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Students working toward a bachelor's degree in education have an opportunity to learn effective techniques for working with individuals of various grade levels and life stages. Schools typically offer the degree as a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.), and specialized programs may focus on topics such as early childhood education or elementary education. Full-time students can generally complete the degree program in four years.

Online bachelor's degree in education: coursework and overview

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Education may take courses both inside and outside of the field, with a combination of education classes and courses in a subject that they wish to teach (e.g., English, math, or biology). Below are examples of education courses that students in the degree program commonly take:

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education: Students examine the history of early childhood education programs in addition to current trends and issues pertinent to educating young children. Specialized courses could cover subjects such as infant and toddler care.
  • Child Development: Courses typically cover children's growth as well as their physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development from conception to adolescence.
  • Children's Literature: Students explore and analyze various genres in children's literature. They discuss ways to integrate literature into other subject areas, such as math and social studies.
  • Contemporary Issues in Education: Students discuss current issues impacting the U.S. education system, including social, political, and policy issues.
  • Secondary Education Teaching Methods: These specialized secondary education courses focus on teaching methods for specific content areas, such as math and English. Students study effective teaching practices and curriculum specific to the subject area.

Potential career opportunities for individuals with a bachelor's degree in education

A bachelor's degree in education can provide students with skills applicable to a variety of career paths, primarily in education. With the necessary qualifications, graduates of Bachelor of Education degree programs can pursue careers such as those discussed below:

  • Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically provide instruction to children in kindergarten through fourth or fifth grade. They teach subjects such as reading and math and also assess students' abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. By taking early childhood education and child development courses, students interested in this career can acquire an understanding of how individuals develop throughout their youth and learn effective techniques for teaching young children.
  • High school teachers plan and deliver lessons for subject-based classes and help prepare students for state-required standardized tests. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov) states that individuals hoping to teach high school students typically major in a specific content area, such as chemistry or history, and often supplement that content focus with education and child psychology courses.
  • Middle school teachers usually instruct students in grades 6-8. They teach students concepts and skills for core subjects and help prepare them for high school. According to bls.gov, many states require prospective middle school teachers to major in the subject that they plan to teach, although some states require them to major in elementary education. Prospective middle school teachers who concentrate in a content area can supplement their degree with education courses. Taking curriculum development courses, especially those centered on the student's preferred subject, can help prepare students for classroom instruction.
  • Preschool teachers typically work with children between the ages of 3 and 5. They implement a curriculum and plan activities that further children's development of basic skills, such as language, motor, and social skills. While a bachelor's degree is not always required for this career, bls.gov reveals that public schools often require preschool teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related subject in addition to a license to teach early childhood education. Students working toward their bachelor's degree can explore relevant topics such as child development and techniques for instructing young children.

While a bachelor's degree in education can help prepare students for the careers outlined above, public school teachers must also have a license or certification in order to teach, according to bls.gov. Licensing and certification requirements vary by state. Some states, for example, require teachers to earn a master's degree after they have earned a teaching certification. Students interested in furthering their education after earning their bachelor's degree should speak to an admissions counselor and research state requirements for teachers.

Individuals who would like a more in-depth look at bachelor's degree in education programs and the opportunities available to those with the degree should check out the Guide to Majors in Education.



"High School Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm

"Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Education-Training-and-Library/Kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm

"Middle School Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm

"Preschool Teachers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm

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