For people who don’t mind talking to groups, are comfortable around kids (or young adults) and have a strong desire to learn and share their knowledge, education is an excellent career choice. There are currently over 13 million people employed in education in the United States; it is the second largest industry nationwide. Contrary to the popular perception that teachers receive low pay, statistics from the Bureau of Labor point out that educational administrators, counselors and teachers actually earn slightly more on average than the typical American worker.
Not surprisingly, education is also a popular choice for college major. A recent ranking of the top ten most popular college majors featured two direct educational fields of study (elementary education and general education), as well as a number of majors that are likely to lead to a career in education (psychology, English, political science, etc.). That last point makes it difficult to track which majors are the most popular in education. Often, students will study a field like math or English or history with the goal of teaching that subject, but they are not technically studying education. There are dozens of individual majors under the broad spectrum of education, and their popularity tends to fluctuate with the job market. One of the best ways to track the most popular college majors (both currently and for the near future) is to follow the jobs.
The government has recently created demand for education jobs in certain areas by funding mandates for special education and increasing the emphasis on standardized testing in schools. The special education mandates created a need for more special education teaching specialists, and this need will no doubt increase over the next decade. For this type of job, a special education major would, of course, be the most applicable. To help with improving test scores, schools are looking for child development specialists. Also, parents are seeking the services of private tutors and tutoring agencies to get their children help with the skills they need to succeed on those high-stakes tests. The tutoring agency market is really exploding right now, and it often features some innovative pay structures, including significant performance-based bonuses. Tutors, child development specialists and coaches could come from a wide variety of education majors, including early childhood education, K-12 education, reading and literature, special education or just about any specific subject (math, science, etc.).
Corporations are hiring a lot of education majors these days as well. Fortune 500 companies are recruiting education graduates to help them communicate better within their companies and with the general public. Educations students who concentrated their studies in communications. journalism or math can find jobs with private companies as policy analysts, corporate strategists or public relations specialists. There are already a large number of education majors holding positions in mass media as writers, producers and reporters, and this trend will most likely continue. Finally, those with education degrees are heavily involved in the high-growth areas of executive coaching and corporate training. Successful businesses are finding it is less costly and more effective to cultivate and train talent in their own ranks rather than to go out and recruit rising stars from elsewhere in their industry. This niche can be a very financially rewarding one. To pursue a career in the corporate world, a student could benefit from a major in corporate training, adult education or educational leadership.
One last growing area of jobs for education majors is online teaching. As online colleges have become more popular, even traditional universities have added web-based choices to their course catalogs. This creates a need for adjunct faculty. The nice thing about online teaching is that a professor can teach at multiple institutions relatively easily. In some cases, a professor teaching online can actually earn more than a tenured professor working at a single four-year institution. Adult education, education technology and specific subject majors (psychology, philosophy, literature, etc.) would be helpful for someone who wants to teach online.
There are a variety of opportunities available to students who wish to pursue a career in doctor of education. All they need to do is determine which type of career is most interesting to them and pick their major accordingly. Just about every major in education has a growing place in today’s job market, whether in the public or private sector. While this article has visited some of the most popular and fast-growing job choices and majors, it’s always a good idea to speak to a guidance counselor, recent graduate or professional within the target industry to find out what sort of future awaits a student who follows a particular course of study.
This guest post article was written and provided by Lindsey Stinson who one day hopes to become a doctor of education and is currently a freelance writer and currently finishing her online Ed.D programs early next year.