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What kind of job can you get with an education degree? We'll give you some options as well as some locations to try out.

I’ve talked about the reasons why teaching is a pretty sweet gig. I know I’m not the only one to see this because right across Canada, Faculties of Education are flooded with applicants right now. In fact, because the primary goal of a university is to make money, there are WAY too many people graduating with B. Ed degrees considering the already saturated teaching market (at least in urban centers). Now there is a certainly a separate debate to be had about whether it is right for university to knowingly flood the market with graduates, but ultimately the choice and the consequences of that choice rest with the individual. There is probably also a larger debate about the obvious fact that teachers must get compensated too highly for what they do given the obvious disconnect between the supply and demand in the market, but I’ll digress. With so many of my fellow graduates failing to get jobs in a market that is absolutely dominated by nepotism and “who you know” to an unbelievable degree, I have found it interesting to look into the “secondary market” for people who have a pair of degrees (most schools now require a 3 year degree before applying into the B. Ed program) and no obvious job prospects.

No Classroom Doesn’t Equal No Paycheque

The interesting thing about the world of education is that there is a whole sort of periphery industry that revolves around relations between primary, secondary, and post-secondary schooling, and their connections with the outside world. For example, last week I contacted the Manitoba Securities Commission in order to get some resources for an equities unit I’m preparing for my grade 12 business course next year. The person who responded to me had a B. Ed degree and hadn’t been able to land a job out of school, so she followed her business interests as they lead her into her current position. Another place to look would be the recruitment office of post-secondary institutions. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that someone who has spent some time in high schools, and has a degree in how to communicate with students (in theory anyway) would be a great fit as a spokesperson to promote a post-secondary institution. Several government programs that are connected with secondary schools are also excellent places to look for these sort of “periphery” education jobs.

Alternative Options

If you want to keep your teaching cap on in some capacity I recommend exploring alternative options to finding a full-time teaching job within Canada. There is a huge demand in all over the world right now (especially in Asian private schools) for schooling in English. Not just in teaching English, but in taking their whole school experience from a teacher who is a native English speaker. When the goal is to send a student on to post-secondary study in Canada and/or the USA, then B. Ed degrees from a country like Canada are very attractive, and have begun to command a premium on the open market in the form of some pretty cool and creative perks. The other option that can be a great side gig and used in combination with the other options I’ve talked about is tutoring. Many teachers who are “curriculum-driven” and just couldn’t find a place in today’s “self-esteem-based” classroom have built quite a nice little income for themselves by filling in the considerable amount of blanks our current public education model leaves out. While I haven’t done a whole lot of tutoring myself, I am friends with several people who did it throughout their B. Ed program and they claimed the one-on-one or small group experience was very rewarding and almost stress-free. It was worlds removed from the reality of most schools, and much closer to what they hand in mind when they got into the field.

The Skillz that Pay The Bills… Hopefully

Whether you are applying to be a post-secondary student advisor (one of the good ones, not one of the ones that J.B. had problems with) or for an HR position in the public or private sectors, the key is to emphasize the diverse skill set that you developed throughout the course of your studies. Student teaching and the smorgasbord of classes you take throughout your B. Ed degree can be creatively spun to fit a lot of job descriptions. Think about presenting yourself using certain keywords and examples to back them up:

  • Experience and extensive instruction in multiple form of communication including public speaking
  • Thorough planning skills
  • Comfortable working in a team environment (teaching staff), or in more individual circumstances
  • Interacted with the public in many difference capacities, and with a wide variety of people
  • Great volunteer record (most people within education have a fairly solid resume here)
  • Very competent with commercial software programs and their applications

The list can go on and on, but the idea is that while you thought you were building a skill set that would enable you to be a teacher, that toolbox doesn’t suddenly disappear just because the title of the job you are applying for does. It is all about being creative and presenting yourself in a positive light (as most things are in life). Well that and WHO YOU KNOW anyway.

While I still believe the best idea for most teachers that are having trouble finding work is to check rural listings (it honestly isn’t that scary guys/gals), it is important to know what options are out there and available to the growing number of teachers who have “nowhere” to teach. Some people just aren’t cut out to be teachers and/or the job is much different than the one they believed they were getting into. The key is not to disregard your education (although this might be tempting on several levels) but instead learn to creatively market it, and use it to get to a place you want to be and where you can excel at.

