Education, General  Program Description


Insider Info

dotIf knowledge is power, then the teachers who give that knowledge to their students will have a powerful influence over future generations. If you enjoy helping others learn, an education degree could be for you.

Teachers of kindergarten and above must hold at least a bachelor's degree as well as certifications from their state. They may also need extra training to teach a specific subject, such as music.

The best bet for an aspiring teacher is to find a program with lots of hands-on training and internship opportunities. These will provide experience with the stress and the demands of teaching today, as well as provide a solid liberal education in many subject areas.

Specializing in a subject area may be wise, if that specialty is in demand when you graduate.

Many educators believe a double major is best. In fact, some places require it. For example, to teach in Virginia, you need to major in both education and another field of study, such as English or math.

Each state has its own standards for licensing teachers. Think about where you want to live and teach.

You may also want to seek programs that are accredited by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) or the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Accreditation ensures that a program meets certain standards set by the profession.

The best preparation for high school students who want to learn to teach is a general college preparatory curriculum, says Mary Anne Lecos, a former education professor at George Mason University in Virginia.

Charlene Hillal Gill is an associate education professor at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Gill adds that advanced English, math, sciences, history, geography, economics and government classes are helpful. Computer literacy is essential.

"They might also want to take courses that would help them understand family structures and how they influence child development; perhaps a course in sociology that studies the family," adds Gary Galluzzo, dean of graduate education at George Mason University.

Extracurricular activities should test a prospective teacher's ease with children and teens. "Participate in pre-teaching activities such as the Future Educators of America or the Teacher Cadet Program, which involve tutoring and other school-based activities," suggests Lecos. "Volunteer or work with children and youth in schools, recreation programs, Sunday school, camps or child-care programs."

Some courses, such as art, may require extra materials or equipment in addition to textbooks.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this career, see: Education, Training and Library Occupations

Education World
A place to go for lesson plans, educational links and other resources
A collection of informative columns and resources

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.