How To Get A Teaching Degree: A Simple Guide for Future Students

teaching degree

One of the most rewarding career paths is becoming a teacher, whether in the preparatory stage or postsecondary learning. Teachers play a very important, but the job is quite demanding. It requires them to commit to a journey of lifetime learning and growth. The truth is, teaching requires a lot more than earning a teaching degree but let’s start at the beginning.

There are various teaching degree programs available. To help you, we’ve created this brief “How To Get A Teaching Degree” guide that outlines the steps and considerations for aspiring educators.

Find out how to get a bachelor’s degree in teaching and choose the best teaching degrees. Learn to explore the licensure process with ease.

Featured Programs

Type of Education Degrees

Associate Degree

Average Completion Time: 2 years

Average Cost: $13,080

Common Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Associate degree programs are short and inexpensive. They are recommended for students considering the profession and weighing their options. You can enroll in community colleges, vocational schools, and technical colleges. Some four-year universities offer associate degrees, but most do not.

There are a few majors and specializations at the associate level. Early Childhood Education, Paraprofessional Education, and Elementary Education are the most common. 

Each associate’s in education program offers unique coursework and flexibility for students. The majority of the programs include these subjects in the curriculum:

  • Educational Trends
  • Theories of Childhood Development
  • Education Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Elementary Education
  • Math Education Fundamentals
  • Education Technology
  • Liberal Arts Coursework

Bachelor Degree

Average Completion Time: 4 years

Average Cost:  $36,436

Common Admission Requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Standardized test scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay

With a bachelor’s degree in teaching, you become a better-equipped professional. Elon University, Georgia State University, and Brown University are recommended for teaching degrees.

The best advice we could give you on how to get a bachelor’s degree in education is to evaluate your goals and know your options.

There are three types of teaching degree programs at the bachelor’s level:

  • Bachelor of Arts focuses on humanities, social sciences, and liberal arts.
  • Bachelor of Education focuses on courses for positions in educational settings.
  • Bachelor of Science focuses on scientific and technical disciplines.

The most common concentrations found at this level include:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Math Education
  • Reading and Literacy
  • Science Education
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education

This learning level is expensive. Your tuition, accommodation costs, textbooks, and other miscellaneous expenses aren’t cheap. To be able to afford it, you must get financial aid. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to get started.

Also, consider bachelor’s in education degree programs online. They are cheaper with no commute, campus housing, and meal plan expenses. It is also recommended for those with full-time careers.

Master Degree

Average Completion Time: 2 years

Average Cost: $59,684

Common Admission Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • At least three years of teaching/education experience
  • Transcripts
  • Teaching license (varies)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay

A master’s in education/teaching degree allows you to advance your pay or positions. You can use this degree to pursue positions outside of the classroom, including curriculum and program development and leadership. It also offers other benefits.

With a master’s degree, you will be able to work more effectively with a broader range of students and environments in the classroom. Moreover, some states mandate that all teachers get a master’s degree to keep their teaching credentials.

There are several types of master’s degree programs, each oriented toward different types of roles. The three main types of master’s degrees for teachers are:

  • Master of Education is a popular choice for educators seeking to enhance teaching theories, pedagogy, and strategies. It is also preferred by those aspiring to pursue careers beyond the classroom.
  • Master of Arts equips teachers with practical skills and subject-specific strategies. It prepares them for initial licensure in various education areas.
  • Master of Science offers quantitative, research-focused curricula. It also often offers curricular areas in technical fields and educational leadership or research and policy.

Master’s programs also offer various concentrations/specializations. Most students build on their bachelor’s degree knowledge, while others pursue another specialization to broaden their career opportunities.

Here are some of the most common master’s degree specializations:

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Educational Technology
  • Higher Education
  • School Counseling
  • Teaching English Language Learners

Education Specialist

Average Completion Time: 12-18 months

Average Cost: $10,000 to $50,000

Common Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree
  • At least five years of professional experience
  • Teaching license (varies)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay

An education specialist (EdS) degree is between a master’s and a doctorate, and it is usually awarded after the sixth year of collegiate study. Some universities consider specialist degrees terminal, while others allow graduates to count hours earned in a specialist program towards the required coursework for an education doctoral degree.

Education specialist degree programs require students to choose a specialization and often focus on teaching students how to integrate technology into teaching practice. EdS programs are highly specialized and are often customized for the following areas:

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Educational Leadership
  • Higher Education Administration
  • Instructional Technology
  • Literacy Education
  • School Counseling
  • Special Education


Average Completion Time: 5-7 years

Average Cost: $133,340

Common Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree
  • Transcript
  • At least five years of professional work experience
  • Teaching license (varies)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

A doctorate is the highest-level degree you can obtain. It is commonly pursued by education professionals who want to pursue a tenure track in postsecondary education, participate in education policy, and contribute to research in the field.

There are two types of doctoral programs you can pursue:

  • Doctor of Education: Offers a practiced-focused curriculum that prepares students for careers in education administration and public policy, among others. It’s aimed at part-time students.
  • Doctor of Philosophy: Requires full-time enrollment and is designed for students who want to work in academia or research.

The Licensure Process for a Teaching Career

Here’s a brief step-by-step on how to earn your teaching license:

  1. Earn your bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and complete a teacher preparation program.
  2. Fulfill the student teaching requirement of your state.
  3. Earn your master’s degree.
  4. Pass your state’s required exam for teachers.
  5. Apply for state teacher certification.

You need to renew your teacher certification every five years. This usually entails completing graduate-level coursework or continuing education.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best teaching degree?

The best degree will depend on your career goal. However, we would say that the best option is to complete an EdS degree. Because this program draws the line between a master’s and a doctorate, it offers a practical blend of advanced education theory and hands-on specialized learning experience. This degree level allows you to pursue high-level administrative and teaching positions. 

How long does it take to become a teacher in my state?

State requirements vary, but the average time to become a teacher is five years since most teaching jobs require a four-year bachelor’s degree. You can check the Teacher Certification Requirements by State.

Can you teach in my state without a degree?

State requirements for becoming a teacher vary depending on whether you teach at a private or public school. However, if you want to teach at public schools, you must earn at least a bachelor’s degree. Some positions accept teaching applications from graduates of other fields.

What is a degree in teaching called?

There are several types of teaching degrees. The most common include:

  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Education (BA Ed)
  • Bachelor of Science in Education (BS Ed)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Education Specialist (EdS)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD Ed)
  • Doctor of Educatibationb (EdD)