When most people think of a career in education, they picture a teacher standing at the chalkboard in an elementary, middle, or high school classroom. However, the scope of a professional career in education can be much broader. Educators not only work as teachers in public schools, but also as college professors, vocational instructors, school administrators, instructional coordinators, teaching assistants, special education teachers and in many other highly-specialized positions.
As one might expect, the range of degree options for those interested in a career in education is as broad as the profession itself, ranging from associate degree and certificate programs for entry-level positions to doctoral degree programs for those who aspire to work at the very top of the profession. Given this broad range of career and degree options, it is not surprising that education courses of study are extremely popular at post-secondary institutions throughout the nation.
Online degree programs in education are plentiful, available from traditional, well-established colleges and universities, as well as from reputable primarily-online degree providers. Those considering an online degree program in education may find that their biggest problem will be sorting through all the available choices to find the one that best fits their specific needs. It is, therefore, important for an individual to have a firm understanding of his or her career goals before starting down the road of a formal post-secondary education program.
The following is a brief overview of the most common online education degree choices currently available:
Online bachelor degree programs in elementary education, as well as in most core teaching subjects, are plentiful and offered by primarily-distance education schools and established public and private institutions alike.
When evaluating education degree programs, especially those delivered online, many different factors should be considered: tuition, career goals and time-to-completion to name a few. However, the following two elements could be the most important:
Unlike most occupations, where professional certification typically refers to a credential awarded by any one of a number of professional associations and organizations, certification in the education field commonly refers to one of two types of credentialing: State licensing and certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).
Student teaching internship programs are extremely popular and, in many cases, a requirement for earning a college degree or teaching credential. In addition, many states employ internships as part of an alternative method to fulfilling certain licensing requirements for new teachers or experienced teachers locating from other jurisdictions. Whether specifically required or not, student internships are highly recommended for anyone seeking to enter the teaching profession. Internships are designed to provide an intensive, hands-on, real-life classroom experience that allows student teachers to develop and refine the skills and competencies learned in their college degree programs.
Internship programs are most commonly made available to student teachers through public school districts, independent private schools, and college and university education departments. As mentioned, these student teaching internships are often incorporated into the curriculum of degree programs. Anyone seriously considering an online degree in the education field should inquire into the availability of quality internships offered as part of the distance learning institution’s degree program.
This five-week course, consisting of short weekly lecture videos with embedded quiz questions, is designed to expand the student’s understanding of blended and online instruction, and to hone his or her skills in the implementation of instructional strategies.
This four-week course focuses on how to conduct functional behavior assessment (FBA) and apply principles of behavior in the public school classroom. Topics include Foundations of Functional Behavior Assessment and Developing Function Based Intervention Methods. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a Statement of Accomplishment.
Offered by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), this nine-week course focuses on building an educator’s capacity to use, develop and implement curriculum-embedded performance assessments that fit local contexts. It is designed for grade six to 12 teachers working in the core disciplines of mathematics, language arts, history/social studies and science.
is four-week course explores the social, legal and ethical issues surrounding modern-day genetics. Students will be given an understanding of the science and technology behind breakthroughs, such as therapeutic cloning and the sequencing of the human genome.
This seven-week course is designed to examine issues related to the globalization of higher education and research. Its objective is to help students better understand how and why universities are globalizing, and the key implications of that process.
The purpose of this course is to help teachers move from a top-down content delivery model of science instruction to one where the teacher acts as a guide, enabling students to create shared meaning of important science concepts. This four-week course is taught by university faculty and staff members.
Co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, this course is one of two based on the internationally-recognized “Shaping the Way We Teach English” videos and corresponding resources. It is aimed at EFL instructors to provide effective approaches to English language teaching.
University Teaching 101 is a six-week course presented to provide higher education professionals and others with a foundational knowledge of the science of teaching and learning, and to help individuals develop skills and strategies for teaching at the university level.
This four-week course is designed to guide science educators toward an understanding of the NRC Framework and how to integrate the Scientific and Engineering Design Practices into their class instruction. The course is most helpful to science teachers with three or more years of teaching experience.
Most internship programs for student teachers are typically offered by local public school districts or private schools through associations with college and university education departments. Whether working on a degree online or through a more traditional institution, students should check with their school for available internship or student teacher opportunities. There are, however, a number of education internships to be found with private companies, government agencies, or non-profits. Examples include:
The Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), through its Educational Foundation, offers at least 50 scholarships annually in the amount of $5,000 each to students actively pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, or credential/licensure, for the purpose of teaching STEM subjects at a U.S. middle or secondary schools.
