Bachelor’s degree in education

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Introduction to education

The education field consists of educators, policymakers, administrators, and many other crucial roles. Each realm of education plays an important part in continuing its advancement for the betterment of students around the country. Whether you would like to educate children face-to-face by teaching, enhance the curriculum by conducting research, or mentor teachers in a leadership role, this degree has an abundance of professional opportunities. A bachelor’s degree in education will equip you with an important set of skills necessary for working in the education sector and provide key knowledge for transferring to a master’s program.

What do I need to apply?

Admission requirements will be dependent on whether you have transferable credits yet or not. Some students apply to a bachelor’s program directly from high school while others take 2 years of general education coursework at a community college and transfer to a bachelor’s program at the junior level.

When you apply to a 4-year university after your senior year of high school, then most universities will require additional documentation compared to those transferring from a community college. This is to show the institution you are ready for academic coursework at the university level. Most schools will require high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, 2-3 letters of recommendation, and a supplemental essay.

To apply from a community college, universities require a minimum GPA of 2.0 and transcripts. The transcripts need to show the university you have earned adequate grades, and have passed the necessary prerequisite courses.

Interested? Have a look at the best bachelor’s degrees in education.

Online, hybrid or offline

With technology becoming more present in higher academic institutions, so has the availability of hybrid or online study options. Traditional face-to-face learning is beneficial for those who like to be on campus for resources, networking, and access to professors office hours.

Some students prefer to study on their own time. The rigidity of traditional learning may not benefit all students which is why many campuses offer online and hybrid study options. These study options benefit students with busy work schedules or prior engagements that would otherwise hinder their ability to pursue a higher education degree.

Does my university need to be accredited?

Accreditation is an important aspect of education and a vital component for those pursuing a degree in education. If the university is accredited by an accreditation agency appointed by the U.S. Department of Education, then it shows credential programs, licensing and certification agencies, and employers that the education attained is enough to be certified, licensed, or employed. Most university websites will have a section of their webpage outlining which agency accredits them and how long they have been accredited. If you are unsure, the U.S. Department of Education website has an easy-to-use filter to find out if a university is accredited.

What will I learn?

Coursework during your bachelor’s in education program will cover several topics that will benefit you as a professional in the education field. If you are transferring from a community college the program will typically take 2 years, and 4 years if you are transferring from high school.

Introduction to education

This course will introduce you to the field of education. It will cover historical perspectives, evidence-based research, and current issues that the education system faces today. You will learn about educational policies, philosophies, and government regulations affecting the education system.

Instructional strategies

Techniques for effective teaching go beyond just presenting information. Educators need to establish learning objectives, help students understand goals, organize lessons, and provide students with clear explanations. This aids in student achievement and cuts down on confusion between educators and students.

Childhood and adolescent development

To become an effective educator an understanding of human development is imperative. This course will cover the different domains of development such as cognitive, emotional, social, physical, and language to help educators better understand developmentally appropriate activities and lessons.

Assessment and evaluation

An important aspect of education is the ability to assess and evaluate student progress. This helps teachers measure their students’ strengths and weaknesses which notifies them what topics or areas need to be covered again, or are understood. This course covers assessment techniques, when to use them, and how to evaluate the data collected.


Depending on the program this could involve student teaching, an internship, or classroom observation. The fieldwork component of this program is a fundamental part of the education process because it gives students the opportunity to apply the content learned in their coursework to real-world scenarios. Students are able to interact with students, see academic development unfold, and address their strengths and weaknesses as educators before becoming employed.

Program concentrations

This gives students the opportunity to learn more about a particular area of education. Students often pick their concentration based on their interests, or professional experience. 

Early childhood education

This concentration expands on your knowledge of early years education. It is especially important for someone who wants to pursue a career in the early education field such as a preschool teacher, childcare director, or kindergarten teacher. During your coursework, you will learn about educational topics, developmentally appropriate curriculum, typical development, and teaching practices for early education.

English as a second language (ESL)

If you’re interested in working with children and adults in ESL then this concentration will give you the knowledge and skills to do so. Many children in the United States do not speak English as this first language, so there is a hefty need for teachers who specialize in this area of education to teach subjects specifically to them. The concentration is designed to enhance the knowledge and competence of the student by examining theoretical and practical methods of teaching ESL.

Special education

A concentration in special education coursework could benefit any teacher regardless of the grade level they are working with. Children with special needs not only account for major developmental disabilities but also those with high functioning autism, developmental delays, dyslexia, etc. Depending on the child’s need, some children can be easily integrated into classrooms with typically developing children. Therefore, an understanding of special education, developmental delays, behavioral management, and instructional strategies could be useful. 

