4 Paths to a New Career in Teaching

4 Paths to a New Career in TeachingBy Brooke Howell
Monster Contributing Writer

Gone are the days when people were expected to pick a career in their early twenties and stick with it until retirement. Now, if you aren’t happy with what you’re doing or want to try a different path, it’s possible to make a move and do something new.

That’s what happened with one recent Purdue Global education student, says School of Graduate Education Associate Dean Lynn Massenzio. She had an MBA and worked in the corporate world, but wanted a change of pace, more flexibility and a schedule that was more aligned with her children’s. Teaching fit the bill.

A new career in teaching can also be good for Baby Boomers looking for work in retirement or people who are working in a job they are not passionate about, but want to contribute and get more out of their work life, Massenzio says. If any of those sound like you, or if you like working with children and are passionate about education, a new career in teaching might be a good fit. Consider these paths you can take to get started.

Enroll in an alternative certification program
Many states offer post baccalaureate teacher certification programs that are open to people who already have a bachelor’s degree, Massenzio said. The American Board is one example; it’s a nonprofit that provides a route to teacher certification in several states. Another program is the New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey program offered by Camden County College. While it doesn’t end in a degree, you can transfer credits to count towards a master’s degree if you decide to pursue one later, says the college’s Susan Coulby. Check your individual state or district’s website for other qualifying programs.

Head back to school
If you already have a college degree, you probably won’t have to start from scratch in a bachelor’s program, says Massenzio. Instead you can look for a post baccalaureate or master’s level program, which are available at colleges and universities across the country and online. While not necessary for certification, as a bonus, embarking on your teaching career with a master’s degree can help you earn a higher starting salary because many school districts offer better pay to teachers with higher degrees, Massenzio said.

Become a TNTP teaching fellow
TNTP Teaching Fellows operates programs in 11 cities and regions that have a difficult time finding enough good teachers to meet their schools’ needs. Teaching fellows get intensive training before they go into the classroom then are paid a teacher’s salary while they pursue a master’s degree or teaching certification after hours.

“Teaching Fellows was particularly helpful because there was a diverse group of people who came from different careers in my program,” says Josh Arkin, a 2002-2004 NYC Teaching Fellow who went on to teach at a Jewish Day School, work as a tutor and lead outdoor education programs.

Get experience in other educational roles
Practical experience is vital to starting a career in teaching and can also be a way to get your feet wet in the profession without paying anything or committing a lot of time, Massenzio said. This experience can come from substitute teaching, volunteering in schools or working as a classroom aide— all roles that don’t require a teacher certification.

You can also try working in a non-school educational environment. For example, supplemental educational services firm Eldridge Overton Educational Programs offers opportunities to work in tutoring, test preparation, summer camps and supplemental education programs, says founder Natasha R.W. Eldridge. “Working in this type of educational setting is a major resume booster for those who want to work in the industry.”