Transitioning to Teaching with Education Degree Programs at University of Phoenix

Never Stop Learning

Students who attend University of Phoenix are most often adult learners who bring with them a wealth of life and career experiences. Their knowledge and experience, whether from parenting, business or a military background, can provide an excellent background to pursue a degree program in education. Pamela Roggeman, EdD, the dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix, has had a long career in education and said that some of the best teachers she has seen have come from nontraditional backgrounds. 

She told the story of a former student who was a Navy SEAL veteran and felt called to become a teacher. His military experience led him to expect students in his class to respond to orders, and he called on her for help in managing the class when they didn’t respond as expected. He was a fast learner, Roggeman recalled. “He understood those things in a way that some of his colleagues did not,” she said. “Understanding the development stage students were in, he was able to discern when it was appropriate for his students to give input and when they did not. Some of his younger, less experienced colleagues could not make that distinction.”

Pursuing a Degree in Education at University of Phoenix

For working adults considering a transition into a teaching career, University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Education that allows students to specialize in either elementary teacher education or early childhood education and a Master of Arts in Education with a specialty in administration and supervision, elementary education, special education, curriculum and instruction, or adult education. A number of these degree programs can lead to licensure in select states.

Regardless of the degree program, University of Phoenix understands the needs of adult learners and provides flexibility through online courses that can be taken any time. Students progress through one course at a time, 

The University also offers numerous transfer credit opportunities and additional credits via Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs) which provide working adults with credits for skills gained on the job. PLAs are offered for IT certificates, military service, police academy training and real estate licenses. Students can also receive PLA credits for life experiences for skills such as stress management, parenting and communicating in a virtual workplace, which are submitted via journal entries. As many as 65 percent of University of Phoenix students are eligible for PLA credits, which help to accelerate their degree program and reduce costs.

Lifelong Learning and Virtual Teaching Skills

Roggeman stressed the importance of lifelong learning when it comes to being an effective teacher. “You have to have a serious dedication and desire for continuous growth and improvement,” she said. “And this is not necessarily the kind of growth or professional development you’re going to get from your school district. What I’m talking about here is you need to want to be better every single day.”

University of Phoenix has put innovation in teaching front and center in its own approach. It began holding classes virtually long before other universities and has continued to develop and refine its virtual classroom experience, becoming a model for other institutions and schools especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Teaching outside of the classroom requires different skills, capabilities and mindset than a traditional learning environment,” said University of Phoenix Provost John Woods.

Having taught virtual classes for over 30 years, University of Phoenix was able to provide expertise to other educators and administrators through the Alliance for Virtual Learning. The University offered a series of free webinars for educators on topics related to virtual learning including curriculum planning, infrastructure and training featuring experts like Getting Smart CEO Pat Hoge and 2012 National Superintendent of the Year Heath Morrison.

University of Phoenix also offers non-credit professional development courses in education that provide robust instruction in virtual teaching. For example, Foundations in Virtual Teaching includes instruction on how to design effective virtual lessons, engage students, support students remotely and use the latest online teaching tools. These courses are self-paced and take approximately 30 hours to complete. Students receive a certificate of completion when they have mastered the material.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners and to providing maximum support for transfer students to reach their goals affordably. The University offers numerous associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs that prepare students for in-demand careers in fields including criminal justice, business, healthcare, education, information technology and cybersecurity. Flexible schedules with multiple start dates give working adults the opportunity to complete their degree program without putting their lives on hold. University of Phoenix offers numerous scholarship opportunities, online learning, career-guided degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates to them more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit


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