Do you know anyone that is trying to navigate the muddy waters of the teaching profession? Any advice for them?

Article comments

Sonic The Hedgehog says:

Taught for 10 years with no degree in 5 countries. What I see here is a bunch of lay abouts who refuse to think outside the box. At one point I was making 80/hr and my boss (also no degree) over 130. Now with our degrees our demand has skyrocketed. You are not special and your degree means nothing in terms of teaching skills. Most ‘teachers’ breakdown and quit after their first week. Most people dont have the stuff.

Miriam says:

I think that Claire meant that there are thousands of B.Ed. school applicants every year, hence the ‘highly sought afte’r, irrespective of whether or not they actually get a teaching position. It is the B.Ed. credential that those thousands of applicants want.

Miriam says:

Totally agree with previous poster.

Claire says:

I agree with an earlier poster. The B.Ed. is not only a well-respected degree, but also a highly-sought after degree.

Someone asked how can the B.Ed. degree be highly sought after if there are no teaching jobs. Let remind and others that there are thousands and thousands of teacher’s college applicants every year. Hence, the B.Ed. is a highly sought after degree.

Kyle says:

Perhaps on the supply side – not the demand (i.e. employer) side?

Gina says:

I was working as a substituted for about two years, when I had a seizure in the classroom, no one was around. Yet I was removed from all my job postings with the division.
I was told I was a liability risk so I wouldn’t be teaching there. Yes I do recognize the human rights violation.
Is there any way for me to teach again or is that chapter closed ?

Kyle says:

That’s crazy Gina! I would say you might have a case – you need to talk to your Teachers’ Union immediately. My wife has had a single bout with seizures and it was well known within my school division, and no comments like this were ever made. I don’t even understand from a legal perspective how anyone could hold the SD liable?

jen says:

I am an older student. So this is my struggle. I would have 20 years from now until retirement. Is it worth it? I could move I suppose but wouldn’t want to go too far. I don’t want to move overseas.

jen says:

I am in the process of applying to graduate and post-degree programs one of which is the B Ed program. I am wondering if I am wasting my time. I am a mature student so I do not have tons of time to wait for job availability. Still I am being encouraged to complete a two year program. Would you advise going another route? I am getting mixed information

Kyle says:

Where would you like to work Jen – and are you willing to move to find work?

Laura says:

Two cents from a MB teacher. I agree with Kyle in many areas. The courses required for my Ed degree were largely a joke. Many of my colleagues in my cohort and others felt the same. It was one of the easiest things I’ve done as an adult. I can name many people who got their Ed degree because it was easy and it sounds good. My first degree was much more academically rigorous (kinesiology and physical geography). I’m currently working on my post bac through a different university and I find the course load is just as easy. FYI I was hired right away and recruved tenure in my second year of teaching. I wouldn’t say the competition was fierce; just that there were many applicants. There are way too many graduates for the job market. Less than 10% of the 200 students I graduated with found meaningful (tenured or permanent) employment.

Kyle says:

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion Laura. Isn’t it sad how many people just get the degree because it’s easy?

Kelly says:

You are quite right Mike, a B.Ed. is a highly respected degree, even if teaching jobs are hard to come by these days. At least it is a professional credential. That said, I refuse to get an M.Ed. because as some here have said, the redundancy and inutility of it – specializing in special education might be an exception. But to teach K-12 all you really need is the B.Ed. and maybe a couple of relevant and in-demand AQ teacher courses. I would rather spend my hard earned dollars on something useful instead of on a general M.Ed. It puzzles me when I hear about people who have spent tens of thousands of dollars on other impractical degrees such as: Kinesiology, Gender Studies, etc.

Mike says:

I obtained my B.Ed in 2009 and worked for a few years in the private sector and have just now begun the arduous task of entering into the public sphere for the job security and general long term benefits. Truth be told, it has not been easy. School boards do not look at marks, or “premier” institutions for that matter. Instead, hiring committees look at your undergrad because highly sought after candidates with French, science and engineering backgrounds are hard to come by. I am a history and religion major and have met many people who have gotten interviews before I. The common denominators were either teachable subjects or nepotism. That is all.

