Online General Education Degree Programs Resource
A bachelor’s degree in education is the first step to earning a teaching certificate. Those pursuing a degree in education will typically focus on a specific grade level or subject, such as elementary education, secondary education, or science. Prospective educators should have a love of working with children and a passion for teaching. A commitment to lifelong learning is also essential, as teachers must stay up-to-date in both teaching practice and their subject area(s).
How to Become an Educator
A bachelor’s degree in education is typically centered on a specific major, such as elementary education. To be accepted into most education programs, the student will need to demonstrate an acceptable GPA across one to two years of college-level general education classes. Admission to the teacher preparation program usually takes place in the junior, or third, year of college. Once accepted into the program, the teacher candidate will then take coursework on education, teaching methods, and teaching theory.
The number of credits devoted to each area of study will depend on the endorsement a student is seeking. Elementary education candidates will typically choose an area of concentration, which requires approximately 18 credit hours in a content area such as English, and focus the majority of their education courses on subjects like child development. Secondary education students will typically choose a content area to major in and complete 32 credit hours in that subject while taking additional courses in teaching methods and theory. Regardless of the subject, education majors should expect to complete experiential learning through classroom internships.
General Education Degrees and Certification
Once a graduate has earned a bachelor’s degree from a program approved by his or her state for the preparation of teachers, they will be eligible to take their state’s exams for a teaching certificate in the area chosen – also known as an endorsement. Endorsements dictate what a teacher is eligible to teach. In addition to traditional teaching jobs, graduates of education degree programs can launch careers in other education roles in public and private companies, government, and the non-profit sector.
For those who are not ready to pursue a four-year program, an associate’s degree in education can be a good first step towards a career in education. Although a bachelor’s degree is required to earn certification as a teacher, there are education jobs available to those who possess an associate’s degree, such as preschool teacher, classroom assistant, teacher’s assistant, substitute teacher (in some states), school library technician, or childcare specialist.
Credits earned from an associate’s degree program can in many cases later be applied towards a bachelor’s degree in education or teaching. Earning a bachelor’s degree will require, on average, 60 additional credit hours (about two more years for the average full-time student) if all previous credits are accepted.
Those who graduate with a master’s degree in education are eligible for higher-level careers and responsibilities in the education field. Teachers who have master’s degrees can typically demand more competitive salaries and are eligible to teach in community colleges as well as K-12 schools. Master’s degree holders can also pursue a track to administrative positions.
Profiles of General Education Programs
Missouri State University
Missouri State University offers a several bachelor’s degree programs that can lead to certification in grades K-12. These certification-focused degree programs include 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 are prepared to pass the Missouri state teacher certification exams. 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 several degree programs designed to prepare future educators. Academic and professional skills and knowledge 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 the 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 and social science, arts and humanities, and teaching methodologies. Students may also follow the UTEACH Urban Teaching Academy track, which offers specialized, guided clinical classroom learning in an urban setting.
Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers a Bachelor of Science in Education that prepares graduates to be effective K-12 teachers. Through the selection of appropriate electives, graduates of the program can be qualified to seek certification in such areas as exceptional student education, middle grades general science or math, or secondary biology or math. Classes are available in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings on Broward’s South, Central, and North campuses. Select courses are fully online or blended (partially online). Students will be placed in field experiences during each semester that they are enrolled. The bachelor’s degree can be completed in as little as two years or five semesters for candidates who already have an associate’s degree. Courses include Classroom Management, Assessment & Strategies In Exceptional Student Ed, Methods Of Teaching Math In Elementary School, Student Teaching In Mathematics, Integrative Teaching Methods In Middle Grades, History Of Mathematics, and Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy & Physiology.
General Education Degree Requirements and Coursework
An 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 an education degree, students can qualify for teaching certification in various 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.
Teaching and Education Programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What grade levels does a general education degree prepare me to teach?
Answer: An 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 published by 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 exam before applying to a general education degree program?
Answer: For undergraduate programs, most schools only require that students pass the Praxis Assessments prior to beginning field placements or certain 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 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 Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).