Types of Teaching Degrees
Teaching degrees come in many forms, from bachelor's degrees to doctorates in education. They may feature a curriculum tailored to early childhood learners, special education or general K-6 students, or middle and high school students. Below is a breakdown of the types of education degrees you can pursue.
Associate degrees in education may qualify graduates to work in a classroom in several capacities, such as a teacher's aide, preschool teacher, or substitute teacher. An associate program also builds a foundation for a bachelor's degree if you choose to continue your studies.
A bachelor's in education is the minimum credential required to become a non-substitute K-12 teacher. Faculty design most bachelor's programs to lead to certification in the state where they're offered.
Master's degrees in education features advanced pedagogical coursework and may grant teachers an extra credential to improve their salary and employment prospects. A special type of master's degree, called a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), is intended for students who earned a bachelor's in a subject other than education. MATs cover much of the same curricula as an education bachelor's degree and typically lead to certification.
Doctoral degrees in education come in two varieties: a PhD or a Doctor of Education (EdD). PhDs are research-oriented and best suited for enrollees who want to be professors of education. EdDs are professional doctorates for teachers who want to enter the administrative field.
At the bachelor's level, education degrees can take the form of a bachelor of education (BEd), bachelor of arts (BA), or bachelor of science (BA). Similarly, a master's degree may be called a master of education (MEd), master of arts (MA), or master of science (MS). The differences are usually minimal between programs of the same level, though colleges may designate a degree with a science or math focus as a BS or MS and one with an English or social studies focus as a BA or MA.
You only need a high school diploma to enroll in an associate or bachelor's program. For most education master's degrees, you must hold a bachelor's diploma in education. An MAT is the exception to this rule, because these programs are designed for people with no teaching background. Doctoral programs typically require a master's degree and some professional teaching experience — unlike some disciplines, it's rare that a doctoral program in education will accept a candidate who doesn't hold a master's.