There is a saying that goes, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” Teachers are a staple in the lives of fortunate individuals from early childhood to the young adult years and even a significant time after for some. Education and teaching are important aspects in society, as knowledge is passed down through these, whether it be through traditional schooling, home schooling, special education or other teaching methods.
In the traditional education system, students learn everyday through their teachers, gaining knowledge on different subjects. Because of this proximity, teachers are not only educators, but they are also caretakers, mentors and advisers to the youth.
If you are interested in pursuing teaching as a profession, there are two ways to go about it. The first is to take a degree in a specific subject, such as chemistry or physics, then later on take a teaching program to be qualified as an educator of the subject you specialised in. The second, which will be the focus of this article, is to take a degree program in education.
Entrance into a teaching degree program varies from institution to institution. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. Classes taken in post secondary institutions may also be considered. For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
Coursework in teaching degree programs generally focus on both practical and theoretical aspects of teaching. For example, there are classes available in classroom teaching, educational psychology, philosophy of education and history of education. In the latter years of completing the degree, students may be asked to complete a practicum or internship, which serves as a practical application of what they have learned and even as an assessment.
In addition to the foundation courses that are part of the degree program, specialisations, tracks, electives and minors are also available in most institutions. This may be a required part of the degree program for education or it may be optional, depending on the institution. Below is a short list of common specialisation offered by universities:
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. Please check with the institution you are interested in for their accreditation details.
Depending on the country or state wherein you are planning to practice teaching as a profession, you may be required to pass board exams or get additional certification. Information regarding these are available through the different governing units of the specific state or country.
A teaching degree can take anywhere from three to four years. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located. It may also depend on what type of degree is being awarded, as bachelor degrees take longer than associate degrees.
There are also various degrees available for those interested in education at the master’s and doctorate level. Those who choose to take a Master of Education program are normally experienced and qualified teachers. Doctoral studies are for those pursuing education research.
Through the practical and theoretical experience involved in completing a degree in education, graduates are usually very skilled in communication, in both oral and written work. Most graduates have also been trained to deal with issues among students, both inside and outside the classroom. With the ability to solve problems and work with different individuals, education degree program graduates have great interpersonal skills. They are also known to have skills in research and analysis in addition to organisation and time management.
A significant percentage of graduates with degree in education end up working in teaching and education professions such as primary school teacher, special education teacher, secondary school teacher and school administrator. Other positions wherein a degree in education is considered useful are career adviser, youth worker, museum curator and tutor.
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