Is an English Education Degree Right for You?
Those who plan to pursue an online bachelor’s degree in English education must not only have a passion for literature and writing, but also believe they have what it takes to teach English in the classroom. The ideal student for this degree program is concerned about the deterioration of the English language and wants to play a key role in combating the decline of writing skills among students so that they will be better prepared for college and for jobs that require strong writing skills.
Last but not least, those pursuing English education bachelor’s degrees should have a willingness to work with students from a variety of cultural and academic backgrounds to ensure every student has a chance to get as excited about Shakespeare and writing essays as they are about their next football game or track meet.
Advice for Earning Your English Education Degree Online
The first consideration for those who want to pursue an online bachelor’s in English education is whether the program leads to teacher licensure in their state. To teach in public schools, you must be licensed, which requires you to complete a state-approved teacher education program. Choosing a non-licensure program could severely limit your job prospects and you may be forced to take additional course work that could add unnecessary costs to your college education.
All approved teacher education programs will include a student teaching internship, where you gain experience leading a classroom under the supervision of a certified teacher. Since this component cannot be delivered online, working students will need to plan in advance with their employers as to how they will arrange this internship into their schedule, especially considering these internships are unpaid.
An English education bachelor’s degree requires course work in English literature, English composition, and world literature as well as course work that hones your teaching skills. Licensure programs will culminate in a student teaching internship were you gain hands-on skills working with students in a local school. A few courses you may encounter in an English education program include:
- Education Technology
- Effective Teaching Skills & Classroom Management
- Multicultural Education
- Teaching Reading in High School
- Teaching English in High School
Common Career Paths
The most fitting career for those who graduate from English education programs is teaching English in public high schools. However, by leveraging your bachelor’s degree to pursue a graduate degree, you may be able to advance to positions in administration or curriculum and development, or even teach at the college level. Salaries for careers in English education vary greatly depending on your level of experience, the size of the school district you work for, and the region of the country you work in. Common careers include the following:
High School English Teacher
- Expected Growth: 7%
- Average Annual Salary: $57,770
High school English teachers provide instruction in literature and composition, plan lessons and assignments, grade papers and exams, and work with students to improve their writing skills and their understanding of classic literature. Teachers also prepare students for state-assigned standardized tests that measure their knowledge of reading and writing.
All states require English teachers in public high schools to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, which is typically in the content area of English, although private schools may not always require licensure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The above job outlook and salary average were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: N/A
- Average Annual Salary: $42,000
Private tutors work with students one on one to help them catch up in areas where they may be struggling academically. English tutors focus specifically on building up a student’s skills in grammar, spelling, reading comprehension, and writing. While degree requirements will vary by employer, an English education degree can thoroughly equip you to build a child’s understanding of these core areas of English. While the BLS does not track employment growth of private tutors, the online job site Simply Hired provided the average salary listed above using information gleaned from job listings posted to the site.
- Expected Growth: 20%
- Average Annual Salary: $62,420
Licensed teachers may go on to pursue careers as instructional coordinators, who help develop and evaluate a school system’s curriculum, select textbooks and other educational materials, connect teachers with professional development opportunities, and ensure teachers are abiding by the school system’s teaching standards.
To become an instructional coordinator, you must have a minimum of a master’s degree in curriculum and development or the content area in which you plan to specialize, and you may also need a teaching license or school administrator license, the BLS explained. A bachelor’s degree in English education could be your inroad not only to teacher licensure, but also to prepare for such graduate programs. The job growth projection and salary average provided above were drawn from the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 17%
- Average Annual Salary: $67,980
Some high school teachers may later decide to go back to school in an effort to transition into college-level teaching. English professors teach college-level courses in English literature, English composition, comparative literature, and more, and may also conduct research in their field. To teach at the college level, you must have a minimum of a master’s degree, but most positions require or prefer a Ph.D. A bachelor’s degree in English education can lay a solid foundation for future graduate study. The employment growth projection and salary figure provided above are available through the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 17%
- Average Annual Salary: $65,000
As an alternative to teaching college-level English literature or composition, some teachers may want to transition to college-level teaching in an education department to train up the next generation of public school teachers. Education professors teach college-level teacher education courses, or might specialize in teaching certain subjects, like special education, English as a second language (ESL), or curriculum and instruction.