Becoming a successful teacher requires a special mix of education and hands-on experience. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimated that during the 2011-2012 school year, 56 percent of all full-time employed teachers had a master's degree or higher; the share was 43 percent among private school instructors. While many teachers still enter the field with only a bachelor's degree in education (and a state-compliant license or certification, if working in public schools), additional qualifications can prepare them for more rewarding positions in the field.
What today's teachers can gain from earning certifications
There are many career options for modern educators. For example, they might choose to concentrate in administration, special education or school counseling. Let's look at a few of the major options for advanced education:
A Master of Science in Educational Administration program might offer an additional certification option for becoming a K-12 principal. The Schools and Staffing Survey from the NCES estimated that solid majorities of principals at both the elementary (63 percent) and secondary (60 percent) levels had at least a master's degree. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of each group also had "education specialist" credentials, indicating a year's worth of additional work beyond the master's level.
Certification enables students to compete for principal positions that provide excellent pay and job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the 2016 median salary for elementary, middle and high school principals was $92,510. Predicted growth in positions from 2014 to 2024 is a healthy 6 percent. Postsecondary administrators had similar compensation, but with a faster growth rate of 9 percent over the same time period.
Certification enables students to compete for principal positions that provide excellent pay and job security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that the 2016 median salary for elementary, middle and high school principals was $92,510. Predicted growth in positions from 2014 to 2024 was a healthy 6 percent. Postsecondary administrators had similar compensation, but a faster growth rate of 9 percent over the same time period.
More than 40 years after it was enacted, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has ensured free education for millions of public school students, ages 3 to 21, in the U.S. There is high demand for special education teachers capable of designing and leading lessons for these learners.
Over 12 percent of all students enrolled in public schools were covered under the provisions of IDEA during the 2013-2014 school year, according to the NCES. Depending on the program, a teacher might earn a concentration in special education alongside a master's degree in education, or attain a standalone graduate certification. Such credentials equip teachers to understand the contexts, challenges and best practices of special education today.
"Counselors play central roles in helping students select classes and plan for careers."
Counselors play central roles in helping students select classes, plan for careers and work through challenges during their years in school. The BLS projected 8 percent growth in employment of school and career counselors between 2014 and 2024. These jobs usually increase in lockstep with overall school enrollments, meaning that additional positions should continue to open up in the years ahead.
School counseling is often an appealing second career for counselors who already have master's degrees in fields such as psychology. A post-masters certificate in school counseling can provide the requisite training for counselors looking to make the transition, via coursework in:
- Multicultural and diversity issues in counseling.
- Theories of counseling.
- Group counseling and facilitation skills.
Explore your certification options at GMercyU
At Gwynedd Mercy University, you can earn certifications in a variety of educational specialties, with the convenience of accelerated and online program formats.
"What I like most about being a GMercyU student is that I am able to work from the convenience of my home, while still receiving the same support from my professors and advisors that a traditional campus would provide!," explained Julie Gawinowicz, a student on the Master of Science in Education track.
Visit the main online programs page to learn more and contact a counselor.