Published on June 6, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs for education in California.

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What is Education?

California is renowned for being a hub for higher education, particularly in the field of education. Boasting numerous educational institutions that specialize in this sector and offer degrees, California provides programs that span a wide range of interest. From general to specialized credentials - both traditional university settings and online platforms provide options that meet personal and professional goals with flexibility and variety.

California offers numerous educational institutions and specialization programs for anyone seeking an education degree, providing access to different teaching environments and specialties. Each year, this state prepares countless teachers.

California boasts some of the nation's largest and most prestigious public university systems, including University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU). CSU alone awarded more than 110,000 bachelor's degrees and 20,000 graduate degrees during 2021-22 alone; this highlights California's higher education system's impressive capabilities of developing future educators and professionals.

California boasts an unprecedented demand for educators, evidenced by employment statistics. Many have been hired by various K-12 and higher education institutions across California in recent years - guaranteeing your degree will provide endless career possibilities in California.

Students interested in completing an education program or finding the best education schools in the state will have plenty of options between the many California colleges and universities. These options may include Claremont Graduate University, Southern California University, Stanford University, Loyola Marymount University, the University of California Irvine - Los Angeles - and others, etc.


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Online Education Degree Programs in California

A teacher is more than just an individual who imparts knowledge and information to students. They play a vital role in shaping the future of society by nurturing and guiding the next generation. Teachers are not limited to just the classroom; their impact extends far beyond the four walls of the school. However, at its core, teaching is about education. Teachers possess an in-depth knowledge of their subject matter as they have the skill of breaking it down into understandable and relatable terms for students. Their primary objective should be fostering their students' growth intellectually.

Teachers can also serve as mentors, role models, and advocates for their students; providing support in times of challenge while instilling resilience within them and creating an inclusive space where children can freely express themselves while developing creativity and critical thinking skills.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of teaching success. A teacher must be able to convey information clearly and succinctly while adapting their teaching style accordingly for different learning styles and abilities. A successful educator not only determines success by how much knowledge their students retain but also by whether those same concepts can be applied in real-life scenarios.

Furthermore, a teacher is a facilitator of growth and personal development. They help students discover their interests, talents, and passions, encouraging them to explore new avenues and pursue their dreams. By nurturing a love for learning, a teacher sparks curiosity and encourages lifelong learning in their students.

Online Associate Degree in Education (AS)

An associate degree in education is a valuable credential for individuals aspiring to become educators. These programs provide a solid foundation in teaching methodologies, classroom management, and educational psychology. However, you may not be able to teach a class of your own unless you go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. One of the key advantages of obtaining an associate degree in education is the opportunity to find out if this profession is really for you. Schools can offer some practical, hands-on experience that allows students to apply what they have learned about teaching and discover their passion for teaching themselves. These degrees will foster a deeper understanding of the complexities of teaching and prepare you for further education.

National Rankings - Online AS in Education

Online Bachelors Degree in Education (BS)

Earning a bachelor's degree in education is your next step if you're looking to teach at the K-12 level. These degrees typically take four years to complete, and qualify you to apply for a teaching credential, which is required to teach in California public schools. You'll study subjects like educational psychology, teaching methods, and curriculum planning. At this level, schools will also provide you with access to experiential learning opportunities. This may even include your student teaching assignment, which is necessary to earn full licensure. You may also be able to specialize to teach a certain age group, subject, and in other ways.

National Rankings - Online BS in Education

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Online Masters Degree in Education (MS)

For educational professionals aiming to advance their careers, a master’s degree in education offers the opportunity to specialize in areas such as educational leadership, curriculum design, or special education. These advanced degrees often result in higher salaries and greater opportunities within the field of education. Graduates from programs at this level emerge with a deeper comprehension of educational theories and practices, prepared for more senior roles in education.

National Rankings - Online MS in Education

Online PhD Degree in Education (PhD)

Pursuing a PhD in education in California equips you with the expertise to influence education research, policy, and practice. The state houses renowned universities offering doctoral programs tailored for professional and research advancement. After completing one of these programs, you can continue to work in academia at the college level, find yourself at the head of your own institution, work in policy creation in this field, and more.

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Online Education Certifications

California requires educational professionals with either a bachelor's or master's degree to obtain various educational certifications post-degree. For instance, K-12 public school teaching positions require earning two teaching credentials - Preliminary Credential and Clear Credential. Administrative roles often necessitate additional certifications such as the Administrative Services Credential.

Graduates of education programs can also find themselves looking to earn more specific credentials in special education, subject-focused education, administration, or another field if they are looking to move into a new role. Earning certifications in these areas is the fastest way to make your move if you’re ready for something new.

Become an Teacher in California

With a diverse population and a wealth of educational opportunities, California offers a wide range of options for aspiring teachers. Here are some steps to help you become an educator in California.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

    To become an educator in California, the first step should be earning a bachelor's degree. While any subject area is open to you as your major, aspiring educators often study something that pertains directly to what they wish to teach - this might be education, child development, or an area like math or English.

  • Step 2: Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

    After earning your bachelor's degree, the next step should be completing a teacher preparation program. This can be accomplished either at a traditional university or through alternative route programs; such programs provide both coursework and field experience that prepares teachers for careers in education.

