A Career in Education: What You Need to Know

A Career in Education: What You Need to Know


“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts,” said C.S. Lewis. This analogy applies to teachers, but to any career in education beyond the classroom as well—in administration, curriculum, public service, and support. A career in education is about helping knowledge take root and grow.

Skills necessary for a career in education include:

  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability and motivation to continue learning and stay current with education trends
  • Understanding of technology tools

[Start your education career with a certification or a graduate degree.]

What Education Professionals Do

Many careers fall under the umbrella of education. What they have in common is a love of learning, and the ability to encourage learning in others.

Job Profiles

1. Instructional Coordinators work to strengthen the school districts’ curriculum and teaching standards. Their responsibilities include advising on instructional methods and materials, and conducting professional development training for teachers.

  • Education: Master’s of science in instructional technology or a related field is generally required.
  • Pay: The median annual wage was $58,830 in 2010.

2. Operations Research Analysts in the education field turn data into valuable information to help institutions solve problems or improve operations.

  • Education: For an entry-level position a bachelor’s degree is required, although opportunities should be better for those with a master’s degree in educational psychology or a related field.
  • Pay: The median annual wage was $70,960 in 2010.

3. Teachers present information to students, and help them improve skills and learn about subjects such as reading and literature, science, and math.

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for teaching K-12 with a master’s of science in education or similar program increasing professional marketability.
  • Pay: The median annual wage for kindergarten and elementary teachers in 2010 was $51,380. High-school teachers made 53, 230.

[Read more: Why Teaching Is a Rewarding Career Path.]

4. Training and Development Managers assess and create educational materials. These include training programs or manuals, and online learning modules for employees in a wide variety of industries.

  • Education: A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for entry-level roles. A master’s of science in instructional technology or  educational psychology will generally be needed for senior-level positions.
  • Pay: The median annual wage was $89,170 in 2010.

Why Consider a Career in Education

If you have good interpersonal skills and want to encourage learning in others then a career in education can be very rewarding.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities in the field of education are expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Occupation 2010 Employment % Change Projected by 2020 Net Change Projected by 2020
Instructional Coordinators 139, 700 +20% 27,300
Operations Research Analyst 64,600 +15% 9,400
Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary 1,655,800 +17% 281,500
Teachers, High School 1,037,600 +7% 71,900
Training and Development Managers 29,800 +15% 4,300

[Read more about education careers beyond the classroom.]

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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