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If you're taking a full class load, a bachelor's degree will take four years. If you already have an associate's degree, it should take half as long as you already have two years of credits. If you can only take a half load of courses, it will take you about twice as long, or eight years with no prior degree. The U.S. Department of Education reports that most students take five to six years to complete their bachelor’s degree.

This can be a loaded question for education degrees because you can major in education or in history and minor in the other. If you have a choice you should consider majoring in education because this major will guarantee you take the courses required for state certification. If you're not sure, look for a school with an excellent history curriculum and one well-regarded for its education degree so you have a clear idea of both what you need to take and what you'd like to take. Often the same degree is available but doesn't hold the title of BA in History. You might also consider attaining a double-major, as this will put you in excellent standing if you decide to continue your education and earn your master’s.

This is an important number to look for even if you plan to attend part time. Four-year graduation rates are an excellent indication of the school's dedication to their students' success. An average of five years to graduation may show a problem with student support programs, a school that's more concerned with enrollment than with graduation, or a college with a reputation as a party school. Although a low graduation rate shouldn't automatically exclude a school from your list it is an indication you should look further for an explanation.

Your teaching degree should offer in-classroom training as well as a teaching internship and job placement assistance. Because experience is a requirement of your teaching certification you’ll need an internship or student teaching experience, and a quality school will have a program in place to help graduates find employment. If you don't see this on the school website, it may be a red flag that the school is more interested in enrolling new students than in helping current students succeed.

If your state has a shortage of teachers, you might not be too concerned about the national rating of your school of choice. Step back and take a look at the big picture to see if there is a big downside to a lower national ranking. Is the school and degree recognized by the state Board of Education? Is it transferable to the master's degree program you have in mind? Will you be able to move to a different state if you choose to do so in the future? Check with a few professional organizations to determine whether a low or middle ranking will have an effect on your career and salary before you commit to enrolling. If the school is not respected by teaching and historical organizations it may make it harder for you to find a job after graduation, or to earn a higher salary based on the quality of your education.