Fields Within Education

Part of the appeal that education careers offer is variety. There are many different fields within education that allow people to follow their personal passions as they enjoy the benefits of teaching. It is not necessary to work as a general education instructor or even be in a classroom.

Teachers have the option of working in different subjects and with specific age groups. Education careers are available for those who wish to work with young children, teenagers, or adults. Teachers, teacher aides, and specialists usually work in the classroom with young children and teenagers, but it is important to acknowledge the importance of administrators.

Principals and other administrators are responsible for interpreting instructions and holding schools to state standards. Most administrators have teaching experience. Other positions outside of the classroom include tutors, school librarians, and school nurses.

College professors and technical school instructors both teach adults. The demand for adult education is continually growing as more people choose to attend college or learn marketable skills at technical schools. Online classes have also made it easier for non-traditional students to earn their degrees. Given the numerous options in education careers, it is possible for those who have the desire to teach to find a niche they will enjoy.

Music Teacher

Music teachers have specialized education careers. Even at the elementary school level, music teachers teach a single subject – music – although they teach a selection of classes to students in different grades. Music teachers at elementary schools teach broad subjects, such as music appreciation and general music. At this stage, teachers are concerned with students learning how to read music, play instruments, and/or sing. Secondary school teachers have more specific curricula. They typically teach bands or choirs, and these classes may have certain styles, such as jazz or classical. Professors of music usually teach small college classes, and they may mentor individual students.

Like any other education professional, music teachers are required to meet state requirements for certification. The requirements change in each state, but music teachers generally need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to become certified to teach in public schools. Earning a bachelor’s degree in music as well as a master’s degree in education is a popular option for music teachers, particularly those who work in secondary education. Music teachers with bachelor’s degrees in music have a background that better enables them to handle the requirements of teaching students on the elementary and secondary level. In fact, a bachelor’s degree in music makes a teacher more marketable and affects starting pay. College professors do not need to be certified, but they typically have doctorates.

A music teacher’s salary is based on location, teacher experience, and need. As a specialized educator, however, many music teachers earn more than general education teachers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that music teachers’ average salaries were more than $47,000 a year in 2009. Some music teachers even earned $82,000. Public schools typically pay more than private schools do, but candidates should look at all available jobs to find the best one possible. Like other teaching salaries, money is paid throughout the year. It is possible for music teachers to make more money during the summer holidays by giving private lessons or performing.

Although music programs are often underfunded, new jobs are expected to appear as more and more teachers at public schools retire over the next few years. Additionally, the number of teaching jobs should grow as more students enroll in college. Music professors, who work full time, average close to $80,000 a year. Positions with colleges also offer the flexibility of teaching part-time, which allows music teachers to perform while they hold stable teaching positions.

Private Tutor

Some education careers do not take place in a traditional classroom setting. Private tutors help students on an individual level. Some tutors work in specific subjects, while others work with general elementary education and assist those who qualify for assistance under. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Tutors do not simply teach students information; they help them develop their learning strategies.

There are no minimum education requirements or certification requirements for private tutors. They work with all ages. In fact, college students with good grades often work as tutors and help low-performing students improve their grade point averages. Current and retired teachers often tutor students to supplement their income, although teachers should check with their unions before taking on tutoring jobs. There are also professional tutoring services to assist students with SAT preparation, basic learning skills, and the mastering of different subjects like math and English.

Working as a private tutor requires more than academic skill. Private tutors work one-on-one with students and need to be patient and observant. They must develop a functional relationship and earn the respect and trust of their clients. No matter the student’s age or ability, a tutor needs to be able to identify weak areas and evaluate improvement. An effective tutor will take the time to understand clients and their learning styles. Once a tutor knows the learning styles each student uses, it is easier to illustrate basic study skills that are tailored to meet the unique needs of individual clients.

Tutors must have the ability to communicate clearly and motivate students toward success. Positive reinforcement and encouragement provide better outcomes than negative feedback does. Tutors who expect students to cover too much information too fast will do more harm than good. A student who has a positive experience with a tutor is more likely to implement the study skills and learning habits that the tutor suggests, increasing the likelihood of success.

Most private tutors do not work full time. Even professional tutoring companies typically hire only part-time private tutors. Tutors are paid by the hour most of the time, and educational background and certification affects a tutor’s hourly rates. A tutor with a master’s degree or doctorate will earn more than someone with only a bachelor’s degree. Location is another factor that affects pay rate. For example, a tutor in New York will make more money than a tutor from Texas. Professional tutors can make anywhere between $15 to $40 an hour.

Speech Pathologist

Some educational careers require more education than others. Speech pathologists, for example, are usually required to have master’s degrees in speech-language pathology as well as state certification. Some states, however, allow speech pathologists to complete their master’s degrees within three to five years from the date they begin working. Many states welcome teachers who are in the process of earning a master’s degree and will reimburse continuing education.

