Learn More About Education Careers

The field of education typically leads to teaching in some fashion, but consulting, administrative, and board member jobs are also available. In fact, the field of education is so varied that there are hundreds of different careers that can be accomplished with a basis in education. These jobs can be based online, in a classroom, in other countries, or even in centers or homes.

When thinking of the field of Education, becoming a teacher is the most obvious form of an educational career. Even within teaching, the subject areas and age groups are so varied that a range of options exist. Below are several areas that can be utilized for employment and careers when entering the world of education.

Teaching Career Options

A birth to three teacher is likely to work with families in the home to help monitor and offer suggestions for infants and toddlers who may have had problems at birth or in overall development. These individuals may need a social work degree in addition to an educational background and should expect to work with many other experts such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists.

Preschool teachers may work in a daycare center or school setting. Most preschool age children will have teachers who focus on development in all areas, such as physical, mental, emotional, and academic. Teachers may focus on basic skills such as colors, matching, letters, and sounds as well as jumping, expressing emotions, and following directions.

Teachers of elementary grade levels must be well versed in all subject areas as their classroom will require students to be taught science, social studies, math, reading, and basic writing skills. Students must also be taught to behave appropriately in a classroom. At this level, teachers may be found in a number of different countries and in a variety of settings. It is also becoming more popular to offer online courses or complete schooling with teachers teaching from home or on camera in a center. Some teachers may also work in hospitals, juvenile correction centers, or in homes to help students who are disabled or unable to attend school for some reason. This is true of teachers at higher levels through twelfth grade as well, but they are typically focused in a single subject area.

Professors are also in the education field who are working at the college level with young adults. Professors usually have to have a minimum of a Master's degree, but often require a Doctorate in a given subject area or focus. College campuses can be brick and mortar or based online depending on the particular class and college. This may also open up the option of worldwide travel as a teacher in another country.

Administrative Career Options

School administrators also must have a background in education. At all levels, administration is required and is based on an education degree. Administrators may run day care centers, elementary schools, high schools, middle schools, be a dean at a college, or run an education program at a juvenile center or other institution. Education majors and school administrators may also become board members or consultants to businesses that aid the education industry. In fact, education majors have such a wide variety of subject area choices that a job in almost any area can be gained in the right situation.

One should remember that if going into education, it is likely that some teaching will be involved in the future job. However, the setting, age group, located, country, and salary can vary greatly. What type of educational area would be the best fit for your passions and interests?

Salary Comparison Tool

Although most educators do not enter the profession just for the salary, it is something we all consider. This tool will allow you to easily search and compare the average salaries of various careers in education throughout the United States. You can search by city and state. All salary data is sourced from BLS.gov.

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Art Teacher

An art teacher is one who educates students about the creation of art. Generally this means creating art in some type of classroom setting. Some art teachers will work within the school system, while others may teach students of various ages in a community center or other type of setting. Art teachers may also offer private lessons in some cases. If in the school system an art teacher may teach basic techniques, while at the higher levels art teachers are likely to focus in part on art history.  Art teachers have the option to work anywhere in the world in which a need exists.

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Biology Teacher

Biology teachers are most often found at the high school or college levels. This type of teacher can work in a private, public, charter, or online school to develop curricula that meets current educational standards. This typically involves creating basic experiments, presenting lessons, and helping students carry out scientific investigations. In addition, biology teachers at the high school level may be required to give standardized testing, work with parents on student performance, and provide approved disciplinary actions if needed to modify student behavior. Many teachers also serve as advisors to clubs and other organizations before and after school hours.

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College Professor

A college professor is one that teaches mostly young adults in a given subject area at a private, public, or online school. A college professor is responsible for teaching the subject area in which they are trained, as well as guiding students in the right direction as far as completing a degree. Professors are also often responsible for writing recommendation letters for jobs, higher level educational programs, or even scholarships. A professor must create tests, assignments, and projects that allow students to demonstrate knowledge in the given subject area and provide grades for each. In addition, professors may serve as advisors to clubs or organizations.

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Elementary School Teacher

An elementary school teacher is one that teaches in grades kindergarten through fifth in most cases. Some states define elementary education from 1st through 5th grades. An elementary teacher typically only teaches one grade level at a time, but some programs have subject specific teachers who address numerous grade levels. Elementary teachers are required to plan for and educate students at the given grade level in a variety of subjects. These may include science, social studies, math, reading, writing, and other basic skills. Teachers must also work with other professionals and parents to ensure students are working to the expected levels for that age group. In addition, elementary teachers may be required to take part in some afterschool activities to provide a well-rounded education.

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English Teacher

As an English teacher you are required to instruct and inform students in written, verbal, and spoken language. A strong knowledge base in writing, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and visual literacy is imperative. English teachers work at all levels, but are predominantly found from the sixth grade through college as teachers of solely English. An English teacher is required to hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher in most states. Duties are likely to include testing, grading, student supervision, parental and peer meetings, and possibly curriculum development tasks. Salaries vary greatly from state to state and with educational levels.

