Careers in Education

Careers in Education - Career Paths, Salaries, Responsibilities & Demand

Careers in education can be among the most rewarding ways to make a difference in the lives of others. Earning a degree in education is an important first step in becoming a teacher. But even if you don’t plan to teach in a traditional classroom setting, an education degree can be a stepping stone to a wide variety of careers in education, including education administration, school counseling, or even social work.

Education Career Paths
How Much Do Teachers Make?

What Do Teachers Do?
Teaching Shortage and Demand
GMercyU: Your Path to a Career in Education

Education Career Paths

There’s no doubt that teachers have the power to transform the lives of their students inside the classroom, but there are other education career paths that may better suit your skills and interests. Ready to Bring Your Future into Focus? Learn more about several different education careers below.

Teaching: Teaching is certainly the most commonly known career path for students earning a degree in education, and it’s a great option if you like working with children or adults in a classroom setting. You can choose to specialize in special education, early childhood education, or secondary education. You might also consider a dual degree in a subject such as history, science or math, and secondary education.

If you want to become a teacher but don’t want to teach in a traditional classroom, you have options. You could teach online, in a residential facility, or as part of a literacy or other education-related non-profit program. If you’re looking to teach at the college and university level, you generally will need to earn at least a master’s degree. Regardless of the teaching path you choose, you are sure to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of others! 

Education Administration: Some teachers who are looking for an opportunity for growth within their school community can pursue an advanced degree to become educational administrators. These include familiar titles such as principal and vice principal, but also can extend into areas such as advanced curriculum planning, professional development, and instructional guidance for other teachers. A Master’s Degree in Education Administration, for example, can prepare you to help fellow teachers align their lesson plans with district, state and federal materials and requirements, as well as design standalone programs, such as a school safety program.

The field of education administration is expected to grow 6 percent between now and 2024, or about the average rate of growth for all occupations.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports the median 2017 pay of elementary, middle and high school principals is $94,390 annually. School administrators who play a role other than principal report a median annual salary of $88,240. As with average teacher salary, the pay and job growth in the field of education administration varies across the country.

School Counseling: School counselors help students socially, academically and emotionally, as well as guide them along their path to college or into the workforce. As a school counselor, you’ll play a key role in students’ development and help them to reach their full potential outside of school.

Earning a Master’s Degree in School Counseling is a good first step in earning a state-issued license, which you’ll likely need to obtain before beginning work as a school counselor. The median pay for licensed school counselors in 2017 was $55,410, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

School Social Work: Social workers work with teachers and school administrators to identify behavior issues in students that might lead to aggressive behavior, bullying or absences. They then work with the students and their families to address the root of the problem and develop strategies to improve students’ academic performance and social development. And, according to government data, there is a growing need for social workers. Between 2016 and 2026, the occupation is expected to grow at 16 percent, which is faster than the growth rate for all occupations.

Teaching English as a Second Language: Teachers in Pennsylvania can earn a certification in Teaching English as a Second Language after they become a certified teacher. Having this certification is generally required to teach English to non-native speakers in public schools. In addition to teaching the language, ESL teachers help students better understand the culture of their new environment. The Learning Policy Institute found in a 2015 survey that there are national shortages in the number of qualified ESL teachers.

How Much Do Teachers Make?

Wages for teachers vary according to geographic location and grade level — according to the BLS, nearly every teaching occupation earned more than the $36,200 median annual wage for all occupations in May 2015.

Below are the national median annual wages for teachers in 2015:

  National Average Pennsylvania
High School Teachers $57,200 $64,380
Elementary School Teachers $54,550 $61,730
Kindergarten Teachers $54,500 $52,790
Middle School Teachers $55,860 $58,950
Special Education Teachers $56,800 $63,340

Many teachers have summers off and use that time to earn additional money and/or develop their skills by teaching summer school, running summer camp programs, or pursuing other interests.

What Do Teachers Do?

In addition to teaching students specific subject matter in the classroom, teachers strive to help students develop the lifelong learning tools they’ll need to succeed into the future. Math lessons can help students work on problem-solving skills, group projects can help students work on their communication skills, and history lessons can help students appreciate cultures other than their own.

But back to the classroom, here are some things a teacher typically does during the day:

  • Prepare lessons that will engage and challenge students
  • Create assignments that will connect lessons to a bigger concept
  • Vary teaching style to keep students’ attention and meet their needs
  • Participate in after-school clubs or tutoring
  • Meet with parents to discuss a student’s progress
  • Become involved in professional organizations
  • Grade student assignments and offer feedback that will enhance their understanding of the subject matter

Teaching Shortage and Demand

While teacher shortages vary by geographic location and subject, the Learning Policy Institute has found some factors that contribute to the teacher shortage in the United States, including the number of students enrolled in teacher preparation programs and an increase in the number of school-age children.

According to The Learning Policy Institute, enrollment in teacher preparation programs dropped 35 percent between 2009 and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. This gap in the number of qualified professionals is highest in special education, math, science and bilingual education, according to US News.

Despite having fewer qualified teachers, the number of children in the United States who are expected to enter kindergarten through 12th grade is expected to reach 56.5 million students by 2025, up from 55.4 in the fall of 2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 1.9 million teaching jobs will be added for preschool through postsecondary school between 2014 and 2024. While demand will vary depending on geographic location and age or subject taught, the average demand for all teaching occupations is expected to grow 6 percent.

GMercyU: Your Path to a Career in Education

Earning a bachelor’s degree in education is a great first step to a career that allows you to make a difference in the lives of students and their families. GMercyU’s School of Education can help you become the teacher or school administrator you aspire to be. Gwynedd Mercy At GMercyU, you will have access to the finest teachers and resources as you develop your teaching and classroom management skills. Watch the video below to see how GMercyU’s School of Education Professors can help you Bring Your Future into Focus in the classroom.

Classroom observations and student teaching will give you real-world experience to draw from later on, and a dedicated Education and Certification Coordinator will ensure you meet all the requirements to become a certified teacher in Pennsylvania.

To learn more about the opportunities available and to begin your journey toward a rewarding career in the field of education, contact Gwynedd Mercy University at 800-342-5462 or