With that said, there is truth to Kyle’s comment about a B.Ed not being a highly sought after credential. Don’t get me wrong, it was an attractive degree after 15-20 years ago when school boards were literally offering jobs to anyone who’d take one. But seriously think about it, if there is no job market for teachers (which admittedly there isn’t and hasn’t been for quite some time) then how can a B.Ed be highly sought after? It isn’t – for now at least. The teaching market will change and jobs will eventually open up. Until then, rather than arguing that the B.Ed is a highly sought after credential, I would maintain that it is a highly respected credential and there is no shame in that.

Lastly, I have a hard time believing that an M.Ed is a highly sought degree for new teachers. Please hear me out before you come breaking down my door. From a social perspective, there is no doubt that boards across the country recognize the intrinsic value M.Ed candidates would bring to their school. From content knowledge, to pedagogy, and curriculum design, a person with a M.Ed is extremely valuable. But from an economic perspective, I genuinely believe that cash strapped boards would rather hire a B.Ed candidate instead of a M.Ed candidate because of the economic commitment they have to make. Now obviously if two people were already employed by a single board and one had their M.Ed and the other a B.Ed, the upper hand would go to the former. Nonetheless, it’s a sad reality of the times we live in and is part of the reason why I have refused to apply for a M.Ed as of yet. Thoughts?

Kyle says:

Completely agree with more or less everything you said Mike. Good luck out there pounding the streets looking to get on a supply teacher list. What part of the country are you looking in if you don’t mind my asking?

Meagan Ritchie Struthers says:

As a recent B.Ed. graduate I take exception to the statement made by Kyle the his B.Ed. studies just does not measure up to that of his friends in other disciplines. That should not be a concern since everyone takes whatever education is necessary to obtain the desired career qualification. It does not bother me that someone who wants to be a doctor has to stay in school for 4-5 years longer than me. If it takes that much time to become a doctor than so be it. To become a school teacher it takes less time but I do not care – I did what I had to do to become a teacher, so whatever path someones else takes does not concern me.

At the end of the day hopefully each person is content with the road they have chosen. There is simply no merit in thinking that a different educational career path is more highly regarded because it took longer. Each profession requires a different skill set, and what is important is not how long it takes to become qualified – the end justifies the means, and rightly so.

Another thing that Kyle seems to imply is that the higher level of academic difficulty of certain professions somehow diminishes the intrinsic value of the educational criteria to work in other professions. Different pathways for different professions, plain and simple. One pathway is not superior to another.

Doctors study what they need to successfully do their job – the same for dentists, teachers, architects, accountants, engineers, lawyers, etc. The whole point to life is self-actualization, being the very-best-you-can-be. People would be a lot happier in life if they stopped comparing themselves to to others, and using the yardstick of others by which to judge their accomplishments. For example, an accountant cannot do the job of a architect, and an architect cannot do the job of an accountant. Different occupations involve different skills and talents.

Rob says:

I’ve been teaching for 10 years. Here are some thoughts.

In society, we are part of a select group and which is respected, if not admired, by society at at large.

The group consists of:

Medical Doctors
and Lawyers (necessary, although most dislike them)

We as teachers should feel privileged to be part of this special class of society.

Alice says:

I’ve been reading the last few posts with great interest. As a holder of a B.Ed. teaching credential myself, I agree with the others, despite a poor teaching job marker right now, the B.Ed. is a great professional credential to have. 1 year later I am still looking for a teaching position, but I am very proud of my hard earned B.Ed. No one can take it away from me, and I am certain that I would quickly find a teaching position abroad, particularly in English, which is in very high demand in non-English speaking countries.

And everything I read about the B.Ed. teaching credential confirms that this is a masters level degree. I think the M.Ed. programs are nothing more than a cash grab. I have many teacher friends that have obtained the M.Ed. who wish they had never taken it, because the structure of the program is almost identical to the B.Ed. program. It is redundant.
A horse of a different colour so to speak. Still, the B.Ed. is a very nice, highly regarded credential to have. And although the job prospects are dim here, you can easily secure a teaching job abroad, but the B.Ed. is almost always a requirement – even for Ph.D. and Masters degree holders.

