According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, career options for kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and secondary school educators is projected to increase by 2024. Since the median yearly earnings for teachers in all of these categories surpasses $50,000, aspiring teachers can feel comfortable and confident with the income and employment possibilities. The following guide will give students considering a bachelor's in teaching an overview of why one might pursue this degree, how to choose the right program to fit your needs, what to expect of the admissions process, what to expect of the program in general, and a list of resources and organizations to help further your professional network and expertise.
Should I Get a Bachelor's in Teaching?
Earning a bachelor's in teaching means learning a valuable set of skills and values that will benefit professional and personal relationships. Teaching degree students strengthen their conflict resolution skills through coursework and fieldwork, and they learn to create course itineraries that cater to students with specific needs and for entire classrooms.
If this sounds like the kind of career you want to pursue and explore, the next step is deciding between studying on campus or online. Students with full-time jobs may find that learning online provides the best fit for their schedules, though students first entering the field may prefer to study in person for networking possibilities. Specifically, colleges and universities may supply on-campus seminars and workshops about teaching. These experiences may lead to student-teaching placements that offer the best career preparations, as well as recommendation letters and information on open positions after graduation.
What Can I Do With a Bachelor's in Teaching?
Teaching majors can explore different grade levels and choose an academic concentration for their degrees. A high school teacher can focus on science, math, English, or foreign languages. These options open the doors to numerous teaching careers with the degree seeker deciding which option best suits their professional goals. Educators who pursue additional certifications and advanced degrees can also become administrators, reading coaches, reading specialists, and instructional coordinators.
- Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers
These teachers educate children in multiple subjects, such as social studies and science, as well as basic life skills concepts, including communication. Other professional responsibilities involve building lesson plans, discussing student progress with parents, and creating guidelines for classroom procedures. Teachers of these grade levels commonly need a bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $56,900
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
- Middle School Teachers
Middle school teachers share many of the same responsibilities as elementary school teachers, such as discussing student progress with parents and constructing lesson plans. However, these educators often teach fewer subjects to students.
Median Annual Salary: $57,720
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- High School Teachers
These teachers educate students in specific fields but may teach more than one course within that academic category. As an example, a science educator may teach chemistry, biology, and natural science during one semester. Additionally, one high school classroom may include freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students.
Median Annual Salary: $59,170
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Special Education Teachers
These educators deliver lessons to special needs students. For this task, teachers must determine each student's needs and alter course lectures based on those individual needs. Further responsibilities include discussing a student's progress with parents and overseeing teaching assistants. Students interested in this career should look into teaching degrees with special education focuses.
Median Annual Salary: $58,980
Projected Growth Rate: 8%
- Preschool Teachers
Preschool teachers care for children who are too young for kindergarten. These educators create daily lessons and plan academic activities that improve children's communication skills and teach preschool concepts, such as shapes and colors.
Median Annual Salary: $28,990
Projected Growth Rate: 10%
How to Choose a Bachelor's in Teaching Program
When considering a bachelor's in teaching, students should think about the curriculum and specialization options each school offers, then consider how that program curriculum fits their specific career goals and scheduling needs. Other considerations include practicums and student teaching requirements, as these degree components build networking connections for teaching careers. Students should also think about the costs for each institution, particularly if living expenses are high, and ensure that the chosen school holds accreditation.
Typically, bachelor's degrees require approximately four years, but program factors may shorten or extend this time frame. For instance, accelerated teaching programs allow students to complete degrees more quickly, whereas cohort programs do not allow students to personalize the pace. Additionally, some students may need to study part time for scheduling flexibility, and those students should look at schools that do not charge higher tuition for part-time learning. Students must also choose between studying in person or online. In-person programs provide stronger networking possibilities due to the face-to-face aspect, but online programs may better suit the schedules of students with work and family responsibilities.
Accreditation for Bachelor's in Teaching Programs
Accreditation means that an agency with the authority to review schools has examined a college or university and determined that the institution holds academic merit. Students should only consider schools that boast accreditation, as most forms of financial aid are only available to students at accredited schools. Moreover, future employers and schools may not accept credits from schools without accreditation.
