Few people will dispute the important role of education in modern society. Childhood development, life skills and necessary knowledge are all derived in many ways from our education system, making trained teachers a commodity.
The evolution between early childhood and pre-adolescence is quite sharp. In a matter of years, children transition from identifying colors and animals to reading, writing and reasoning. The steps between exploring the world and learning how to think critically are fascinating for many teachers, driving individuals interested in helping children into the field of elementary education.
What is Elementary Education?
Elementary education is a specialized field in education that is focused on teaching and developing elementary school children, usually ages five to ten, or grades one through five. While middle school and high school teachers often specialize in a particular subject, or multiple subjects, elementary educators are trained to effectively operate a one-room school environment. Most elementary schools do not switch classes, requiring teachers for lower grades to demonstrate competence in all areas of education and classroom maintenance.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Elementary Education
Elementary education bachelor degree programs often offer areas of concentrations and minors. A student can choose to just complete the straight program with no specializations. However, this teacher’s employment options are limited to just basic teaching of elementary students grade K-6. On the other hand, an individual that chooses a concentration in special education or art or even mathematics has more options because this teacher can teach art classes, math classes or work with special needs students.
An example of this can be found with this program. Students choose a major in elementary education but can also choose specializations in two grade levels or two concentrations. While in the program, the student completes general education courses, core courses and major-related courses. Prior to graduation, the student must complete a student teaching segment to get practical experience in the classroom.
This student is also eligible for licensure in elementary education and special education or elementary education and English as a second language. The program also offers students a choice of different minors. Another example is this program, which offers concentrations in English, social studies, foreign language, mathematics and science. There are many options available in bachelor degree programs besides the fact that they prepare you for graduate studies.
Some schools offer dual-degree programs, which can also open up more opportunities for the student as he or she graduates with a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. Lesley University has a dual degree program where students graduate with a bachelor degree in elementary education and a master degree in English as a second language.
Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education
Many colleges and universities offer master degree in elementary education programs. Master degree programs are often pursued by teachers who have bachelor degrees in teaching and want more certifications for better job security or individuals who have non-teaching bachelor degrees but want to become teachers. Master degree programs are usually about 36-credit programs with courses like literacy in elementary education; advanced child development; and qualitative reading assessment and analysis.
Doctorate Degrees in Elementary Education
Elementary education is not just limited to bachelor or master degree programs but can also be part of a doctoral program. If you have a master’s degree want would like to work in specialized areas like curriculum design or elementary education administration, you can pursue a Ph.D. in elementary education. Students in doctoral degree programs spend a large portion of the program performing research. They also spend at least one semester in residency and must pass a comprehensive examination and complete a dissertation based on their research.
Online Elementary Education Degree
Elementary education degrees can also be earned through distance learning or online education. Typically, master degree programs are offered online more frequently than bachelor degree programs because of the student teaching requirement, which usually takes place at the end of the undergraduate program. However, some bachelor degree programs are offered as hybrid programs because the courses are online and the internship is on-site. If the graduate student is already teaching with a bachelor’s degree, the student teaching or internship may be waived or is just not an issue.
Career Options & Salary Info for Elementary Education Teachers
Those with a degree in elementary education are prepared to educate young minds in a classroom setting following the progression from early childhood education curricula. Generally, those who wish to be elementary school educators seek employment with public or private elementary schools. Elementary school teachers are responsible for coursework involving basic math, spelling and writing, as well as a preliminary foundation in history and science.
Millions of people find teaching to be a satisfying career. Seeking a degree in elementary education is an ideal way to begin a fulfilling teaching career in an elementary school environment, working with children and sharing education fundamentals. For those eager to teach multiple subjects and take an active role in promoting the learning process, elementary education might be a perfect fit.
Earning an elementary school degree prepares students for careers working with elementary school age children in both private and public schools. Earning a master degree and obtaining certification in as many areas as possible can enhance a teacher’s earning potential and employment opportunities. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has made it necessary for teachers to learn as much as possible so that they may be assets in classroom.
Elementary school teachers are predicted to see an employment growth of twelve percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that, although wages can vary by location, years of experience and number of certifications, elementary school teachers earned an average salary of $54,120 while kindergarten and elementary school teachers working in special education earned $54,570 as of May 2014.