Kyle says:

Hey Alice, thanks for chiming in. I find myself in a very odd position in this thread – attacking a credential that is necessary to do the job I love. I’m simply seeking to provide a balanced perspective here to folks that come to this article looking for some actionable information. I think a lot of the misinformation that is out there about education degrees is just pure salesmanship by the universities. What does it mean to hold a “highly-regarded credential” if there is no job market for it? By that criteria, is there any post-secondary degree at all that isn’t highly thought of? After several years in the profession I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that telling folks that you have a B.Ed impresses almost no one and doesn’t boost many people’s opinion of you. If you want to be a teacher, a B. Ed is obviously a necessary step – but it still takes a lot of creativity and “window dressing” to make yourself appealing in today’s job market.

You mentioned going abroad and teaching English. This is certainly a reality for many young teachers today, but I know several people who have done that without a B.Ed degree and merely a basic arts degree. Admittedly, those options aren’t usually as attractive as the what you can garner with a B.Ed, but it still doesn’t speak much to a “highly-regarded credential”. When I compare the workload of my education studies with that of my friends in many other disciplines, it just doesn’t measure up. Once again, this is not unique experience from everything I’ve learned in the seven years since I’ve got my B.Ed. My other beef with education studies is that so much of it is “pseudo-science” that is cyclical in nature. The same “gurus” that preach from re-occurring Gospels that turn over every 20-30 years. Much of what I was taught is now being largely contradicted most academic journals.

Maybe in order to re-focus the conversation I could be so bold as to ask you a question? I’m genuinely interested if you have been looking at job opportunities in other sectors after you’ve graduated? How has it went?

Alice says:

Thanks for replying Kyle,

I respectfully disagree with your statement that ‘telling folks that you have a B.Ed impresses almost no one’. Well, one doesn’t usually go around bragging about their educational accomplishments, but, when I finished teacher’s college people were very impressed and would say things like “‘wow, you got your teaching certificate! and, ‘you’re so lucky to have gotten into such a great profession'”. Never once has anyone had anything negative to say about it, quite the contrary. If anything, people feel badly that there is an acute shortage of teaching jobs.

Moreover, I agree wholeheartedly with Rob’s assertion that teachers are part of a select group of professionals in society. In many countries around the world teachers are highly respected and revered i.e., India, China, Japan, N & S Korea, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and many, many others.

Additionally, these it makes no sense to get a master’s in a discipline that won’t afford you a good career. Increasingly, people are opting for graduate level ‘professional’ degrees. And yes teaching is one of them, even though at the moment the climate for jobs in the teaching field is anemic. But I believe that this is a temporary situation which is going to resolve in the near future.

And to your point that teaching doesn’t measure up to other professions, let me remind you that a first professional medical degree (MD) is an undergraduate degree – ditto for an initial law (JD) degree. They are knowledgeable in their respective professions, but many of them are actually not that well read in subjects outside of their particular vocational specialty. For example, and not because I want to toot my own horn here, but I dare say that I feel that I am more well read than my own family doctor. Sometimes, when there is a little extra time, my doctor and I chat about general world affairs, and I find that at times she struggles to keep up with the conversation. Just saying…..

Nevertheless, people generally admire doctors and lawyers more than teachers, engineers, etc. Perception is a funny thing.

I’ll conclude by saying that I am very proud of my chosen profession. Teaching is , in my opinion, the most important job in the world. We mold and shape the minds of the future doctors, lawyers, CEOs, engineers, etc. Teaching is the noblest of professions in my opinion, but that’s my opinion.

Mark says:

In response to Kyle.

I agree with Cindy. And no, you are not ‘more special’ for having done the 2 year B.Ed. The extra year allows for extra practicum time, which many teachers, including myself, acquired through year long supply teaching.

Cindy is correct when she says that the B.Ed. qualification can get you teaching work pretty much anywhere in the world. It is a very good, practical degree to have, even if teaching jobs are difficult to secure nowadays. A ‘false bill of goods’? I beg to differ. Why do you think that people from abroad dream to come to North America to obtain this B.Ed. teaching credential? It is a highly sought after qualification.

