Career Pathways


Industry overview

An educator’s ability to influence the future is endless. With nearly 25% of the U.S. population enrolled in school at any one time, educators have a huge responsibility to ensure their pupils are properly prepared to contribute to society. The people who choose education as a career path usually have a strong desire to make a difference and willingness to find creative solutions to problems both in and out of the classroom.

Job opportunities for educations are found in all 50 states in public, private and parochial schools. Some teachers may specialize in a single subject, while others will teach multiple subjects. Regardless of the subject, class size, location or type of school, the mission of educators remains the same; to ensure that every student is successful and meets set milestones for progress. Counselors, principals, librarians, media specialists and teacher’s aides who provide specialized assistance in key areas, often support teachers.

The Vault Guides offer a sample of careers in Education. Each guide gives, among other valuable information, an overview of the job and entry-level requirements.

You can also learn more about career paths in K-12 education at 

Common career paths

  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Secondary Education Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher
  • English as a Second Language Teacher
  • Teacher Aide
  • Guidance Counselor
  • Media Specialist

Preparing for a career

The majority of schools require a Master’s Degree in Education as well as licensure in order to teach. VCU’s 5-year program allows students to earn both bachelor and master degrees. As a part of the program, prospective teachers are usually required to complete observation and student teaching hours. Student teachers usually begin by observing the class and then take on greater amounts of teaching, grading, and lesson planning activities during the student teaching semester. In the public school system, teachers must also pass a state certification exam in order to teach, and participate in continuing education to maintain licensure.

While degree and licensure, provides the foundational requirements to become an educator, most successful teachers have realized the need to develop additional skills areas such as, time management, public speaking, conflict resolution and integrating technology into their lessons.

Teachers who possess practical skills have a much easier time positioning themselves as highly sought after candidates. VCU has a partnership with to provide free skills training. Consider taking some of these recommended courses as a part of your training.

Access VCU’s Lynda portal with your eID and password.

  • Google Classroom 2016
  • PowerPoint Essential Training
  • Captivate projects: Building eLearning games
  • WordPress in the Classroom
  • Public Speaking
  • Write effective learning objectives
  • Communication in the 21st-century classroom
  • Classroom Management Fundamentals
  • Having Difficult Conversations

Applying and interviewing

Resumes and Cover letters

Opportunity search resources

K-12 resources

Teach Virginia
Virginia Department of Education
Maryland Department of Education
D.C. Public Schools
North Carolina Department of Education
Southern Teachers Agency

Higher education resources

Inside Higher Ed
Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
The Chronicle of Higher Education Vitae

Meet with an Advisor

To schedule an appointment with an Education advisor, call (804) 828-1645 or log into your Handshake account.

Image of Krystle Dorsey, Assistant Director, Career and Industry Advising [View Image]

Virginia Commonwealth University
Division of Student Success
907 Floyd Avenue, Room 143
Box 842007
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2007

Phone: (804) 828-1645
Fax: (804) 828-2060
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