February 14th, 2013
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There has never been a better time to look for teacher jobs. The U.S. is experiencing such a serious shortage of teachers that they have actually passed a statute that can wipe out any outstanding government student loans you took out to become a teacher, if you go to work in the public education system as a teacher in a critical area.
How Do I Become A Teacher?
The teacher shortage is so bad that school systems have created fast-track programs just to get someone behind a desk in the classrooms, but these programs are not advisable if you want to have a career in education. The chances for promotion are non-existent, and the pay is much lower than for a fully-educated and certified teacher. However, if you are middle-aged, and want a career change, the fast-track may be just the thing for you. If you already have a Bachelors degree, these programs offer a 12-14 months Master’s program in education. 48 states offer this type of program.
To go the standard route, you need a Bachelors, or Masters degree in an appropriate subject, from an accredited school. Then you will need to take further training in education. After that, you will have to take a state certification test (usually a Praxis test). Then, you will have to pass a background check, be fingerprinted, and most likely have to take some First-Aid and CPR training. Then, you can apply for a teacher jobs in a school district. Certifications are on a state-by-state basis, and many do not honor other states certifications, so if you go to another state, you will have to start the certification process all over.
What Are My Prospects, Once I Get Educated and Certified?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between now and 2016, we will need 479,000 more teachers than we will have available if current enrollment growth continues. This includes preschool, kindergarten, elementary, primary, and secondary education. The deficit is expected to be especially acute in the areas of science and mathematics. This is due in part to low college enrollment in these subjects, coupled with the expected retirement of many teachers.
What this means for you is that the sky’s the limit as far as teacher jobs go. Especially if you get a degree in one of the critical fields like math, you could look forward to teaching in just about any part of the country you want to live in. Prospects would be even better in less desirable areas, like rural and inner-city school systems. Teacher employment is expected to grow by at least 12% through 2016. Job opportunities for teachers in the next 10 years will be good to excellent. If you really want to tip the scales in your favor, the demand for bi-lingual teachers, especially English-Spanish, is expected to skyrocket.
What Kind Of Pay can I Expect from Teacher Jobs?
The downside of teaching is that, at best, you can expect to make only about 70% of what other degreed professions pay. And starting out, it will be even less for quite a few years, while you build experience and seniority. On average, a teacher can expect to make around $35,000 annually. Some regions pay a little more, some a lot less. You will most likely never get rich teaching, unless things change. But you do have the satisfaction of knowing that you control the future. You create the next generation of world leaders, doctors, Nobel Prize winners, etc….If teachers were paid according to their actual value, there would not be enough money in the whole world to pay them.
If you’ve ever considered becoming a teacher….now is the time.