Speech pathologists may work in schools or with the health or social service organizations. Speech pathologists are also known as speech therapists, and they work closely with clients and family members. At school, they work with students to assess and diagnose speech disorders. Speech pathologists also attempt to prevent and treat speech problems related to fluency, language, voice, swallowing, and cognitive communication.

  • Effective communication skills are important for speech pathologists. They need to be able to explain the results of diagnostic tests, both to students and their family members, in a way that each person can understand.
  • Speech pathologists at schools can choose to specialize in different age groups as they advance. They may work in classrooms or at the homes of particular students. In either case, students of speech pathologists need individualized attention.
  • Speech pathologists need to be patient and supportive. Some cases may not progress quickly, and the encouragement of the speech pathologist may be necessary to keep the students motivated.

The number of positions for speech pathologists is predicted to grow in the near future. There are several reasons for this forecast. In the medical field, speech pathologists will be needed to assist an aging population with an increased risk of stroke and neurological disorders. In education, opportunities have expanded with enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as federal law in 2004. Students with disabilities are guaranteed specialized services at school under IDEA, and more focus is being placed on the early diagnosis and treatment of students with speech disorders. This growing interest in speech disorders, in conjunction with a generation of teachers and speech pathologists facing retirement, means new job opportunities until 2018.

Speech pathologist salaries are based on experience and education as well as location. The lower end of their salary range is less than $41,000, and the top earners make close to six figures. Most speech pathologists, however, earn salaries between $50,000 and $80,000 a year. Speech pathologists who work in schools earn less than speech pathologists who work in the healthcare industry.

Special Education Teacher

Special education careers are rewarding and in demand. Special education teachers are required to have bachelor’s degrees as well as certification in special education to work in public elementary and secondary schools. Some states demand a master’s degree in special education as well. Special education is needed at every level, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which was passed in 2004, guarantees that students who have special needs will be provided with special education opportunities.

Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of different disabilities. Students of special education teachers can have learning disabilities, speech impairments, language impairments, cognitive disabilities, emotional disturbances, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, autism, combined deafness and blindness, traumatic brain injury, multiple disabilities, and other health conditions. A special education teacher is responsible for helping assess students for possible disabilities and working with a team to draft individual education plans (IEPs) that meet the needs of each student.

While special education teachers do have academic responsibilities, they are also responsible for teaching students literacy and basic skills to help them become independent, such as shopping and counting money. Special education teachers work in many different settings. Some have their own classrooms, while others work together with general education teachers. A school that embraces the idea of inclusion will have general education and special education teachers co-teach a class with students who have different levels of ability. Inclusion is becoming more popular because IDEA states that children need to learn in the “least restrictive environment.” This means that special needs students should be in class with their peers whenever possible.

Special education teachers have to do quite a bit of administrative work. They are required to monitor and file necessary paperwork that charts the goals and objectives laid out for their students along with progress evaluations. Most special education teachers work 10 months a year, but some school districts offer special education to students all year long.

The number of special education careers is expected to grow due to an increased number of students with disabilities attending schools. There is also the loss of special education teachers due to retirement or job changes. In fact, there is already a shortage of qualified special education teachers in some states. The salary of a special education teacher depends on the location, school, education, and experience. Salaries start as low as $33,000 and go up to $82,000. Most special education teachers average between $40,000 and $60,000 a year.

ESL Teacher (English as a Second Language)

There are different education careers involving language. ESL teachers are responsible for teaching English to students for whom English is a second language (ESL stands for English as a Second Language). Another name for this position is TESOL, which represents Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. ESL or TESOL teachers are needed in elementary schools, secondary education schools, and post-secondary education institutions and require training on techniques to teach children and adults.

Working as an ESL teacher in a public elementary or secondary school is possible with a bachelor’s degree and specialized certification in ESL or TESOL. ESL teachers work with students who speak different native languages and come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. They help students learn how to understand conversational English, as well as how to read, write, and speak English themselves. ESL teachers usually need to be fluent in a language other than English so that they can speak with students and their family members. However, it is possible for a student to enroll in a school in which the ESL teacher is not fluent in the student’s native language. ESL teachers also need to understand and be respectful of the culture and customs of their students as they help them adapt to the environment of their new school.

Students who do not speak English may need a general course in English or they may need to focus on specific aspects of the language, such as oral or literary skills. It is the job of the ESL teacher to identify what each student needs and adapt the curriculum accordingly. Most teachers use a variety of resources such as books, computers, videos, quizzes, and social interactions to teach their students. Some ESL teachers work part-time because many schools place English language learners in the “least restrictive environment” with native English speakers for most of their class time and hold brief ESL instruction outside the general class.

