Education is a fundamental human need, because it opens the door to a world of possibilities in a child’s future. If you’re passionate about educating the next generation of critical thinkers, leaders and achievers, then you may be thinking about becoming a teacher. There are many compelling reasons to become a teacher, and although it can be a challenging career at times, you may find the journey to be rewarding and personally fulfilling.
In This Article:
Reasons To Begin Your Career in Education
1. To Make a Difference in the Lives of Students
Making a positive difference in the lives of children may be considered one of the top reasons to become a teacher by some. Whether you work with young children or high-school teens, you’ll have the opportunity to nurture their self-confidence, help them discover their interests, instill invaluable social skills and teach critical life lessons.
Take a few minutes to reflect upon your own academic journey. Chances are there was at least one teacher who made a strong impression on you or helped you through a challenging time in your life. As a future teacher, you could become that inspirational person who makes a positive difference in the lives of others.
2. To Enjoy Lifelong Learning
No one knows everything — not even educators. In fact, educators may acknowledge that they don’t know everything because they are committed lifelong learners by virtue of their career choice. If you enjoy learning something new every day, becoming a teacher could be the right path for you.
3. To Instill Your Love of Learning in Others
As you reflect upon your own time as a student, you may be able to recall at least one teacher whose passion and enthusiasm for the subject came shining through. That kind of enthusiasm can be contagious. As a future educator, you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate your passion for the subject to your students, and that can help them develop their own lifelong love of learning.
4. To Enjoy New Challenges Every Day
No two days are alike in the life of a teacher, regardless of grade level. Each day brings a different lesson plan, new challenges and new opportunities. If you can think well on your feet, are adaptable and embrace change, becoming a teacher could be a good choice for you.
5. To Have Opportunities to Specialize
Making the decision to become a teacher is only the first choice you’ll need to consider. Teachers can also specialize in a few different ways. For example, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to teach kindergarten, elementary, middle or high school.
You can also choose whether you’d like to work in a public, private or charter school. There are considerable differences between teaching in, for example, a Montessori or Waldorf school compared to teaching in a typical public school.
Another decision to make is whether you’d like to work with special education students or with the general student population. Next, if you plan on teaching middle or high school students, consider which subject area you’d like to specialize in. Perhaps you’re passionate about English, history, math or science.
Why Be a Teacher? FAQs and Answers To Explore
Now that you’ve read a few of the many answers to the question, “Why be a teacher?” it’s time to take a look at some frequently asked questions about the process of becoming a teacher.
Is an Education Degree Needed To Become a Teacher?
Different states have varying regulations. However, most U.S. states require public school teachers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably an education degree. In addition, public school teachers are required to obtain a teaching license.
Before enrolling in any type of education degree program, it’s a good idea to research the specific requirements for the state where you plan to teach. Make sure that the degree program you choose will enable you to meet the requirements to become a qualified teacher.
Although a bachelor’s degree is often the minimum requirement, along with a teaching license, some teachers choose to earn a master’s degree. It’s not always necessary to earn a master’s degree immediately after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Instead, individuals may earn their teaching license and land their first teaching job before returning to school to earn a master’s degree.
How Can I Advance My Career as a Teacher?
There are a number of ways in which working professionals in education can position themselves to possibly advance their careers or explore other, related opportunities. Some K–12 teachers decide that they would like to move on to higher education. If you think you might like to pursue a high-level administrative role at a post-secondary institution or a position as a college professor, you may need a doctoral degree.
Other teachers may decide that they are most passionate about supporting the socio-emotional health of their students, particularly those from underserved and underrepresented populations. These professionals may decide to pursue a role as a school counselor, enabling them to work closely with students who need career advice or socio-emotional help.
School counselors may need to have a master’s degree in school counseling. In addition, school counselors who work within the public school environment may be required to have a state-issued credential, such as a license or certification. Employers of school counselors often prefer to hire individuals who have supervised experience, such as an internship.1
Other opportunities for career advancement are as follows:
- Teaching specialization – After working for a while as a teacher, you may decide that you’d like to become a specialist in a particular area. For instance, you might pursue a position as a curriculum specialist, instructional development specialist, literacy specialist or expert in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Becoming a specialist typically entails pursuing an additional teaching credential, such as a master’s degree or a graduate certificate.
- School leadership – Larger schools may offer opportunities to teachers who wish to take on an active leadership role. For instance, you might pursue a role as a lead teacher, subject-area chair or grade-level chair.
- School administration – If the thought of effecting change beyond the classroom appeals to you, you might consider pursuing a position in K–12 school administration. Examples of these positions include principals, superintendents and assistant principals.
What Is the Average Salary of a Teacher?
No salary guarantees can be made; however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers data on teachers’ median annual salaries, as follows:
- High school teachers – As of May 2022, high school teachers earn a median annual salary of $62,360, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).2
- Kindergarten and elementary school teachers – As of May 2022, kindergarten and elementary school teachers earn a median annual salary of $61,620, according to the BLS.3
What Skills and Characteristics Are Important for Prospective Teachers?
Aspiring teachers can benefit from the following:
- Communication skills, including listening skills
- Patience, empathy and persistence
- Resourcefulness and adaptability
- Passion for learning
- Interpersonal skills, including the ability to relate to and work with children
- Collaborative mindset
- Creativity and a sense of humor
Earning your special education degree can help lead you to a career as a special education teacher. At Grand Canyon University, you will have the full support of our College of Education as you begin your degree program in teaching or school administration. Learn more about getting started in your journey to become a teacher by clicking the Request Info button on this page.
At Grand Canyon University, you can earn a bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctoral degree in teaching and education. No matter where you are on your path to becoming a qualified educator, the College of Education at GCU can help you get there with quality classes and hands-on teaching experiences.
1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023, Sept. 6). School and Career Counselors and Advisors. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved on Nov. 8, 2023.
2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), High School Teachers as of May 2022, retrieved on Nov. 8, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as high school teachers, nor does it reflect the earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc. against a pool of candidates.
3 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers as of May 2022, retrieved on Nov. 8, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 to 2022 may be atypical compared to prior years. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers nationwide with varying levels of education and experience. It does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as kindergarten and elementary school teachers, nor does it reflect the earnings of workers in one city or region of the country or a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries. Your employability will be determined by numerous factors over which GCU has no control, such as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, the graduate’s experience level, individual characteristics, skills, etc. against a pool of candidates.
Approved by the assistant dean for the College of Education on Jan. 25, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.