Teaching can be a fun, rewarding, and positive career choice for many. Even if you’ve never thought about a teaching career before, it’s not too late! Read on to find out if a career in teaching is right for you and the steps you can take to start on this career path.
What Can I Do With a Degree in Education?
If you’ve ever considered teaching as a career, online colleges and universities can open the door to earning your education degree faster and more affordably. Whether you need a flexible class schedule or are looking to earn course credits before enrolling, an online program can seamlessly help you prepare for a career in the education field. If you’ve already earned your teaching certificate or your degree in education and have begun working as a teacher, a quality online teaching program can supplement your education with training in specialty areas like early childhood education, special education, or science. You may even be able to earn additional or higher degrees, including your master’s or doctorate. What types of jobs can you get with a degree in education?
- Teaching assistant
- Preschool teacher
- Kindergarten, elementary, and middle school teacher
- High school teacher
How Do I Know if a Teaching Career is Right for Me?
For many, teaching is more than just a career choice. It’s a calling. A passion. It’s an internal driving force to make a real difference in the world through positive change. If you’re wondering whether you should become a teacher, read on and see if any of these apply to you.
Consider Your Interests
If you’ve always loved history, why not share that love with those who need to learn it most? If you love helping young people learn a new skill, you can turn that into a career! People with passion are often the best candidates for teachers. Nothing gets students interested and motivated like having a teacher who genuinely loves what they teach. Math, music, sports – wherever your passion lies, you can teach it to your students.
Consider Your Goals
Teaching isn’t only about helping students learn reading, writing, math, and history. It’s about shaping a generation of future adults who will someday take on leadership roles. They need to learn critical thinking skills and how to adapt to a constantly changing world. As a teacher, you’ll help young people engage their curiosity, learn how to be good citizens and friends, and help them discover their own potential to change the world around them as they grow up.
Consider Your Strengths
A teaching career can be rewarding in many ways, especially for certain types of people. A large part of your job will be standing in front of a group, telling stories, and giving directions. If you’re a strong communicator who’s comfortable talking to groups all day, you may have what it takes to be a teacher. Teachers also need to be highly organized and have a great deal of patience. No two days are alike (which we discuss below), so you must be flexible and creative. And you’ll need all of these qualities to be able to teach a room full of different personalities and learning styles.
Consider Age Groups
Teaching at the preschool level is not the same as teaching middle schoolers or high school students. Every grade has different requirements. Some might wish to pursue a teaching career with the youngest students of all. Their days will be full of play, songs, art, and imagination. Others pursue a teaching career to help young adults prepare for college and head out into the world. As you think about whether you should become a teacher, consider the age groups you’d be most comfortable working with.
Why Teaching is a Good Career Choice
There are many reasons why teaching is a good career choice, from the noble pursuit of molding young minds to job security.
Secure Career Choice
As long as there are young people in the world, there will be a need for teachers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teaching jobs are predicted to grow by 4% for elementary school teachers and 5% for high school teachers through 2031. Don’t wait to start on your teaching career path!
What does it mean when teachers say it’s a “rewarding” career? For many, it means:
- Encouraging students to succeed
- Passing on knowledge
- Helping young people reach their goals
- Supporting students’ academic progress
Teaching is a profession with real results that happen in real-time and have genuine life-long impacts on individuals, families, communities, and the world.
Have an Impact on Your Students & Community
Teachers don’t only have an impact on their students. Teachers are role models, and as such, the way their students see them behave and react influences how they learn how to behave and react outside of school. Your students will take the skills they learn from you and use them in real life. Teachers also work with families and other professionals. You’ll have a community around you. You’ll all work together to provide a safe and committed learning environment for your students. Making teachers an essential part of their communities.
Every Day is Different
No two days are alike with any career, but this is especially true with teaching. Every day you’ll be expected to teach your students something new. And every day those students – those human beings – will come into your classroom with their own feelings and energy levels and things going on outside of school. The weather will change, the seasons will change, things happen out in the world, and every day will be different somehow. If you’re flexible, creative, and organized enough to go with the flow, then teaching might be a good career for you.
