A bachelor’s degree in science education will allow you to teach the wonder and answers of science to students—what better career to make science come alive and relevant? Because that’s what science is!
We hear it all the time: Science is a core subject that is not only a required class in school, but it encompasses every aspect of our daily lives. I mean, without science, where would we be? (shudders). According to Pew Research, U.S. 15-year-olds’ science knowledge and skills lag behind teenagers from other countries. This research is troubling but can be fixed. If you love science and love kids of all ages, a bachelor’s degree in science education may be the path to a fulfilling teaching career in the sciences.
What Is a Bachelor’s in Science Education?
A bachelor’s in science education is a four-year degree, typically 120 credit hours, including an in-depth study of both science and teaching science to either elementary, middle, or high school students.
All bachelor’s programs include a minimum number of hours in general education, such as English and math, and then the real fun starts: the major classes. With a science education major, you will also be able to specialize further in a specific science, such as biology, chemistry, or earth science. Coursework varies by school, but traditional courses include a combination of science and pedagogy courses, like Educational Psychology and Technology in Education. All science education programs include student teaching, which typically takes place during your senior year.
Typically, to gain acceptance into a science education program, you will apply to the school first and take your general education courses. You will then apply to the institution’s College of Education for the specific program you’re seeking. Most programs establish a minimum high school or college GPA of 2.5 in order to apply.
Careers for Bachelor’s in Science Education Majors
As you can imagine, most people who pursue a bachelor’s in science education want to teach science, so teaching is the most common career. However, with teaching comes other decisions like, what grade? What level? What subject? Are there any other careers for science education majors?
You can become an elementary school science teacher and teach grades kindergarten through grade 5. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are especially useful for teaching in elementary school. If you like the middle school age and want to dive into a specific type of science, you could become a middle school teacher and teach grades 6-8. Finally, you could become a high school or secondary level teacher and teach science to grades 9-12. High school science teachers are experts in their subject, which is why concentrations in science education programs are beneficial.
A bachelor’s in science education can also be a gateway for future studies, such as graduate school. With a master’s in science education, you could teach at a higher level and focus on other areas such as research.
Bachelor’s in Science Education Salary Potential
As you know, teacher salaries vary by grade level, experience, and of course, state. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics presents the following median salaries for science teachers:
- Elementary teachers: $59,420
- Middle school teachers: $59,660
- High school teachers: $61,660
Salaries are comparable on all levels, and data from BLS also shows that the lowest-paid science teachers make less than $39,000, while the highest-paid teachers can bring in more than $99,000. You may be thinking that this seems like a large range, and it does, but there are other factors to consider. First, there’s grade level. Statistically, high school teachers make a tad bit higher than elementary school teachers, and middle school teachers bring in, well, somewhere in the middle.
Then, there’s the state where you live, which will vary. FYI: Highest paid states for teachers are Alaska, New York, and Connecticut, according to this article by CNBC.
Finally, there are years of experience, however if you are looking to earn a science education degree you may not have this yet. When you have a few years of teaching experience under your belt, your salary should show for it. Also, some decide to pursue a master’s degree, which will also increase salary potential.
What Are the Best Bachelor’s in Science Education Degrees?
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West Lafayette, Indiana
Average Net Price
Purdue University is consistently nationally ranked, including the #6 most innovative school in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Purdue includes 13 schools, including the College of Education, where our #1 ranking originates. Start your journey to becoming a middle or high school teacher and earn a Bachelor of Science in science education with a concentration in biology, chemistry, physics, or earth/space science.
This 127-credit hour program includes science education, concentration courses, and electives. Of course, you will take classes such as chemistry and calculus, but by your second year, you will add education courses such as Introduction to Educational Technology and Computing and Multiculturalism in Education. During your fourth year, you will be let loose to teach in a classroom of your own to complete 8 to 16 credit hours.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can also add an optional K-12 integrated STEM concentration to add to this program, which will enhance your resume and future teaching opportunities. If you think Purdue University is in your future, you need a minimum GPA of 2.5 and one semester of calculus with a C or better.
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Average Net Price
A school rich in history and traditions, the University of Iowa is ranked #2 in the Best Regional Universities (Midwest) by U.S. News & World Report. One reason why UNI made our list is because of its reputable science education programs. Here, we are going to focus on the Bachelor of Arts in comprehensive secondary science-teaching, but there are others to explore, too.
This program entails a liberal arts core curriculum, professional education requirements, and major credit hours, which add up to 134 credit hours. This is a higher credit count than an average bachelor’s degree, so this program will take additional time to complete. However, the good news is that with this major, you can teach all areas of science at the secondary level.
In addition to a culmination of all science courses, you will take education courses such as Classroom Assessment and Human Relations: Awareness and Application. Another perk of this program is that you will start field experiences as early as the fall of your second year. Your entire final semester will be spent teaching in a secondary classroom setting.
Eastern Michigan University
Average Net Price
Opened in 1849 as a teacher’s college, Eastern Michigan University continues to offer nationally ranked teacher education programs. Our first two rankings were for future middle school and high school teachers, but if elementary is your focus, the Bachelor of Science in elementary education integrated science comprehensive major is worth checking out.
In this program, you will learn basic science taught in elementary school, including biology, chemistry, earth science, and astronomy. Along with 69 credits of major requirements, you will complete 56 hours in professional elementary education, such as Curriculum and Methods, Early Literacy, and Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age.
You will devote your final year to the capstone experience, which includes applying all you have learned in your own classroom where you will teach! If you want to add the DI endorsement, you can also teach science in grades 6-8. Once you have 56 college credits and at least a 2.5 GPA, you can apply to this notable program.
Arizona State University-Tempe
Average Net Price
For the second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Arizona State University in the top ten for “first-year experiences,” so if you’re a first-year student, even better! However, if you’re a transfer student, ASU is for you, too, especially if you want to teach STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to grades K-8!
Through the Bachelor of Arts in education in elementary education (STEM), you will gain a “firm grounding in science, using the tools of technology, the processes of engineering and the language of math” (ASU website), which will qualify you to become a math, science, or technology teacher in grades K-8. You will take content and pedagogy courses such as Technology Literacy: Problem Solving Using Digital Technology.
During your junior year, you will intern part-time in a K-8 classroom, which will prepare you for a full-time student teaching position the following year. First-year students, transfer students, and international students are encouraged to apply to ASU, and you can complete your application online through ASU’s Application for Admission, the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
University of Pennsylvania
Average Net Price
Penn State’s College of Education is among the best in the country. Among the many reasons this university ranks high are its commitment to educational research and cutting-edge programs. Check out Penn State’s Bachelor of Science in secondary education (SECED) with a science education (SCIED) option is a great program if you’re looking to teach science in the middle and high school levels.
To further tailor your program, you can choose from the following areas to study:
- Earth/space science
- Environmental education
- General science
You will complete 126 credit hours in core science classes, including your areas of concentration, along with education and elective courses. Notable courses include Teaching Secondary Science, Education in American Society, and Introductory Field Experience for Teacher Preparation.
Speaking of field experience, Penn State’s program prides itself on introducing hands-on experience right away. As a science education student, you will begin early field experience during your third and fourth semesters, which will lead to more field experience during your sixth and seventh semesters to ultimately prepare you for your student teaching practicum.
If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check 20 Best Bachelor’s in Human and Child Development and 20 Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction!