Most In-Demand Education Careers
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- There's an increasing shortage of teachers that's likely to become more widespread.
- Many states are raising salaries and implementing new ways to train educators.
- Education careers offer a variety of roles: teaching, counseling, administration, and more.
- Jobs in education offer salaries ranging from under $30,000 to over $100,000 annually.
Traditional education jobs and duties can span from teaching kindergartners beginning literacy skills to finding ways to make math relatable to high schoolers.
These days, professionals in education also often need to help students deal with social obstacles and any other challenges they face.
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Ready to Start Your Journey?
Regardless of your path, education careers are all about helping others succeed.
According to U.S. News and World Report, declining college enrollment in teaching programs makes an already widespread teaching shortage likely to continue. To combat this, many states are raising salaries and pursuing new strategies — beyond a traditional bachelor's in teaching program — to train more educators.
The bottom line?
If you want to make a difference in other people's lives, now is an excellent time to pursue education jobs.
Here's a look at some of the fastest-growing careers in education to inspire you.
Top 15 Fastest-Growing Education Careers
2021 Median Annual Salary: $29,360
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for teacher assistants to grow by 9% from 2020-2030. On average, that's around 136,400 projected openings each year over the decade.
As the title implies, teacher assistants help licensed teachers provide additional instruction for students. These professionals typically need a minimum of two years of college coursework or an associate degree. Some teacher assistants specialize in working with students with disabilities or in other areas of education, such as technology.Associate in education programs can teach learners how to observe students and develop educational materials. They can also gain an understanding of their role as a teacher assistant.
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
2021 Median Annual Salary: $61,350
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The BLS projects job opportunities for kindergarten and elementary school teachers to grow by 7% from 2020-2030. That's on pace with the projected job growth rate of 8% for all U.S. occupations.
On average, 124,300 job openings for kindergarten and elementary school teachers are projected each year over the decade.
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare young students for middle school. They introduce and teach their students basic subjects, including math and reading. Some teachers specialize in English as a second language, physical education, art, or music. Additionally, they may work with special education teachers to create lesson plans for students with disabilities.
The minimum education requirements include a bachelor's degree in elementary education or a similar degree. Plus, public school teachers must hold a license or certification in the specific grade level they teach.
Middle School Teachers
2021 Median Annual Salary: $61,320
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The BLS projects the number of jobs for middle school teachers will grow 7% from 2020-2030. Approximately 48,400 job openings are projected, on average, each year over the decade for these professionals.
Middle school teachers typically work with students in grades 6-8, preparing them for high school. These educators create lesson plans and evaluate students' abilities through assignments and exams. Some middle school teachers also coach sports teams or take on adviser roles.
These teachers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a state-issued license or certification. Some states even require middle school teachers to obtain a master's degree once they've completed certification and found a job.
High School Teachers
2021 Median Annual Salary: $61,820
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The BLS projects an 8% job growth for high school teachers from 2020-2030, with around 77,400 openings, on average, each year.
High school teachers work with grades 9-12 and may provide instruction for different grades throughout the day. Many states require these professionals to have content expertise in a specific subject, such as math education. Additionally, a math teacher may teach different classes within their subject area, including algebra or geometry.
High school teachers typically need a bachelor's degree in education or another subject and state-issued certification or license. With additional education, these teachers may decide to pursue jobs as school counselors or principals.
2021 Median Annual Salary: $79,640
2020-2030 Job Outlook: According to BLS projections, the number of jobs for postsecondary teachers will grow 12% between 2020 and 2030. That's faster than the average job growth for all occupations (8%), with around 139,600 postsecondary teacher job openings, on average, each year over the decade.
Postsecondary teachers need excellent critical-thinking, interpersonal, speaking, and writing skills. These professors and faculty provide instruction in academic subjects at a college level. They collaborate with colleagues to develop or modify the curriculum for multiple formats, including online learning.
Postsecondary teachers may serve on academic or administrative committees, and duties vary by institution. A master's degree may be enough for education jobs like these at community colleges. However, at four-year colleges and universities, candidates usually need a Ph.D. or a doctoral degree in their field.
Professors often seek tenure, and some advance to high-level administrative positions, such as dean or college president.
