Alyssa has taught middle school and high school English and has a bachelor's degree in secondary English education with a minor in creative writing.
Getting a Teaching Job
Making the choice to become a teacher is not a decision to take lightly. Hard work, dedication and heart are needed for a career in this field, and before you can even enter the classroom, there are many training requirements which will need to be met. View this short lesson to learn more about the roles of a teacher and check out the steps below for info on getting started in this career.
#1. Earn Your Degree
Teaching candidates for kindergarten through 12th grade must earn a bachelor's degree, regardless of the location where they will be teaching. Middle school and high school teachers are required to choose a specific content area, while elementary school teachers will need to major in elementary education or a content area, depending on their state's requirements.
#2. Explore Teacher Training Options
All prospective teachers must spend time in the classroom working with students. Traditionally, these student teaching requirements are met through the teacher training program students complete while earning their bachelor's degree.
However, many states offer alternative certification routes in which prospective teachers complete internship or post-baccalaureate programs that allow them to get experience in the classroom and take education courses covering such topics as instructional strategies and classroom management. These routes are for those who've already obtained a bachelor's degree, but want to pursue their teaching certificate.
#3. Meet Exam Requirements
After receiving their bachelor's degrees and completing student teaching requirements, teachers need to get certified or licensed, depending on their state. This process is usually as simple as passing standardized tests in your chosen content area. Check your state's testing regulations, as they will be different depending on where you wish to teach.
If you're looking for a resource to help you prepare for your teacher credentialing exams, check out these teacher certification courses. These self-paced study guides include video lessons and quizzes that cover the content of exams administered in most states.
#4. Obtain the Necessary Clearances
States also require teacher certification or licensure candidates to complete background and criminal history checks before working in a school. Again, interested candidates will need to check their state's requirements.
#5. Network with Others
Going to events where you'll have a chance to interact with other teachers as well as principals and administrators can be beneficial when looking for a job. Many schools' career centers offer resources to help students land their first teaching positions. You might be able to participate in mock interviews, job fairs or panel discussions. Some schools also compile directories of job search boards hosted by education professional organizations, industry publications and local school districts.
#6. Apply to Jobs
Once you're ready to apply for a job, you'll need to create a professional resume and cover letter that shows you're a great fit for a particular school. Resumes should be between 1 and 2 pages in length and show off the most valuable skills that you can offer a school. In a pile of hundreds of other resumes, what makes you stand out from the crowd? Bullet point the most important details about your abilities and past employment, but limit yourself to three or four bullets of strong information per section.
Similarly, your cover letter should highlight the reasons why you are interested in the job and what sets you apart from other candidates. Many school districts handle the application process differently, so look into the requirements of each school before applying. For more tips on creating both of these application materials, check out the following lesson:
#7. Practice Interviewing
For many, the interview can be the hardest part of the application process. Be prepared to answer questions about your educational philosophy and demonstrate your communication skills as well as your enthusiasm for working with students. Keep in mind that it's never too early to begin practicing. Some schools offer lists of sample interview questions for prospective teachers. You can also get more tips and information on interviewing through the following course: