Teacher Education for Specific Levels

Students in a teacher education program can concentrate on a specific academic level, such as elementary or secondary education. Before making a decision about college and your career, read on to learn more about earnings, employment outlook, degree programs and licensing.

Is a Teacher Education Program for Me?

Career Overview

Degree programs in teacher education can help you acquire the knowledge and skills you'll need to teach students at a specific grade level. For example, you might choose to focus on early childhood or elementary education. A specialization in a major content area can prepare you to teach at a high school, college or university. If you pursue a specialization or state certification in more than one level, you may also be qualified to teach students across multiple grades.

Employment and Salary Information

Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected an average growth in jobs for teachers at the kindergarten, elementary and middle school levels between 2012 and 2022; however, English as a Second Language (ESL) and special education teachers may be in greater demand. Although high school teachers will face a slower-than-average growth in opportunities of 6% from 2012-2022, candidates with ESL, math, science and special education teachers may have an easier time finding a job.

With the exception of special education and substitute teachers, elementary school teachers earned a mean annual salary of $56,320 in May 2013. During the same reporting period, the average annual salary of a middle school teacher was $56,630, while high school teachers made an average of $58,260 a year (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Teacher Education for Specific Levels?

Educational Requirements

In most states, public school teachers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in teaching to qualify for a job; some positions may require an advanced degree. Since completion of an approved teacher preparation program is one of the requirements for obtaining a state-issued license, future teachers may want to give special attention to programs accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Aspiring teachers who earned their undergraduate degrees in other fields of study can pursue alternative licensing programs. These can be found atprofessional development schools, where you'll complete one year of hands-on, supervised teaching experience. !!Undergraduate Programs A [Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education can prepare you to teach students in preschool, kindergarten and grades 1-3. By comparison, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education focuses exclusively on instructional strategies for students in kindergarten through the eighth grade. Due to the fact that many secondary school teachers major in their subject of expertise, such as English or history, a minor in secondary school teaching can help you meet the prerequisites for licensure.

Graduate Programs

A Master of Education program may allow you to focus on a specific area or level of education. Doctor of Education programs are more-researched oriented and can help you qualify for a position in a postsecondary institution.

Required Skills

A strong ability to communicate with students of various ages and manage your classroom are key to succeeding as a teacher. You should also be able to motivate, inspire and instill confidence in your students, even in poor working conditions. The ability to remain calm and professional in stressful situations is essential, especially when dealing with disrespectful or potentially violent students.


Unlike private school teachers, all teachers in the public school system must be licensed, according to the BLS. In most cases, the licensing process is administered by the State Board of Education, with requirements varying from state to state. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards grants voluntary teaching credentials for different subjects and grade levels and is valid for ten years. While these credentials may help job prospects, they are not a substitute for a state license (www.nbpts.org).

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