The demand for ESL teachers is predicted to grow as more families are expected to immigrate to the United States. ESL teachers who work part-time made roughly $22 an hour in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the average salary for full-time ESL teachers was close to $50,000. Location is a driving factor in ESL salary. Cities with high immigration need ESL teachers and are willing to pay for qualified second language education teachers. Education and experience also factor into an ESL teacher’s earnings.

Teacher’s Aide

There are many different education jobs that exist to assist teachers and students. A teacher’s aide performs a primarily supportive role in the classroom. There are basic qualifications for becoming a teacher’s aide, but they are not as strict as teacher requirements. The qualifications differ in each state, but most teacher’s aides need a high school diploma and applicable training experience. There are some states, however, that demand teacher aides have associate’s degrees and state certification. The mandates of each state are readily available.

Teacher’s aides help teachers keep up with paperwork by grading and recording class work, tests, and quizzes. They also review homework assignments with students and take attendance. Teacher’s aides are responsible for keeping student health records and organizing the classroom, and they provide extra instruction to students who need it. In fact, there may be specific instructions regarding teacher’s aides in student individual education plans. A teacher’s aide is responsible for maintaining order when the teacher is absent, and he or she helps monitor students while they are playing or at lunch.

It may be necessary for a teacher’s aide to use a specific skill set. Teacher’s aides are often needed to work individually with students who have special needs. For example, teacher’s aides assist students who do not understand English, or they may help students with cognitive disabilities use computers. Having strong computer skills is a job requirement for many teacher’s aides positions.

Experts predict that the need for teacher’s aides will continue to grow over the next few years. Teacher’s aides are essential to providing for the needs of special education students. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) stipulates that all students learn in the “least restrictive environment.” This means that students with disabilities are spending more time in general education classes, and they need teacher’s aides to work with them and provide equal education opportunities.

Teacher’s aides do not make as much money as teachers, but they are not required to complete the same education and certification requirements. Most teacher’s aides positions are part-time, but full-time teacher’s aides generally enjoy health benefits and other perks. The pay rate depends on location, the need for teacher’s aides, and personal qualifications. According to the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, teacher’s aides salaries begin at about $15,000 a year and go up to $33,980 a year. Most teacher’s aides earn a yearly salary close to $22,000.


Careers in education administration can be challenging but rewarding. Principals and other school administrators essentially manage school operations. Many elementary and secondary school principals were once teachers who transitioned into school administration.

The requirements for principals vary by state, but most principals have master’s degrees in school administration, as well as state-mandated licenses in education administration. Some principals have their doctorates, but experience with operational budgets and employee management may compensate for some educational experience. Like other education careers, the state requirements become more challenging at the secondary level.

Principals need to manage their schools on a business level, but they also need to possess strong communication and interpersonal skills. Principals report to school superintendents or assistant superintendents. Like a business manager, the principal is responsible for meeting financial goals and objectives while achieving educational requirements. They create school budgets, monitor teacher performance, oversee student activities, communicate information to parents, and evaluate different programs. School principals also create schedules and manage the curriculum. At the high school level, principals need to make sure that the curriculum meets the state requirements that permit students to graduate. On top of monitoring the business and educational goals, principals must ensure that teachers and students are not violating any codes of conduct.

More school principal positions should become available over the next few years. The number of jobs is expected to grow as individual schools continue to take on more administration responsibilities. There are also more students enrolling in elementary and secondary schools, and many positions will be vacated as current principals retire. Additionally, school administration jobs are typically not filled quickly because more work has been placed on principals in recent years. The stress and long hours that come with the job have discouraged many applicants from moving forward. Even a promised increase in pay does not motivate some people.

School principals do make more money than teachers, but they have more responsibilities. The pay a principal receives is determined by location, type of school, education, and experience. Principals at secondary schools typically make more money than elementary school principals. At the low end of the scale, principals make about $55,000 a year; those at the high end earn as much as $124,000 in yearly income. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for principals is $83,880, but most school administrators at the elementary and secondary level make between $68,000 and $102,000 a year.

University Professor

University professors make up the majority of post-secondary education careers. Most university professors have doctorates in their field of expertise, but some lecturers and part-time teachers, such as teaching assistant (TAs), work with master’s degrees. Universities have different departments based on subjects, and each professor is responsible to his or her department chair along with other school administrators. Permanent university professors have tenure, and attaining tenure is the goal of most in the academic profession because it guarantees employment. Tenure normally takes seven years for professors to reach, but there is no guarantee that all professors who try will earn tenure.

There is a hierarchy among college teachers. The ranking, from bottom to top, is instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Professors who are trying to gain tenure begin the tenure-track as instructors or assistants. They are then signed on with contracts and either granted tenure or let go when their contracts expire. Tenure is based on publications, student evaluations, and community involvement.

