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CAREER GUIDE Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education

WGU degree programs correspond with careers that promise continued growth. WGU creates career growth.

Career guide: elementary and middle school teacher.

Do you have what it takes to become a teacher? In addition to the desire to help shape young minds and make a positive difference in your community, you’ll need an accredited degree and a license to teach in your home state. Fortunately, it’s now possible to earn a highly respected Master of Arts in Teaching degree that leads to teacher licensure. Prepare for a rewarding future in teaching without disrupting your current lifestyle and responsibilities. You can create your own schedule, choose your pace and become a teacher in as little as 2.5 years!

Job listing growth 2016–2026.

Get an accredited degree.

WGU is the top choice for busy, budget-minded adults who need a degree in order to reach their career goals.

See Teaching Degrees

Career opportunities.

In most states, you can become a teacher as long as you are licensed and have a bachelor’s degree, but many school districts look for teaching candidates who have taken their education and career goals a step further. By earning a master’s degree in teaching, you’ll not only develop advanced knowledge and specialized training, you’ll also be laying the groundwork for a broad range of professional possibilities should you ever decide to expand your career beyond the classroom and into one of the following fields:

Positions in the field.

  • School counselor
  • School librarian
  • Instructional coordinator
  • Principal
  • Assistant principal
  • Preschool director
  • Special education teacher
"My graduate degree has awarded me many more opportunities that my undergraduate degree could not provide including increased salary, multiple job offers, and the ability to be given specialized work." Lacie Smithee
M.A. Teaching, Elementary Education

Job market forecast.

More students. Fewer teachers. Growing demand. With a significant number of teachers expected to retire by 2026, there is an ongoing need for dedicated educators ready to step in and lead future generations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the number of elementary and middle school teachers needed will grow 8 percent by 2026. That need might be even greater if you live in a rural or urban school district, so get your credentials in order and become a teacher!

Job growth 2016–2026.

Work environment.

As you might imagine, technology plays a key role in the day-to-day lives of elementary and middle school teachers and their students. Many studies show tech tools like iPads and laptops can be very effective learning tools, especially when used by up-to-date teachers who have mastered their usage and can utilize their capacity to help students understand tough concepts like space and time. In fact, a recent study discussed in National Geographic indicates how tablets “tap neurocognitive abilities that help students understand enormous scale and other difficult concepts.”

Of course, you’ll need to know how to maximize the effectiveness of these tools in your classroom, and an industry-relevant master’s degree in teaching can help you learn how to incorporate technology into your lesson plans.

Your day-to-day schedule will typically include time before and after school to meet with parents, students, and other teachers, so good communication skills are essential. You may also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons.

Professional organizations.

If you’ve thought about becoming a teacher but don’t quite know how to get started, the following organizations can provide support and guidance to help you achieve your goals.

Job search resources.

Great teachers are always in demand, and with the right education and credentials from a top-notch teacher’s college, you can become one! Check out some of the current opportunities for dedicated educators across the country.


Salary stats.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for elementary school teachers was $55,800 in May 2016. Middle school teachers earned a median annual wage of $56,720. Generally speaking, teachers with a master’s degree tend to earn more. Your teacher’s salary will vary depending on where you live and should increase as you gain years of experience in the classroom.

Average salary of jobs with related titles.


Summary.

There are a lot of reasons to consider becoming an elementary or middle school teacher, and many people do so even after establishing successful careers in other fields. Some are inspired by the opportunity to positively impact the future of our world. Others commit to a teaching career because of the deep sense of purpose it can bring. Many simply discover their true calling in life and take the necessary steps to do something about it. No matter where your inspiration comes from, your decision to become a teacher can provide a lifetime of personal and professional satisfaction. Great teachers can make a lasting positive impact on their students, changing their lives and fueling their dreams. Pursue a teaching degree, and you might be surprised by how much you’ll learn about yourself along the way.

Of course, you’ll need to know how to maximize the effectiveness of these tools in your classroom, and an industry-relevant master’s degree in teaching can help you learn how to incorporate technology into your lesson plans.

Your day-to-day schedule will typically include time before and after school to meet with parents, students, and other teachers, so good communication skills are essential. You may also spend time on evenings and weekends grading papers and preparing your lessons

Next Start Date

Jan 1

Start the 1st of any month — as soon as you complete enrollment!

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Your career’s next step: Earn a degree.

Ready to jump-start your career in elementary and middle school teaching? The next step could be earning your M.A. in Teaching., Elementary Education. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!