Teaching isn’t a one-way street! As your students come to know and trust you, they’ll teach you ways of looking at the world you’ve never thought about before. Consider the wonder with which a kindergartener might watch a bird fly or the questions an 11th grader might have about a book you’re teaching. You’ll learn patience as you deal with students who may challenge you. You’ll learn creative ways of teaching to reach those who learn differently. And you’ll learn how much of an impact one person can make in the world.
How to Become an Early Childhood Educator
Early childhood educators specialize in teaching the youngest of students, usually 3- and 4-year-olds in preschool and/or pre-kindergarten. At this age, children are still learning things like fine motor skills and how to socialize. For many, their path to working in early childhood education begins by starting out as an assistant teacher at a child care center and then pursuing a degree or credentials. One of the most widely recognized is the Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential. ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) provides a training program in the form of a bundle of courses that helps you meet the requirements to apply for the CDA from the Council for Professional Recognition. To grow as a professional in the field – both in terms of increased salary and job opportunities – you might choose to also pursue a degree in early childhood education. Whether you’re interested in earning an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, StraighterLine has classes to get you started.
Engage in activities that require you to apply your understanding of the educational system and reflect, compare, and analyze how our schools currently look and the ways they can be improved. Through a series of readings and assignments reflecting the needs of a 21st-century workforce, you will develop an understanding of the importance of clear and concise communication skills and their practical use in a diverse range of professional settings, including written, video, internet, and email.
Explore childhood development and how biological, cognitive, and socio-emotional changes occur in humans starting from conception. In this course, you’ll engage in activities aimed at helping you to understand the different learning theories and theorists and how those theories inform developmentally appropriate teaching and learning practices.
Consider what it means to teach exceptional students and what professionals can do to educate students with special needs alongside peers without exceptionalities to the maximum extent appropriate. You’ll engage in understanding more of the history, definitions, prevalence, causes, characteristics, and identification of exceptional students that teachers need to understand to make informed teaching decisions.
Reflect on designated practices in classroom and behavior management—from organizing time, materials, and classroom space to strategies for managing individual and large group student behaviors, transitions, lab activities, and other arrangements for classrooms in general and special education. Basic federal and state laws as they pertain to the legal procedures for all teachers, including teachers of students with disabilities and English as a second language (ESL) students, will also be presented.
This course introduces you to the pedagogy of language and literacy at the early childhood level. You’ll learn about the basic constructs of reading instruction, such as language development, emergent literacy concepts, phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, invented spelling, decoding/encoding, and vocabulary and comprehension strategies. In addition, you’ll be introduced to the theoretical foundations of reading and explore how reading, literacy, and cognitive processes are developed.
After early childhood education, there are still many other age groups and stages to teach. K-12 teachers range from teaching kindergarteners (4- and 5-year-olds) to high school seniors (17- and 18-year-olds). There’s a world of difference in those ages, so consider where your strengths in teaching might lie and what your goals could be. All states require public kindergarten up through high school teachers to have at least a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Some states also require middle and high school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. Those who major in a content area typically enroll in their university’s teacher preparation program and take classes in education and child psychology. All states also require teachers in public schools to be licensed (certified).
Start Your Career in Education with StraighterLine
Start your teaching career today! StraighterLine offers over 60 courses that can help you get started on your path to becoming a teacher. Not only do we have those general education courses that can help you earn your degree, but we also have courses specifically tailored to help you prepare for a career in the classroom through our partnership with CCEI. Whether you’re looking to finish your degree or just getting started, StraighterLine has the resources and courses you need. Our courses start at just $79 per class, and the credits you earn are guaranteed transferable to over 150 of our partner schools.
Explore the courses we have available to jump into your teaching career today, or contact StraighterLine through our live online chat feature to speak with one of our knowledgeable Enrollment Counselors about what you need to get started.