For many, the desire to teach comes from a place of empathy and wanting to help others thrive. However, to accomplish this goal, there is a wide variety of career paths you can take to step into a fulfilling teaching role.

Whether you’re a current teacher looking to branch out into a new role or an aspiring professional wondering what career options are available to you in the education space, familiarizing yourself with different teaching paths can be incredibly helpful.

Here is understanding the career paths of different kinds of educators.

K-12 Teacher

Typically, when people think about stepping into the role of a teacher, they picture themselves becoming an elementary, middle, or high school teacher. This can be a fulfilling career that allows you to make an impact on the lives of countless students on their paths to success.

While all schools in America require teachers to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, exactly which degree you’ll need will depend on the specific schools and programs you wish to teach in.

However, with a liberal arts degree or an education degree, you’ll typically be qualified to teach at most K-12 institutions.

To bolster your credentials, you may choose to pursue an education-related master’s degree in a specific area. This may make you more qualified to work in private schools and other more prestigious K-12 institutions.

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers play a vital role in the American school system and play a pivotal role in the lives of many students. If you have a keen interest in helping students with special needs thrive, this could be an amazing educational career path for you to pursue.

To become qualified as a special education teacher, you’ll typically need to earn a specialized bachelor’s degree in special education. With this, you’ll qualify for a range of teaching roles, typically at public schools.

If you’re intent on having competitive qualifications for the best special education teacher roles, you have the opportunity to earn a master’s degree to bolster your resume.

Higher Education Professor

If you’re like many other aspiring teachers out there, you might desire to teach a specific subject at a high level. If this is the case for you, a career as a higher education professor can be an amazing path to pursue.

Higher education professors teach at institutions such as colleges and universities. To become qualified to step into one of these roles, you’ll typically have to earn at least a master’s degree.

While a master’s degree will qualify you for some teaching positions in colleges and universities, typically in part-time or adjunct roles, a Ph.D. is a more viable option for this career path. With a doctorate, you’ll have an easier time landing a part-time role and will be qualified to step into full-time teaching opportunities with the potential to land tenure.

Though becoming a college professor can be an amazing career path that comes with opportunities to engage in academic studies as well, it can also be a long journey. However, if you’re ready to put in the time and reach your career goals, you can thrive as a higher education professor.

School Leader Or Superintendent 

School leaders and superintendents play a key role in helping K-12 schools function smoothly and creating a space for students to thrive. If you’re interested in an educational career path that allows you to step into a leadership position, this is probably the role for you.

To become a school leader or superintendent, you’ll typically need to earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Doctor of Education degree. Like becoming a college professor, the path to these roles is longer than that of many other education professions.

However, this can be an extremely rewarding career path that allows you to change processes in educational institutions and truly make an impact on the lives of students.

School Dean

Similar to school leaders, deans play a vital leadership role in higher education institutions. These professionals often focus on either supporting students or faculty in their pursuits. Their typical duties often include collaborating with different departments in their institutions and overseeing admissions processes for students.

To become qualified as a school dean, it is typically necessary to obtain a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. In many cases, those who step into the role of dean have a Ph.D. in Education Leadership or a closely related field of study.

If you’re excited at the prospect of stepping into a leadership role in higher education institutions, becoming a dean gives you a chance to pursue your goals and have a rewarding career.

A Career In Education Awaits You 

When it comes to stepping into a professional role in the field of education, you have no shortage of options. From impacting students’ lives in the role of a K-12 teacher to letting your leadership skills shine as a dean of a college, there are many paths you can take to achieve your goals.

Regardless of which path you choose; the education space is ripe with opportunities to have a fulfilling and rewarding career that allows you to thrive.

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