Have you always wanted to be a teacher? Perhaps you’re a bit burned out in your corporate career? Or maybe you’re just feeling ready for a fresh new start? Whatever your reasons for considering a transition into teaching, it’s a great idea to examine all your options and plan strategically. Here’s a list of five of our top career-change tips for aspiring teachers.
1. Do Your Research
Start by getting a solid sense of what it will take for someone with your experience to enter the teaching field in your community.
- Go online or to your local library, and start digging around to learn everything you can about your state’s specific requirements for testing and certification. (Here’s a place to start.)
- Study up on the differences in salaries and benefits for public, private, charter, and parochial schools.
- Think about whether you’ll want to be working in an urban or rural setting.
- Check out the U.S. Department of Education’s resources, including the Troops to Teachers initiative for former military members.
2. Get Certified
- If you don’t already hold any teaching credentials, earning at least a basic certification is a crucial step in the early stages of your career change.
- A bachelor’s degree and some form of teaching credential are essential requirements for teaching in virtually any public school and in the vast majority of private schools.
- Many states also require prospective teachers to pass tests, like the Praxis series.
- Look into the certification programs offered by universities or colleges near you, especially those specifically designed for people who are seeking teaching credentials.
- Find out about your state’s certification requirements. Your state’s Department of Education will be able to tell you what you need to know, as well.
- If you know in advance where you’d like to teach, find out that school’s requirements for education and certification.
3. Update Your Resume
- Refresh and repurpose the outdated content on your resume, highlighting exactly how your experience is ideal for a new teaching career.
- Call out any relevant experience with training, or leading others in any kind of learning environment.
- Focus on your goals as you edit and rewrite your resume to target your new potential employers.
4. Consider Working Short-Term as an Assistant
Teacher’s assistants or classroom assistants are often unpaid positions, but these jobs are:
- Often easy to obtain because experience requirements are minimal
- A great way for job seekers to learn more about teaching, and make sure the job is a good fit
- A useful and effective way to transition into a teaching career, and
- An excellent opportunity for networking, talking to other teachers about their work, learning about potential openings, and getting your foot in the door.
5. Go Forward With Confidence
One in three teachers came to teaching from a different career! You are not alone. Thousands of other teachers made the switch because they dreamed of a career in teaching or needed a positive change in their professional lives for a multitude of reasons. Teachers make a profound difference in the lives of their students - and according to a Harris Poll study conducted in 2017, 9 out of 10 K–12 teachers are happy in their profession and satisfied with their career choice. So have faith in your choice, believe in yourself, and take on this rewarding new challenge with confidence.