2021 Median Annual Salary: $63,740
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The number of jobs for instructional coordinators is projected to grow 10% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. That's around 20,400 openings, on average, each year over the decade.
A growing need for teachers at all levels makes instructional coordinators one of the top-growing careers. They develop curriculums and educational material and oversee teaching standards. Instructional coordinators generally plan and conduct teacher training and workshops. They also coach faculty to help improve their skills.
These professionals may specialize in specific grade levels or subjects. Additionally, they usually need a master's degree in curriculum and instruction or in education, plus experience in teaching or administration. They may also be required to have a state-issued license.
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals
2021 Median Annual Salary: $98,420
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The BLS projects the number of jobs for elementary, middle, and high school principals to grow 8% between 2020 and 2030. That would be an average of around 22,100 openings each year over the decade.
Elementary, middle, and high school principals oversee daily operations and activities. They manage teachers and other support staff to ensure a safe and productive learning environment. These administrators develop curriculum standards, counsel students, and evaluate teacher performance.
Principals need solid leadership skills, a master's degree in educational administration or education leadership, and experience in a related occupation. Most states require principals to hold a school administrator license and pass an exam and a background check.
Postsecondary Education Administrators
2021 Median Annual Salary: $96,910
2020-2030 Job Outlook: According to BLS projections, the number of jobs for postsecondary education administrators will grow by 8% between 2020 and 2030. That would mean an average of around 14,500 openings each year over the decade.
Postsecondary education administrators oversee academics, faculty research, and student services at colleges and universities. They work in admissions, the registrar's office, or student affairs. Additionally, postsecondary administrators may be an academic dean who oversees a specific department or a chief academic officer managing budgets.
These administrators need excellent computer, interpersonal, and organizational and problem-solving skills. Not only that, but education careers like this usually require a master's degree. However, a bachelor's degree and relevant experience may qualify applicants for some roles.
2021 Median Annual Salary: $85,570
2020-2030 Job Outlook: According to the BLS, occupational therapy could be one of the fastest-growing careers in education. A 17% job growth for these professionals is projected between 2020 and 2030, which would amount to around 10,100 openings, on average, each year.
School-based occupational therapists work with students with physical, sensory, cognitive, and social conditions. These therapists collaborate with teachers and family members to determine accommodations and care. They use meaningful activities focused on academics, play, and daily life and self-care skills to help children learn to participate.
Occupational therapists need a master's degree in occupational therapy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. Additionally, all states require occupational therapists to have a state license and take the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam.
Interpreters and Translators
2021 Median Annual Salary: $49,110
2020-2030 Job Outlook: According to the BLS, the number of jobs for interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 24% from 2020-2030, with around 10,400 openings, on average, annually during that time. That projected growth rate is significantly higher than the average growth rate (8%) for all U.S. occupations.
Interpreters are typically fluent in English and another language. They need to be culturally sensitive and possess excellent concentration and active listening skills. Some specialize in using American Sign Language (ASL) to interpret for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Interpreters may use simultaneous, consecutive, or sight interpretation, while translators typically work on a computer, receiving and submitting assignments. Interpreters and translators usually need a bachelor's degree in social science, education, or communications. They can get certification through the American Translators Association.
Additionally, the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf offers certification for sign language interpreters, from ASL to tactile signing.
School and Career Counselors and Advisors
2021 Median Annual Salary: $60,510
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The BLS projects an 11% growth in the number of jobs for school and career counselors and advisors between 2020 and 2030. Those projections amount to around 35,000 openings, on average, each year.
School counselors need compassion as they often work with students who are under stress. These education jobs involve helping students develop skills that support learning, although specific duties vary depending on students' ages.
Career counselors and advisors evaluate students' interests and abilities and help them with job-search skills, including interviewing and networking.
Most states require a school counselor to have a master's degree in school counseling or psychology. Additionally, counselors need a state-issued certification, license, or endorsement, and, sometimes, classroom teaching experience.
Librarians and Library Media Specialists
2021 Median Annual Salary: $61,190
2020-2030 Job Outlook: According to BLS projections, the number of jobs for librarians and library media specialists will grow by 9% from 2020-2030. That would be around 15,200 openings, on average, each year during that time.
