Teacher Education for Multiple Levels

Explore the educational and licensing requirements for teachers at multiple levels, including elementary and high school. Find additional information about earnings and employment here before making a final decision about your career.

Is Teacher Education for Multiple Levels for Me?

Career Overview

If you want to educate, inspire and motivate students, you may be interested in a career as a public or private school teacher. In general, teachers use organized lesson plans, presentations and lectures to disseminate age-appropriate information in accordance with school or state curriculum guidelines. Elementary school teachers focus on introducing students to the basics of mathematics, science, social science and the arts. Middle school and high school teachers provide students with more in-depth instruction in these areas, with some courses intended to prepare future graduates for their careers.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers were expected to grow at an average rate nationwide from 2012-2022. However, the BLS has projected a slower-than-average growth in job openings for high school teachers through 2022. High school mathematics, chemistry and physics teachers may be in greater demand.

As reported by the BLS in May 2013, the mean annual salary for an elementary school teacher was $56,320, while middle school teachers and high school teachers earned $56,630 and $58,260 respectively (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Teacher Education for Multiple Levels?

Overview of Requirements

Most public school teachers are certified to teach at particular levels. For example, if you're interested in working with younger children, you can become certified as a kindergarten, early childhood or elementary teacher. Early childhood certification may offer the most flexibility, since you'll most likely be able to teach children from preschool through third grade, as reported by the BLS. Your other options include middle school and high school certifications. High school teachers must often specialize in a particular subject.

Educational Options

There are various paths to certification, depending on the education you've already received, what kind of school you'd like to work in and what level you'd like to teach. Many teachers pursue a bachelor's degree in education, but you can also major in a specific subject while pursuing a teacher preparation program. If you have not earned a bachelor's degree in education, you can pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T). These degree programs can prepare you for state licensure by filling in the educational gaps through teaching courses and internships.

Experienced teachers who already hold a bachelor's degree from a teacher education program may pursue a Master of Education (M.Ed.). You can focus on a major content area, such as urban studies, elementary education or secondary education. In addition, a focus on English as a Second Language (ESL) can help you land a job in this high-demand area.

Licensing Requirements

Licensure is required for all public school teachers. Although State Board of Education requirements can vary, they typically include exams that test your general education knowledge and/or your expertise in a major content area. National certifications for teachers, available on a voluntary basis, may also help you stand out during the hiring process.

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