Nearly one in four Americans is employed in the education industry! While you may think of teachers first, there are many other types of positions in education: school guidance counselors, administrators, school nurses, bus drivers, teachers, coaches, etc. 

Different states have different licensure requirements in general and for specific education jobs. It is important to review state-specific licensure requirements when searching for jobs in education.


Skills needed for a career in education

  • Passion to Teach
  • Patience
  • Good Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Supportive
  • Able to Interact with all ages
  • Leadership
  • Listening
  • Time Management
  • Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Degrees and Certifications

How to Get Started

6 steps to get you started in education

  1. Volunteer in educational settings where you will get experience working with children or adolescents. (i.e. pre-schools, substituting, camp counselor, teaching or teacher's assistant in a religious school environment)
  2. Observe/shadow a classroom teacher in several grades.
  3. If teaching a specific subject such as science, get an internship or job in the area that you are interested in teaching.
  4. Conduct information interviews with a teacher. Prepare a list of teaching type questions.
  5. Read and prepare an effective lesson plan. Have a teacher give you feedback
  6. Read about classroom management. What are some good techniques that you would use?


Job Functions

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers educate and care for children typically 3-5 years of age. The work of preschool teachers is to teach reading, writing, math, and developmental lessons in a way that very young children can understand. 

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students who have a variety of disabilities. They may work with student dealing with mild or moderate physical, emotional, or learning disabilities. Much of their work is focused around identifying students' needs and making sure their individual needs are being met by developing accommodations to foster learning for each student. States differ regarding the licenses they require to teach special education. It is important to research the requirements for the state you wish to teach in.

Elementary School Teacher

Elementary school teachers teach many subjects to one class. Teachers also have a lot of out-of-the-classroom work to do: grading papers, developing lesson plans, gathering supplies for class projects, and the like. Some teachers decide to teach night, or summer school to earn extra money. Also, teachers can receive extra pay for duties such as overseeing extracurricular activities, coaching sports, or performing other jobs in the school system. To teach in a public school you must have a license in the state in which you teach. Most teachers earn either a bachelors or master's degree.

Middle, Junior High and High School Teacher

Middle and high school teachers teach a single subject to a number of different students and classes. You will be teaching students who are no longer children and are on the verge of adulthood which means you will be dealing with developmental differences and the common challenges of adolescence.

College or University Faculty Member

Most often, you need a PhD to teach in a college or university. The time spent lecturing in front of a class is just a fragment of the total number of hours you can plan on working; you will also be conducting research, writing books or articles, attending department meetings, and attending academic conferences. The beauty of this career is that it will support the pursuit of your academic passion. Learn more.

School Counselors (K-12)

School counselors (K-12) help students to develop the social skills they will need to succeed in school and life beyond school. Guidance counselors in elementary schools focus much of their attention on helping students develop necessary social and study skills and explore behavioral problems. Middle and high school counselors work continue to address personal, social, behavioral, and academic issues, but begin to help in career and college planning. Most guidance counselors earn a master's degree.


These positions include everyone from the high-school vice principal and the school-district superintendent to (at the higher-education level) the provost, the president, and the dean. These are the people responsible for maintaining and improving the intellectual and financial conditions of the institutions they represent. Advanced degrees and significant work experience are a must for many of these positions. Learn more.