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Career Information for a Degree in General Education

Two distinct kinds of programs may grant a degree in general education. One is equivalent to a general studies program, with a curriculum designed to fulfill personal or professional goals. Other programs may grant bachelor's or even master's degrees for students pursuing careers as educators. Career possibilities for graduates of general education programs depend on the type of program but might include working as an elementary teacher, high school teacher or school principal.

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Degree in General Education

Many community colleges and universities offer degrees in general education. However, not all these programs are the same. Two distinct types of programs come under the heading of general education. The first is a degree similar to general studies, usually on the associate degree level. The second is a degree in education.

Some general education degree programs in 2-year schools are introductory degrees, developing skills in college-level basics such as college math, writing, composition skills and critical thinking. These programs take general requirements for graduation into account but allow students to develop a degree that fits their own educational needs. These programs may be specifically designed for students who plan to transfer to 4-year colleges and universities.

University and graduate school general education programs within education departments are usually designed with future educators in mind. In these programs, general education students learn about educational philosophy, pedagogical technique, classroom management, curriculum design and other teaching skills. Possible careers for students who complete 4-year or graduate degree programs in general education include teaching and educational administration. Programs may be designed to comply with state certification requirements for educators. Coursework may cover relevant topics, such as adult education, curriculum development, educational assessment strategies, educational sociology and educational history.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers deliver a basic education in academic, social and other formative skills. They often teach students across several subjects, though not every school designs its curriculum in this way.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gives the median 2012 annual salary of elementary school teachers, not including special education teachers, as $53,400. The field of elementary school teachers is expected to grow 17% n the period of 2010-2020.

High school teacher

High school teachers provide students with the requisite skills and knowledge to lead responsible lives and begin careers. In high school or secondary school settings, almost all teachers specialize in one or two disciplines, such as math or literature. Teachers in high schools are responsible for instructing, leading, evaluating and testing students, as well as for maintaining discipline in their classrooms and acting as role models for students.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, job opportunities for high school teachers should increase seven percent in 2010-2020. The best opportunities are expected to be for teachers specializing in bilingual education, math and science. The median salary in 2012 was $55,050 per year for teachers on this level, not including special education or career teachers.


Principals are the chief executives of their schools. They interact with the broader community and with district supervisors, set goals for educators and students within their schools, set the direction of school policies and make educational decisions. Principals are usually former educators themselves, which allows them to understand the educational process in detail and maximize school performance. A graduate degree, such as a master's degree in general education or educational administration, is almost always required for this position.

Salary Information

The BLS states that job opportunities for principals, who made a median of $87,760 per year in 2012, are expected to grow ten percent in the years 2010-2020, with pay sometimes linked to performance measurements. Though the number of jobs should grow about as fast as other industries, openings are expected in current positions.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics