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Types of Education Degrees

March 20, 2021 | Staff Writers

Types of Education Degrees
Degree Finder
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Upon graduating high school and acquiring your diploma, there’s a boatload of degrees to choose from in pursuit of higher education. Whether you decide to earn your degree at an online university or a traditional college, there’s no denying it will open up the door to a wealth of opportunities to excel in the career of your dreams. 

From a doctoral degree to teacher certification, the different levels of education that we’ll delve into usher in a realm of endless opportunities. Granted, each degree calls for a different amount of energy, money, and time to complete. However, regardless of the higher education you pursue, there’s no doubt that you’re broadening your possibilities by earning degrees or credentials.

Associate Degree in Teaching and Education

As the first step in a teaching career, an associate degree in education ushers in the following perks. 

Job Opportunities 

With an associate degree in education, you qualify for paraeducator roles such as teacher’s aide or assistant. An associate degree holder may qualify for jobs such as substitute teacher or preschool teacher in some states. 

Furthermore, an associate’s in education can prepare you for entry-level careers outside public schools, such as before-and-after-school programs, daycares, and Head Start programs. 

Exploring the Teaching Career Path 

An associate degree in education is a great starting point for individuals interested in teaching but aren’t ready to commit to a 4-year bachelor’s degree program. Moreover, it can be a way to explore whether becoming a teacher is right up your alley. 

Earning an associate’s degree is more affordable than a bachelor’s degree as a result of the reduced coursework. It’s usually 60 credit hours for an associate’s vs. 120 credit hours to earn a bachelor’s. 

Preparation for Further Teaching Certification 

An associate degree is a stepping stone to the path of acquiring certification as a classroom teacher. The credit hours from an associate’s degree program in education are usually later transferrable to a bachelor’s program geared towards teacher certification. 

The available specializations or majors within an associate’s in education are relatively limited compared to a higher education degree program. The two main types of associate-level education degree types are transfer programs to a bachelor’s degree and paraprofessional programs. Within these two pathways below are the common specializations or majors for an associate’s in education: 

  • Health Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Child Development
  • Teacher’s Aide/ Assistant 
  • General Education
  • Art Education
  • Physical Education
  • Childhood Education 

You may also find an online associate degree program with an education major in subjects such as special educational studies, educational technology, and library science. These degrees can result in careers from the associate degree level. However, it’s more common for careers in these fields to need a master’s degree or a bachelor’s. 

Here’s a breakdown of the available degrees after completing a learning and teacher education program, based on your specialization. 

Associate Degree In Teaching and Education

It requires 60 credits that students usually complete in 2 years. The curriculum constitutes about 20 major credits and 40 credits of general education. Education coursework usually explores the principles of childhood psychology, learning theory, education, and classroom management. 

Graduate students can work as Bible study teachers, home school tutors, substitute teachers, private school teachers, and a teaching aide. 

Master’s Degree In Education and Teaching 

It takes up to 2 years to complete and requires 30 credits. Graduate options for students include a master’s degree in educational leadership, instruction and curriculum, and teaching. A master’s degree in this field can usher in career progressions for educators, ranging from an educational leader such as a school principal, education policy analyst, and curriculum designer to the district superintendent, among other educational leadership positions. 

Bachelor’s Degree In Education and Teaching 

It requires 120 credits to complete that typically takes four years. Graduate students have free rein to transfer their associate degree to a 4-year university and earn their bachelor’s in 2 extra years. Most bachelor’s degrees in education meet the stipulated state teacher licensure requirements that include student teaching hours. Education professionals with this degree work as K-12 teachers, special education teachers, and K-12 curriculum coordinators. 

Doctoral Degree In Education and Teaching 

A student pursuing a doctoral degree in teaching and education can earn a Doctor of Education (EDD) or a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) in education. An EDD program is perfect for individuals geared towards educational leadership positions, whereas a doctoral program prepares students for academia-related careers. 

EDD programs may include coursework in school management and finance, educational leadership, supervision of instruction, and public relations. 

Certificate In Education and Teaching 

Regarded as an elementary education degree, it’s available at a graduate level and requires up to 15 credits. Contrary to state certifications, a certificate in education and teaching is usually available from a private college or school. 

Furthermore, it’s not sufficient to qualify a holder to practice. State certification calls for a given number of student teaching hours or bachelor’s degree. Certificate programs take less than 12 months to complete and qualify for community college teaching. 

Programs geared towards this elementary education degree help educators that have completed an educator’s preparation program acquire certain skills, including designing a virtual learning environment. 

Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching and Education

With an online bachelor’s degree, students can become teachers. While a multitude of teachers also earn a master’s, an online Bachelor of Education or teaching degree is sufficient for the fulfillment of the requirements to become a teacher. 

After college, a teacher certification or teaching license is necessary to teach in public schools, regardless of whether you’re looking to become a high school or preschool teacher. Moreover, the rules on the necessary certifications vary from one state to another. 

Completing a bachelor’s degree program in a non-education field can be useful in becoming a teacher. However, in this case, an alternative teaching certification is mandatory. It’s a requirement in some states for a teacher to pursue and complete a master’s degree program within a specified timeframe after becoming a teacher. 

A common myth is that you can only get a master’s in education if you have a bachelor’s in the same field. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As long as you have completed the prerequisite coursework needed to earn a bachelor’s, you can get the online master’s degree that fulfills your heart’s desires. 

The difference between a Bachelor of Education and a teaching degree is that the latter only qualifies you to teach children between 0 and 5. Therefore, with a Bachelor of Teaching, you’re restricted to working in childcare centers. 

However, a Bachelor of Education isn’t as restrictive as becoming a registered teacher to work with children aged between 0 and 8. Armed with this degree, you can teach Prep, kindergarteners at childcare centers, and 1st to 3rd graders. 

The work in a Bachelor of Education centers on lower elementary school children. It takes longer as you need to learn the reporting methods and curriculum for working in an elementary school setting. Contrarily, a Bachelor of Teaching is geared towards providing younger children in childcare centers with elementary education and is, therefore, shorter. 

With a bachelor’s in education, you have a broader spectrum of career options. However, if you prefer to solely work in childcare centers, then a bachelor’s in teaching is a better fit for you.

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is a great idea as it establishes critical learning behaviors that students carry with them throughout their lives. As an essential field, when early childhood education is delivered effectively, it can quite literally change a learner’s life. 

Studies prove that early childhood education can lower the need for special education, reduce the achievement gap, boost the chances of a healthier lifestyle, diminish the crime rate and overall social costs. 

A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education also ushers in the following opportunities: 

  • Nanny
  • Childcare Director
  • Preschool Teacher
  • Elementary Teacher Education
  • Psychologist or school counselor
  • Childcare Worker
  • Special Education Teacher 

Master’s Degree in Teaching and Education

With a master’s in education (MED), you can take on supervisory and specialized roles in the field. For instance, after earning a master’s education degree program in administration, you can serve as a high school, elementary, or high school principal. Alternatively, completing a master’s program arms you with the required skills and knowledge to become a post-high-school education administrator. 

With a teaching and learning degree from UAA, graduates can conduct critical evaluation and analysis, address complex problems, and develop viable solutions. Learners also acquire the necessary skills to facilitate decision-making processes and discussions. As a result, they can excel in educational leadership roles. 

Pursuing higher education from UAA will prepare you for a boatload of opportunities such as:

  • A college or university instructor
  • K-12 teacher salary increment
  • Educational leadership positions in degree or certificate programs
  • Becoming a prospective teacher
  • Education presenter for organizations such as school districts
  • K-12 teacher
  • Upward Bound TRIO Director
  • US Air Force Executive Officer
  • Project Coordinator
  • Professional development course instructor 

Teachers go to graduate school for a myriad of reasons. Some are novices in the field and enroll in a full-time or part-time master’s degree program to qualify for state teaching certificates. Granted, you may not require a master’s degree to become a teacher in most jurisdictions in the US. 

However, if your goal is to spend your career in classrooms, there’s a multitude of compelling professional reasons to consider Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree programs. 

It’s no secret that some teachers enroll in this graduate degree program for various personal reasons, such as the desire to improve in their area of expertise, curiosity, and passion for a particular content area. 

An MAT program is geared towards providing experienced teachers with the necessary credentials and skills for more specialized job opportunities and preparing a prospective teacher for a career and licensure in the classroom. 

A Master’s in Art or Science in Teaching (MAT) ushers in a multitude of career opportunities as outlined below:

  • Special Education Instruction
  • Administering Secondary Education
  • Elementary School Teaching
  • Middle School Teaching
  • Coordinating School Programs
  • Teaching Early Childhood Education
  • Curriculum Creation is a necessity not only in secondary education but at all levels.
  • Working with a broad range of student abilities, ages, and grade levels
  • A professional, amateur, and the collegiate sports organization
  • Main or Assistant Principal

The difference between a Master’s in Education (ME) and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) revolves around the enrolled students’ career aspirations and learning objectives. Typically, a learner pursuing an MAT degree wants to progress their career and acquire practical expertise in working with children and lesson instruction. 

