Georgia’s public education system encompasses 181 school districts, over 2,200 schools, 114,800 and approximately 1.6 million students. It has 85 public colleges, universities, and technical colleges and more than 45 private institutes of higher learning. Georgia’s educational representation has changed drastically since 2013, with the vast majority of its districts school boards being elected by single-member districts.
This followed a lawsuit against the board of commissioners and school board by residents and activist groups in Fayette County, Georgia over election system based on at-large voting, which had racially marginalized minorities being elected to local school boards. Georgia deals with a widening wealth disparity that has brought serious challenges to its schools, and is constantly in need of great teachers. It’s also on the cheaper side in tuition, and boasts many schools offering online education degrees, especially in early childhood education. Here we’ll look into what it takes to be a teacher in Georgia, salaries of different educational positions, and some of the top online early education degrees offered in the state.
Requirements for Teaching Licensure in Georgia
Georgia changed its teaching licensure requirements in 2015. If you’re looking to become licensed to teach in Georgia, you should first complete a teacher preparation program that was approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). If you already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree but haven’t completed teacher preparation program, there are also alternate routes to become licensed, especially if you want to teach in areas Georgia considers “high need.” Georgia’s new, four-tier certification process for beginning teachers has a Pre-Service certification, in order to qualify for a mandatory student teaching assignment. Candidates who successfully complete a bachelor’s degree, a teacher preparation program, and the Pre-Service requirements can earn an Induction certificate for beginning teachers. After three years of quality teaching, candidates can earn a Professional teaching certificate. And eventually, after five years of teaching success, you can earn a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification or an advanced degree. That along with high performance ratings in the classroom may qualify you for the highest level of teacher certification in Georgia: Advanced/Lead Professional.
Online Education Program Admission Requirements
Obviously, admission requirements for education programs depend on the school, program, and degree level you’re looking to earn. If you want to earn an undergraduate degree in early childhood education you’ll at least need a high school diploma, GED, or 60 transferable credit hours from an an accredited community college. It helps to have emphasized education in your studies, but it’s not required. If you’re looking to earn an online master’s degree in early childhood education you’ll need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably focused in education or a related field in order to qualify. The state’s doctoral programs generally have the same requirements for admission as those for master’s degrees, albeit with the added requirement of a master’s degree to qualify. Most graduate programs in early childhood education expect applicants to take the GRE.
Average Salaries For Common Educator Roles in Georgia
- Preschool Teacher: $32,656
- Elementary School Teacher: $52,840
- Public School Teacher: $54,155 (median)
- Professor of Education: $64,953
- School Principal: $100,687 (median)
- Special Education Teacher: $55,750 (median)
- Math or Science High School Teacher: $59,754
- ESL Teacher: $46,735
- School Psychologist: $59,235
Scholarships for Future Educators in Georgia
The HOPE Scholarship
The HOPE Scholarship is funded by the state lottery. It has been cut by 90% in recent years, but Georgia residents who have graduated from high school with a 3.7 or higher grade point average and a 1200 or above on the SAT can attend a public college or university in the state with a scholarship covering tuition and a stipend for books for up to 120 credit hours.
GAE Foundation Scholarships
The Georgia Association of Educators Foundation exists to help educators get their education. They offer a range of scholarships. These include scholarships for Certified Educators as they earn an Advanced Degree, Education Support Professionals, Junior/Senior scholarships for Future Teachers, and more.
The TEACH Scholarship provides $4,000 annually for students who plan to teach full-time in high-need subject areas after graduation.
The 5 Best Online Education Degree Providers in Georgia
Georgia has a wealth of education degree options. From that, we combed through the best online education degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. The following five schools were chosen based on the number of fully online education degrees they offered, and an “academic prestige” score. The academic prestige score encompasses the average amount of financial need received, average class sizes, admissions standards, and the percentage of faculty holding terminal degrees in their field. Please note that the tuition numbers are here to get a sense of what tuition costs are. The tuition numbers below, specifically, are the in-state (where applicable) undergraduate yearlong tuition rates for education degrees. Many universities, however, have similar tuition rates at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Valdosta State University
In-state Tuition: $14,573
Online Ed Degrees: 43
This public university is one of four comprehensive members of the University System of Georgia. It was founded in 1906, and operates out of Valdosta, Georgia. It offers Certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Education Specialist, and Doctoral degrees through colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Arts, and Nursing. The Graduate School also has Divisions of Social Work and Library Science. Over 11,370 students attend Valdosta, which offers a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Its education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Valdosta offers a whopping 43 different degrees and certifications in education. Most of the programs are at the graduate level. Valdosta offers 10 Bachelor degrees in education online, 29 Master’s, and 4 Doctorates. These include a wealth of Instructional Technology M.Ed.’s, Math and Science for Middle Grades, Counseling, Special Education, Leadership and much more at the Master’s level. At the Bachelor level one standout is a degree in Human Capital Performance, is aimed at bolstering students’ understanding of social, psychological and managerial factors of a work environment, which can help launch your career in educational leadership. At the Doctoral level, Valdosta offers Curriculum & Instruction: Learning and Development, and a Leadership degree.
