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Why Education and Teaching Degrees Attract So Many College Students

Of the more than 1,650,000 students who graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2010, more than 100,000 studied education, according to the National Center for Education Statistic (NCES).

At the master's degree level, more degrees were given in this subject than in any other major. These numbers clearly indicate that becoming an educator is a popular career choice for many students.

Discover why education and teaching degrees are so popular and what kind of growth is predicted for this industry in the years to come.

Quick Facts: Teacher Industry
Median Pay:   $54,530 per year | $26 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Bachelor's degree
Work Experience:   None
Number of Jobs, 2014:   1,985,000

Teacher Occupations:

  • Elementary school teachers, except special education$54,120
  • Middle school teachers, except special and career/technical education$54,940

Practical and General Learning

For many students, there is a big decision to be made when choosing a college major. Choosing a more practical training program for a future as an accountant or something similar might help you secure employment, but a more general liberal arts degree could expand your lateral thinking and enhance all of your skills. Choosing to study teaching is the best of both worlds for many students.

Earning your degree in education will provide you with the opportunity to train, often in an actual classroom, to become the best teacher that you can be. In addition, you can study the subjects that interest you most, and you will become a better listener, communicator, speaker and writer while completing the courses included in a standard bachelor's degree curriculum for teacher education.

Ability to Specialize in a Niche Area

It is important to remember that there is not just one single degree in the field of teaching. Becoming an educator often requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a traditional college campus or an accredited online college, but you will have innumerable options when it comes to selecting the courses you want to take and the areas in which you want to specialize.

If you love working with young children, you can take courses such as early childhood development or developmental psychology, both of which will certainly come in handy for a future elementary teacher. If you are interested in science, taking courses in physics and biology can help you better understand and explain key concepts to future high school students.

In addition, not all teachers work in a traditional classroom. You might choose to study computer science so you can lead an online class in the future, or you can hone your writing skills to create textbooks for college courses. The possibilities in the field of education are vast.

Job Stability and Future Growth

Another key point to consider as you select your college major is what the job market will look like when you graduate and what the employment predication look like for the future. Fortunately, careers in education and teaching are integral to society, and there is no question that educators will be needed around the world for the foreseeable future.

As with any field of study, there are some careers in the area of education that are predicted to grow faster than others. Post-secondary administrators, for example, will see a 15 percent increase in job demand before 2022, and kindergarten and elementary school educators will see a similar 12 percent increase, according to the BLS.

Fulfilling and Rewarding Career Choice

Ultimately, many of the people who choose to become educators do so for the opportunity to feel great about their work. There are few kinds of employment where you can know that what you do is benefiting countless individuals, but teaching gives you the satisfaction of making a difference in the world.

If money happens to be a bigger motivator, there are also many positions where you can enjoy impressive earning potential as well as the knowledge that you are helping adults and children through your daily work. These positions will require you to earn advanced degrees such as Masters, Ph.D’s or Doctorate degrees.

Countless Employment Opportunities

Finally, aspiring educators should remember that there is not just one type of career for educators. Whether you study online to earn an associate degree or you attend a more traditional bachelor's degree program on a college campus, you can find a career that suits your passions and skills.

Many preschool teachers and teaching assistants, for example, work with young children in classroom settings and don't require a bachelor's degree, all while earning salaries usually ranging from  $23,640 to $27,130 per year.

If you would prefer to work with older students, then you might enjoy a position as a middle or high school teacher, a tutor or a librarian. There are many teaching positions that involve a more mature demographic, such as adult literacy educators, instructional coordinators for large corporations and technical educators.

Since becoming a teacher is one of the most common career goals for college students, it makes sense that it is also the most popular major. Job growth, demand, prestige, fulfillment and a variety of career opportunities are all great reasons to pursue a college degree in teacher education.