Beginners Guide to Studying Education in 2020: Everything You Need to Know Before You Start
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A career in education can be highly rewarding; shaping the minds of future generations and encouraging young people to engage with a subject you love.
Upon going into education, you can choose to work with children, adolescents and adults of all ages. Education begins from as young as 6 months and continues into adulthood, so whether you are teaching infant school children, secondary school teens or people in their 50s, you can change lives and inspire others to fulfil their potential.
Teaching is a multi-disciplinary career, drawing on many aspects of life and involves skills such as communication, teamwork, organisational skills and interpersonal skills. There are a variety of ways to get into education, most of which involve both practical and academic study in order to help you gain the expertise you need to support your students. However, with new courses and routes into education being developed year on year, and methods of teaching always changing, what does it mean to study education in 2020?
What Careers Can I Go Into If I Study Education?
If you love helping others, are a good listener and teacher then education could definitely be for you. Whether you have previous experience with kids and would love to work with them or simply have a desire to teach others, there are roles for educators in all areas around the globe. Some of the roles you may be able to qualify for after studying education include:
There are a variety of education-based careers you can enter into, as well as other careers which education-specific qualifications can greatly help with. Having a background in education can help you go into careers such as a social worker, careers advisor, school counsellor and museum educator.
What Skills Do Educators Need?
The level of qualifications and skills you will need to enter into education vary depending on the type of course you are enrolling on. Most courses require a good standard of English and maths, such as grades A*-C at GCSE or equivalent. For postgraduate courses, or to gain on-the-job teacher training at a school or childcare environment, a degree and/or significant experience is often required. In some workplaces, you can learn on the job and work your way up, but you will likely need to undertake education courses during your training to gain the theoretical knowledge needed to support your practical skills.
Alongside the academic knowledge, educators need excellent communication, interpersonal and time management skills to succeed in this career area.
What Courses Are Available in Education?
There is a range of courses at varying levels to help you get into education. Some of the most popular ones include:
Early Years Educator Diploma
If you are keen to work with children, then there are a range of early years educator courses which you can enrol on. For nursery teachers and those working with children up to the age of 7, the CACHE Diploma for the Early Years Workforce is a highly recognised qualification which demonstrates the skills and knowledge needed to work with young children.
Other early years courses include Level 3 Child Minder course, and Home-Based Childcare Level 3, which allows you to work with children in home settings. These courses also consist of both practical assignments at a placement or workplace, as well as learning theoretical knowledge.
BA in Education
A great basis for anyone wanting to get into education is a bachelor’s degree in education. You can study either online via distance learning, in class or via a combination of the two, so you have the flexibility to work around your other responsibilities. Most universities do not require specific GCSE or A-Level grades but do have UCAS point specifications.
As well as a general BA in Education, there are also other more specific education degrees such as Childhood Studies, Primary Education and Special Educational Needs. Explore the variety of education degrees available and choose one that suits the career you want and will teach you what you need to know. Being a degree, it is more academic than a diploma or a certificate; however, you can also often do placement modules or years to gain practical experience.
This is one of the most well-known education courses for those wanting to pursue a career in teaching. PGCE stands for Post Graduate Certificate in Education and is largely required for teachers within the UK. Although it is possible to train as a teacher without a PGCE, this qualification will help you develop both academic knowledge and practical skills. A PGCE takes one year to complete full time or two years for part-time study, and is usually completed after an undergraduate degree. This is a great route if you don’t have much prior experience or if your degree is in a subject other than education.
What Do I Need to Know About Studying Education in 2020?
More people than ever are going to university and gaining a degree, meaning that getting the upper hand on the competition is key. Gain as much experience as you can to show your dedication to working in education, whether it’s a part-time job as a receptionist in a school or volunteering for a children’s charity. Having the practical skills behind you will not only help you get into studying education but is a key factor that employers look for when assessing candidates.
Another development in recent years across all careers is the importance of CPD (Continuing Professional Development). Staying up to date with the latest government education regulations, teaching methods and childcare procedures is essential in the workplace, and if you have had a gap in education or are looking to train on the job then showing that you have an awareness of current education methods is key. Your knowledge of the profession you want to go into also includes what skills are required of you such as time management,
Teachers and educators are always in high demand, and when you study a course in education you add to the pool of people shaping the future generation. Whether you choose a more academic route to prepare teens for their GCSEs or want to get started with on-the-job training in a nursery, there are many routes to get into this rewarding career. You can find out more about specific careers in teaching such as Special Educational Needs education by reading our article on the subject called How to Become a Special Needs Teacher.