Academic librarians and library media specialists assist students with research and help faculty members locate resources and evaluate reference materials. These professionals also create and use databases and organize library materials. Additionally, they may teach classes and train and supervise assistants and other support staff. They may also prepare library budgets.
These professionals typically must have a master's degree in library science and a teaching certification. And some states require candidates to pass a test, such as the PRAXIS II Library Media Specialist test.
Coaches and Scouts
2021 Median Annual Salary: $38,970
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The number of jobs for coaches and scouts is projected to grow by 26% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. That's an average of around 45,100 openings, each year, over the decade.
Coaches hold training sessions to improve athletes' stamina, help refine athletes' skills, and promote teamwork. Many are also academic teachers or school administrators. Scouts look for new potential athletes. They attend games, view athletic performances, and study statistics to determine a candidate's talent and potential.
A bachelor's degree in physical education or sports medicine is usually the minimum requirement for coaches and scouts. Some sports scouts also specialize in a business field, such as sports management or marketing.
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers
2021 Median Annual Salary: $119,860
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The number of jobs for public relations and fundraising managers is projected to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS. That's around
8,900 openings, on average, each year during that time.
A public relations manager's job is to plan, coordinate, and direct campaigns that generate donations for an organization. According to the BLS, state, local, and private educational services employ 20% of these professionals. Public relations and fundraising managers need a bachelor's degree in communications, public relations, or business at a minimum.
Some institutions may require a master's degree and work experience. These professionals can gain certification through the Public Relations Society of America or the International Association of Business Communicators.
Administrative Services and Facilities Managers
2021 Median Annual Salary: $99,290
2020-2030 Job Outlook: The BLS projects the number of jobs for administrative services and facilities managers will grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030. That's an average of around 29,200 openings each year over the decade.
Administrative services and facilities managers help organizations run efficiently by maintaining the facilities and supervising activities. These professionals may supervise clerical and administrative staff and oversee electrical and mechanical maintenance.
Along with healthcare and social assistance, state, local, and private educational services are the largest employers for professionals in these careers.
Administrative services and facilities managers usually need a relevant bachelor's degree, but some work their way up. However, candidates may find more opportunities and higher wages if they hold an industry certification.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Most In-Demand Education Careers
Is the teaching profession growing?
There's a widespread shortage of teachers from elementary school to adult education.
The BLS projects around 124,300 openings for kindergarten and elementary school teachers, on average, each year between 2020 and 2030. Additionally, the BLS projects 139,600 openings for college faculty, on average, each year over the decade.
Teacher assistants are also in high demand, with around 136,400 job openings projected, on average, each year from 2020-2030.
Becoming a teacher assistant could be the first step toward one of the top-growing careers in education. Proper training, certifications, and experience can help you become a leading candidate to help fill the high demand for skilled teachers.
Which fields of education are most in demand today?
Teachers are in demand, from kindergarten teachers to college faculty, and the need is growing, according to U.S. News and World Report.
There are even more jobs for teacher assistants to fill in the gaps. They help students and provide teacher support. English as a second language and interpreters for deaf and hard-of-hearing students are also among the most in-demand fields in education today.
In fact, the BLS projects jobs for interpreters and translators will grow by 24% between 2020 and 2030. Additionally, more occupational therapists and counselors will likely be needed in the education field as institutions continue to expand student services.
How can I make a lot of money in education?
You can make a higher salary in education by becoming a postsecondary teacher.
As of May 2021, these professionals make a median annual salary of $79,640. The top 10% make over $172,130 a year. Not only that, but there's plenty of career growth potential as professors often become deans, college presidents, and published authors.
If you want to be a high school teacher and earn more money, consider coaching after school. Sometimes, taking on extra coaching duties can add money to your paycheck.
Occupational therapists, interpreters, and fundraising professionals have higher salaries in education as well.
Which teaching subject is most in demand?
While specific needs vary by institution, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are subjects that are always in high demand.
Qualified math teachers should be able to teach in multiple areas, including algebra, calculus, and trigonometry. Some of the most in-demand science subjects are physics, chemistry, and biology.
Additionally, there's a growing need for communications and information technology experts. Postsecondary teachers usually teach in their field of expertise and often conduct research and publish their findings.
Career and technical education teachers instruct students in vocational subjects, including construction, healthcare, and culinary arts.