If we were not in the midst of a teaching job crisis in Canada, I suspect that many of the B.Ed. holders would not have such a negative opinion of it. You say that the B.Ed. is such an easy degree, yet out of thousands of B.Ed. applicants only a small fraction are accepted. It is not an easy program to get into. The current required GPA average for acceptance into the program is A- (at least to get into the reputable teacher’s colleges). Many of my classmates actually dropped out because they couldn’t hack the intensity of the B.Ed. program. Easy is a very subjective term. What is easy for one person is difficult for the next. I don’t know which teacher’s college you and your wife went to, but at mine the program was actually quite intensive and challenging, and dare I say, difficult. But my school is considered to be one of the more prestigious ones in Canada. Anything worthwhile in life is not ‘easy’.

Kyle says:

Hi Mark, I’m struggling not to sound like a real jerk in responding to these thoughts since you were quite respectful. I agree with your thoughts that B.Ed programs are often quite difficult to get into (it usually depends heavily on your teachable subject areas at the senior years level) and that difficulty level is very subjective. That being said, I have firsthand knowledge of two separate Faculties of Education (Masters Degree) and have spoken directly to students that have graduated from at least a dozen separate major Faculties of Education across Canada. So while my data is admittedly light, I think my conversations represent a pretty broad cross section. This is the part I’m struggling with how to word correctly: There is no “prestigious” Education program in Canada. You have most certainly been told that by your institution in order to justify high fees (just as I was told that my Faculty of Education was “world renowed”). I’ve talked with principals from across Canada in a wide variety of contexts and I’ve never had a single one of them tell me that grades or post-secondary institution had anything to do with a teacher they’ve hired. As I think about it now, I take that back. There was one rural principal that explained he didn’t interview candidates from “Big Eastern Schools” because they had a very hard time adjusting to life on the prairies. I assume the opposite geographical scenario might also be true. That has far more to do with culture and geography that any sort of institutional prestige.

You gloss over the fact that we are in fact in the midst of a massive teaching job crisis. Basic laws of supply and demand dictate that no matter how prestigious or impressive any B.Ed program is, it will still have very poor market outcomes. The fact that so many people search for the exact title of this article is proof of that reality.

Cindy says:

The B.Ed. such an ‘easy’ degree? Are you kidding me? The 1 year post-graduate B.Ed. degree is, first off, a PROFESSIONAL, graduate level degree . Secondly, the year is a very intense one, lots of assignments, the two 6 week practicums, 9-4 pm long, busy days, etc. It’s a very busy year to say the least, and now the B.Ed. is a 2 year program.

Earning a B.Ed. degree takes time, effort, and of course money! This degree is a highly regarded and practical one. If you want to teach K-12, you absolutely must first earn a B.Ed. degree, even if you already have a Master’s (or) Ph.D. Furthermore, a B.Ed. is recognized as the ‘gold standard’ credential for teaching anywhere you want in the world.

Kyle says:

Cindy, I ate to disagree to profusely, but I can tell you from first-hand experience. I HAVE a B.Ed degree!! My wife has a B.Ed from a different university. Several of my friends (since I am a teacher) have education degrees from around Canada – it is about the easiest post-graduate degree you can do. It is not “graduate level” in my anecdotal experience. BTW, my wife’s degree and my own are two-year post-graduate degrees, so we should be extra special then right? I think you might have been sold a false bill of goods…

Shannon says:


teachers gave up holiday pay to be able to ‘bank’ sick days… studies show that the majority of teachers did not abuse these days…. the MOU took away the bank. Sick days went from an entitlement of 20 to 11 and it is a ‘use ’em or lose ’em” situation. Also, not all boards (I believe only a handful of them) paid out gratuity upon retirement for unused sick days. I had 127 days banked – I thought it would be great to have in case I needed surgery… in fact, due to previous surgeries, I had already emptied out my bank twice… I took very few sick days at all in order to build them up. The MOU took them away and did not reinstate holiday pay. Teachers also don’t get paid during the summer ( a common misconception), rather we receive hold back pay accumulated during the school year.