The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) awards scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each to provide financial assistance to outstanding graduate students in school administration who intend to make school superintendence a career. Selected nominees must be members of the AASA.
The American Montessori Society awards teacher education scholarships to approximately 20 aspiring Montessori teachers, typically in amounts of approximately $1,000 each. Applicants are considered on the basis of need and must submit a compelling personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and official verification of acceptance into an AMS-affiliated teacher education program.
Sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Barbara Lotze Scholarships for Future Teachers program offers scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each to future high school physics teachers.
The Fulghum National Foundation Scholarship program awards one $1,000 scholarship annually to a high school senior accepted by a college or university. Priority is given to candidates entering a post-secondary program leading to a career in the teaching profession. Applicants are required to submit a summary of their academic and out-of-class achievements and a 150-word essay.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund teams with corporate sponsors to provide scholarships in a wide range of majors, including education. Eligibility requirements vary by specific scholarship program, but all applicants must meet a number of general requirements, including: a minimum 3.0 GPA; U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence; and Hispanic/Latino descent.
The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 for the purpose of improving teaching about the United States Constitution. The Foundation awards $24,000 Fellowships to individuals desiring to become outstanding secondary-level teachers of the Constitution. One Fellowship is awarded per-state annually.
The Judith Cary Leadership Memorial Scholarship is a $1,000 award given to one student annually who is pursuing either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in special education. Application requirements include nomination by a P. Buckley Moss Society member, completion of a minimum of two years of undergraduate work and proof of acceptance into a specific program to teach special needs students.
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the International Honor Society in Education, offers 36 scholarship opportunities for KDP members. Numerous scholarships are available to students on the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional levels, each with its own specific eligibility requirements.
Math for America is a non-profit organization whose goal is to improve mathematics teaching by making it a viable, rewarding and respected career choice. Math for America supports new math and science teachers through four fellowship programs, including the MfA Fellowship, a five-year program for recent college graduate and mid-career professionals committed to teaching math in public secondary schools.
Administered through the NBPTS, these National Board scholarships are awarded to offset the cost of NBPTS programs. Applicants who meet the necessary program eligibility requirements are also automatically eligible for National Board scholarships. The scholarship awards are generally made on a first-come, first-served basis. Most scholarships for first-time candidates require payment of the nonrefundable program fee before scholarship consideration.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics awards one $10,000 scholarship annually to an individual currently completing his or her sophomore year of college who is pursuing the career goal of becoming a secondary school mathematics teacher. Candidates must submit a written proposal that includes evidence of their past academic achievement at a college or university and their commitment to pursue a teaching career in secondary school mathematics.
Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) awards over 30 scholarships annually to prospective teachers with a connection to the association (such as a family member or teacher who is a PDK member) or a membership in the Future Educators Association.
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program makes funding available to institutions of higher education to provide scholarships, stipends and programmatic support to recruit and prepare STEM-subject majors and professionals in becoming K-12 teachers. Applicants are required to complete two years of teaching in a high-need school district for each year that they receive scholarship support.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) provides grants of up to $4,000 a year to students who are completing, or plan to complete, the course work necessary to start a teaching career. Grantees must sign an Agreement to Serve, which obligates them to teach in a high-need field at an elementary school, secondary school or educational service agency for a minimum of four complete academic years.
Catalyst is the official magazine of the School of Education at the University of California-Davis. Typical article topics include student, faculty and alumni news, as well as features on educational research and practice, and education department activities and events. Catalyst is published twice a year in the spring and fall and is made available at no cost for viewing online.
Ed. is the official magazine of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. It is published online on an irregular basis, typically two to three times a year. Ed. Magazine presents feature articles on a wide range of education-related subjects, including educational research, teaching and careers. Stories specifically related to Harvard and the Graduate School of Education are also included. Current and past issues of Ed. are available free-of-charge for viewing online.
Education Magazine is published annually by the College of Education at Marquette University. Formerly known as Mission Matters, Education presents articles on general education topics, as well as campus news and events. Readers can also learn about the accomplishments of Marquette students, faculty and alumni. Current and archived editions of Education can be viewed online by anyone at no charge.
Published four times a year, Go Teach Magazine is the official publication of the Future Educators Association (FEA). The magazine aims to “elevate the image of the teaching profession by exploring new ways to teach and learn in the 21st century.” Go Teach offers information on college readiness, education careers, classroom strategies and more. Go Teach Magazine is published in print and provided as a benefit to FEA members. Selected articles are available to anyone at no cost for viewing online.