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General Education Major

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General Education

17,800 Master's Degrees Annually
2,177 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#12 in Popularity (Master's)
$73,680 Median Salary

Types of Degrees General Education Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many general education graduations there were in 2020-2021 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 17,801
Doctor’s Degree 2,177
Graduate Certificate 1,211

What General Education Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to education were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Education Majors

Education majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills for Education Majors

education majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

Abilities for Education Majors

Education majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

What Can You Do With a General Education Major?

People with a education degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Education Professors 10.3% $64,780

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in General Education?

17,801 Master's Degrees Annually
78% Percent Women
33% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is one of the most frequently chosen graduate majors. It is the 12th most popular in the country with 17,800 students graduating with a master’s in education in 2021. The major attracts more women than men. About 78% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of education majors is as follows:

Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 821
Black or African American 1,537
Hispanic or Latino 2,863
White 10,431
International Students 579
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,570

Geographic Diversity

Education appeals to people across the globe. About 3.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Canada
  • Taiwan

How Much Do General Education Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2019-2020 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a master’s degree in education have a median salary of $48,746 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $44,204 (25th percentile) and $55,242 (75th percentile).


Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a education degree.

Salaries According to BLS

The median salary for someone in a career related to education is $73,680. This median refers to all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a General Education Major  73,680
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some degrees associated with education may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to education have obtained the following education levels.

Education Level Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 0.6%
Master’s Degree 9.4%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 89.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online General Education Programs

In 2020-2021, 835 schools offered a education program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 22 3
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 166 21
Bachelor’s Degree 99 19
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 414 83
Post-Master’s 65 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 99 11
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 9 1
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 3 1

Is a Degree in General Education Worth It?

The median salary for a education grad is $73,680 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 85% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $675,600 after 20 years!


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to education.

Major Number of Grads
Educational Administration 45,458
Teacher Education Grade Specific 34,451
Special Education 25,158
Teacher Education Subject Specific 20,616
Curriculum & Instruction 19,784
Student Counseling 13,840
Instructional Media Design 8,387
Teaching English or French 4,743
Other Education 2,513
Multilingual Education 1,672
Educational Assessment 1,215
Education Philosophy 421
International Education 257
Teaching Assistants 20


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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