Online degrees in teaching are designed to prepare students for careers teaching in classrooms, particularly in lower grade levels, such as k-12 education, because they require general knowledge in several subjects. General education degrees will typically require course work in all areas of education and learning, from child development, literacy, and gifted and talented students, to differentiating instruction, lesson design, and assessment.
Degrees in teaching are well-suited for students who want to become teachers and, depending on a student’s particular teaching interests, can be paired nicely with a variety of minor fields of study. Those who want to teach younger levels may want to minor in child psychology; those who want to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) may want to minor in Spanish or another foreign language; and those who want to teach a particular subject in high school, such as math or English, may want to earn a minor in those fields.
Students in general education or K-12 education degree programs will take courses in curriculum development, classroom management, differentiated instruction, and likely a subject area of their choice, such as science or social studies. Depending on a student’s chosen field of study and career goals, in-class observation or student teaching may be required for program completion or state standards.
Students who want to become teachers will typically be required to hold a degree in education and get certified to teach within their state, though many states offer programs to allow people to become certified teachers even if their degree is in another field. Students will be required to complete fieldwork, such as student-teaching and substitute-teaching assignments, and log a certain number of hours in the classroom, both teaching and observing. Some programs may have ways for students to complete many fieldwork assignments online.
Many teachers seeking to move up in their field earn master’s degrees in education upon graduation or after they have taught for a few years. Master’s degrees can help teachers become department or subject-area coordinators within their school, assistant principals or principals, or district administrators. But while online degrees in education are ideal for those who want to become teachers, the skills education students learn are transferable to other professions, such as communications, human resources, non-profit work, or general management— patience, organization, and classroom management skills are relevant far beyond the classroom.
Another option for moving up within the teaching field is teacher education. Teacher education and professional development can be excellent ways for teachers to learn new skills, delve deeper into passions they’ve discovered in the professional world, and create opportunities for promotions and other career advances. Teacher education can come through school- or district-sponsored activities, such as inservices or seminars, or through degree programs.