Teachers in K-12 education play a key role in helping students develop critical academic and social skills. K-12 education jobs range from kindergarten teachers who may help children learn to tie their shoes and function independently, to high school teachers who help students make college choices or tackle complex algebra problems.
Teachers in K-12 education need to be able to teach multiple subjects, from math to reading to art, and use hands-on teaching in the classroom to keep students engaged.
K-12 education degree programs are typically bachelor's degree programs, although many teachers go on to earn a master's degree. Teachers interested in teaching younger children may earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education while teachers at the middle or high-school level are more likely to specialize in a particular topic such as math or social studies. These teachers may earn a bachelor's degree in their field in addition to a teaching certificate. Public school K-12 education jobs require licensure and all general education teachers must have a bachelor's degree.
Some teachers may advance into positions in education administration such as principal or vice principal. Typically, K-12 education jobs in administration require a master's degree in education or a related field. Median annual salaries for K-12 education jobs range from $50, $510 for elementary school teachers to $52,200 for secondary school teachers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Administrators at the elementary and secondary level had median wages of $85,220 in 2009.
Employment is expected to grow as fast as average for all occupations. Job growth is driven largely by student enrollment, which is growing more slowly than in the past. Demand for teachers in special education, English as a second language, and upper match and science should be the strongest in the coming years.
With soaring enrollments and a wave of upcoming retirements, teachers can expect strong career opportunities in the coming years. K-12 teaching is already a rewarding profession--few roles are more important than helping young minds develop. Teachers mentor students and coordinate classroom activities. They teach valuable life skills, impart knowledge, and prepare students for future careers. Teachers are among the most influential members of society, educating tomorrow's citizens and leaders.
The standard qualification for a K-12 teaching career is a bachelor's degree and completion of a teacher training program. Most states will accept a bachelor's degree in any field, provided that the applicant completes a one-year teacher training program to build applied classroom teaching skills. States have different teacher licensure requirements; most require an exam in addition to the degree requirements, and some expect teachers to obtain a master's degree in education within the first few years on the job.
A teacher’s degree typically combines both elements of the education requirement--general education and applied teacher training. K-12 bachelor's degrees are widely available online, and include both general K-12 teacher training and subject-specific degrees.
Bachelor's degrees in K-12 Teaching include: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, K-8, Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics Education, Bachelor of Arts in Social Science Education, and Bachelor of Arts in Science Education.
These programs are designed to prepare students for a career in public school teaching. In addition to core liberal arts and science courses, the K-12 teaching curriculum includes courses in educational psychology, curriculum development, classroom management, pedagogical strategies, and more. The programs culminate in a teaching practicum, where students have an opportunity to gain classroom experience under the supervision of a teacher.
This advanced degree allows teachers to expand their teaching skills and take advantage of broader career opportunities. Teachers who earn a master's degree typically qualify for higher salaries as a result. Many teachers take advantage of online programs to complete their master's degree while they work. Master's degree programs offer more specialized training in K-12 education topics such as: Curriculum development, Pedagogical research and theory, Assessment and evaluation, Federal standards and regulations, Instructional strategies
In addition, graduate students complete a thesis or capstone project on a special topic in K-12 education.
A master's degree in K-12 teaching not only increases career opportunities and salaries in teaching, but also qualifies teachers for administrative and educational consulting positions. Graduates move into positions as curriculum developers, instructional coordinators, educational technology consultants, program directors, and even principals.