A degree program in middle school education trains students in the skills required to teach at the middle school level - grades five through eight. Coursework includes studies in adolescent psychology and emotional development, use of technology in education, guidance and counseling, literacy development, multicultural issues, and other related topics. A Bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most states, and a majority of graduates pursue higher education in order to enhance their career prospects. Several programs award licensure in the state of their completion, and most programs require an internship during the last phase of study.
Middle school education degree programs prepare students to teach middle school students in a specific area of study such as math, English, social studies or science. Licensure requirements for middle school teachers vary by state with approximately 28 states offering a middle school teaching license. 18 other states require a middle school endorsement in addition to either an elementary or secondary school license. Teachers may also need to obtain a subject-specific endorsement for the subject they will teach. The grades which middle school licenses cover also vary by state, ranging from fourth through ninth grades.
There is a higher demand for middle school teachers in general than there is for elementary or high-school teachers. The highest demand is for those who can teach math and science and for those willing to work in low-income areas.
Bachelor's Degree – A bachelor's degree in middle school education will prepare students to become licensed middle school teachers in public school systems or to teach at private middle schools.
Master's Degree – A master's degree in middle school education can be earned to expand a student's expertise in a specific subject area or to gain administrative training. This is also an option for those who have a bachelor's degree in an area outside of education. Graduates of the master's program may choose to teach or become curriculum specialists or school administrators.
Doctoral Degree – Doctoral programs in education are not typically specific to one age group but rather focus on administration, leadership or education psychology. Doctoral program graduates may take on administrative roles such as Principal or Superintendant of Schools or they may choose to become consultants, researchers or college instructors.
Middle school education degree programs can be found at universities and colleges as well as at many online schools. These programs are not as easy as finding other teaching degrees since many states allow those with elementary education or secondary education degrees to teach middle school.
Those who are considering a Middle School Education program should possess a special ability to relate to early adolescents during this difficult time in their development. They need to recognize that their success will have a lot to do with how they interact with their students and their knowledge of the subject matter they are teaching. Middle school teachers have a challenging and very important job that requires a sense of humor, flexibility and a desire to reach out to individual students in ways that go beyond academics.
Most graduates of Middle School Education degree programs will become Middle School Teachers in public or private middle schools. Graduates of Master's or Doctoral programs may choose to become school administrators, curriculum specialists, researchers or college instructors.