Top Teaching &
Education Degree Programs
Comprehensive resources for aspiring teachers and education professionals
Teachers are the backbone of our society by educating our youth. They help form a strong educational foundation for students as they move out into the world and create their own careers and businesses. Teachers do incredible things in the classroom, but they also work in other capacities, such as those in special education, administration, curriculum planning and more. These individuals work together toward the shared goal of giving every child and young adult the education they deserve. Those who are interested in earning an education or teaching degree can find the information they need regarding programs, financial aid, credentialing and in-depth resources in our guides.
All institutions of higher learning recognize the importance of education – that’s why there are so many programs that lead to an education degree. To narrow down the wide range of options, we offer the following rankings, based on things that matter most: tuition, student-teacher ratio, graduation rate, number of programs available, and more.
Search Education & Teaching Programs Near You
When choosing the proper teaching program or education degree, there are numerous factors to consider. Does the school prepare a student to become licensed in the state in which they really want to work? How much does the degree cost? Where is the school located? This search tool can help students narrow down their options by some of the most important criteria, and thus be instrumental in preparing that all-important ‘short list’ of best potential teaching and education degree programs.
Education & Teaching Resource Center
Interested in becoming a teacher? This is where you do your homework. The following education and teaching guides are designed to help aspiring educators get an informed start on their future career.
How to Earn a
What does it take to earn a teaching credential? What tests and qualifications are necessary? This guide explains it all.LEARN MORE
Financial Aid & Scholarships
No matter the subject, going to school can be expensive. Aspiring teachers can find the financial aid and scholarship resources they need here.LEARN MORE
Some student loans might be forgiven if teachers agree to certain provisions during the first few years of their career. Here’s more on student loan forgiveness for teachers.LEARN MORE
Some students face unique challenges and turn to their teachers for help with them. This guide can prepare educators to work effectively with LGBTQ youth.LEARN MORE
This guide provides resources and advice for teachers striving to create inclusive environments for all cultures in the classroom.LEARN MORE
Those who have served in the military are in a great position to be role models for students. The Troops to Teachers program helps veterans transition to careers in the classroom.LEARN MORE
Explore Education & Teaching Degree Paths
When someone thinks of a teacher, they likely see a person standing at the front of a crowded classroom, chalk in hand, lecturing about the subject. But that is just one small glimpse into the world of education. From early childhood education to special education to instructional coordinators and principals or superintendents, there are numerous jobs available for those who are ready and willing to put in the work to get there. It all begins with choosing the right degree path, then planning out further study in order to advance up the ladder in one’s chosen field.
The following flowchart can help students see which programs might be right for them, as well as what it will take to get to the degree level and position they hope to obtain.
work in a classroom environment?
The special education teacher is a crucial component in ensuring that all students, regardless of disability or other needs, receive the education they deserve. Special education teachers might work with a wide range of students, from those who have mild learning differences to those with physical and mental disabilities across the spectrum. Their work in the classroom is not only about teaching, but about encouragement and acceptance as well.Learn More
Those who want to make a difference in the young lives of their students can find what they need with an early childhood education degree. This prepares students to work closely with children at the various stages of their early education, where they can spot early problems, intervene quickly, help children get into the rhythm of a typical school day, and teach them the foundation of what they will need to know to be successful in the coming years.Learn More
As students get older, they learn to question authority, struggle to find their own path, and grapple with the more challenging academic subjects that can lead them to a college education. Graduates of secondary education programs are prepared to teach students in grades seven through twelve, including those who might need additional help or guidance.Learn More
In elementary school, students study the various foundations of the major subjects they will master throughout the coming years. They also begin to form opinions about school, family, friends, and the world in general. At this impressionable age, many students look to their teachers to set an example. An elementary education degree prepares graduates to teach students in grades one through six.Learn More
Those who want to run the schools, write the programs, approve the curriculum, and deal with the public and the parents might be more satisfied with a degree in education administration. Depending upon the concentration, this degree prepares graduates to move into a variety of positions, including instructional coordinator, principal, superintendent and more.Learn More
This program introduces students to the various developmental milestones for children, as well as how to foster that development. Graduates are prepared to work with students of all ages, but especially those younger children who are developing lifelong habits; catching problems with development at an early stage can help lead to a fulfilling life and successful school career.Learn More
In-Depth: Salary & Job Growth for Teachers
The job opportunities for teachers are growing at a slow and steady pace, with higher demand expected to rural and urban areas. The following charts offer an overview of teacher salaries and job growth across the nation.
