Get Your Teaching Degree near West Helena AR 72390

How to Pick an Education Degree College near West Helena 72390

West Helena AR teacher standing at blackboardOne of the most important decisions that you can make when entering the teaching profession is to choose the right teaching degree program near West Helena AR. And because it is such a critical decision, high school graduates or future graduates must carefully evaluate the schools they are interested in attending. It is not enough to base a decision on proximity to your residence or the cost of tuition, although these are relevant factors to take into consideration. There are other important questions that you must ask as well before choosing a school, which we will cover in detail later.    Prospective teachers may consider a wide range of degree programs and training options to qualify for positions that provide various levels of education to both adolescents and adults. And in order to pursue a teaching position beyond the preschool level in the United States, teachers must possess at least a bachelor’s degree, and obtain state-issued certification or licensure.  These are qualifications that we will also cover in more detail shortly.  So first, let’s talk a little bit about the degree options that are available for aspiring educators.

Degree Programs for Teachers

West Helena AR teacher conducting classMost of the available teaching positions in West Helena AR primary and secondary schools require that applicants have earned at least a bachelor’s degree to qualify. However, an individual with an interest in an entry level teaching position may qualify with just a two-year Associates Degree. The opportunities would be mostly limited to pre-school teaching positions, or positions as a teacher’s aide or a child care worker.  Following are some brief descriptions of the opportunities available for education graduates with higher degrees.

  • Bachelor’s Degree. As previously mentioned, a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree is required in order to teach kindergarten through the 12th Most Bachelor’s Degree programs for future educators require an internship to gain practical experience in the field.
  • Master’s Degree. There are two primary options available for a teaching degree, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Master’s in Education (M.Ed). The MAT is geared more towards those who desire a hands on teaching experience, while the M.Ed is for those with an interest in working for the education system outside of the classroom, for example in Administration.
  • Doctorate Degree. The highest degree that an educator can earn within his or her field is a Doctor of Education or a Ph.D. in Education, which is a qualification to pursue employment in academia, research, and high-level administration jobs.

Although most teaching positions in the U.S. only require an applicant to possess a four-year degree, some West Helena AR teachers pursue a master’s or even a doctorate degree in order to acquire a greater understanding of teaching, or to qualify for higher-paying jobs such as administrative positions.  They may even pursue a higher degree simply to earn more respect from their peers.  Depending on the degree program, a graduate student may conduct research; receive specialized training; or simply expand his or her knowledge of a specific field of teaching.

Teacher Certification and Licensing

woman attending online teaching degree school in West Helena ARIf you are planning on a career teaching within the West Helena AR public schools system, know that in the United States you will need to become licensed in Arkansas or the State where you will be employed.  On the contrary, most private schools do not require educators to become licensed or even certified.  Licensing requirements vary by State, but typically includes passing one or more certification or skill based tests.  In most States the Praxis exams are used for certification, but some States do require their own State specific exams instead.  Each State also has continuing education or professional development requirements for teachers to renew their licenses.

Attending an Education Degree School in West Helena Arkansas?

Perhaps you live near West Helena AR or have decided to relocate or commute to that area. Following is some interesting background information about the location of your new school campus.

Helena–West Helena, Arkansas

Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States.[3] The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.[4]

The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.

A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.[5]

Questions to Ask Teacher Degree Programs

Prior to selecting a teaching degree program to enroll in, there are a few questions that you need to ask to ensure you pick the best one for your career objectives in West Helena AR.  As we mentioned previously, the location of the school as well as the cost are important considerations when weighing your options, but they should not be the only ones you consider.  Following are some additional questions that must be asked before making a final decision.

  • Are the Schools and Programs Accredited? Graduating from an accredited teacher college not only provides an assurance that you have received a quality education, but may also be an asset when securing that first teaching position.
  • Are the Programs Recognized by the Dept. of Education? In order to be a more sought after job candidate, make sure that the program you enroll in is recognized by the Arkansas Department of Education, or by the State where you will be teaching.
  • Do the Programs have High Employment Rates? Find out what percentage of graduates are employed in their field, particularly in their chosen specialty, and on average how soon after graduation.
  • Does the School Offer Your Chosen Specialty? Naturally you will want to choose an education degree school that offers your chosen specialty.  Make sure that it also offers advanced degrees if you are planning on continuing your education at the graduate level.
  • Do the Programs Work with Local School Districts? Programs that work with local school districts afford their students more opportunities to secure student teaching positions.  It also gives students an opportunity to showcase their talents locally prior to pursuing teaching positions upon graduation.
  • Are Scholarships Offered? Find out if the programs you are interested in offer scholarships that can make your education more affordable and minimize the need for student loans.
  • Do the Schools Provide Licensing Exam Preparation? Graduates must become State Certified and Licensed prior to accepting any public teaching positions.  Make sure that the school you enroll in helps prepare you for the exams required by Arkansas or the
    State where you will be employed.
  • Do the Schools Help Graduates Find Employment? Finally, once you graduate from teaching school you will no doubt be anxious to secure your first position.  Find out if the schools have job assistance programs, including job placement and interview and resume preparation programs.

Enroll in the Right Teacher Degree School near West Helena Arkansas

school bus transporting West Helena AR studentsTeaching is a rewarding profession that provides an opportunity for educators to help develop young minds for their betterment and future success.  Having that kind of influence on adolescents and young adults is something that requires the proper education and training.  Make sure that when you are reviewing your education degree options that you ask the right questions so that you can make an informed comparison and final decision.  And once you have made your commitment and enrolled in a degree program, you can begin your journey to become a teacher in West Helena AR.

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