Online Degrees in Education and Career Guide

apple school books and blackboard

For increasing numbers of prospective teachers and administrators, an online degree in education is the first step to a career with steady job prospects and excellent benefits. And although teaching doesn't always have a reputation as a high-salary field, the pay is certainly competitive for those with experience and training.

Who is a good candidate for an online degree in education? Besides having the motivation to help kids and adults reach their full potential, a prospective teacher should have excellent communication and organizational abilities. Not only that, teachers need a healthy dose of patience and creativity in order to address the educational and emotional needs of a wide variety of students. Those who intend to become educational administrators also possess these characteristics, in addition to leadership ability, innovation, and outstanding interpersonal skills.

Use our guide to find valuable information on online degrees in education and the career paths you can take:

Ample Career Opportunities

If you've decided to earn an online degree, the education field offers a wide array of job opportunities in teaching, educational research and policy, and educational administration, as well as specialty areas such as counseling and librarianship.

Teaching careers alone are highly varied, addressing a wide range of age groups from children to adults, as well as running the gamut as far as subject matter is concerned. Teachers who work with age groups below the high school level are often generalists, addressing a variety of subjects with the same class throughout the day, while high school and postsecondary instructors focus on one subject area such as history or science.

Online Degrees and Credentials

Generally, K-12 teaching jobs demand at least a bachelor's degree, such as an online degree in education or in the subject area you plan to teach. They also require specialized teacher training and in-person practice, enabling you to acquire state certification.

Teaching assistants and aides, however, may begin work with just a high school diploma, and in some cases a specific credential such as early childhood education.

Postsecondary instructors usually hold a graduate degree in the subject they teach.

Jobs in administration and leadership require experience working in the field as well as more advanced academic training. Careers in administration may include the following:

  • department heads
  • school principals
  • deans
  • superintendents

Many administrators hold an online degree in education administration or education leadership, either at the master's or doctoral level. Those who work in educational research or policy—such as curriculum specialists or State Department of Education policymakers—also hold graduate degrees. Specialists in other areas such as school counseling or librarianship usually hold graduate degrees in those fields.