How to Choose a Teacher Education Program

Teachers and professors have a variety of responsibilities to tackle each day, from developing curriculum, teaching classes, proctoring exams and meeting with students. Every day is different and you get out what you put into it. Teachers have the opportunity to help students grow, shape lives and influence future generations. If you've decided that teaching is the right career path for you, the next step is deciding what you intend to teach. As an undergraduate student in the Teacher Education Program at Upper Iowa University (UIU), you have the option to choose your area of focus from several different classroom settings, subjects and age groups.

Our Programs

Students in the Teacher Education Program at Upper Iowa University can choose from one of the following majors:

• Elementary Education
• Prekindergarten – Grade 3
• Prekindergarten – Grade 3 including Special Education
• Physical Education, Health and Coaching K-12
• Art K-12

Or one of the following content area majors:

• 5-12 All Business
• 5-12 English
• 5-12 Life Science (Biology)
• 5-12 Mathematics
• 5-12 Reading
• 5-12 Social Science (must complete at least 15 hours in one or more of the following areas: American History, American Government, Economics, Sociology or Psychology)
• 5-12 All Social Science (authorizes the holder to teach all social sciences in grades 5-12 in the state of Iowa: Economics, American Government, Psychology, American History, World History, Sociology and Geography)
• All Science 5-12 (authorizes the holder to teach all sciences in grades 9-12 in the state of Iowa)
• 5-12 Industrial Technology (partnership with Northeast Iowa Community College)]

The Program That Fits Your Goals

If you’re interested in working with young children UIU offers majors focusing on the education of students from preschool to third grade, including those with special needs. Aspiring teachers in the early childhood education programs learn principles and theories that emphasize child development as well as learning. Working with special needs children requires further education in handling the unique needs of students with learning or developmental disabilities.

Elementary school teachers help their students develop a basic understanding of all areas, including, reading, writing and math. Working with students from roughly grades three to eight, the elementary education program gives teachers the skills necessary to nurture students’ desire to learn and move toward higher levels of academic accomplishment.

The secondary education program is for individuals interested in teaching high school students. Secondary education teachers require significantly more knowledge in their content areas than their primary education counterparts; a high school classroom is distinctly different from other educational settings. UIU’s content area majors provide extensive knowledge in one area of study to prepare undergraduates for a career teaching in high school classrooms. Those who earn a degree in secondary education are typically prepared to teach middle school grade levels as well.

Pursuing a career in academic administration usually requires more schooling than a four-year bachelor’s program, calling for a graduate degree of some kind. Having a teaching background better prepares you for a career where you would be managing or directly working with other teachers and students. No matter your plans for the future, the selection of majors and content areas offered at UIU allows you to teach in whichever subject best aligns with your career goals and interests.

Future Outlook

A study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nearly all teaching positions have a positive job outlook in the decade from 2012 to 2022. Special education and high school teacher positions will see an estimated 6% increase, 12% for elementary and middle school positions, and a 17% increase for preschool teachers. Even if you eventually decide to work outside the teaching field, an education degree can help prepare you for positions in childcare, social work or counseling.

Furthering Education

If you choose to continue your education after your bachelor’s degree, whether to further your knowledge in a particular content area or to move into administration, consider pursuing a master’s degree. Master’s degrees are required to teach in some secondary education schools, but also open the door to administrative positions like principal or assistant principal. Master’s students typically have the option to take courses on subjects such as curriculum development, community partnerships and instructional support. The UIU Master of Education degree allows emphasis in early childhood, English as a second language, instructional strategy, reading, teacher leadership and higher education.

The Teacher Education Program is offered at four unique Upper Iowa University locations: Fayette Campus, Des Moines Center, Quad Cities Center and Waterloo Center. Contact UIU today to apply or request more information. Classes start every eight weeks.