Online General Education Degree Programs Resource
A bachelor’s of education degree from any accredited university gives a graduate the ability to apply for a teaching certificate in the state in which the university has entitled them. Each candidate will need to have a love of working with children, a passion for teaching, and the basic skills to complete coursework and take state testing for certification, which is usually a series of tests.
How to Become an Educator
A student will need to choose a major, for example, elementary education. To be accepted into most education programs, the student will need to demonstrate an acceptable GPA in general education classes and pass a state test that measures basic skills. Admission to the program usually takes place in the junior, or third, year of college, giving the student time to complete all the required general education courses. Once accepted into the program, the teacher candidate will then take coursework centered on how to teach in specific content areas. These courses are usually called methods classes. Elementary education candidates will have to choose an area of concentration, which requires approximately 18 hours in a content area like English coursework, while secondary education majors will choose a content area and complete the necessary amount of credit hours, which is usually 32 hours. A predetermined number of observation and student teaching hours is assigned by the university, and upon completion of all degree requirements and student teaching, the candidate will be entitled in the appropriate state, making them eligible for application for a teaching certificate.
General Education Degrees and Certification
Once a graduate has earned the degree, he will be eligible for a teaching certificate in the area chosen. For example, a B.S. Ed, Bachelor of Science in Education, Elementary Education, will enable the teacher to teach grades K-6 in most states. Further endorsements, such as middle school endorsements, are eligible based on course work. These endorsements dictate what a teacher is eligible to teach. Additionally, the state test scores will certify that a teacher is NCLB qualified to teach subject areas. Along with traditional teaching jobs, the graduate can expect to find careers in other educational roles, such as in the non-profit sector.
An associate degree in general education is a good first step towards a career in education. In most cases, those who earn an associate degree in general teaching must also earn a bachelor’s degree to land a teaching job. However, there are several education jobs available to those who possess an associate’s degree, such as classroom assistant, teaching aide, substitute teacher, school library technician, or childcare specialist. In order to have a career as a classroom teacher, one must go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education or teaching. The bachelor’s degree can be either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) depending on the institution. Earning the bachelor’s degree will require, on average, 60 more hours (about two more years for the average full-time student) of commitment. Those who already have a B.A. or B.S. in another subject area may work in education by earning a one year Master of Arts in Teaching.
Those who graduate with a master’s degree in education are eligible for jobs and careers in the educational industry, whether at a public school, private school, or other educational position. Upon graduation, the graduate with initial certification can seek a job in their particular concentration area. For example, an elementary education major can pursue elementary school jobs and a secondary education major can apply for high school jobs. Administration degrees enable the graduate to work as a principal or other administrator, and teacher leadership degrees help the graduate earn higher pay.
Profiles of General Education Programs
Missouri State University
Missouri State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Education degree program that can lead to certification in grades 9-12 or K-12. This comprehensive degree program includes a major area of study in a specific subject area as well as professional training in classroom and teaching methods and practice. As part of the degree plan, students complete a professional portfolio that is guided by teaching faculty. Specialist certification in various subject areas can be included in the individualized curriculum according to individual student interests and career goals. Diversity training and educational field experiences are highlighted throughout the program. Graduates of the program receive an initial professional certificate and are prepared to pass the two Missouri state teacher certification exams, the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGea) and the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments (MEGA). Career placement assistance is also available to graduates through the university.
California State University – Long Beach
The College of Education at California State University – Long Beach offers a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Integrated Teacher Preparation Program to prepare generalist educators. Academic and professional preparation are emphasized in the program, which also carries a strong fieldwork and student teaching component. Two professional placements, at least one of which occurs in a public school setting, are arranged for student teaching: one placement in a K-2 classroom and a second placement in either Grades 3-6 or Grades 6-8. The general education curriculum includes core class sequences in Language Arts, Mathematics, Natural Science, History-Social Science, Arts and Humanities, and Critical Issues in Teaching and Learning. Students may also follow the UTEACH Urban Teaching Academy track, which offers specialized, guided clinical classroom learning in an urban setting. Graduates of the program receive the Bachelor of Arts degree as well as a California Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University awards the Bachelor’s in Education through its College of Education. The degree can be earned online or on campus and prepares students to sit for the teaching licensure exams. Four specializations are available in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, or special education, allowing degree personalization according to student career plans. Depending on the program of specialization, the curriculum includes between 100 and 200 hours in field experiences leading up to a guided 16-week student teaching experience. Dedicated academic counselors and faculty advisors help ensure that students register for the right classes to graduate on their schedule and provide a comprehensive support network during studies and after graduation. Most classes award 4 semester credits on successful completion and many follow an 8-week course format, which may allow degree completion in less time. Students also benefit from small average class sizes and course content aligned with current state and national teaching standards.
General Education Degree Requirements and Coursework
A general education degree can prepare pre-service teachers to instruct across multiple grade levels, making it a flexible degree to use as a foundation in seeking positions in areas where highly qualified teachers are in demand. With a general education degree, students can qualify for teaching certification in several subject areas, which can increase career opportunities. A general education degree may also be a good fit for students who are undecided on which grade levels they would like to teach.
General Education Degrees and Programs
- B.S. in Education / Elementary Education
- A.A. in Education
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What grade levels does a general education degree prepare me to teach?
Answer: A general education degree can prepare students to teach grades K-12, and depending on the program may offer specializations in specific grade levels, such as K-3 or 6-12. Because certification requirements may vary by state, it’s a good idea to check the requirements of the Board of Education in the state where you wish to teach.
Question: Can I complete the required field experiences for teaching certification with an online degree program?
Answer: Yes, most online general education degree programs offer field placement advising and assistance to find field experiences for teaching certification in your area.
Question: Do I have to pass the Praxis I exam before applying to a general education degree program?
Answer: For undergraduate programs, most schools only require that students pass the Praxis I prior to beginning field placements or certain other teacher education courses. The advising office of the school you are considering attending can provide further information on admission requirements.
Question: How do I know if a general education degree program is accredited?
Answer: The State Board of Education for each state typically maintains a list of approved degree programs for state certification. You can also view programs that hold national accreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).