  • University professors have numerous responsibilities. They are required to teach classes, research and publish books and articles, and serve their departments.
  • Many university professors also work on various academic committees and mentor graduate students.
  • Assistant professors and instructors typically teach more classes than tenured professors at four-year universities.

The number of students enrolling in college should continue to rise, and more tenured professors will retire soon. This means that the job outlook for college professors is promising. Tenure track positions, however, will still be difficult to attain, and they will comprise a small portion of the jobs available. Part-time and contract positions are more cost effective for universities, which are attempting to reduce their expenditures. It is important to note that some departments have more funding than others, and this determines the number of professors each department is able to hire. Positions in science departments, for example, are usually easier to find than they are in classics departments.

University professors’ salaries vary wildly. Factors that influence pay are schools, department, rank, and tenure. University professors in the humanities and education make less money than departments whose graduates typically earn high-paying jobs, such as those in business, law, science, and medicine. Private universities pay more than public schools or colleges with religious affiliations. A recent survey by the American Association of University Professors revealed that, on average, instructors earn $45,977, assistant professors make $63,827, associate professors bring in $76,147, and tenured university professors earn six figures.

Technical School Instructor

Not all post-secondary teaching careers take place in traditional university settings. Technical school instructors provide a valuable service to those who wish to train for work in specific fields. They teach basic job skills, such as welding, office management, auto repair, and technology. Many technical schools have two-year programs that allow students to earn their associate’s degrees, although it is possible to complete a shorter certification course.

Technical schools are ideal alternatives for those who either cannot afford or do not wish to earn a bachelor’s degree. Given the rising cost of tuition, technical schools are seeing a growing interest from potential students.

  • The requirements for instructors for technical schools depend on the skill being taught as well as state mandates. Work experience is more important than formal education at technical schools because students need to learn how to join the work force. Some instructors may need a bachelor’s degree and work experience in their subjects, but others could teach with a high school diploma and certification. It depends on state regulations and the courses the instructor will have to teach.

Technical school instructors are expected to stay informed about their industry and the changing needs of modern businesses. Their students should be given hands-on experience that is directly relevant to the industries they will be working in when they leave. Instructors are responsible for preparing classes, grading work, and meeting with other teachers. Some technical school instructors even help students find internship positions.

An increasing number of 18 to 24 year olds will enroll in school over the next 10 years, and more adults are expected to choose to continue their education. New immigrants to the United States usually take education classes, and many current technical school instructors are slated to retire soon. All of these factors combined reveal a potential increase in technical school instructor positions.

The salaries of technical school instructors depend on several factors, including the location of the school, the skill being taught, and the instructor’s education and experience. Some instructors only teach part-time and continue to work in their chosen profession.

  • Part-time instructors do not normally earn benefits and teach to supplement their income.
  • Full-time technical school instructors are usually given a salary and benefits.
  • Technical school instructors can earn as much as $68,530 a year or as little as $24,960 annually.
  • The median income for full-time teachers at vocational schools is a $44,367 salary.

School Librarian

School librarians have supportive educational careers. They may not work in the classroom, but they are essential to the academic success of students. School librarians do more than organize books and help students find their resources. The job of a school librarian has evolved with the rise of computers in education. Another term for school librarian is school media specialist, reflecting the role’s close involvement in the technological aspects of education. Librarians are responsible for determining what resources the school and its students need, and they classify and distribute information in a way that makes it accessible to users. School librarians are also in charge of managing the library budget and raising money for the library. They are managers who work as administrators and oversee the work of employees and volunteers.

  • The requirements for school librarians vary widely between states. Some states only mandate that librarians have bachelor’s degrees and the necessary state certification, while others demand that school librarians earn either a master’s degree in library science or a master’s degree in education. Both degrees have an advantage.
  • A master’s degree in education allows a school librarian to work in other educational positions, and a master’s degree in library science provides school librarians with the chance to work in other libraries.
  • Current state requirements for school librarians should be researched before applying for a position at a school. Librarians who are interested in working at university libraries may need to earn a doctorate, particularly for administrative positions.

More education professionals are retiring each year, including school librarians. Along with other education professions, school librarian positions are expected to grow over the next few years as more students reach school age and begin to enroll in classes. These factors, combined with the correlation between librarians and technology, also ensures that there will still be librarian jobs opening in the near future.

School librarian salaries are determined by several different factors. The location of the school, education, and experience of the school librarian affect earnings. It is also important to note that assistant librarians make less than those with more administrative positions. The latest research from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that school librarians earn an average salary of about $55,670 a year. Some school librarians, however, earn more than $80,000 each year. Librarians at universities have larger salaries than those who work in elementary and secondary education schools.