The Ultimate Guide to K-12 Education

Cumulative secondary and primary education processes in both America and Canada are called K-12 education. These processes are specially created to prepare students for further education/college, and vocational school. It also makes them eligible for entry into the workforce.

K-12 education is critical for students as it makes them stable enough to understand modern workforce requirements and economics. Since students’ future depends on K-12 education, this learning stage is considered extremely important for child development. If you are a future teacher, then you might be interested in the online Ed.D. in K-12 leadership degree. Keep reading to learn more.

K-12 Education Degree

Individuals with an educational degree often choose to teach kindergarten students or those that are older, right up until the 12th grade. All of these age groups fall under K-12 education. A teacher’s degree designation indicates what subjects they can teach and what age groups they can cover. Most educational institutions divide age groups into four main categories:

K-12 teachers make use of an array of communication methods and tools to train students. They work with all age groups to instill discipline, impart knowledge of various subjects and provide guidance. Teachers in the United States are required to have at least a Bachelor’s degree. A teacher’s license may or may not be required depending on whether the school is private or public.

K-12 Education Degree Types

K-12 educational degrees may be obtained on-campus or through online programs. However, there are several types of degrees in K-12 education. The kind of degree you should opt for is based on experience, career choice, and current education.

Online degrees are quickly gaining popularity as they aid career switches, can be completed from the comfort of your home, and are more feasible than traditional methods of obtaining the degree. The best part is that you can continue to work as you study alongside. Let’s look at K-12 program types below:

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degrees are often selected based on the subjects a teacher wishes to teach in the future and the age group of the students they wish to cater to. Bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education are best suited for teaching K-3 students while elementary education degrees are perfect for teachers that wish to teach students in classes one to six.

Teachers that hope to teach middle school or high school students need to opt for teacher training courses and programs that polish their skills in the subject of choice. All states in the U.S. require teachers to hold a license along with four years of complete K-12 degree education. Private institutions often prefer teachers with bachelor’s degrees or higher based on subject focus and grade levels a teacher hopes to teach.

Associate Degree

Associate degrees can also be picked based on grade levels. Teachers that hope to work with K-3 students, should opt for an early childhood education associate degree while those wanting to teach older students, can easily opt for other relevant associate degrees. The best part is that associate degrees can also be completed online and are even available in specialized areas such as daycare and child development.

Post-Bachelor Degree

Post-bachelor degree programs are additional certificates teachers can opt for if they have no educational training. These allow potential teachers to learn the skills and techniques necessary to obtain a teacher’s license. Most courses resemble bachelor’s degree programs and are not too hard to complete. They may be even targeted toward specific subjects. A post-bachelor degree is not a master’s degree nor is it a substitute for a proper four-year bachelor’s program.

Master’s Degree 

Although not necessary, teacher’s hoping to land better jobs and flaunt higher qualifications should opt for a Master’s program. A master’s degree in K-12 is a two-year program that allows K-12 teachers and Bachelor’s degree holders to obtain advanced teaching and leadership skills. Successful graduates not only teach effectively but are also able to develop and foster relationships with other teachers, parents, and students.

Career Choices for K-12 Degree Holders

Elementary or Kindergarten School Teacher

Kindergarten/elementary teachers are often allotted a single classroom of students for each day. They are responsible for teaching them various subjects including math, science, language, arts, and social studies. Other teachers focus on a single subject and may work with different age groups and classes throughout their day.

Elementary or kindergarten teachers must have strong skills to engage and enlighten students from all races, backgrounds, and ethnicities. They are also required to use different skills to teach students effectively. Other tasks include:

  • Recording and grading student progress
  • Teaching discipline
  • Offering support and guidance
  • Working with staff, teachers, and parents to develop the most suitable curriculum

Public school teachers, including elementary school math tutors, are typically required to have a license and bachelor’s degree while most private school teachers can make do with a bachelor’s degree alone.

Middle or High School Teacher

Middle school and high/secondary school teachers have expertise in a single subject. Since they can only focus on one subject, they can take up several classes in one day instead of spending an entire day with a single age group. These teachers should be experts in their subject and must use an array of methods to make sure students understand the particular subject well. Their duties include conducting exams, recording student progress, and working with both staff and parents. Teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and licensure to apply for this post.

Teacher’s Assistant

Assistant teachers support classroom teachers in handling teaching-related tasks. They can take on administrative tasks, mark attendance, grade tests, record progress, and assist students with learning. They work at all grade levels and can even work part-time. Candidates may require some form of training or an associate degree to be eligible.


College professors can opt for flexible schedules and take on classes as per their choice. However, they must be updated regarding the latest education trends and knowledge and must also maintain their license throughout. Professors are also required to have Master’s degrees and additional qualifications so they can impart knowledge at higher grade levels.

If a professor is interested in an even higher post, they can also work at administrative levels in educational institutions. They can apply for a dean, president, head teacher, or departmental position.


K-12 education degrees allow an individual to become a teacher for age groups that lie between kindergarten and 12th grade. Not only do these teachers help build stronger communities, but they also help build capable individuals that can apply for higher education and enter the workforce easily.