On the other hand, an ME student is more focused on bettering their career outside the classroom realm and into the curriculum creation and administration fields.

Keeping that in mind, below are some of the major ways in which a ME and MAT degree differ. 

1. Specialization 

  • MAT mostly focuses on the progression of your teaching career. It’s the degree people looking to gain hands-on teaching experience and work directly with students pursue.
  • As an advanced degree, MED targets veering away from the classroom and into the core of secondary education, among other levels. A prospective teacher can enroll in a MED program and remain in the classroom. However, the program permits a broader educational spectrum. It ensures that learners grasp the mechanisms and systems behind the education system, along with the most ideal ways to collaborate with peers and influence positive change. 

2. Example Coursework 

  • A Master of Arts in teaching arms you with in-depth knowledge and understanding of learner differences and liberal arts, for instance, the philosophy and history of education.
  • Enrolling in a Master’s in Education program means you learn the ins and outs of curriculum creation and educational leadership. 

3. Common Careers 

An MAT provides the following job opportunities:

  • Special Education Teacher
  • Middle School Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Secondary Education (Middle School) Teacher 

With a MED, you can become a:

  • Reading Specialist
  • School Principal
  • Adult Literacy Teacher
  • Instructional Coordinator

Doctoral Degree in Teaching and Education

If you’re considering furthering your learning with a Ph.D. in Teaching and Education, thoughts of whether it’s worth the effort, time, and money are racing your mind. From making an impact in your field with original research to upward mobility, here are a few reasons why it’s a great idea.

  • A doctoral degree in teaching and education is terminal, which means it ranks highest in the realm of higher education. Therefore, it qualifies you for a vast assortment of educational leadership opportunities in the private and public sectors. An online doctoral program in this field delivers the credentials and expertise needed to present academic findings at educational conferences, find desirable job opportunities, and publish in professional journals.
  • After pursuing an elementary education degree, the ideal online doctorate in teaching and education will equip you with the needed tools to perform qualitative research that is directly applicable to your field. The research is not only personally fulfilling but also significantly contributes to the field as you can focus solely on topics you’re truly passionate about. It’s a great opportunity to bring positive change to a university, community, and classroom. From classroom management to child development, there’s no denying that your doctorate in teaching and education can fuel the development of new teaching methods and tools that make an unforgettable difference.
  • If a job promotion or new job piques your interest, the credentials you earn in an online or on-campus doctorate education program will allow you to progress in new and exciting ways. You’ll qualify for leadership roles that allow you to make a lasting influence in the communities you serve and in your field. 

If a sustainability degree piques your interest, you’ll be pleased to learn that there is a boatload of degree levels to select from. Furthermore, sustainability, a fairly new discipline, ushers in numerous career opportunities. With that being said, let’s discuss the available degree levels in the field of sustainability. 

1. Associate Degree 

More than 33 learning institutions in the US avail associate degree programs that focus on sustainability and take two years to complete. Eighteen of these colleges offer sustainability as a minor, whereas 15 offer it as a major. 

Aside from general education courses, learners enrolled in associate degree programs usually take courses such as environmental geology, physical geography, environmental ethics, energy, and the environment, principles of ecology, environmental conservation, and society and chemistry. 

2. Bachelor’s Degree 

According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), 421 universities or colleges in the US offer bachelor’s degree programs that center on sustainability. Ninety-eight of these colleges offer a specific or major in sustainability, such as Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) that usually take four years to complete. 

3. Graduate Degree 

More than 460 universities or colleges in the US offer master’s degree programs that focus on sustainability. Furthermore, more than 100 colleges in the US avail doctoral degrees that center on sustainability. 

A few of these universities offer sustainability as a major or concentration. The course topics in master’s degree programs may range from the ethics and law of sustainability, natural environment, economics for sustainable development, and statistical methods in sustainability to applied research. 

Based on their career goals, students may combine science tracks or engineering with sustainability degrees. 

PhDs and doctorates are the topmost levels of higher education. Each is a postgraduate study that entails a myriad of years of education and the body of knowledge on certain subjects. 

Graduates of both degrees should have the immense knowledge and expertise required in their respective fields. The ability to conduct qualitative research is another essential skill. 

While a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) and doctorate share a few similarities, they differ in a few ways, as discussed below. 

