K-12 Education

K-12 instruction refers to the education of children from kindergarten through the senior year of high school. The duties of these teachers can vary greatly from grade to grade, but generally speaking, schoolteachers present lessons, grade tests and maintain classroom discipline, evaluating each child’s performance and progress. In addition, teachers may take students on field trips, supervise extracurricular activities and provide after-school assistance to children with behavioral or learning difficulties.

There is always a demand for teachers, and job openings are almost always available. Currently, there is a high demand for junior high and high school teachers, particularly in the areas of math and science. If teaching is a career path that interests you, consider getting your online degree in education to advance your career goals.

Public elementary teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in education or early childhood development and a teaching license, while secondary teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree in education with subject focus, such as English or math, and a teaching license. Many states offer an alternative licensing program for recent college graduates or individuals moving from a different career to teaching. These individuals can teach under close supervision for one to two years while taking additional education classes.

K-12 Education Career Opportunities

Numerous teaching positions in the K-12 school system are available at all levels. Earning an online degree in education can help accelerate you toward one of the career paths below.

  • Driver’s Ed Teacher

    Driver’s education teachers are responsible for instructing young people in the rules of driving. Typically, teachers work with high school juniors and seniors, preparing them to take their vehicle permit and licensing examinations.

  • Elementary School Teacher

    Elementary school teachers work with children from the first through sixth grades. They usually instruct one class of children in many basic subjects, including reading, mathematics, science and social studies.

  • High School Teacher

    High school teachers teach students from ninth or tenth grade through high school graduation. Typically, the age range of these students runs from about 14 to 18. High school teachers most often focus on one specific subject, using lecture and presentation, providing additional depth, detail, knowledge and instruction than was delivered in elementary or middle school studies.

  • Kindergarten Teacher

    Kindergarten teachers maintain the playful, interactive, hands-on learning that children experience in preschool, while also introducing them to slightly more formal aspects of academic teaching. Through storytelling, counting, acting games and projects, they introduce four- and five-year-olds to the concepts of phonics, reading, music, mathematics, and science, as well as assisting in their socialization.

  • Middle School Teacher

    Middle school teachers teach seventh and eighth graders, or sometimes seventh through ninth grades. Instead of teaching a classroom of children multiple subjects, middle school teachers usually operate more like high school teachers, teaching one subject to different groups of children.

  • Music Teacher

    A music teacher job description includes: teaching groups and/or individuals skills in vocal technique and/or how to pay an instrument. Music teachers also instruct students in music appreciation.

  • Physical Education Teacher

    Physical education teachers — also called gym teachers or P.E. teachers — play an important educational role by instructing students of all ages in physical fitness and well-being. Learn about the requirements for becoming a physical education teacher, salary ranges and the steps toward certification.

  • Teaching Assistant

    Teaching assistants work in all grades and levels, assisting teachers with lessons, monitoring outdoor play, helping to supervise field trips and helping to grade papers. They also tutor students who need additional help, and they assist children with special needs.

  • Reading & Literacy Teacher

    A reading and literacy teacher primarily assists in the teaching of young children to read. Some literacy teachers also work with older students learning English as a second language or who have other delays that have impaired their ability to learn to read within the expected timeframe.

  • Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)

    You love spending your days in front of a classroom, teaching students on the subject matters that you love most. You know you were born to teach – your time working as an educator proves that – and you are ready to take your career to the next level. If this sounds like you, we have a field of study that may help you get right where you want to go.

  • Education Specialist in K-12 Leadership

    Do you have a master’s degree in education and feel ready to take your career to the next step, maybe as a school principal? If so, consider the Education Specialist (EdS) in K-12 Leadership. This EdS program results in a specialist degree that can help educators advance their careers.

  • Elementary Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

    Are you a licensed educator interested in improving the overall education for K-6 children? Would you like to lead the way in transforming K-6 schools in a constructive and powerful way? This specialty program, under the umbrella of a Master of Education degree, could provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to impact your school in a positive way.

  • K-12 Education Leadership

    If you’re an education professional desiring to improve your school system, this program could provide the tools you need. Are you a critical thinker and problem solver? Do you recognize areas that need fixing and enjoy brainstorming solutions? If so, this program is for you!

  • K-12 Instructional Technology

    Are you a licensed K-12 instructor who recognizes the value of technology in education? Do you desire to lead the way in transforming K-12 classrooms with the integration of educational technology? This specialty program, as part of the school of graduate education, could provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to impact your school in a positive way.

  • Math for Secondary Teachers

    If you see yourself teaching high school students and you enjoy mathematics, consider this bachelor’s program as your first step to a bright future in education. Math educators for public school systems are often in demand, and you could be just the person to meet this essential need.



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