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What Degree Do You Need To Be A Teacher

By David Krug 9 minute read

Starting the process of becoming an educator can be difficult for some people, even if they’ve completed all of their educational prerequisites.

There are a lot of degree possibilities out there, and some aspiring instructors may ask if they need one to become a teacher. 

There are a few broad standards for teaching degrees, but the specifics of each state’s requirements might vary greatly.

Depends on the Type of Instructor You Wish to Become.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there will be more than 3.6 million teachers in the United States for the 2017-2018 school year (NCES). Approximately 500,000 private school instructors were employed, with the majority of them being women.

Female teachers made up 76% of the teaching staff in both private and public institutions, with public elementary schools having the largest percentage of female teachers at 89%. In high schools, the ratio reduces to 60%.

A master’s degree is more common among public school instructors than among those in charter schools, where the percentage hovers around 60%. At 48 percent, private school instructors are more likely to hold a master’s degree or above.

Aside from that, despite the cash generated by student tuition, the annual cost of attending a private school is still $12,800 less. Statistics show that the typical public school teacher makes $63,645 annually (2019-20 school year).

Working hard and dedicating oneself to the goal of becoming a teacher is one thing, but getting started on the route to that goal can be perplexing for some.

Concerns concerning a teacher’s educational background might arise since so many degrees are accessible. States may have their own unique requirements, but there are some basic recommendations for getting your teaching career off to a good start.

It Depends on the Type of Instructor You Desire to Become.


Don’t believe the myth that pre-school instructors are purely unpaid volunteers or single mothers struggling to make ends meet. Teachers at this level work with children between the ages of two and five, who are extremely impressionable and vulnerable.

It takes a patient and kind individual to cultivate these qualities in the pupils, who are growing more sociable, interested, and creative. 

To put it another way, since they are in close proximity to children for longer hours each week, preschool teachers can have a significant impact on their development. Because of this, each state requires preschool instructors to have the proper education and certifications. 

To see the whole list, visit, but here are just a few examples:

Colorado.  A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, elementary education, special education, child development, or child psychology is required. 

An associate’s degree with at least two classes in early childhood education and at least six months of experience working with children under the age of six is required. There are a plethora of additional options available on the website.

Maryland. Teacher training program and bachelor’s degree in education.

Montana. State-regulated childcare centers, on the other hand, may need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in addition to any prior experience.

Washington and Utah.  A two-year college degree or above is required.

Texas. In order to work in a preschool, you must have graduated from an accredited program in early childhood education. It’s up to the state to determine what kind of requirements are necessary for a child’s care.

Early Childhood Professionals

An Early Childhood Education Bachelor of Science degree equips graduates in this field with the skills necessary to work with children as young as three years old and up through the first years of elementary school. Graduates of the Grand Canyon University program will be prepared to teach up to third grade. 

Listed below are a few examples of the fundamental classes you’ll take:

  • A child’s growth and development, from conception to puberty
  • Early Childhood Education Program Design
  • A Child’s First Steps in Reading
  • Teaching a variety of instruction methods courses in many subject areas, such as social studies and science as well as language and the creative arts, to students

The University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies offers a B.S. in Early Childhood Education for those who prefer online learning. Students are taught about social, physical, cognitive, and emotional growth through the 120-credit program. 

It also includes a one-semester internship that prepares graduates for the Alabama Pre-Kindergarten- Birth to Age Four Child Development Teaching Certificate. This degree has been approved by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Primary Institution

As of 2013, there were around 87,500 public and private elementary schools in the United States that served students in grades 5 through 11.

According to Statista, there were 29.75 million students enrolled in public schools and just 2.87 in private schools. There are more than two million elementary school teachers in the United States (NCES), thus there are plenty of jobs available.

A lower number of 1,492,400 kindergarten and elementary school teachers will be employed in 2020 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An undergraduate degree is required, as is an official state license or certification for this job.

With a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University, you’ll be on your way to a career in teaching. During the 15-week teaching experience, students will learn about research and theories, as well as the production of lessons.

At Colorado Christian University (CCU) in Lakewood, students can choose between a Licensure or a Theory-based Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.

As a result, graduates of the former can apply for a teaching license from the Colorado Department of Education to work in private, public, and charter schools. College of Charleston’s General Requirements covers a wide range of academic disciplines. 

The following are only a few of the 50-hour requirements’ essential classes:

  • Literacy Methods
  • Classroom Management
  • Special Needs Methods
  • Math and Science Teaching Methods
  • Psychological Foundations of Education

Graduates of the Theory track are required to pass a licensing exam upon graduation. It is possible to teach kindergarten through sixth grade after obtaining the appropriate licenses.

Some states demand a double major in education and a specialized area for instructors who want to specialize in a particular subject area they want to teach.

While it is not mandatory to have two degrees, teachers with advanced degrees are more likely to be considered for promotion. Teachers may be encouraged to seek a Master’s degree by their school or district’s board of education once they have been hired.

Speech-language pathology is one of the most restricted specialties, with 36 states and the District of Columbia requiring a master’s degree before a teacher may seek a license in that field of expertise.