- Lowest 10 Percent Salary, 2015
- Median Salary, 2015
- Highest 10 Percent Salary, 2015
- Employment, 2014
- Projected Employment, 2024
- Projected Job Growth, 2014-2024
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2015)
During the 2011-2012 school term, 56 percent of public school teachers had a master’s degree or higher. In private schools, 43 percent of teachers had a master’s or higher.
Top 10 Advantages to an Education Degree
Those who pursue a career in education tend to have a passion for learning and strong motivations to improve the lives of their students. Here are some of the biggest reasons why a teaching degree can be an excellent choice for those who fit this description.
Every person who has ever attended school has that one favorite teacher that they will always remember fondly, and some credit their success in life to the lessons taught by that special instructor. Changing lives for the better might be one of the greatest rewards of all.
Surveys in the U.S. have ranked teachers just behind military occupations as the most important jobs for contributing to society’s well-being.
The world of teaching offers numerous opportunities for advancement. Many administrators began their careers as teachers and worked their way through a variety of grades before pursuing administrative degrees, eventually earning the promotion to the front office.
With today’s high tuition rates, going to college can be tough. Teachers who want to eliminate student debt can do so through loan forgiveness programs. These programs often require teachers to work for a time in underprivileged areas; in addition to the money savings, these teachers might find that they hone their skills and find a greater calling through working with disadvantaged youth.
Teachers are in high demand; the only catch is finding where that demand might be. Teachers who are willing to move in order to find the best jobs might find that they have numerous options available to them. A good teacher with an excellent track record will likely be able to find opportunities throughout their career.
Institutions all across the nation recognize the value of a good teacher; that’s why there are numerous scholarships and grants available to those who want to pursue education degrees but don’t quite have enough financial means to get there.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see that uncertain English student become a broadcaster on a nationwide network? How about encouraging that top-notch history student, only to read their best-selling book a decade later? Teachers can foster big dreams, and give students what it takes to make those dreams a reality.
Studies of high-poverty schools have found that the primary factor in student motivation and achievement is the school, and more importantly, the teacher.
For many teachers, seeing their students develop and learn can happen in a single semester. The look on a child’s face when they figure out how to do a math problem or the smile of delight when a struggling student finally notches their first solid “A” on a test can be exhilarating, for both the student and the teacher.
Once a teacher has been in the workforce for a while and has learned the ropes, they can rest assured that their job is safe. Even if budget cuts come along and their job must be downsized, chances are there will always be another school district looking for great teachers to fill their empty spaces.
Many teachers love the fact of a long, relaxing vacation – usually at least a month, possibly more – that happens right in the height of summer, when they can explore other parts of the world or simply stay at home and catch up on their reading.
Some students face serious life challenges at a tender age. For them, school is a haven where they can learn, grow and dream. In a situation like this, teachers become the disciplinarians, motivators, counselors, and friends that students need in order to break free of the things that are holding them back.
A Closer Look: Teacher Shortages in America
For quite some time, concerns about a nationwide teacher shortage has been getting national news coverage. Some states, such as Arizona and Oklahoma, have seen the shortage reach emergency proportions – to the point where the states simply don’t have enough teachers to run the schools. For instance, some schools have open positions with zero applicants, an indication that graduates from teaching programs are headed for greener pastures in other parts of the nation.
