly for teachers at all levels. The BLS projects faster growth in the West and South compared to the Midwest and Northeast.

For instructional coordinator and principals, employment will also depend on state and local budgets, which can vary widely.

"Preschool Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm#tab-1
"Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-1
"High School Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-1
"Instructional Coordinators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm#tab-1
"Elementary, Middle and High School Principals," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/elementary-middle-and-high-school-principals.htm#tab-1

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