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2021 Education Degree Guide

Studying in the field of education will help prepare you to be an effective and inspirational teacher. You will learn skills on how to manage a classroom while still providing an interesting lesson. In this field, you will influence children, teenagers or adults in a way that can change their lives. A teacher is much more than an educator, you will act as a counselor, disciplinarian, friend, and confidant. The roles you will play in the lives of your students are endless.

However, teaching is not the only career available in the field of education. It is also possible to become a principle or an administrator. Here is where you take the knowledge you already have about the teaching profession and use it to help your school run smoothly. Another direction that you may choose to go within this field is career or guidance counseling. This allows you to have a more one on one role with the student in order to motivate and encourage them.

If education interests you, but working directly with students is not your passion, you may choose to work as a curriculum developer. Here you would work with state standards and tests, instruction methods, and technology to make sure students are getting the best education possible.

Education Degrees Remain Stable

#4 Most Popular Major
307k Degrees Awarded
0.2% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, education was the 4th most popular major nationwide with 306,739 degrees awarded. This is approximately the same as the 306,214 graduates the prior year.

There are 1,885 schools offering degrees in education in the United States. This year's Best Colleges for Education ranking compares 622 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of education programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Education

There are many different skills essential to working in education: Some of the most important are enthusiasm, compassion, dedication, creativity, organization, and flexibility. No matter how perfectly you plan a lesson or a meeting; there is always a chance that something may not go according to plan, making quick thinking and adaptability important. It is also important to have a passion for the future, even if you are not working directly in a classroom every day.

There is a very wide variety of majors within education. Students with different strengths can excel in this field because of the endless options. Students in education should have a desire to help the greater common good and should also have strong communication skills. Communication is important for teaching, but also to make sure everyone is on the same page, whether it is parents, administrators, or the state. Most of the concentrations within this field will require at least one semester of student teaching.

Getting Accepted Into an Education Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most education degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Specific education careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Types of Education Degrees

There are many different education degree levels. You can get anything from a associate's degree in education to the highest education degree, a professional practice doctorate. The type of education degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree (research / scholarship) is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to education, with approximately 28.2% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for education workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Doctoral Degree 28.8%
Master’s Degree 26.3%
Bachelor’s Degree 22.6%
Post-Doctoral Training 5.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 3.9%

Most workers in education have at least a master's degree. View the chart below to get an idea of what degree level most of those in education careers have.


The education level required is different depending on the education career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Education Graduate

Above Average Number of Jobs
$43.9k Average Starting Salary
10% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are a variety of career opportunities for those who enter the education field. Some may want to be a classroom teacher in either a particular grade level or subject, whereas others will choose to serve as a school administrator. Other options include school counseling, curriculum development, educational policy, tutoring and more. With the many diverse directions you can go, there is bound to be a career options that appeals to you.

Solid Growth Projected for Education Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your education degree? Education careers are expected to grow 9.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to education.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Elementary School Teachers 1,514,900 7.4%
Teacher Assistants 1,417,600 8.4%
High School Teachers 1,095,500 7.5%
Teachers 1,091,800 9.9%
Middle School Teachers 677,700 7.5%

Education Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated education students earned an average of $43,880 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $9,100 to as high as $161,500. As you might expect, salaries for education graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Education Careers

Salaries for education graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers education grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Health Specialties Professors $122,320
Economics Professors $117,180
Postsecondary Education Administrators $111,210
Physics Postsecondary Professors $103,830
Business Professors $103,330

Getting Your Education Degree

With over 25,242 different education degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased education school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Education

Education Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 100,925
Educational Administration 44,381
Teacher Education Subject Specific 43,516
General Education 31,066
Special Education 30,639

View All Education Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Social Sciences 203,399
Psychology 177,655
Communication & Journalism 122,154
Family, Consumer & Human Sciences 59,281
History 32,806

View All Education Related Majors >


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