Career Information for a Degree in Education

Degrees in education typically prepare students for a range of careers related to teaching. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for education graduates.

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A bachelor's or master's degree in education can lead to a career as a teacher, special education teacher, or principal. High school teachers need a bachelor's degree and teaching license, while special education teachers may be required to have a master's degree and teaching license. A master's degree is normally required for principals.

Essential Information

The completion of a bachelor's degree is necessary for most careers in education. A license or certificate is also required for many professions in the field. Master's and doctoral degrees qualify individuals for supervisory and advanced level positions. Specializations in curriculum development, administration, special education and other areas are offered. Teachers also usually earn credentials or concentrations in the subject matter that they teach, such as science, history or math. Online programs in education are available for remote learning. An internship may be required for graduation or employment.

High School Teachers Special Education Teachers Principals
Required Education Bachelor's Bachelor's, master's for some positions Master's typically required
Other Requirements Certificate or license Certificate or license, internship may be required License for public school positions, continuing education may be required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% 3% 4%
Median Salary (2018)* $60,320 annually $60,600 annually (secondary school) $95,310 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Options

Education degree graduates have studied theories of learning and teaching, curriculum design and evaluation practices. They can be employed in various educational careers, such as high school teachers, special education teachers and school administrators. Continue reading for additional information about these career paths in education.

High School Teachers

High school teachers work with teenagers to facilitate greater communication, understanding and cooperation. Most high school teachers focus on one or two subjects, such as mathematics, history or English. They grade papers, design tests and plan lessons. Some high school teachers run extracurricular activities, including clubs and teams.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2018 and 2028, job openings for high school teachers were expected to grow by 4%, which is an average rate of growth for all occupations. The BLS also reports that the median salary for secondary school teachers, as of May 2018, was $60,320.

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with disabled or special-needs students to develop academic competency, social awareness and even life skills. Some special education teachers may help bring mildly handicapped children up to the level of their peers in general education programs, while others work with more profoundly disabled children, who may require one-on-one work to develop essential math and communication skills such as arithmetic and phonetics.

Between 2018 and 2028, the BLS expects employment for these workers to grow by 3%. Employment for preschool special education teachers is estimated at 8%. Salaries vary depending on location and specialization. As of May 2018, the BLS listed median salaries for kindergarten and elementary-level special education teachers at $59,390 per year, middle school teachers at $60,250 and secondary school teachers at $60,600.


Principals direct their schools using management, educational and decision-making skills. They set overall goals, determine educational priorities and hire and evaluate employees. Principals generally have experience as teachers along with advanced degrees in educational administration. They communicate extensively with faculty, staff and the surrounding community, listening to ideas and using this information to make more informed decisions.

May 2018 BLS reports showed that elementary, middle and secondary school principals earned a median salary of $95,310 per year. Opportunities in this field are expected to grow by 4% between 2018 and 2028.

High school teachers can work for public or private schools to instruct grade students in grades 9 through 12 in a specific subject area, such as English or math. Special education teachers work with students who have disabilities and need a modified educational curriculum; principals oversee the daily operations of their school and hire and evaluate teachers and other personnel. These professionals are all required to have a degree, and some positions may require a master's degree.

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