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ESL Teacher

An ESL teacher or an English as a Second Language teacher, is responsible for teaching English to students who are not native speakers. There are typically specific requirements for ESL teachers for each school district, though a degree in ESL is often available. ESL teachers can work at any grade level within the school system and is responsible for all duties assigned to a typical teacher in addition to ESL activities. ESL activities may include translation or simplification of assignments, communication with parents, and serving as an intermediary for students with other teachers as English language skills are improved. Larger cities are more likely to have multiple ESL teaching positions.

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High School Teacher

A high school teacher teaches in grade nine through twelve in the majority of schools in the United States. The actual grade levels may vary slightly depending on the state or district. High school teachers are usually only responsible for teaching a single subject (or related subjects) at either single or multiple grade levels. In addition they may be required to write recommendation letters for college, supervise extracurricular events, and complete daily basic teaching duties including grading, testing, and creating lesson plans. Salaries, as well as job availability for high school teachers vary greatly between and among school districts.

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History Teacher

History, or Social Studies,  teachers are most likely at the middle school, high school, and college levels. A history teacher is required to teach on topics related to various historical events and periods. At some levels, specific histories are required, such as state history, foreign history, or specific time periods and eras. A history teacher is responsible for student performance, meeting with parents, peers, and administration, testing, and in some cases, extracurricular activities. A history teacher at the college level may be required to teach in a certain area as well while offering students guidance and supervision on a larger scale.

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Kindergarten Teacher

A kindergarten teacher teaches very young students who are typically aged five or six. A kindergarten teacher is required to supervise, assess, test, and teach students the basic skills necessary to build all future education upon. A kindergarten teacher is required to teach basic math and literacy skills while also guiding students in emotional, physical, and mental development. Kindergarten teachers are often required to help with other activities that may include supervision duties, during lunch or recess, or activities that take place outside of normal school hours. Kindergarten teachers need to be active and engaging in order to work with this age group.

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Math Teacher

A mathematics teacher is responsible for teaching math skills to students at various levels. Teachers who solely teach math subjects will most likely be found in middle schools and high schools. This is one teaching area in which all grade levels can be taught depending on the type of mathematics a person desires to teach. Teaching at higher levels in specific math types, such as algebra, geometry, or statistics, will most likely require certification in that subject. Teachers are required to teach both basic and upper level concepts in a manner that is age appropriate and clear for the group in which they are assigned. Math teachers need to teach, plan, test, assess, and encourage on the daily basis to help students succeed.

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Middle School Teacher

A middle school teacher is most likely a teacher of a single subject in grade six through eight or a single subject in a particular grade in that range. Some middle school teachers may also teach grades five or nine depending on the school district. A middle school teacher is expected to create lesson plans that encompass the standards for their subject area. Teachers at this level may be required to have team meetings with students, parents, fellow teachers, and/or administration over student performance, grades, or overall behavior if an issue arises. Some middle school teachers have additional benefits in pay or student loan forgiveness for teaching in high need areas such as math and science.

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Montessori Teacher

A Montessori teacher is unlike the traditional teachers that most people think of when educational environments come to mind. A Montessori teacher does not ‘teach’, but provides guidance to students in a prepared environment. This allows students to find their own knowledge over time. Montessori teachers use practical, hands-on forms of guidance to allow children of all ages to discover their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. This may mean preparing a meal by actually cooking, peeling, chopping, etc. as opposed to reading about how to prepare a meal in a book. Though Montessori teachers can be found at all levels, early childhood ages are the most likely groups to experience this type of teaching.

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Music Teacher

A music teacher is a teacher who teaches the basics of music theory and ability in various age groups. Music teachers at the elementary level are most likely to teach multiple age groups and offer instruction in singing on key, reading music, and appreciating basic instruments. At the middle school level a music teacher may actually be a choir director or band leader, though some extra training or classes beyond a Bachelor’s degree may be required. The same is true at the high school level though more music theory may be introduced. At the college level a music teacher is likely to teach both general music appreciation classes as well as specific skill classes based on instruments or voice.

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P.E. Teacher

A physical education teacher is an instructor that focuses on physical development and ability in students of all ages. A P.E. teacher is required to teach basic skills in a variety of sports based on the age level of the student, as well as keep the students safe during such activities. P.E. teachers are also expected to encourage students to stay active and healthy as part of an overall lifestyle. Physical education teachers are also required to work with fellow teachers, administrators, parents, and students to improve grades and abilities throughout. P.E. teachers can work at all grade and age levels.

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Preschool Teacher

A preschool teacher may work in a school, center, or daycare working with students who are typically ages three to five. Preschool teachers are expected to teach the basic skills necessary for students to be successful in future school years. These may include counting, letter recognition, and other basic skills such as colors or following directions. Preschool teachers need to be willing to work with parents and other family members to help students progress at a normal rate over time. A preschool teacher must be active to keep up with the number of students who will likely be present.

