Professionals who obtain online elementary education degrees join the ongoing national conversation about education. Advancements in technology continue to change how teachers educate and students learn. Many educators take advantage of this shifting landscape to innovate in their classrooms, making this an exciting time to become a teacher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that elementary education jobs will grow by 7% through 2026, posting an annual median salary of $56,900.
People hoping to impact education system methods should pursue an elementary education degree online. Online programs offer flexibility because they prove easy to schedule around for students with a busy professional or personal life. Students can choose full-time, part-time, or accelerated paths through fully online or hybrid class styles. Assignments and projects often come with fixed due dates, and students can log in at their convenience.
However, online programs do not sacrifice quality for flexibility. Programs include office hours and often come with internships or research projects to help students build practical skills. Additionally, online programs tend to cost less than on-campus programs because they reduce commuting costs and often offer out-of-state tuition rates.
The most important thing for students researching online elementary education programs to do is check for accreditation. Degrees from non-accredited schools often go ignored by potential employers. Accredited early education programs include courses on human behavior, social interaction, problem-solving, and lesson planning, especially with kids aged five to 11. These skills transfer easily into a variety of careers beyond education, including in behavioral health and child care.
For many elementary education positions, a bachelor's degree serve as the minimum qualification. Top-tier candidates also gain practical experience from internships and teaching assistant positions. The main skills gained in an elementary education program include detail-oriented observation, behavior recognition, planning and management, effective communication, and interpersonal skills that help build relationships with students, parents, and other teachers. These advanced skills set bachelor's degree holders apart from associate degree holders.
People who earn an early elementary education degree online use their patience, adaptability, time-management, and planning skills to support and educate students. These skills apply to a variety of other fields, including child care, behavioral health, tutoring, and teacher training. According to the BLS, kindergarten and elementary teachers earn almost $20,000 more per year than the typical U.S. worker. The list below includes places that early elementary education graduates might find work.
Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: Public school teachers must adhere to state standards, which often come with predetermined curriculum material but not teaching methods. States determine qualifications for public school teachers. Public school elementary teachers must be flexible and willing to meet student needs, no matter their education level or behavioral tendencies.
Private Elementary and Secondary Schools: Private schools sometimes come with even more restrictive guidelines than public schools, including school uniforms, religious standards, and stricter behavioral rules for students. Private schools list their own hiring requirements, which sometimes include certifications.
Child Daycare Services: While many child care centers do not require a degree, a bachelor's degree in an area related to child development often proves advantageous. Many daycare centers offer pre-K classes, tutoring services, and behavior intervention -- each requiring experienced, well-trained teachers.
Annual Median Salary: $56,900
Elementary school instructors spend most of their time interacting with students, though they may also work with school staff and parents to ensure positive educational outcomes. Their after-school hours consist of developing lessons plans and behavioral intervention strategies for when a student goes off-track.
Annual Median Salary: $41,345
ESL teachers operate as mediators for students who speak English as a second language. Their responsibilities can include teaching English, translating classwork, explaining cultural differences, and mitigating classroom expectations to fit student abilities. They also administer English proficiency tests.
Annual Median Salary: $58,980
Whether working with students one on one or in a group setting, special education teachers strive to create an environment that mentally, physically, and academically prepares students for life outside of school. Special education teachers spend much of their time adapting class content to the needs of particular students; they may also serve as consultants for regular teachers dealing with behavioral issues.
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