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

what is early childhood educationCareers 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
Highest Paying Jobs in Education
Growing Careers in Education
What Do Teachers Do?
Teaching Shortage and Demand

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. Learn more about several different education careers below.


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. Teachers prepare and educate their students for the world. Their subject matter depends on the age they are instructing, ranging from math and reading basics up until specialty courses taught in higher education. Teachers also have the ability to work in different environments; primarily traditional schools but also online options.

Teacher Job Responsibilities
Teachers create lesson plans and tests in order to educate students on specific subjects depending on the age and skill of the students. Analyzing and reporting progress back to parents is also a responsibility teacher must complete, as well as creating and reinforcing rules for their classroom.

Teacher Job Options
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 literacy or other education-related non-profit programs. 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 an educational administrator. 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 2021 pay of elementary, middle and high school principals is $98,420 annually. School administrators who play a role other than principal report a median annual salary of $94,730. As with average teacher salary, the pay and job growth in the field of education administration varies across the country.

Education Administration Responsibilities
An education administrator is responsible for all administrative duties at a school, including budgets, schedules, disciplinary actions, and event planning. Having keen attention to detail, excellent organization skills and a passion for connecting with students, as well as teachers, are important skills for an education administrator to have.

Education Administration Job Options
Potential job options for an education administrator include principal, vice principal or dean, but also can extend into areas such as advanced curriculum planning, professional development, and instructional guidance for other teachers.

School Counseling

School counselors help students socially, academically and emotionally, as well as guide them along their path to college or into the workforce. 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 2021 was $60,510, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

School Counseling Responsibilities
As a school counselor, you’ll play a key role in students’ development and help them to reach their full potential outside of school. A school counselor's job responsibilities include listening to the concerns of a student in an academic and emotional sense, aide students in processing problems, creating plans to solve issues, and assist with college or employment opportunities to help a student succeed in life.

School Counseling Job Options
A school counselor can work either in an office or a classroom setting and can assist with various grades, usually K-12.

School Social Work

A school social worker is an important part of the education system in that they help behavior issues within students and ultimately aid in their educational success. And, according to government data, there is a growing need for social workers. Through 2031, the occupation is expected to grow at 9 percent, which is faster than the growth rate for all occupations.

School Social Work Responsibilities
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.

School Social Work Job Options
A school social worker usually works in an office setting within a school and works with numerous ages of students.

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. The Learning Policy Institute found in a 2015 survey that there are national shortages in the number of qualified EL teachers.

Teaching English as a Second Language Responsibilities
The primary responsibility for teaching English as a second language is what the name implies; teaching English as a second language to students who do not speak English fluently. In addition to teaching the language, EL teachers help students better understand the culture of their new environment.

Teaching English as a Second Language Job Options
English as a second language teachers have the options to work in a traditional school setting, during evening hours to accommodate older students and an online option to connect with students in different locations.

Highest Paying Jobs in Education

How Much Do Teachers Make?

Wages for teachers vary according to geographic location and grade level. Below are the national median annual wages for teachers in 2021:

National Average Pennsylvania Average Degree Requirements
High School Teachers $61,820 $73,800 Bachelor's Degree
Elementary School Teachers $61,350 $70,200 Bachelor's Degree
Kindergarten Teachers $61,350 $68,250 Associates Degree
Middle School Teachers $61,320 $68,850 Bachelor's Degree
Special Education Teachers $61,820 $67,870 Bachelor's Degree

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.

Growing Careers in Education

Opportunities in the education field are becoming more in demand according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, especially in certain education specialties. Listed below are some of the top growing careers in the education field.

  • Postsecondary Teacher
  • Postsecondary Education Administrator
  • Curriculum Developer
  • Schools Counselor
  • Special Education Teacher

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 in 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 215-641-5541 or