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If you enjoy working with young people and you feel you have a talent for communication, teaching could be an ideal career path for you. With the population booming and the global economy becoming increasingly competitive, the demand for teachers who can provide youth with a quality education will only increase. At the same time, over the past decade there has been a 5% decline in the number of education majors. This means that teaching is an in-demand, reliable, and consistent career.

 

That being said, students who major in education don’t always end up teaching. Some graduates end up working in government or public policy. A background in education can be applied to many fields as it commonly reinforces your ability to communicate clearly, pass knowledge to others, and to take leadership positions.

 

In this post, we outline how to choose a teaching program, and we share five great options for undergraduate education majors, including the major perks of each. If you’re considering a career in education, read on to find information about top programs around the country.

 

Considerations for Choosing an Education Program

Before you jump into a teaching program at the school of your dreams, you should consider a few additional aspects relative to each program.

 

First, many colleges offer joint programs that provide not only a degree but also initial teaching licensure upon graduation. While this is an appealing perk, you will need to understand where the license is valid before you decide if this is a good track for you. Sometimes, the license will only be valid for teaching in the state in which it was issued. Other times, it might be eligible for reciprocity in other states. Consider focusing your search on schools that are located in geographically appealing areas for you, where you’d be interested in teaching after you graduate.

 

Next, don’t forget to think beyond the broad education major. There are many different foci when it comes to ed majors. Some are simply general-curriculum focused. Others are broken into age groups like Elementary Education or Middle School Education. Still others offer programs geared towards environmental education, diversity in the classroom, special education, or social justice. To learn more about some of these unique programs, read on for our list of five great schools for the teachers of tomorrow.

 

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1. Colgate University

Colgate University prides itself on a progressive, global approach to learning about education. It uses “diverse methods of inquiry to analyze critically historical and contemporary educational methods in the United States and societies across the globe.” 

 

Colgate offers two tracks for education majors: a major or minor in educational studies, or a preparation program for students intending to teach at either the elementary or secondary level. It also incorporates a study-abroad opportunity in South Korea where students are exposed to broader pedagogy and learn more about global variations in educational practices.

 

In addition, Colgate offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program to select students. This is the only graduate level track available at Colgate, and both undergraduate students and MAT students earn initial teaching licensure in the state of New York. While the specific rules regarding teacher licensure vary by state, most initial licenses are valid only for a finite period of time. While a MAT might not seem immediately necessary, most teachers need to acquire one or advance their education in another way in order to advance their license past initial status to obtain professional status.

 

2. Purdue University

Purdue’s Teaching and Education Department offers 16 different majors in collaboration with seven different departments. These options offer a huge variety of choices, ranging from Special Education, to Visual Arts Education, to Agricultural Education, and just about everything in between.

 

Purdue’s instructional approach is heavily field-based and features four areas of focus: diversity, technology, field experience, and performance assessment. For students interested in educational research, it also has a Undergraduate Research Training Program (URT).

 

Purdue students can pursue initial teaching licensure in the state of Indiana, which offers 43 interstate licensing agreements. Purdue’s education majors are supported by an Honors Program, study-abroad opportunities, and the chance to complete their teaching practicum work in Honduras or Germany.

 

3. Vanderbilt’s Peabody College

The College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College is one of the top programs in the country. Here, undergraduates can expect to obtain roughly 500 hours of experience in classrooms in Nashville and beyond. Students also participate in multiple service learning projects on their way to earning initial teaching licensure in the state of Tennessee.

 

At the College of Education and Human Development, all students are required to double major in order to secure career and academic options for the future. The required second majors must be non-education majors, aside from one exception for students wishing to complete a second major in Special Education. 

 

4. Texas A&M University at College Station

The College of Education and Human Development at Texas A&M is well-regarded for its 19 undergraduate degree programs and seven minors across four different academic departments. Its dedicated Teaching, Learning and Culture Department places “high value on collaboration, diversity, critical thinking, creativity, democratic governance, and global leadership.”

 

These programs are heavily field-based and all require coursework in cultural diversity. Students can graduate with initial teaching licensure in the state of Texas.

 

5. Boston College

Boston College’s Lynch School of Education defines itself as a place of collaboration and cooperation. Its mission is to “enhance the human condition, expand the human imagination, and make the world more just,” a goal worked towards through teaching, research, and service. 600 undergraduates study here, along with 800 graduate students pursuing thirteen master’s programs and six doctoral programs.

 

The Lynch School of Education has a strong research presence at the local, regional, national, and international levels. It places heavy emphasis on field experiences along with rigorous classroom inquiry. 98% of students pass their state-required teaching exams for initial licensure in the state of Massachusetts.

 

If you’re considering a major in education, keep in mind that this field isn’t limited to only future teachers. Education majors can go on to become administrators, librarians, writers or editors, curriculum developers, or instructional designers. The skills developed in the classroom translate well to a number of different careers. And of course, if you do decide that you want to be a teacher, you’ll be on exactly the right track to get started as soon as you graduate.

 

To learn more about applying to undergraduate teaching programs, consider the benefits CollegeVine’s Applications Guidance service. Here, you’ll be paired with a personal admissions specialist who can provide step-by-step guidance through the entire application process, including how to perfect your approach to the personal essay.

 

To learn more about the various career options available, check out these CollegeVine posts:

 

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Kate Sundquist

Kate Sundquist

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.
Kate Sundquist

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