10 Jobs You Can Get With a Degree in Education
What can you do with an education degree? A degree in education can open up many career paths for those who wish to work in educational facilities. These career paths include positions as teachers and administrators, with young children and young adults, and in public or private education environments. Education professionals may also choose to specialize in a particular area or collection of areas. Given the many career options available to those holding a degree in education, there is likely a position available that fits your individual goals, needs, and aspirations. This page provides descriptions and salary information for 10 jobs that you can pursue with a degree in education.
Many people believe that the focus of kindergarten is less on academic education than it is on social and physical education, in an environment that serves as a transitional bridge to the structured school days of primary school.1 However, basic academic learning is important; kindergarten teachers help students begin to understand topics such as natural science, hygiene, music, and art. To do this successfully, kindergarten teachers usually must have at least an undergraduate degree in education, and in most states must be certified to teach kindergarten and elementary learners. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that kindergarten teachers, excluding special education kindergarten teachers, make a median annual salary of $48,800 and will see job growth of 18% between 2010 and 2020.
Elementary School Teacher
Elementary school teachers teach students in various subjects while tracking individual performance in academics as well as the personal behavior of young learners, usually between kindergarten and Grade 6. Elementary school teachers may specialize in certain populations of children, such as bilingual children or children on a special education track.2 Depending on the specialty, elementary school teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree and may be required to hold a master’s degree. Elementary school teachers, excluding special education elementary school teachers, make an average annual salary of $51,660. Job growth for this profession is projected to reach 18% between 2010 and 2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating that there will be openings for qualified future elementary school teachers.
Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers work with students who have disabilities that can impact their school learning experience, such as learning, mental, or physical disability. Special education teachers can be found working at all grade levels, from kindergarten to high school, using teaching strategies specially designed to help disadvantaged student populations learn in an equitable environment. Special education teachers usually have a bachelor’s degree in special education, at a minimum; many special education teachers hold master’s degrees, as well as the state level teacher certification required for all teachers in public schools. Multiple field experiences are strongly recommended for aspiring special education teachers to prepare for the challenges of teaching multiple grades to children who may have different needs.3 The job outlook for special education teachers is positive, at 17% across all grade levels according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, at an average annual salary of $53,220.
Math teachers can be found at all grade levels since many teachers of mathematics are considered specialists.1 Math teachers help students learn concrete and abstract mathematical concepts from addition to algebra and calculus, depending on the curriculum and grade level taught. Math teachers may also oversee extracurricular math clubs and student participation in mathematics competitions.4 The salary of a math teacher may vary according to the grade levels and mathematical concepts taught. Although the US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not analyze career projections for math teachers as a separate subject area, from 2010 to 2020 for all teachers job growth at the elementary level is expected to reach 17%, job growth at the middle school level is expected to reach 17%, and job growth at the high school level is expected to reach 7%.
Science teachers may teach a variety of scientific subjects, such as environmental science, physical science, geological science, or astronomical science, or specialize in one of these or other scientific subjects. The goal of the science teacher in any subject is to teach science through inquiry, using effective models that help students develop scientific practice and understanding.5 Most teachers who specialize in science are found at the middle school and high school levels, and have at least a bachelor’s degree in the content area taught. Science teachers at the post-secondary level usually have a doctoral degree. Teaching certification is also required to become a science teacher in public school systems, and in some cases science teachers go on to earn a master’s degree following receipt of a teaching license. At the middle school level, teachers earn an average annual salary of $51,960 and can expect job growth of 17% from 2010 to 2020. At the high school level, teachers can expect a job growth rate of 7% from 2010 to 2020 and a median annual salary of $53,230.
Curriculum and Instruction Specialist
Curriculum and instruction specialists, also known as instructional coordinators, develop curriculums for students in a given specialty or subject area at the district level, ensuring that all of the schools in a district provide comprehensive instruction in that area. Curriculum and instruction specialists will also provide assistance to teachers and administrators in helping students reach standards of achievement and keeping up with program changes. In some cases, curriculum and instruction specialists will also help train and evaluate teachers.6 Curriculum and instruction specialists are usually certified as school administrators with an endorsement or certification in curriculum design or a similar field.6 The average salary for instructional coordinators was $58,830 per year as of 2010, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics professionals in this field can expect annual job growth of 20% between 2010 and 2020.
Teacher assistants are taking on larger roles and responsibilities in the educational system.7 A teacher assistant provides instruction to students under the supervision of a teacher, and may or may not be on the path to becoming a fully licensed teacher themselves.7 One of the primary duties of teacher assistants is to provide additional learning assistance and attention to students. Educational requirements vary, but in some school districts the minimum educational qualification for a teacher assistant position is a high school diploma or associate’s degree. Teacher assistants make a median annual salary of $23,220, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth in this field at 15% between 2010 and 2020.
Substitute teachers are teachers who are on call to fill in for classes when the regular teacher of a class is not available. Substitute teachers may be subject generalists or may specialize in a certain subject area, such as science or reading, and can be found working at all grade levels from kindergarten through secondary school. Depending on the size of the school district(s) with which substitute teachers find employment, the work may be full- or part-time. Substitute teaching can also be an intermediate step to a full-time regular teaching position.8 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics substitute teachers make a median annual wage of $29,590.
Instructional Technology Specialist
Instructional technology specialists, also called educational technology specialists, help develop, maintain, and train teachers on the use of educational technologies. Educational technology specialists also help coordinate the different technologies available to a school or school district to provide comprehensive support to a curriculum while giving weight to ethical considerations of resource allocation.9 Instructional technology specialists may also be responsible for keeping the technology infrastructure of a school or district running smoothly.9 Some consider the role of the instructional technology specialist to overlap with roles in library science, which have evolved to encompass technological advances.9
Education administrators may work either with a specific school or for an entire school district. Perhaps the most visible education administrator is the school principal, who like other school administrators is responsible for planning and directing the educational and extracurricular activities of schools and enrolled students. Other school administrators include directors and superintendents. Education administrators can also be found in post-secondary institutions. In all cases education administrators must be leaders willing to face challenges in the allocation of resources, the ethics of equal treatment, and other educational problems, all while setting and pursuing goals for the school or school district.10 The education, experience, and salary expectations of education administrators vary by school district.11
1. Edmyer, Charles. Getting Ready for Kindergarten. E-book: Gilkie Publishing, 2013. Print.
2. Facts on File. Career Discovery Encyclopedia. 7th ed. New York: Ferguson, 2009. Print.
3. Mamlin, Nancy. Preparing Effective Special Education Teachers. New York: The Guilford Press, 2012. Print.
4. Januszewski, Al and Michael Molenda. Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008. Print.
5. Lawson, Anton E. Teaching Inquiry Science in Middle and Secondary Schools. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2010. Print.
6. Echaore-McDavid, Susan. Career Opportunities in Education and Related Services. 2nd ed. New York: Ferguson, 2006. Print.
7. Drake, Pat et al. Becoming a Teaching Assistant. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2004. Print.
8. Bernstein, Alan B. Guide to Your Career. 5th ed. New York: Princeton Review Publishing, LLC, 2003. Print.
9. Januszewski, Al and Michael Molenda. Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2008. Print.
10. Staratt, Robert J. Centering Educational Administration: Cultivating Meaning, Community, Responsibility. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2003. Print.
11. Ringel, Jeanne S. et al. Who Is Leading Our Schools? An Overview of School Administrators and Their Careers. Santa Monica: RAND, 2003. Print.
12. Duckett, Paula. One Hundred and One Careers in Mathematics. Ed. Andrew Sterrett. Washington, DC: The Mathematical Association of America, Inc., 2002. 62-63. Print.