Sometimes after obtaining a degree, finding a job in that niche can be difficult. In some cases such as English or Psychology degrees, it can be almost impossible to find a job to use that degree effectively and when this occurs, the go-to second career ends up being teaching. But teaching requires a lot of work if it wasn’t your original professional goal, except in the rare cases of getting an emergency teaching certification. The process can take a while, sometimes requiring additional classes, exams, and in some cases can involve a yearlong, $3,500 training course. And that doesn’t even factor in if you have the patience, temperament, and energy to keep up with the kids you will be teaching.
So before deciding on a teaching job, especially as your backup plan, make sure you know exactly what it is you are getting into, because teaching really is not for everyone and you might have a few false expectations that led you to choose teaching as a backup plan.
You Can’t Just Apply for a Teaching Job
In almost every case you will need to have a certification to teach before any school would even consider hiring you. The only rare occasions with emergency teaching certification, is with certain states and in specific subjects and grades that will require checking your state’s department of education. It will almost always fluctuate depending on the market and what kind of teachers are needed at the time, so don’t rely on those.
Additionally, the certification will vary from state to state in the US. Not all of them require student teaching experience, and others will require full classes to be taken. At the very least you have to take an exam to get the certification, and because these certifications are only good on a state level, you’ll have to do it again when you move from one state to the next. Of course in those cases the states will usually provide provisional licenses, and some states do have relations with each other to allow one certification to transfer over to theirs. Though this is usually only between states that have the same requirements for certification.
Substitution Teaching Will Not Get Your Foot in the Door
The average person might have a mentality that if you start off as a sub teacher in a particular region, you’ll eventually get an opening for a full-time teaching position. But this isn’t even remotely true. If you are actually good at being a substitute teacher, school districts are more likely to hire outside the area so they can keep you as a substitute, because good, reliable ones aren’t all that common. In most cases, you might get lucky with a provisional teaching contract, which happens when a school knows they will need a replacement teacher for multiple months in a row (such as maternity leave). If you want a full time teaching job, go for one; don’t start with subbing.
You Need to Love People
Far too many people that would classify themselves as introverted tend to take up a teaching position, not realizing just how much social interaction is required with the job. You have to love people, and in particular like kids. Even with inclusion of online testing software in curriculum, you’ll be partaking in a hands-on approach regularly. And when you aren’t, you’ll be dealing with other teachers, administration, substitutes, or assistants. You also have to stand up and speak in front of around thirty people every day of the job, so if you are one of those thousands of people afraid of public speaking this might be the wrong choice as a secondary career.
Teaching is Competitive
Due to emergency needs for teachers in certain subjects occasionally, most people tend to think they can just pick a school and apply for a teaching job and they will get it if their degree matches the subject. But these days we’ve actually seen an increase in education majors, as well as higher teacher salaries. For example, teachers in California earn an average of $74,770 annually. This competitiveness means if you don’t have a degree in Education you just might end up getting passed over. This is why you need to make sure you are offering something else that maybe an Education major couldn’t provide. Things like a master’s degree in your field will help provide an edge, or proof that you have taught previously. No matter what you will need better leverage for the job compared to an education degree holder.
-If you are looking for a way in that might take some time but is more effective, try coaching for a school’s sports team. Those are more likely to lead to a teaching job if you want one, so long as you keep up the coaching.
-Don’t forget there are other jobs in Education besides teaching: counselors, coaching, administration, specialists, etc.
-When going for your teaching certificate you should know what grade or age of kids you want to be teaching as it will change the certificate.
-Getting trained to teach special education or bilingual students can go a long way to permanent job security in teaching.
-For any specific information, you should be consulting the department of education in your state. Generally their website will offer some basic information, such as subjects and positions that are in emergency need, and what you need for your teaching certification in that state.