  • For starters, the main difference between a Ph.D. and a doctorate lies in their scope. A doctorate applies to professional or academic degrees. It includes a myriad of specific professions and industries such as engineering, medicine, business, and law. On the other hand, PhDs are more defined degrees considered to be more academic, focusing on teaching and research.
  • Secondly, PhDs and doctorates differ in the presentation of dissertations, the last requirement before degree conferment. A doctoral dissertation typically entails research that is aligned with a specific research orientation or profession. The document is typically submitted for assessment or review and is the make-or-break in earning the degree. Contrarily, Ph.D. dissertations are must be defended to a panel of instructors, are entirely research-inclined, and publishable in peer-reviewed journals. 

Certificate in Teaching and Education

Are you looking for a means of promoting knowledge of pedagogy and content and professional development as a current teacher of mathematics? Then enrolling in a graduate certificate program in mathematics learning and teaching is your best bet. Below are the criteria for eligibility to earn this qualification. 

  1. Admission Requirements 
    • Undergraduate degree GPA of at least three and a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school. You may receive provisional admission with a GPA that ranges from 2.75 to 2.99.
    • Enrolling in a teacher certification program and earning accreditation to teach in middle school or high school.
    • Charter or private school teachers that lack the necessary certification can reach out to the respective program director and request a further evaluation to prove they are a good fit.
    • Without the required certification, learners can consider pursuing another graduate program and take an MLT course as an elective. 
  2. Required Documents
    • An essay describes in great detail why you’d like to pursue a certificate in mathematics teaching and education.
      Two academic or professional recommendation letters.
      Resume 
    • A completed application
    • A valid teaching certificate for the high school or middle school level.
    • Official transcripts from any college, university, or learning institution you have attended. 

With LVC’s online teaching and learning certificate, you can:

  • Design and develop content that mirrors the standards. You can use the resources and tools in the course development to deliver a differentiated and varied instructional design via a multitude of media forms and resources.
  • Understand and develop the implementation and design of an ideal online assessment that validates and maintains academic integrity.
  • Show the understanding and knowledge of confidentiality protocols, legal issues regarding online education, and digital citizenship.
    Apply and synthesize program instruction in the real world. 

It’s worth noting that a teaching credential is a certificate. It’s a license that State agencies confer to teachers that have completed the specified requirements mandated by the state, such as student teaching experience and education courses, and passed extra teaching examinations also mandated by the state. 

Select courses in this online teaching and certificate program are transferrable into corresponding master’s specializations, cutting down on the time and cost ion earning your degree. 

Additional Accreditation and Licensing to Consider in Teaching and Education

As regular day schools, international schools are administered in the same manner as parochial and public schools. Moreover, this class of schools was established with children of expatriates in mind. They exist to allow these children to receive an education in their native language as well as to the expectations of their parents’ native countries. 

Keeping that in mind, we’ve outlined the usual requirements to teach abroad in registered international schools. 

  1. Higher education certificate such as a bachelor of Education or a Bachelor’s degree relating to your teaching specialization.
  2. Teaching training acquired at a university or college for the appropriate age bracket. For instance:
    • PGDE (Scotland)
    • Higher Diploma of Education (South Africa and Ireland)
    • Teaching certificate and registration (Ireland and New Zealand)
    • International Baccalaureate (IB Certificate)
    • Bachelor’s in Teaching (New Zealand)
    • Master’s in Education (MED)
    • Qualified teaching status (UK)
    • PGCE (Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Wales)
    • Non-emergency and permanent state teaching graduate certification (Canada and the US)

Keep in mind that TEFL certification doesn’t equate to the teacher learning and training alternatives mentioned above because it’s solely for teaching English as one of the foreign languages as opposed to compulsory education. 

To verify regional or national accreditation of a university or college, check the Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP). By conducting your due diligence, you can ensure your learning institution is regionally-accredited or nationally listed. 

To qualify their preparation programs for higher education learning institutions, educators, and other educational organizations must meet the stipulated statewide requirements. These programs establish the program of content and study for preparation courses along with varying proficiency levels of candidates that make them qualify for teacher licensure. 

The State education boards have different levels of authority, depending on the governance and state statute models.

A teacher is entrusted to educate children and prepare the youth to lead a successful life as an adult. A criminal background check is mandatory with such an essential role if you wish to pursue a teaching career with educator licensure. 

While minor crimes typically don’t interfere with your pursuit of a teaching career, particular criminal offenses won’t hinder you from earning your certification. Every state legislature determines the standards you must meet before you can be granted certification as a practicing educator. 

These include various crimes that are not permissible for a professional teacher. For instance:

  • Sexually-related offenses
  • Drug activity
  • 1st and 2nd-degree crimes
  • Endangerment of others

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