A bachelor of arts in education, or BAE, is often the first step to a career as an educator. Most traditional bachelor of arts in education degrees are four-year university programs geared toward preparing students to become licensed teachers. In order to get a bachelor of arts in education degree, a student will have to apply and be accepted to an accredited institution and satisfactorily complete all theoretical and practical coursework.
Choosing a bachelor of arts in education program is a very important moment for an aspiring educator. While BAE degrees are available from many traditional universities, it is also possible to achieve a degree from an online university. Online programs may be a very good choice for students who have full-time careers or family obligations, and may be somewhat less expensive than traditional schools. Nevertheless, traditional programs provide the benefit of an on-site educational community and can provide all the fun and excitement of the college experience.
In addition to choosing where to obtain a bachelor of arts in education, it is important to research different specializations available through different programs. BAE programs often allow students to focus on a particular area of study, such as early education, special needs education, or subject-specific programs such as drama, history, or science teaching. A student who knows what field of education he or she plans to work in may have an easier time choosing which program to join.
Once choices are narrowed down, the student must then apply for admission to preferred programs. Admissions applications are often very long, and may require the student to obtain supplemental information such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, as well as write essays and personal statements. It is also important to fill out any paperwork for financial aid assistance during the application process, so that schools can obtain financial data about the student as quickly as possible. Some experts recommend beginning work on admission packets at least two months before they are due, to allow adequate time to gather materials and review submission information.
After being admitted to a bachelor of arts in education program, a student must prepare for the challenges and changes attending college will bring. In many cases, this may involve moving, leaving jobs or cutting down hours, finding new housing, and obtaining all necessary supplies such as books and required software. The admissions or student services offices at many schools can be a great resource for any questions that come up in the preparatory stage.
School curriculum will be largely determined by the requirements of the individual program. Most four-year programs include at least two years of largely theoretical, class-based studies, followed by two years of heavy hands-on practice as a student teacher. Along the way, students will need to complete projects, such as research papers and examinations. Completing all these requirements successfully will usually result in the issuance of a BAE. In most regions, a student will also need to pass state or national examinations following graduation in order to teach legally.