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What You Need to Know about Online Education Degrees

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There are few professions that are more rewarding - and challenging - than teaching and helping shape the next generation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, master's degrees in education are among the most popular in the nation. In 2008, approximately 176,000 degrees were awarded. The majority of graduates, especially on the undergraduate level, go on to become school teachers, and employment for secondary school teachers is expected to grow by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. In addition to teaching, degrees in education open up opportunities in administration and related fields.

Which online education degrees can I earn?

Online degrees in education are offered by public, private, non-profit and for-profit institutions around the country. The following education degrees can be obtained online:

  1. Associate degree: This two-year degree, traditionally an A.A. (associate of arts) is considered a starter degree. It is not sufficient to work as a teacher, but graduates can obtain positions as teachers' aides or childcare workers. This degree is a good stepping stone for a bachelor's degree in education.
  2. Bachelor's degree: Public school teachers in the U.S. must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state. In general, a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to become a licensed teacher for kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school teachers.
  3. Master's degree: A master's degree in education, which takes two years to complete when studying full-time, is traditionally required for teachers who would like to advance their careers and increase their salaries in the private and public K-12 education system. Students can specialize in several areas, including early childhood education, special education, English as a second language, etc.
  4. Doctorate degree: This degree in the field of education typically takes five years to complete. Depending on the university and chosen program, a significant amount of independent research and the completion of a doctoral dissertation is required. Professionals with a Ph.D. in education oftentimes go into administration and work as principals in the secondary school system or deans on the college level. There is a vast number of specializations available, including educational leadership, special education, adult learning, bilingual education, currriculum and instruction, etc.

The online degree format: how does it work?

A 2008 report by the NCES states that for the 2006-2007 school year, there were approximately 11,200 college-level programs designed to be completed entirely online. Students who want to complete their degrees without having to set foot in a physical university have plenty of choices for their online education degrees. Most online programs follow a format that does not require students to be online at a specific time. Rather, students study on their own time and hand in assignments as determined by the university. Some programs, usually those associated with on-campus universities that also offer online classes, might require students to be online in real time. Most universities offer a significant amount of online support and access to faculty for questions and advice. The technology is user-friendly and easy to master for students with a solid computer (system requirements apply) and a strong Internet connection.

Choose your favorite online education program and start your career in the rewarding teaching world today!

Judy Jenner

Judy A. Jenner is a freelance writer and translator based in Las Vegas, NV. She's the author of one book, has written dozens of articles for industry publications around the world, and writes a monthly business column. Previously, Judy was the Spanish Content Manager for VEGAS.com and Content Manager for Mexico.com, where she wrote extensively about travel and tourism. Judy serves on the board of CLASS!, a bilingual newspaper for high school students, and is the president of the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association. Judy holds an MBA in marketing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Academic Programs http://education.unlv.edu http://education.unlv.edu/programs.html

Bachelor's degrees conferred by degree-granting institutions in selected fields of study: 1997 http://nces.ed.gov/ http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/figures/fig_15.asp

Distance Education at Degree-Granting Postsecondary Institutions: 2006-07 http://nces.ed.gov http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2009044

Education Administrators Dec 17, 2009 http://www.bls.gov/ http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos007.htm

How many postsecondary institutions offer distance learning programs? http://nces.ed.gov http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=80

Teachers: Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Dec 17, 2009 http://www.bls.gov/ http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos318.htm

What are the most popular majors for college students? http://nces.ed.gov http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37

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