Top 4 Things to Know About Getting a Teaching Degree

Deaf children learning sign language in the classroom

Some people are born to be teachers. For those people, it does not matter how long it takes to get a teaching degree, they will pursue their dream no matter what.

However, other people come into teaching later in life or after trying other careers, with some not recognizing their gift for supporting and training others until they have had other job experiences. People who become teachers after a career change may have some questions about the process.

What Is a Teaching Degree?

A teaching degree is either a bachelor's or a master's degree in education. There are many specialties within education. You can earn a teaching degree in everything from elementary studies to music to math.

In addition, earning a teaching degree is only one part of the process of becoming a teacher. Most states require teachers to take a certification test in order to work in public school classrooms. Private schools and some charter schools may not require teachers to hold a certification, though it is usually preferred.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Teaching Degree?

Future teachers can earn their bachelor's degree in about four years. An education degree program generally follows the same structure as other degrees, where a student must complete certain general education requirements before taking degree-specific classes in pedagogy and subject-matter focused classes.

People who are coming into teaching after already earning a bachelor's degree in another area may pursue a second bachelor's degree or decide to get their master's. In teacher education, a master's degree can take about two years to earn. Both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education prepares students to take certification tests when the degree is completed.

What Do I Learn in a Teaching Degree Program?

Teaching programs include coursework in both pedagogy (including teaching skills) and subject matter information. Elementary school teachers learn about math, English language arts, science, social studies and arts methodology. Middle school and high school teachers who specialize in one area will take numerous courses in that discipline. Oftentimes, education students will take classes in working with students with special needs to learn how to support all types of learners.

Where Can I Work With a Teaching Degree?

Teaching degree graduates who pass their state certification tests can work in public elementary, middle and high schools. They might also find work in private schools, religion-based schools or public charter schools. Some students with teaching degrees may go on to earn advanced certification and teach adult learners at the junior college, community college or university level. Additionally, people with graduate teaching degrees may work outside of the classroom as:

  • Corporate trainers
  • Professional developers
  • Instructional designers
  • Curriculum writers
  • Ed tech developers

If you are thinking about switching careers and starting on the rewarding path toward becoming a teacher, consider earning a Master of Education from Grand Canyon University’s College of Education or view our other Teaching and School Administration degree programs.

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