  • Step 3: Gain Teaching Experience

    Once you complete a teacher preparation program, the next step should be gaining teaching experience. Student teaching allows you to do just this - working under the guidance of an experienced teacher in a classroom environment can allow you to put what you have learned into action immediately.

  • Step 4: Pass the Required Exams

    To become a certified educator in California, it's necessary to pass all required exams. These include taking and passing the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), which assesses basic skills like reading, writing, and mathematics; as well as passing any pertinent subject matter examinations for subject you plan to teach.

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What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Education?

With a bachelor's in education, the career options are diverse and plentiful. While many graduates choose to pursue traditional teaching jobs at elementary, middle, or high schools, there are numerous other avenues to explore. Some may find fulfillment working as curriculum developers, education consultants, or instructional coordinators. Others with an entrepreneurial spirit might consider starting their own tutoring businesses or educational consulting firms. For those passionate about advocacy and policy change, roles in educational administration or non-profit organizations can make a real impact.

Beyond the conventional classroom setting, a degree in education offers the opportunity to empower individuals through various means. Graduates can leverage their expertise to train corporate employees in effective communication and leadership skills or lead workshops on diversity and inclusion. Additionally, with advanced training and experience, doors open for positions such as school counselors, special education advocates, or even adult education instructors. The versatility of a bachelor's in education allows individuals to make tangible contributions across various sectors while continually evolving as educators.

Potential Careers for Education Graduates

Postsecondary Mathematical Science Teacher

Postsecondary mathematical science teachers are highly-skilled professionals who offer knowledge of advanced mathematics and related scientific disciplines to college and university students. Beyond simply lecturing, these educators often participate in research, academic publications, curriculum development activities, and innovation efforts, as well as design initiatives. A thorough knowledge of mathematical concepts must be combined with effective communication to engage their students in this complex topic area.

Necessary Requirements:

  • A master's or doctoral degree in mathematics, statistics, or a related field
  • Previous experience teaching at the postsecondary level is preferred
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills to effectively engage with students and colleagues
  • Ability to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment for a diverse student population
  • Proficiency in using educational technology and software to enhance teaching methods and student engagement

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for mathematical science teachers, postsecondary in the US in 2022 was $90,110
  • The mean annual wage for mathematical science teachers, postsecondary in California is $127,090

Secondary School Teacher

Secondary school teachers play more than an educational role; they're mentors, role models, and facilitators of growth for young minds. Their role includes more than simply academic instruction - it should also include imparting values, encouraging creativity, and developing critical thinking. Teachers must have an in-depth knowledge of their field while still managing to connect and inspire their pupils on a personal level.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Education or a related field
  • Teaching certification or licensure
  • Strong knowledge of subject matter and curriculum standards
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners
  • Passion for teaching and supporting the academic and social-emotional growth of students

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for high school teachers in the US in 2022 was $62,360
  • The mean annual wage for secondary school teachers in California is $92,960

Special Education Teacher, Secondary School

Special education teachers will be accountable for providing specialized instruction and support to secondary school students with disabilities within a secondary school setting. They will work directly with individual pupils while also collaborating with educators and support staff to guarantee all children receive top-quality instruction.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Special Education or a related field (Master's degree preferred)
  • Valid state teaching certification in Special Education
  • Knowledge of special education laws, regulations, and best practices
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills
  • Experience working with secondary school students with a variety of disabilities

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for special education teachers in the US in 2022 was $62,950
  • The mean annual wage for special education teachers, secondary school in California is $97,690
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Substitute Teacher

A substitute teacher is responsible for filling in for regular teachers when they are absent. They must maintain a structured and disciplined classroom environment while ensuring that students continue to learn and progress in their studies.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in education or a related field (preferred)
  • Teaching certification or substitute teacher certification (varies by location)
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to adapt to different teaching styles and classroom environments
  • Patience, flexibility, and a passion for working with students

Estimated Salary

  • The mean annual wage for substitute teachers, short-term in the US in 2022 was $42,680
  • The mean annual wage for substitute teachers, short-term in California is $51,050

Postsecondary Education Teacher

Postsecondary education teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the academic and professional development of students beyond high school. These educators are experts in their respective fields, providing specialized knowledge and practical skills that prepare students for the demands of the workforce. With a focus on critical thinking, problem-solving, and innovative approaches to learning, postsecondary education teachers inspire and guide their students toward achieving academic excellence.

Necessary Requirements:

  • A master's or doctoral degree in the relevant field of study
  • Teaching experience at the postsecondary level is preferred
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to adapt teaching methods to accommodate diverse learning styles and backgrounds
  • Passion for education and a commitment to fostering a supportive learning environment

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for postsecondary teachers in the US in 2022 was $80,840
  • The mean annual wage for postsecondary teachers in California is $101,630

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers are responsible for creating an inviting and stimulating learning environment for children aged 3-5, including designing and implementing age-appropriate curriculum, providing safe and secure conditions for learning, as well as nurturing social, emotional, and cognitive growth of young children.

Necessary Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field (preferred)
  • Proven experience working with preschool-aged children
  • Strong understanding of child development principles and early childhood education theories
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Patience, compassion, and a genuine passion for working with young children

Estimated Salary

  • The median annual wage for preschool teachers in the US in 2022 was $35,330
  • The mean annual wage for preschool teachers, except special education in California is $48,410
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