Colleges and universities may earn regional, national, or programmatic accreditation. Regional accreditation allows easier credit transfers between schools, and programmatic accreditation means that a specific program meets an organization's high standards. For teaching degrees, accreditation agencies include the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, and the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education. Students who choose teaching programs without this type of accreditation may find that their degrees do not qualify them to become teachers.
Bachelor's in Teaching Program Admissions
When choosing which institutions to apply to, students should think about location, since teaching licensure requirements vary by state. Students must also choose between online and on-campus programs, and this decision impacts the amount of interaction experienced through admission and coursework. Specifically, admission for online programs may seem more involved, while courses for on-campus programs include more face-to-face communication. Admission processes vary by school, but often include details such as an application, transcripts, and recommendation letters.
- Minimum GPA: Mandating a minimum GPA ensures colleges and universities admit students who already show academic commitment and potential. Common GPA requirements for these programs are approximately 3.0. Certain institutions may admit students who do not meet this qualification on a provisional basis.
- Application: Students can complete these forms in under an hour to give schools an overview of accomplishments. Some institutions require additional application materials that extend the time frame, such as writing samples. Students can simplify the application process by applying through The Common Application.
- Transcripts: These documents allow schools to view an applicant's academic history. When applying to a college or university, students should request transcripts from every school they previously attended. Many schools charge a small fee to release these transcripts.
- Letters of Recommendation: Recommendation letters from professors and community leaders provide evidence of support for an applicant. Students should request these letters at least a month ahead of time to allow the recommenders time to write.
- Test Scores: Typical tests for undergraduate admission include the SAT and ACT. By requiring these standard exams, schools can compare applicants with other students across the country who take the assessment.
- Application Fee: These fees compensate schools for the time invested in reviewing the thousands of applications they receive every year. Students often pay less than $100 and can consult with schools for possible fee waivers.
What Else Can I Expect From a Bachelor's in Teaching Program?
Coursework for teaching programs varies due to the diversity of teaching options. Students should explore concentrations and coursework to ensure that the curriculum prepares for the desired career. Listed below are some examples of the concentrations you can pursue with a bachelor's in teaching degree.
Concentrations Offered for a Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Elementary Education||This concentration includes insight on the best teaching methods for children. Students obtain an understanding of child development and apply this knowledge in required student teaching experiences.||Elementary school teacher|
|Science Education||Some programs allow students to concentrate on specific fields and grade levels. For instance, students may pursue a degree for teaching science at the middle school level. These programs provide information and methods for adolescent students and related academic concepts.||Science teacher|
|Secondary Education||This option focuses on learning needs and classroom environments for high school students. Program candidates may need to select an academic field for additional concentration, such as English, math, French, or history. Secondary education majors may also explore adolescent behavior and teaching methods.||Secondary teacher|
|Special Education||Special education programs may include a grade-level specification, such as special education for elementary school. These degrees include information on academic fields and guidelines on how to deliver these concepts to special needs children.||Special education teachers|
|TESOL International Association||This concentration prepares students for bilingual classrooms. Topics covered may include dialects, culture, and sociolinguistics. Students in TESOL programs may study various academic fields since different languages can surface in any classroom.||TESOL students may assist nonnative speakers in classrooms or provide consulting advice|
Courses in a Bachelor's in Teaching Program
Given the number of concentrations available for teaching degrees, courses differ from program to program. However, certain courses are common across all concentrations in some form or another. Below are some examples of general education courses that most bachelor's in teaching students will take.
- Child Development
These courses examine aspects of a child's growth, including physical, mental, and cognitive abilities. Certain courses may also cover factors that impact a child's development, such as the media.
- Student Teaching
Many education programs require student teaching experiences at approved schools. These experiences give students the opportunity to use teaching skills in a supervised setting before entering a classroom and teaching on their own.
- Introduction to Education
Courses of this nature examine education based on history, philosophy, and government regulations. Departments can apply these concepts to current educational concerns, such as funding, and learn how to apply those ideas in classrooms.
- Classroom Management
Students in these courses learn strategies to moderate behavior, manage conflict, and maintain a functional classroom. Students may examine these ideas by studying models and theories, and those who complete this course gain insight for teaching careers and administrative positions in education. However, students should note that these higher-level positions may require further credentials and education.