Certificate opportunities

Certain certifications are a valuable part of the education process, but are not available at every higher education institution. Some government affiliates and education associations offer certifications to qualify you for specialized employment.

plus-circleEarly childhood technology  

This certification is designed for educators and practitioners who work with children in different educational settings. This can encompass schools, museums, libraries, and daycares. This certification helps individuals gain knowledge and skills in technology with a focus on early childhood. You will learn how to teach technology and engineering topics in a developmentally appropriate way, develop assessment methods, and implement technology and engineering activities in diverse learning environments.  

plus-circleAutism specialist

This certificate is granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards which is an internationally recognized association. This certificate is for people who are dedicated to promoting and providing quality care in the field of autism. This shows employers a mastery of autism, and an ability to educate individuals with autism.

plus-circleBoard certified assistant behavior analyst

A Board Certified Behavior Analyst is someone who assists with helpful tasks alongside a certified behavior analyst. An undergraduate degree is required, 15-hours of behavior-related coursework, and experience under a board certified behavior analyst. These individuals study topics like autism, education, health, cultural practices, and aging. They assist with gathering data and maintaining records.

Becoming a licensed teacher

To become a licensed teacher in the public school sector, students need to first enroll in a teacher preparation program. Each state will have different requirements, but all 50 states require additional training aside from an undergraduate degree before becoming a licensed teacher. Depending on the state, you may need to pass additional assessments and exams before being admitted to the program or being eligible for licensure.

Teacher preparation programs will either be based on the grade level or subject area you wish to teach. They can be taken alongside your bachelor’s degree or after as a post-baccalaureate or master’s program. The completion of a particular program qualifies you to teach at that level.  

Cost of the degree

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost for a bachelor’s program at a public institution was $17,797 in 2018.

Financial aid

As university prices have soared over the years, so have the opportunities for financial aid. Many associations, private companies, and governments allot money each year for scholarships to help students pay for school. Financial aid can also come in the form of grants, awards, and loans. A popular form of financial aid is Federal Student Aid. This federal grant is a need-based form of financial aid given to students who qualify. To find out if you’re eligible fill out a free application online, and you should hear back within a few weeks.

Career options

A licensed teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education has gained the necessary knowledge and skills to educate children in the public school sector. They can work at the elementary, middle, or high school level depending on their credential program. Duties include lesson planning, grading papers, and delivering lessons based on the curriculum.

The average salary for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was $60,660 in 2020. Middle school teachers make an average salary of $60,810 and high school teachers make a median salary of $62,870. 

A corporate trainer is an educator that works with businesses and corporations to help employees. They assist in training employees to increase the company’s productivity. Typically, corporate trainers will give lectures, host seminars, and use team exercises to update employees on the new goals and procedures.

The average salary for a corporate trainer is $56,20.

These individuals develop and manage age appropriate activities for students attending after school programs. These are typically based on students’ interests and needs.

The average salary for an after-school program director is $52,988.

Continuing education

If you’ve already completed your bachelor’s in education degree and are interested in furthering your education, then earning a master’s degree in education could be of interest to you. The completion of a master’s degree program expands on your knowledge, supplies you with more skills and tools, and prepares you for more specialized careers.

Master’s in curriculum and instruction

This master’s in curriculum and instruction program is suited for individuals who want to pursue a career designing curriculum. By the end of the program, students will be able to research, develop, and implement new curriculum or changes to an existing curriculum. This degree qualifies students to work as educational consultants, instructional coaches, curriculum designers, and instructional designers.

Master’s in counseling

A master’s degree in counseling sets you on a career path focused on counseling. This can include school counseling, career counseling, therapy, and social work. Coursework will cover theories, evidence-based research, legal issues, multicultural counseling, human development, and psychology. 

Master’s in educational leadership and administration

With a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration, graduates are eligible to work in administrative and leadership roles. This includes principals, vice principals, district administrators, and superintendents. Coursework involves characteristics of effective leadership, organizational change, evidence-based practices, social-emotional learning, and financial leadership. 

The School Superintendent Association

An association dedicated to ensuring equal access to quality education is attainable to all students. They have developed a networking system for educators to use to enhance communication, find resources, and continue to develop new ideas.

ACSD: Teach. Learn. Lead

This association provides hundreds of learning, teaching, and leadership books to users that aim to support student success. They also set up conferences, webinars, and online learning to keep educators engaged in relevant topics and instructional strategies.

American Educational Research Association

Founded in 1916, the American Educational Research Foundation focuses on educational policy, advocacy, educational research, and professional advancement. They aim to advance knowledge about education and promote the use of research to improve education.