Some teachers say they choose education while others claim it chose them. Either way, the first step towards a career in what many call the noblest profession is a degree in education and teaching. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of degrees in the field as well as the career outlook, jobs, and salaries associated with education and teaching degree programs.

Associate Degrees in Education and Teaching


The lowest level of postsecondary education one can attain in the field of education and teaching is the associate degree. These degree programs typically require around 60 credit hours of coursework and take about two years to complete. Students who want to complete their associate degree in education/teaching faster can look for an accelerated degree program. These accelerated offerings allow students to earn their associate credential in significantly less time: as little as one year in some cases.

Education and Teaching Associate Degrees: Curriculum

The curricula for education and teaching associate degrees will vary depending on the specific school and program you choose. Because there are content overlaps, though, it’s possible to get an idea of what to expect prior to enrollment. Typically, an associate degree in education and teaching will require general education courses in subjects such as humanities, physical sciences, mathematics, behavioral sciences, and the like alongside major-specific classes in education. Below, we’ll list some sample general education and major course titles taken from actual associate degree offerings in education and teaching:

Associate in Education and Teaching: General Education Courses

  • Composition and Rhetoric
  • Digital Literacy for Life and the Workplace
  • Ethics in Critical Thinking
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Intermediate Algebra
  • Introduction to Environmental Science

Education/Teaching Associate Degrees: Major Courses

  • Principles of Education
  • Psychology of Childhood
  • Children’s Play and Learning
  • Introduction to Child Development
  • Approaches to Curriculum and Methods
  • Guidance of the Young Child
  • Introduction to Early Childhood Behavior Management
  • Guidance of the Young Child

Associate of Education and Teaching: Career Opportunities
For many students, an associate in teaching and education is simply a launchpad for continuing their education in a bachelor’s program. Other students wish to enter the job force immediately after graduating from an associate degree program. If the latter is the case for you, you’ll want to be aware of the career opportunities that exist for professionals with an associate in the field of education. The good news is that opportunities are numerous, and jobs are growing steadily in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for preschool teachers are currently growing faster than average and will continue to be on the rise for the foreseeable future. Positions for other job titles requiring an associate credential such as teaching assistant and childcare worker, for instance, are growing about as fast as average.

Education and Teaching Associate Degree: Pay

Although jobs requiring just an associate degree in education and teaching are some of the lowest paying positions in the field, it’s still possible to make a decent living with this degree. Below, you will find some common job titles for associate degree holders alongside their average salary, according to Payscale.com:

  • Childcare Center Director: $39,085
  • Preschool Director: $32,786
  • Children’s Ministry Director: $30,850
  • Daycare Teacher: $21,952
  • Preschool Teacher: $27,597
  • Teacher Assistant: $24,624

Interested in pursuing an accelerated online associate degree? Check out our ranking of the Fastest Online Associate Degree Programs!

Bachelor’s in Education and Teaching


Education and teaching bachelor’s degrees are among the most popular types of degrees in the field as they meet the minimum requirements for most of the occupations in education/teaching. These programs are academically rigorous, though, and most require that students commit four years of full-time study before receiving their degrees. Many bachelor’s programs in education and teaching are licensure programs, meaning that students will receive the certification they need to begin teaching in public school settings upon graduation. Depending on the particular program, graduates will be licensed to teach at the early childhood, elementary, or secondary levels. Some of these programs also include endorsement opportunities that will allow graduates to teach a specific subject or to a specific population of students.

Teaching and Education Bachelor’s Programs: Curriculum

Bachelor’s degree programs in teaching and education are similar to associate degree programs in the field in that they are comprised of both general education and major-specific courses. These programs are lengthier and more involved, however, allowing students to delve deeper into academic subjects and study more specific topics than they would be able to in an associate program. They usually require around 12 credit hours of coursework. Below, you will find some course titles taken from actual bachelor’s degree in education and teaching programs categorized by general education and major-specific classes.

Education/Teaching Bachelor’s Degree Programs: General Education Classes

  • Introduction to Civic Engagement
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Survey of World History
  • Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Mathematics for Educators
  • Principles of Human Biology


Bachelor’s in Education and Teaching: Major-Specific Classes

  • Diversity and Today’s Teacher
  • History of American Education
  • Introduction to Serving English Language Learners
  • Classroom Management, Engagement, and Motivation
  • Educational Philosophy for Teachers
  • Creating a Positive Classroom Climate
  • Educational Psychology
  • Inclusionary Practices for Exceptional Students
  • Early Language Development

In addition to coursework in education and teaching, bachelor’s degree programs in this subject area usually require a practicum, sometimes referred to as a student teaching experience. These experiences involve students visiting an actual classroom for an extended time period, learning under a mentor teacher, and planning and teaching real lessons.

Bachelor’s in Education and Teaching: Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that for the most part, jobs for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in education and teaching are growing about as fast as average. As children continue to enroll in public and private schools, there will be a steady demand for educational services at every level and in various instructional, curricular, and supervisory roles. Below we list some of the most common categories of employment for bachelor’s degree in education/teaching degree holders and their respective growth predictions between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS:

  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: 7% (about as fast as average)
  • Middle School Teachers: 8% (about as fast as average)
  • High School Teachers: 8% (about as fast as average)
  • Career and Technical Education Teachers: 4% (slower than average)

Education and Teaching Bachelor’s: Pay
Professionals with a bachelor’s degree in education and teaching will likely make significantly more per year than those with just an associate credential in the field. Payscale.com reports that bachelor’s degree in education degree holders make about $50,000 per year on average. Your exact salary will depend on a number of variables, however, including your specific job title, employer, and work experience (if any). We’ve listed several positions in the field of education and teaching requiring a minimum of a bachelor’s degree along with their average annual wage, according to Payscale.com:

  • Elementary School Teacher: $41,705
  • Middle School Teacher: $46,585
  • High School Teacher: $45,190
  • Special Education Teacher (Secondary): $46,093
  • Reading Specialist: $47,019
  • Instructional Designer: $62,116

Master’s in Education and Teaching


Master’s degree programs in education and teaching are available to prospective and practicing teachers who desire a deeper exploration into the areas of learning and instruction than a bachelor’s degree program can provide. These offerings are typically two-year programs of study that emphasize research in the field. Generally speaking, there are two different types of master’s programs in this subject area: a Master of Teaching and a Master of Education. Although there is some content overlap, a Master of Teaching program usually focuses on the subject area the student plans to teach (or already teaches) such as mathematics, science, or reading, for instance whereas a Master of Education program addresses education-specific topics such as instructional leadership, educational philosophies, and teaching strategies, for instance. Different types of programs are also available for practicing teachers with a bachelor’s degree in education versus students who are just entering the field of education and lack a teaching credential.

Education and Teaching Master’s Curriculum

Since there are so many different types of master’s degree programs in education and teaching, it should come as no surprise that there’s a good deal of variation from one master’s program to the next in terms of curriculum. It’s also common for master’s programs in the field to offer concentrations or specialty areas. These content customization options will heavily influence the types of subjects and topics a student can expect to study in a master’s program. Some of the more common concentration areas are listed below for your reference:

Master’s Degrees in Education/Teaching: Concentrations

  • Gifted and Talented Education
  • Special Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Higher Education
  • Educational Administration
  • Educational Technology
  • Online Learning
  • Reading Instruction
  • Music Education
  • English Education
  • STEM Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Foreign Language Instruction

As you can see, master’s degree programs are highly specific, so the types of classes you’ll take as you work towards your degree will depend on the kind of program you choose. Still, we’ll list some sample education and teaching master’s level course titles to give you a general idea of the breadth and scope of classes you might take. Keep in mind that these are only examples and are not necessarily reflective of the course titles you’ll take in your own master’s in teaching/education program:

  • Curriculum Design for Learning
  • Enhancing Learning for Diverse Populations
  • Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management for Educational Leaders
  • Issues in Instructional Design
  • Responsive Teaching in an Inclusion Classroom
  • Science and Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Social Studies and the Arts
  • What Works in Schools: School Improvement Research
  • Building Partnerships for Student Success

Education/Teaching Master’s Degree: Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for instructional coordinators are currently growing faster than average. In the decade between 2016 and 2016, they’re projected to grow by 11%. Many students who graduate from master’s degree programs in education and teaching will continue to teach in the classroom and will have the same opportunities as those with a bachelor’s degree in the field, if not more.

Master’s in Education and Teaching: Pay

Payscale.com reports the average annual salary for professionals with a master’s in education and teaching to be around $56,000 per year. Of course, your actual salary will vary depending on factors like your specific degree, job title, work experience, and employer, for instance. Below, you’ll find some of the common positions held by those with a master’s in education/teaching along with their respective average salaries as reported by Payscale:

  • Elementary School Teacher: $50,592
  • Middle School Teacher: $52,118
  • High School Teacher: $53,261
  • Instructional Designer: $62,516
  • Assistant Principal: $72,771
  • Elementary School Principal: $82,222
  • Academic Advisor: $41,967

Doctor of Education and Teaching Degrees


The apex of an academic career in education and teaching is the doctoral degree. This advanced degree prepares graduates to take on top leadership roles in the field and conduct scholarly research to develop new insights into teaching and learning. There are several different types of doctoral programs in education and teaching. Some examples are listed below:

Types of Doctorates in Education and Teaching

  • Doctor of Education (many concentrations)
  • PhD in Global Leadership and Change
  • PhD in Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education
  • PhD in Higher Education

Education/Teaching Doctoral Degree Programs: Curriculum

The curriculum for doctorates in teaching and education will vary depending on the type of degree program you choose as well as the school you attend. Coursework for a doctoral program tends to be highly specialized, though and centers on theory as well as the application of knowledge in the field. Some sample course titles are listed below for reference:

Teaching and Education Doctoral Programs: Sample Course Titles

  • Educational Policy Analysis
  • Sociology of Education
  • Educational Research: Experimental Design
  • Foundations of Teaching and Learning
  • Education, Culture, and Society
  • Introductory Statistics for Educational Research
  • Curriculum Theory and Research
  • Social and Political Context of Curriculum
  • Cognition, Culture, and Literacy
  • Measurement and Evaluation in Education
  • Seminar in Managing Life Long Learning
  • Ethnographic Research in Education
  • Current Research and Trends in Early Childhood Education
  • Early Writing: Cognition, Language, and Learning
  • Teacher Preparation and Professional Development

Education and Teaching Doctorates: Career Outlook and Pay

Many graduates of doctorate degree programs in education and teaching go on to teach at the college and university levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professors make a mean annual wage of $76,000, and job opportunities for this occupation are currently growing much faster than average. Of course, graduates of doctoral programs in education and teaching take on other roles in the field, too. Some of these job titles along with their average annual wages (according to Payscale.com) are listed below:

  • Executive Director: $93,938
  • Elementary School Principal: $92,697
  • High School Principal: $102,110
  • Academic Dean: $91,771
  • School Superintendent: $124,778
  • Instructional Designer: $64,853
  • Assistant Principal: $82,086
  • Education Director: $83,615
  • Director of Career Services: $62,506

Education and Teaching Degree Rankings:

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