In just about every middle school, high school and college campus around the planet, there are geography teachers. These professionals are responsible for teaching their students about the world, the political and geographical borders that distinguish one country from the next and how we are linked to our neighbors as well as those across the globe.
Becoming a geography teacher will take several years, but it can be a wonderful and rewarding career.
As a geography teacher, you will be able to make a positive impression on the next generation and help foster a better understanding of the world at large.
If you are still on the fence about whether or not this career is the right route for you, this guide will ask some key questions that can help you make up your mind.
What Kind of a Salary Do You Want to Make?
There are several reasons to choose a particular career path or opt to earn a certain degree, but one of the most important is because it can help you to financially provide for yourself and your family. With that in mind, potential students and those considering a career in geography should have a realistic expectation of the salary in this industry.
There is a significant range for geography teachers, and it all depends on where you find employment. The most common option is to teach at a high school or middle school, which will offer median salaries of $55,050 each year.
Those who have earned additional experience in the field or who have secured a master’s degree in the subject may be able to find work teaching geography in colleges, which will result in a much higher annual salary of $73,980. Although this career is not the most lucrative in the world, it brings with it a number of benefits. For example, most teachers enjoy long summer vacations and several weeks of Christmas holidays as well as insurance and the option for unpaid sabbaticals.
Can You Commit to Four Years of College-Level Study?
Whether you want to teach in a middle school, a high school or on a college campus, the absolute minimum level of education required will be a bachelor’s degree. A four-year geography education and teaching degree can be obtained through a traditional college campus program or an accredited online college. Wherever you opt to earn the degree, it is important to understand that the curriculum will generally be the same across the board.
The bachelor’s degree will take roughly eight semesters, or four years, to complete, and it will be made up of anywhere from 120 to 130 credits. During the first year of study, many students take electives as well as courses in general subjects like writing composition, American history and perhaps even math or a foreign language. Thereafter, most of the courses will relate directly to geography.
You should only opt for this degree if you are excited to study subjects like world politics, climatology, environmental science and the making of maps.
Do You Enjoy Maps, Geography and Travel?
The best geography teachers, as well as those who most enjoy their jobs, are the ones who have a passion for teaching and for their subject. If you don’t enjoy geography, then this may not be the right fit for you.
Remember that after graduation, your career will consist chiefly of reading about geography, teaching geography to students, spending time surveying maps and maybe even giving lectures on the shifting borders of the world’s countries and why that matters.
Although it is possible to go through the motions and complete the coursework even if geography doesn’t hold your interest, that is not a good idea. Before enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program in either geography or teaching, take some time to focus on the subject, read as much as you can about geography and make sure that it is something you can see yourself exploring for the next 30 or 40 years of employment.
Can You Fit a Degree Program Into Your Life?
For many nontraditional students, the idea of heading back to school and earning a bachelor’s degree is a dream. However, you can make it a reality. The key is understanding that a college education doesn’t have to mean living in a dormitory with other students or even commuting to early morning lectures on campus. You can earn a geography degree from a traditional college campus, but you can get an almost identical education from an accredited online college. Both options have advantages and drawbacks, but the busiest college students are often drawn to the convenience and ease of an online degree.
You can watch recordings of lectures, seminars and classes from your computer, you can take exams online and you can even access textbooks and group discussions over the Internet. This incredible flexibility means that there is no excuse for getting a higher education. Parents with young children, those caring for parents at home, anyone with a part or full-time job and even those who don’t live within driving distance of a college campus can advance their education online.
Do You Know What to Expect as a Geography Teacher?
This is an integral question to ask yourself before seriously contemplating a career in geography. Working as a teacher can be a challenging career, and not everyone is cut out for it. Geography teachers need to be patient and comfortable explaining concepts to students several times. In addition, they should be excellent communicators. Much of what a teacher has to do during any given day is speak to students, lecture on various subjects and keep the class interested along the way.
Those who simply recite information or feel nervous speaking to groups in public may struggle with this kind of career. You should also expect, as a geography teacher, to work long days and often take work home with you. This might range from creating exams to grading essays. Although summers are a well-earned break, many teachers still teach summer programs during this time or take courses for their own professional development.
Are There Any Alternative Careers That Interest You?
If you are interested in geography and want to choose that as your major in college, you are not limited to becoming a geography teacher after graduation. While certainly a fulfilling employment option, students should understand that there are a variety of opportunities available within the field. If you enjoy being out in nature, for example, you might decide to work as a land surveyor.
For those who prefer dealing with maps, becoming a cartographer could be a better use of your skills. Additional careers might include environmental consultant, construction planner or geographer, which is a role that involves studying the globe and categorizing different areas and regions according to political, geographical or cultural boundaries.
If you aware of the salary, you can commit to at least four years of college education, you enjoy geography, you can fit the degree into your schedule and you are excited about becoming a teacher, then earning an online degree in geography education and teaching could be an amazing opportunity for you.
Explore the many ways you can prepare to make your career more exciting by earning a degree online at Accrediteed