- Developmental Psychology
These courses present degree seekers with information about the aging process with attention to psychology and cognitive growth. This knowledge can then translate into action plans for dealing with students of various ages and developmental levels. The coursework prepares students for careers as teachers, consultants, and administrators.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor's in Teaching?
A bachelor's degree requires approximately 120 credits and four years to complete. However, specific program details may impact these expectations. For instance, teaching degrees that call for over 120 credits lead to higher per-year credit loads and/or longer time commitments. Cohort programs mandate that students progress through courses as a group, meaning that individuals cannot alter the program's pace. On the other hand, some departments allow students to study at an accelerated pace and enroll in classes that exceed full-time requirements -- though institutions may label this choice as course overload and charge higher tuition. Students who need more flexibility while taking classes can study part time, but schools may once again charge these students higher tuition. Additionally, studying part time increases the number of semesters needed to finish the degree.
How Much Is a Bachelor's in Teaching?
Tuition costs vary among institutions, but students can apply certain guidelines to choose a budget-friendly option. For instance, public schools typically receive funding from external sources, which allows these schools to charge lower tuition. Private schools do not receive this type of funding and charge students higher tuition rates. Additionally, residents often pay less in tuition than nonresidents, so students who select in-state schools may pay significantly less in tuition.
For a teaching degree, schools charge tuition per credit or per term. Common per-credit tuition costs are approximately $300. Students who attend schools that charge per term may pay as low as $3,000 per semester, but per-term prices can also extend much higher. Due to this cost variation, students should explore each school's expenses to ensure the chosen institution fits within their budget.
Additional costs to consider for an education include housing fees, student activity fees, technology fees, textbooks, and graduation fees. Commuting students may also need to pay for parking permits or bus passses.
Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor's in Teaching Prepares For
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification
The TEFL certification prepares professionals to teach English to students from other countries. Successful completion of this certification can lead to jobs in other countries where English is not the primary language or as an online TEFL educator. Students can explore several certification options, such as the TEFL educator certificate and the master TEFL certificate; each has specific course requirements and costs.
- Teaching License
While many teaching degrees prepare students for educational careers, some students may need to fulfill other obligations outside of coursework to earn a teaching license. For instance, a state may require students to complete Praxis exams. Since licensure processes vary by state, so students should ask their school's education department about any additional steps needed for licensure.
- Gifted and Talented Education Certification
These certification programs offer training to help with educating academically gifted students. While some states may not require this supplementary credential, holding GATE certification provides evidence of a teacher's abilities in this specific area. Many schools deliver programs that lead to GATE certification, so interested students should look into institutions with this certification option.
- Reading Specialist Certification
Students interested in literacy education can explore reading specialist certifications. Certain colleges and universities offer programs with reading specialist certifications, and students may also take the reading specialist Praxis exam.
- Music Teachers National Association Certificate
Students interested in teaching music in public or private lessons should consider this certificate. Applicants may apply for the teacher profile projects option, and higher education workers may consider the administrative verification opportunity. The organization's certification standards include educational practice and evidence of organizational skills.
Resources for Teaching Students
Students can use this resource to see what steps are necessary for teaching licensure in their states. The site also provides information on degree options, college applications, and and possible focus areas.
This organization offers members the opportunity to travel, obtain book club selections, and access group publications. Additionally, students can earn scholarships and purchase a pass to browse JSTOR articles for school projects.
This group hosts a yearly conference and supplies access to resources about learning disabilities. Site viewers can also watch webinars and read recent developments in relevant legislation.
Students intending to teach history can find information on fellowships and yearly meetings on this site. Additionally, the group provides several publications, including The Journal of American History. Graduates can also explore job opportunities through the organization's career listings.
Students may become members of this group before beginning college if they intend to teach. The organization offers a virtual campus, competitions, scholarships, and a yearly conference.
Professional Organizations in Teaching
Professional organizations offer workshops, events, and seminars that provide teachers with information, skills, and techniques to use in classrooms. Some topics covered include current legislation, technology, cultural classroom concerns, and learning strategies. Additionally, these groups supply opportunities for educators to fulfill continuing education requirements for their license and assist in job searches through career services and postings. Members also benefit from networking with field professionals by encountering new ideas and establishing professional connections.