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Principal

A principal is a school administrator. Principals are typically found at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. A principal or director may also be present at the preschool level in some places. A principal is responsible for hiring educators, maintaining rules and regulations, and disciplining students when the situation cannot be handled at the classroom level. A principal will also be required to meet with county board members, parents, and community members as needed. A principal is the head of a school and must be highly educated at the Masters or Doctoral level in the majority of cases.

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School Administrator

The title of school administrator can include roles such as principals, vice principals, instructional specialists, coordinators, and more. They lead teachers and other staff in the daily activities of a school. School administrators can be found at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. An administrator must continually evaluate a school’s progress toward goals that are often set forth by the district. This may include budgeting issues, curriculum issues, or hiring of teachers and staff. An administrator is often required to work longer hours and an extended year when compared to teaching staff. A Masters degree or higher is required for this type of position.

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School Counselor

A school counselor can be found at all levels of education, including the college level. A school counselor is an integral part of the overall educational team for students. A school counselor can help students stay on track academically while also helping to improve personal and social development when needed. A student who is struggling with some personal area may be referred to a school counselor for guidance. The counselor may serve as a sounding board or as a referral source when needed. School counselors may also be required to offer training to teachers on certain tasks such as testing or intervention services as needed.

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School Librarian

A school librarian is often a hub within a school building. Though librarians are responsible for the library within the school, they are often also responsible for technology management, scheduling use of the library, and supervision of student helpers at higher levels. A librarian may be needed to assess reading levels, distribute important information school wide, and even recommend books that are age appropriate for a given student or group. In addition, school librarians must have an intimate knowledge of how books are categorized and leveled. There are special programs required for school librarians at the Bachelor's and Master's level.

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School Secretary

A school secretary can often be the heartbeat of a school. A school secretary is often required to compile attendance, deal with students that are coming or going within the school, handling parent volunteers, and answering phones. This is in addition to keeping lunch counts, monitoring teacher attendance and substitute needs, keeping school accounting straight, and distributing important information school wide. The school secretary is often very busy from the beginning of the day to the end and tends to keep hours similar to teachers. Though a degree is not necessarily required, most secretaries hold a minimum of a Bachelors degree.

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Science Teacher

A science teacher is most often found at the middle, high school, or college level. Science teachers are responsible for sharing information about science in general or in a specific area such as biology, chemistry, or life sciences. Science teachers are often required to guide and conduct experiments that are age appropriate for the given classroom. Some science teachers may teach advanced placement classes in which a more intense course of study is required. College level science teachers are often much more specialized. Some science teachers at the middle and high school levels are not educated as teachers first, but in a science field, later being trained as educators.

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Special Education Teacher

A special education teacher is trained as an educator for students who have special needs. This type of teacher is required to complete individualized educational plans each year for every student included on the case load. In addition, special education teachers often work side by side in full inclusion classrooms with regular education students. This type of teacher may be responsible for modifying assignments and helping students who have special needs. Special education is typically considered a high need area in the majority of school districts.

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Substitute Teacher

A substitute teacher is a teacher who steps in for a teacher unable to work for a single day or an extended period of time. A substitute teacher may be in a different classroom and school each day or the week. Many substitute teachers are not aware of their assignment until the morning the job begins. A substitute teacher is responsible for carrying out the plans set up by the teacher for the day or providing an activity if no plans are left. A substitute is also required to carry out any duties the regular classroom teacher does as well as keeping students safe and on task. Substitute pay and hiring varies between school districts.

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Superintendent

A school superintendent is like the CEO of a school district. Typically there is only one superintendent per district in each state. The superintendent sees over the board of education and helps keep the vision of that board active each day. Superintendents must work with all types of people in education and the community to meet district and state goals. In addition, the superintendent is often responsible for financial disbursements and management for the entire district. A superintendent works year round to meet all these needs.

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Teaching Assistant

A teaching assistant, teacher’s aide, or TA works under a licensed teacher to further instruction and offer added supervision for students.  Teacher’s aides can be found in all types of classrooms, but are more common at lower levels, in special needs classrooms, or in daycare settings. Both public and private institutions can have teacher’s aides. A teacher’s aide may teach with supervision, supervise students in different activities, and help manage classroom behavior. Teaching assistants typically have to have at least a high school diploma or two year degree, but some districts require a Bachelor’s degree.

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Vice Principal

A vice principal, or assistant principal, works with the principal of the school to provide support where needed. Some vice principals may be assigned certain roles such as managerial or organizational tasks, but many will simply work collaboratively with the principal to carry out the vision and other matters for their particular school. In addition, vice principals are typically responsible for setting the school and class schedule each year while assigning supervisory duties to teachers as needed. A vice principal will be expected to act as principal in the absence of said principal.

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