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5 secrets you need to know before becoming a teacher

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This story is sponsored by Western Governors University. Learn more about Western Governors University.

So you want to become a teacher? You’re already on the right path by desiring a career that can impact many lives for generations to come.

“Choosing to become a teacher may be one of the more noble decisions one can make in life,” teacher.org says. “Teachers have the ability to shape the lives of children and young adults of varying ages and in a variety of learning stages.”

As you prepare to work toward your dream career, here are five secrets every potential teacher needs to know.

It's doable

Perhaps you haven’t started school because it feels overwhelming. Maybe you’ve taken a few courses and come to the same conclusion. Either way, consider what you can get out of online schooling, an option that has become better with each passing year.

You can keep your job while earning your degree online. If you already work in the field or have taken courses before, you don’t need to waste your time reviewing what you already know. Instead, take competency assessments to move quickly through the courses and information.

It’s affordable

Online schools help people take part in higher education without many of the costs associated with a traditional college experience.

“Tuition and fees for online classes can be considerably lower than those at traditional institutions,” according to Affordable Colleges Online. “Since they can study from home, online students can also avoid the room and board costs associated with living on campus and the transportation costs they would pay to live off campus while attending traditional classes.”

Not all online schools are the same, so do your research to find a reputable university. For example, Western Governors University is a nonprofit school that has a record of high placement with more graduates employed five years after they earn their degrees compared to the national average (and is half the cost of some other online schools), according to wgu.edu.

You’ll be a role model

As everyone who was once a kid knows, teachers make a difference. Every time you feel stressed about courses, focus on why you want to become a teacher.

Take this teacher who tells her young students to “push through,” no matter what life throws at them because, as they chant, “I can do anything I put my mind to.”

There’s also this teacher who made a music video with his students when they passed a test and used that video to teach them about who, what, when, where, why and how. Another teacher makes learning fun for his students with activities and pranks, like when he gave an impossible spelling test as an April Fools' Day joke.

A master's can up your pay

Whether you're just starting your bachelor’s degree or already teaching, a master’s degree may not sound feasible. However, a benefit of online schooling is you can continue your education while educating others.

In addition to furthering your abilities in the teaching field, a master’s degree will help you earn more money. Teachers from elementary to high school make about $7,000 more per year with a master’s degree, according to teacher.org.

“By earning a master’s degree, you also have the option to take on more advanced roles in the field of education, and these positions typically come attached with higher salaries,” Masters in Teaching says.

Balance is possible

Another advantage of earning your degree online is you can balance your life at work, home and school. While you will stay busy — what else is new? — being able to earn your degree while sitting at home or on your lunch break at work means you will improve your life without giving up your life. With a few tweaks to your schedule, you can manage your time to fit it all in.

Additionally, once you begin your teaching career, you’ll have a dream schedule, with the workday ending at a reasonable hour and summers off. In fact, one Gallup poll found teachers express more well-being than almost any other profession, one reason being they are more likely than most “to say they use their strengths to do what they do best every day.”