Dave says:

Students piled into teachers’ college expecting the high pay, job for life and rich pension at the end that previous generations received. However, demographic trends lineup up perfectly for previous teachers. Provincial budgets had ample room to pay teachers the nice wages and pensions and demographic trends created a huge need for teachers. Times of course have changed, likely for many years. As already noted, undergrad majors in History and English with a B.Ed or not are far less appealing than that in Science or Mathematics.

Joe says:

Yeah, probably a good idea to have a backup when it hits the fan. If I were a teacher, I’d definitely see the OECTA agreement as writing on the wall that the party won’t last forever.

With the BEd being such an easy degree, I’d say the #1 most important, without question consideration is: what’s the undergrad in? If you’ve got a useful undergrad then obviously the job search is going to be a lot easier than if you don’t.

Teacher Man says:

Great point Joe, the undergrad degree does make a ton of difference in terms of marketability. In my situation, I followed everyone’s feel good advice and went into something I was passionate about: History and English. I’m not sure I would advise the 17-year old me to do that now, but it has worked out alright. I’m constantly looking for ways to boost my resume and marketability though being that my field of expertise is ultra-common.

And really, I mean is a two-year wage freeze really that bad after a decade of above-inflation level raises? Besides that, in Manitoba I’m pretty sure the party won’t end any time soon, half of the current NDP government are ex-teachers and ex-teacher’s union representatives, so guess where their bread is buttered?

Joe says:

The Speaker of Ontario’s House is a former teacher, and I’m sure there are many others in Ontario’s ruling party. Now that the “education” Premier Dad has completely turned against teachers, I wouldn’t count on any government.

Here’s the scary part for teachers: the OECTA agreement did NOT merely stipulate 0% for 2 years. They’re taking 3 unpaid days, so that’s an actual CUT of 1.5%. Factor in inflation and compounding and teachers are getting a pay cut of about 7%.

And it gets worse. They can no longer bank sick days. Their entitlement got cut in HALF. AND the gratuity is gone. When my Dad died, his estate received a one-time gratuity to reward him for not abusing the generous sick leave system. This gratuity can be upwards of $40 grand at retirement or death. It sounds like a lot, but probably saves the education system money since they’d need to pay supply teachers (possibly a lot of them) today (and more often because it might get abused more with a perverse incentive), rather than a one-time payment in 30 years.

And now, the Premier has called the house back into session to PREEMPTIVELY legislate teachers back to work and impose a contract.

The OECTA negotiators should be ashamed for screwing their membership. OECTA teachers who are complicit in approving the deal should be ashamed for scabbing and betraying the labour movement.

The province shouldn’t be ashamed of the OECTA deal because they did what an employer SHOULD do: they negotiated hard and they got concessions. BUT they should NOW be ashamed of union bashing, for making threats of back-to-work legislation to bully teachers into a terrible settlement, and for literally crushing the union rights that people have fought/suffered for.

How long until the government decides MY agreement is too plum? Oh, actually they have (see my post yesterday), even though we don’t have nearly as good a deal as teachers. I don’t think workers’ rights should be a race-to-the-bottom, so I support teachers in their fight.

Teacher Man says:

Great points Joe, I absolutely had failed to take into account the fact that the 3 unpaid days were actually a pay cut. I’m usually not a big union guy, but it does seem like they took some major lumps in that negotiation without getting a lot in return. Why wouldn’t they stay with the regular union and use their collective leverage? I hear where you are coming from as far as a race to the bottom, but I think teachers make a pretty decent wage currently considering the rest of the perks that we get. Also, from what I understood, the teachers were still allowed to bank sick days, they just didn’t get paid out for them at the end, am I mistaken on that? I know how it worked and I understand both sides of that equation. I’ve been in classrooms where teachers developed stress leave for a whole year before leaving, or got their doctor to write them a note for back pain just to soak up their sick days. This is terrible for everyone involved and should be avoided at almost all costs. On the other hand I can see how taxpayers get mad for effectively giving teachers a 40K bonus upon entering into a great pension at retirement. It has to be balance right?

Are we going to go back to the Mike Harris era in Ontario? Quite a rapid change from the “education premier” like you say. I still think there are just too many former union boys and girls in the NDP ranks right now in MB. If the Conservatives ever got in, it would probably be a situation similar to the one in Ontario I think.

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