Career Information for a Degree in General Education

Oct 10, 2019

Degrees in general education typically cover psychology, humanities and mathematics. Find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for general education graduates.

Elementary teachers, high school teachers and principals can all begin the preparation for their career with a degree in general education. All of these professionals must also be licensed, and principals are also required to have a master's degree.

Essential Information

There are two main types of general education programs. One is comparable to a general studies program and allows the student to move in a number of ways, such as sales or even law. The other is an education degree, specifically designed for future teachers. Students who earn a general education degree can choose from many specializations, including anthropology, history, sociology and English literature. Some two-year programs are aimed at those who want to transfer to a 4-year school. Those who complete a bachelor's or graduate degree in general education will have many career options available to them. Two such options are teaching and educational administration. Internships are mandatory for most graduate education degrees.

Career Elementary School Teacher High School Teacher Principal
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Master's degree
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 3% 4% 4%
Median Salary (2018)* $58,230 $60,320 $95,310

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

There are several directions a general education graduate can travel. Three such career paths are an elementary school teacher, high school teacher and principal.

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 2018 annual salary of elementary school teachers, not including special education teachers, as $58,230. The field of elementary school teachers is expected to grow three percent in the period of 2018 to 2028.

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 four percent from 2018 to 2028. The best opportunities are expected to be for teachers specializing in bilingual education, math and science. The median salary in 2018 was $60,320 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 $95,310 per year in 2018, are expected to grow four percent in the years 2018 through 2028, 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.

Elementary school teachers instruct children from kindergarten through grade five, and are responsible for leading classes in multiple subject areas; high school teachers typically focus on one or two subject areas and teach classes to teenagers. Principals oversee the staff and operations of their school. All of these professionals can expect about an average rate of job growth or slower from 2018 to 2028, and may prepare for their careers with a bachelor's or master's degree in general education.

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