If you want to learn more about curriculum creation and theoretical and practical principles, a Master of Science in Elementary Education degree could be right for you. With a focus on STEM disciplines, this degree is offered by a college at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Master of Science in Elementary Education at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida focuses on teaching approaches in science, language, history, arts, health, physical education, and math. After graduation, students will be able to take the Florida Teacher Certification Exam’s Professional Educator Exam.

Job applicants with degrees in fields unrelated to education, notably those who teach secondary school science or math, may be able to get work in some places with a little workaround.

The state teaching certificate or license and a bachelor’s degree in the subject area in which you intend to teach are still required in these situations.

Chemistry teachers in high schools, for example, need to have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and education courses. A degree in education is still required for employment.

To become a teacher, a bachelor’s degree in education is necessary, even if this alternate option is accessible in some areas. A bachelor’s degree in education provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to work with children in classrooms.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, aspiring science teachers are required to successfully complete a content and professional skills exam.

A prospective physics instructor would be required to sit for an exam that covered the history of physics, scientific concepts, and physics theory. The exam might last anywhere from three to four hours.

Online scientific education degrees are available for instructors who don’t wish to concentrate in a particular field. For pupils in middle school, you can be a science teacher if you are well-versed in the fundamentals of science and have a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education.

National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) accreditation for Western Governors University’s (WGU) program. A $40 annual membership fee is charged to new instructors and students, while professionals pay $60 annually for digital editions.

Chemistry, biology, earth science, physics, and genetics are only a few of the subjects covered in the WGU curriculum. Teachers can use these ways to measure students’ reading comprehension and wiring competence.

You also take pedagogy. It is the goal of the pedagogy course to provide students with a better understanding of the teaching strategies used in the middle school classroom.

The college claims that 69 percent of graduates complete the 40 courses in six months. Up to 34 credits can be transferred from an associate degree or previous college education.

The local college

Teaching requirements at community colleges that grant two-year associate degrees differ from one school to the next. Master’s degrees are often required, with department chairs requiring a Ph.D.

It’s also important to have a degree in a topic you intend to teach. Those with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field and prior teaching experience in secondary schools may be able to transfer to a community college.

It is possible to earn a master’s degree online even if you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree in your field of specialization. As a result, nothing has changed in terms of the workday.

What are the financial repercussions? Teachers at community colleges make an average of $59,539 per year, according to Indeed, while high school teachers make an average of $62,870 annually, according to the BLS.

Some people prefer to teach at the community college level because it pays less, but there may be other variables at play. Become a full-time faculty member at a community college and reap the perks of tenure, medical insurance, and a higher income than part-time or adjunct faculty members.

High school teachers’ jobs open up every year owing to retirements, job transfers, or other personal reasons. Most college and university posts require a master’s or doctoral degree, with a doctorate being necessary for professorships.

It is possible to become an instructor with only a bachelor’s degree in some entry-level roles, although prior teaching experience is a huge plus. Most of the time, the individual in question is a graduate student.

Depending on the state, a teaching license is not necessarily required to work at a community college. If you are interested in teaching at a community college in Colorado, for example, you must fill out an extensive application form.

Some states don’t require a Professional Licensure at all, instead of relying on years of experience. A job offering at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, states that an adjunct must have either a teaching license or five years of experience in the field of education.

To summarize, a bachelor’s degree plus a state license and certifications are required to teach from preschool through high school.

To be a professor in a four-year university, you’ll need at least a master’s degree and preferably a Ph.D. Master’s degrees are required by the community, technical, and junior college institutions.

As a teacher, you may find yourself in a leadership position, such as that of a school principal. Along with a minimum of five years of teaching experience, a graduate program would be useful in today’s challenging educational landscape.

Degrees like educational leadership or educational administration are available for this role in management. You may get this information from the following two sources!

Elementary school principals will commemorate 100 years of service and leadership in 2021 by joining the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
Members of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) represent middle and high school assistants and principals.

Master of Science in Educational Administration at Texas A&M International University costs $10,991 and may be completed in ten months. Graduates of the 30-credit program learn about educational research, supervision, and data-driven decision-making.

The University of Arizona Global Campus offers an online Master of Arts in Education with seven specializations, One of them is school leadership in the twenty-first century.

The institution allows pupils to try out the curriculum for three weeks risk-free before making a final decision. Students may bring up to nine credits from other institutions into each class. An online Master of Science in Educational Leadership is offered by Western Governors University once again.

Curriculum standards implementation, teacher supervision, comprehending leadership ethics, managing the educational system, controlling finances, and maintaining school security are only a few of the topics covered in the course.

It costs $3,490 to attend for a six-month term, and 75% of students get their degrees in 24 months or less. A master’s degree is required to become a school principal, and the BLS reports a median salary of $98,490. Over $30,000 over the average teacher’s income! 

Here are the figures for employed teachers and working principals once more:

  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: About 1.5 million
  • Middle School Teachers: About 600,000
  • High School Teachers: About one million
  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals: Approximately 270,000

David Krug