Pursuing A Teaching Job

If you are interested in pursuing a career in education, it is important to know what kind of salary you should expect, how much education is required and what types of teaching and other jobs may be available to you in the future. Depending on your particular area of interest there are many different types of careers in different areas of education.

Possible Career Paths In Teaching And Education

Some people enjoy working with young children so they choose to specialize in Early Childhood Education while others prefer to work with older teens and adults so they may choose a career path as a College Professor or Adult Educator. If you want to work in the field of education, but you don’t think you’d enjoy working in a classroom, another potential career path is in an administrative position where you could work as a School Principal, Superintendent, Guidance Counselor or other position within the field of education, without working directly in a classroom.

What education degree do I need to get hired?

A few positions in the field of education only require a high school diploma or GED to get started, but most require a 4 year college degree. Keep in mind that, in order to advance to higher paying positions within the field of teaching and education, it will be important to pursue a Masters of Education or even a Doctor of Philosophy in Education or a related field.

Background Check and State Licensure

It should be noted that almost all positions in the field of education will require a background check and many also require state licensure in addition to the required degree in order to be hired. Each state has its own licensure requirements; these are usually made up of a combination of experience, educational attainment and a test on the subject area to be taught. Some states offer an alternative teacher licensure program for those people without a background in education to be able to earn licensure in a non-traditional manner.

The Highest Paying Teaching And Education Jobs At Each Education Level


Entry level positions in the field of education that only require a high school diploma or GED are: Teacher Assistants (Median salary: $23,220) and Self-enrichment Teachers including Music, Foreign Language and Community Continuing Education Teachers (Median salary: $36,340).


Early career positions requiring a 2-year or Associates degree are: Preschool Teachers (Median salary $25,700) and Early Childhood Educator (Median salary $29,000).


According to the 2010 United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics job report (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/home.htm), the starting salary for educators holding a Bachelor’s degree is $23,220. Be aware, pay in the field of education varies greatly depending on what part of the country you live in.
Entry level teaching positions requiring a 4 year college degree are: High School Teachers (Median salary $53,230), Middle School Teachers (Median salary $51,960), Special Education Teachers (Median salary $53,220), Adult Literacy and GED Teachers (Median salary $46,530) Career and Technical Education Teachers (Median salary $53,920) and Academic Advisors (Median salary $38,000).


Once you earn a Master’s degree, new career opportunities arise with higher salaries. Some education career paths that require a Master’s degree are: Instructional Coordinators (Median salary $58,830), Librarians (Median salary $54,500), Principals (Median salary $88,062) and School Superintendents (Median salary $159,000).


If you choose to continue on in your educational journey and earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Education or a related field, then higher paying job opportunities will be open to you.

Post-secondary Teachers (e.g. community college, college) earn a median salary of $62,050 while Tenure-Track Assistant College Professors earn a median salary of $76,147 and full College Professors earn a median salary of $108,749.

Cost of Higher Education vs. Teaching Job Opportunities

Keep in mind that earning higher degrees such as a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate requires many years of effort and you should consider the added cost of the extra schooling when considering the potential additional salary of positions that require the higher degree. If you would need to take out students loans in order to attend school, then a large portion of your future salary in the new position may need to be allocated to paying them back. You should also consider your own personal interest in continuing to attend school for many years, possibly while also working full-time, in order to gain access to the highest paying educational positions.

Earn Teaching and Education Experience While Attending School

Educators in general place a high value on earning higher education degrees, so it may be possible that you can work in the field of education in order to gain experience while still attending school. There are many alternative schedule schools (e.g. summer classes, week-long classes during public school breaks), evening classes and distance learning programs that make this arrangement possible. Teachers will often have raises and bonuses awarded based on their continuing education credits and progress toward additional degrees. In this way, you don’t have to wait to join the education field, even if ultimately you’d like to work your way into one of the higher paying educational positions.

Consider Commitment to Teaching and Education as a Calling

Ultimately, the most important consideration of all when thinking of pursuing a career in the field of education is your personal level of commitment. Unlike many other career paths, education careers require continuous schooling, many years to advance into the higher paying positions and a long-term commitment to the career path. Teachers in the United States are notoriously underpaid. Many educators work far more than 40 hours a week, take work home, attend extracurricular events, sit on committees and complete administrative tasks outside of a classroom. Their jobs are not easy and require a high level of commitment and personal dedication to education as a calling and a career and not just as a “job” to pay the bills each month. For those who are passionate about education, the rewards are intrinsic and truly priceless. The field offers great potential for career growth and recognition and lifelong rewards from feeling as if one has contributed to bettering society.