How Can You Specialize an Education Degree?

Education SpecializationsWith diverse opportunities to pursue a career at all grade levels, choosing options to specialize an education degree is the first step in preparing to support the academic achievement of all students. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees can be tailored to best prepare future educators for positions in various types of classrooms through administrative roles.

Undergraduate Degree for Classroom Teaching

For many future educators, pursuing a degree in order to teach in a classroom is often the first step to beginning a career in education. The majority of prospective teachers will begin their degree path by choosing a bachelor’s degree in teaching at the elementary or secondary level. In these programs, courses include a variety of material focused on classroom management, assessment and evaluation, teaching methods, and techniques for subject specific instructional delivery. Additionally, field work hours, classroom observations, and student teaching must be successfully completed to obtain state licensing and certification to work with students in classrooms from early childhood to secondary levels.

Further Undergraduate Specializations

In addition to tailoring a degree for a elementary or secondary education, undergraduates also have opportunities for further specializing degree paths in specific concentrations to best prepare to meet the needs of specific student populations or to pursue opportunities outside of teaching in a classroom. Some of the options available for these specializations include child development, education and public policy, leadership in education, English language learning, instructional design, technology and education, adult education, and special education.

Graduate Degree Specializations in Education

After completion of an undergraduate degree, educators have options for further study of specialized areas of teaching and administration. Two options for master’s degrees include the Master of Arts in Teaching, which is focused on the advancement of skills for classroom instruction, and the Master of Science in Education, which is more focused on various administrative and leadership roles.

Within many Master of Arts in Teaching programs there are additional concentrations focused on a specific student population or content area. Some examples of possibilities for these specializations include completion of course work in English as a second language, special education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, bilingual studies, music or art education, physical education, and early childhood development.

A Master of Science in Education offers further opportunities for concentrations in the field of education. Common options for these specializations include curriculum design and technology, educational leadership, educational psychology, literacy and language, higher education, and cultural studies in education.

Careers in Education

Each of these specializations offers future educators the opportunity to complete courses and gain experience in working directly with or in support of students at all age and grade levels. Educators with specialized knowledge are prepared to work in early childhood development centers, kindergarten to twelfth grade classrooms, school district administrative offices, program development offices, and post-secondary institutions. Opportunities are also available with educational development companies, non-profit organizations, medical facilities,and government agencies. More information on career possibilities in education can be found at the National Education Association website.

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The field of education offers numerous possibilities for making a difference in the lives of all students. To deliver and support academic achievement and success, future educators begin by determining the options to specialize an education degree.