For new teachers, the shortage can mean more job opportunities, but only if the graduate is willing to move for a great job, willing to take positions in urban or rural areas, and okay with working in a subject area that might be different from the one they trained for during college. It also helps to go into the job with eyes wide open: Many teachers have found that those first few years are much more difficult than they imagined, and become disillusioned enough to seek employment outside the profession.
States with High Teacher Shortages
There are a few states that have a much tougher time with teacher shortages than others. Though the reasons for the shortages are varied, most of these states are now reaching a dire situation. Areas with high teacher shortages — in no particular order — include:
Keys to Keeping Teachers: Rural vs. Urban Schools
Sometimes the shortage of teachers is worse in one geographic area than in another. For instance, teachers can expect to see better job opportunities in rural and urban areas. Here’s why these locations are seeing a decrease in the number of teachers:
In most school districts, larger or more affluent schools get the lion’s share of funding, while rural schools tend to struggle to get by from one year to the next. This lack of funding can mean lower pay and less classroom support, including fewer supplies. Many teachers deal with these issues only until they find a better-paying and better-supported position in a neighboring district.
Teachers in urban areas usually face the same problems as those in rural areas: a lack of supplies and support as well as lower pay. However, they may also face the added issue of ‘difficult’ or ‘rough’ schools. Many inner-city schools face serious problems with crime, truancy and the like, which can make teachers feel as though they do more disciplining than teaching.
The average turnover rate for all teachers in the nation is 17 percent. In urban school districts, the turnover rate rises to 20 percent,
according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Subjects in Need of Teachers
In schools all across the nation, the shortage of teachers for special education is nothing new. But there are other areas that are sorely lacking as well. Teachers who want to hit the ground running upon graduation might look to an education degree with an emphasis on the following subjects, so they are better prepared to jump into schools that need their expertise the most.
Subject Area Shortages in Elementary & Secondary Schools (2014-2015)
The majority of states in the U.S. are in need of teachers for the following subjects
Source: Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing, Department of Education (2016)
From Chalkboard to Keyboard: Online Teaching Degrees
Online learning is an excellent way for aspiring teachers to get the education they need in order to educate others. Since most teaching programs require a certain amount of supervised instruction, online education degree programs tend to be in a hybrid format: Students take most of their courses online, but fulfill their in-person obligations at a local school.
Those who pursue an online education degree program might find that it enhances their understanding and appreciation of technology in the classroom, and might encourage them to create their own online opportunities for students once they have a classroom of their own.Learn More
Advice from the Field: Expert Interview
Signs of a teacher shortage are everywhere now. What is the implication of the shortage for those who are just graduating and starting their teaching career?
There are three shortages at play currently in the education profession. First, there’s the shortage of new grads for hard to fill STEM positions. Second, there’s the issue of graduates from universities who aren’t willing to move to where the jobs are. Often, the issue is supply and demand, but it’s supply and demand relative to certain locations. Finally, there’s a shortage of new teachers who stick it out. The requirements for teaching positions have become much more rigorous, and it takes someone truly committed to the field to stay.
Is there a particular subject area, educational level, or job in the education field that is most promising for graduates today?
There’s always a need for teachers who are certified or endorsed in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and math). There’s a shortage in the areas of foreign language and ESL or ELL (English as a second language or English language learner) endorsed teachers as well. Special education is a field with great turnover. The burnout rate for teaching students with disabilities is very high due to additional paperwork, feeling unsupported, or emotionally drained, but for people with the right background and outlook, it can be very rewarding.
Anything else you might like to add about working as a teacher?
People who are interested in education often have tunnel vision when it comes to what sort of position they might like to fulfill their interest in teaching. For example, most immediately look toward public education, but there are private or parochial schools, classical or Montessori schools and more. Additionally, teachers are often considered for jobs with publishers, accrediting agencies, state or government jobs, and various teaching organizations or associations, museums, and more. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in teaching and learning to consider looking not only for traditional positions but to keep their eyes and ears open outside school settings as well.