In-state Tuition: $13,180
Online Ed Degrees: 26
Augusta is a public academic health center and research university headquartered in Augusta, Georgia. It is one of the four universities in the University System of Georgia and is made up of schools in Health Sciences, Arts Humanities, and Social Sciences, Nursing, Science and Mathematics, Business, Dental, Education, a Graduate school, and a Medical School. Augusta offers certificates to doctoral degrees, and everything in between. It was founded in 1828. Over 7,938 students attend Augusta, which has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
Augusta has 26 distinct online education programs. The breakdown is as follows: 6 Bachelor’s, 19 Master’s, and one Doctorate degree. Standouts include the
Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Early Childhood Education, BSBachelor of Science in Education with a major in Special Education, Master’s in Teaching with a Concentration in Early Childhood Education, Master of Education with a Major in Counselor Education and a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Master of Education with a Major in Instruction with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, and much more. Augusta’s programs in Special Education, Math and Science are especially useful in Georgia, a state in dire need of teachers specializing in those areas.
Georgia Southern University
In-state Tuition: $16,121
Online Ed Degrees: 18
Georgia Southern University is a public research university based in Statesboro, Georgia It was founded in 1906 and is part of the University System of Georgia. It’s also the largest center of higher education within the southern half of Georgia. It offers over 140 different academic majors and conveys Bachelor, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Georgia Southern is classified as a Doctoral and Research Institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Over 7,900 students attend Georgia Southern, which offers a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school has a robust online wing that has expanded rapidly since its founding in 2008.
Georgia Southern offers 18 Master’s degrees in Education online. Highlights include programs in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Higher Education Administration (which is a blended program), Instructional Technology and more. The Early Childhood Education program focuses on reading, and the current demands of teachers working in grades K-12. Students will conduct significant, actionable research on reading education and build marketable technology skills, among other outcomes. Georgia Southern has been cited as one of the Top 20 Most Popular Universities in the country by USNR.
Georgia State University
In-state Tuition: $14,573
Online Ed Degrees: 11
Georgia State University was founded in 1913, and is based out of Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a public research university, and also a member of the University System of Georgia. It’s the largest university in the system. Over 32,200 students attend Georgia State University, which boasts a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It conveys certificates through doctorate degrees through schools of Policy Studies, Nursing and Health Professions, Arts, Arts & Sciences, Education and Human Development, Business, Biomedical Sciences, Law, Public Heatlh, and more.
GSU offers 11 Master’s degrees in education online. Highlights include Educational Research, Mathematics Education, Science Education, Instructional Design and Technology, and more. Georgia State’s M.Ed.’s in Science Education and Math Education will prepare you to teach in two extremely demanded subject areas in Georgia. All of GSU’s programs are mirrors of their on-campus counterparts, and the diplomas conferred don’t indicate the degree was earned online. There are also reduced student fees for these programs. Some programs require some on-campus attendance, but four can be earned entirely online.
Kennesaw State University
In-state Tuition: $17,441
Online Ed Degrees: 15
KSU, located in Kennesaw, Georgia is a public research university. It was founded in 1963. Over 35,000 students are currently attending the school, and a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It’s also a member of the University System of Georgia. Kennesaw offers programs in business, education, engineering, nursing, physical sciences, criminal justice and sports management. KSU is the third largest university in Georgia, and top 50 in the country. In 2008, U.S. News polled top college officials on which schools had made the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities. Kennesaw State was among 70 colleges that received the most nominations.
Kennesaw offers 15 degrees in education online. There are 13 Master’s programs and 2 Doctoral programs. Master’s standouts include Early Childhood Education, Educational Leadership, Instructional Technology, Middle Grades Education, among others. Any of these programs will give graduates a clear jump in their careers in terms of potential earnings and jobs they’ll qualify for after graduating. The two Doctoral programs will boost education careers even further. Those programs are in Teacher Leadership and Instructional Technology. One thing to keep in mind is that KSU Online’s programs don’t currently result in initial teaching certification. KSU programs that do are offered on campus. All of the online graduate programs require a renewable teaching certificate for admission.
Directory of Online Education Degree
Providers in Georgia
|Mercer University||Macon, GA||Online Ed Degrees: 8|
|Armstrong State University||Savannah, GA||Online Ed Degrees: 8|
|Brenau University||Gainesville, GA||Online Ed Degrees: 2|
|Georgia Military College||Milledgeville, GA||Online Ed Degrees: 2|