Education policy includes the principles, laws, and rules governing education systems. Those involved in studying, advocating, or implementing education policies often debate over school size, teacher education and certification, teaching methods, graduation requirements, and other related topics. If you’re passionate about education and want to make a lasting difference in your community, you should consider earning an education policy degree. Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree, graduates will be eligible to work as policy analysts, lobbyists, school board members, educational consultants, and more.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
One of the best ways to break into education policy is to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field. The bachelor’s degree provides a comprehensive look at education and public policy, while teaching students how to foster democratic participation and change in today’s diverse schools. Students will learn how to be effective education leaders who influence political and social decisions in school systems. This degree is best suited for working professionals who want to work in education policy or education administration and those who want to pursue an advanced degree, such as the master’s degree in education policy.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
The first step in becoming an education policy leader is earning the necessary level of education and training needed to do this kind of work. Interested applicants need to have the following educational requirements:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Desired score on the SAT, ACT, and/or entrance exam
- Minimum required GPA
Inside an Education Policy Bachelor’s Degree Program
The online bachelor’s degree in education policy takes about four years to complete, depending on your individual program, course load, and pace. Some common courses students can expect to take include: introduction to policy and education, history of American education, leadership for organizations, public policy and special education, and educational policy and administration. Students will also take general education courses and electives to obtain a well-rounded education.
Some online programs require students to take a capstone course for a cumulative review and to put their skills into practice. Online courses, lectures, assignments, and grades are accessed through a learning management system that is provided by the school. Students can also use these sites to communicate with instructors, classmates, and faculty members about school-related issues.
What’s Next for Education Policy Degree Holders?
The education policy degree qualifies students to work as education administrators, policy analysts, political scientists, and other education-related professions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all three occupations are expected to have optimistic job outlooks for the coming years. By 2020, employment of education administrators is expected to grow 19%, and policy analysts/political scientists are expected to increase 8%. In addition to having good job prospects, all three occupations also have favorable salaries. According to the Occupational Employment Statistics, education administrators made an average annual salary of $99,370 in May 2012. In May 2010, policy analysts/political scientists earned an average annual salary of $107,420. Earnings vary based on individuals’ education level, experience, employer, and location.
Although bachelor’s degree holders are eligible for many entry-level jobs, there are many employers and positions in this field that require candidates to have a higher degree or more work experience. If you want to further your knowledge and skills in education policy, your next education option would be to earn a master’s degree in education policy. Holding a graduate degree in this specialized field can significantly increase your job opportunities and earning potential.