4 Online Bachelor K-12 Education Degree Programs Available
To be eligible for teaching certification, most public school teachers are required to complete a bachelor degree in K-12 education or a comparable major. Many K-12 teachers continue on for a graduate degree or additional certifications and endorsements, but the path to an education career usually starts with bachelor-level studies.... As a bachelor degree student, you'll need to decide which area of education you want to teach — whether it's a specific subject (like English or art), or whether it's a range of grade levels (like middle school or elementary school). Teaching is often a demanding pursuit, but it has also been described as a rewarding occupation, affording the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children.
At the bachelor level, a teacher preparation curriculum might include classes in educational psychology, philosophy of education, education and school diversity, special education, instructional technology, and teaching methods. Most students also complete a semester of supervised, student teaching. If you are interested in an online Bachelor of Arts in K-12 Education, your online college may help you coordinate student teaching opportunities in your local area. So even if your online college is based in another state, you could meet your degree's in-person requirements without unreasonable travel.
Besides completing education-related courses, aspiring teachers usually study the subjects they will teach. Future early education teachers may take a class like, elementary approaches to math and science. Future high school math teachers, by contrast, would likely need to study more extensive math subfields, like algebra, statistics, calculus, and discrete math. If you want to teach social studies, English, high school science, or a foreign language, your bachelor degree would likely include a significant number of courses in history and political science; composition and literature; earth and life sciences; and language/culture courses; respectively. Since many states require future teachers to pass standardized tests related to their teaching areas, taking courses like these may help you prepare for your licensure exams.
The job outlook for future teachers may vary significantly, depending on what, where, and who you want to teach. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the teaching field will mirror the growth rate of most other occupations.* If you concentrate your studies in science, math, or bilingual education, you may be in a better position to find a job, as these are critical need subjects in many states. You might also increase your employment prospects if you are willing to take a position in an inner city school or an understaffed rural district.
More than ever, a degree in teaching may offer you exciting opportunities and challenges. As classroom education evolves, teachers are finding ways to integrate technology and interactive elements into their lessons, which makes teaching (and learning) more dynamic. While the emphasis placed on teacher accountability and measurable student progress can put added pressure on today's teachers, the school environment may also offer highly-motivated and gifted teachers an opportunity to shine.
To advance in your career or to qualify for long-term licensure, you might need to pursue an advanced degree or approved, continuing education units. Continuing education may be completed at a community college, an online college, or through workshops made available by local school districts. Because graduate degrees and continuing education courses are often designed for practicing teachers, you can usually meet these requirements while working as a full-time teacher.
* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition," available at: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos318.htm#outlook
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