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  #1  
Old 08-13-2013, 08:45 AM
bayvillian516 bayvillian516 is offline
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Hey all! Am I making the right choice?

Hi everyone,
I have been reading up on these forums for a while now and understand the job outlook isn't the best but am still thinking of pursuing my degree. I recently attained my BA in Psychology and have been accepted into a masters program dual certification for 1-6 and literacy. I will accrue about $55 grand worth of debt from my school loans by going after this degree. I'm just driving myself nuts right now before the first semester starts hoping I am making the right move. I am 29 and a male, in Long Island. I have heard from several people that being a male helps for elementary education along with having the certification in literacy. I am open to moving to a couple different states, in order to find a job, but again Im still hesitant. I have had people also tell me starting the job hunt with zero experience and a masters will be an almost impossible task since the schools would have a hard time justifying the starting pay. Another uncertainty I have was I heard that if and when you find a job you are stuck in that school for life because of other schools not willing to pay due to my experience/masters.
Please help ease my mind before I lose it
Thanks

(States I would consider moving to)
-NY, NJ, CT, RI, MA, VA, AL, FL, CA, OR, CO, and maybe TX
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  #2  
Old 08-13-2013, 09:33 AM
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geoteacher geoteacher is offline
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I think that you have to do what feels right for you. That being said, you might want to ask about the effect of a masters without experience in the areas where you are interested in teaching. That can be a problem in some areas of the country. Also, many of the states that you have listed as possible moves have very tight job markets. Consider whether you could expand into other areas of the country.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:43 AM
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bison bison is offline
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I say this part in every thread about someone becoming certified to teach. Have you spent any time in the classroom since you were a student? Set up some observations or volunteer hours before putting yourself a lot of debt for a career that you might not even enjoy. I have seen this being an issue for those who wait too long and are already invested in a credential program before they actually get into the classroom.

Also, look into the starting (not median or average) salaries for teachers in those areas. Would you be making enough to pay off that kind of debt in a reasonable time frame? Is it possible for you to take out less money? I've been working during my credential program so that helps a bit. I personally was not willing to take on that much debt for a career that doesn't pay very much compared to cost of living. Also, can't speak for other states but moving to CA from out of state for a teaching job is not a very realistic option.

Don't forget to look into the requirements for transferring your license to other states if you want to move. Some might allow it with some paperwork and fees, some might require additional exams, classes, etc. It can be an annoying process.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:49 AM
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DizneeTeachR DizneeTeachR is offline
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I'm going with Bison...work in a classroom. I had a friend who thought she wanted elem. Her college made her work in a classroom...found she didn't like it. Happy as HS teacher!!!
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:45 PM
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smalltowngal smalltowngal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bison View Post
I say this part in every thread about someone becoming certified to teach. Have you spent any time in the classroom since you were a student? Set up some observations or volunteer hours before putting yourself a lot of debt for a career that you might not even enjoy. I have seen this being an issue for those who wait too long and are already invested in a credential program before they actually get into the classroom.

Also, look into the starting (not median or average) salaries for teachers in those areas. Would you be making enough to pay off that kind of debt in a reasonable time frame? Is it possible for you to take out less money? I've been working during my credential program so that helps a bit. I personally was not willing to take on that much debt for a career that doesn't pay very much compared to cost of living. Also, can't speak for other states but moving to CA from out of state for a teaching job is not a very realistic option.

Don't forget to look into the requirements for transferring your license to other states if you want to move. Some might allow it with some paperwork and fees, some might require additional exams, classes, etc. It can be an annoying process.
Agreed!!! Ultimately, it's going to be your decision because only you know what is right for you and your family.
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  #6  
Old 08-13-2013, 10:52 PM
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paperheart paperheart is offline
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PK-5
Can you do alternative certification instead (without the masters involved? It is much less expensive. To be completely honest (and just my two cents so I can certainly be wrong), but I would do a last minute search for alternative certification options. I am not knocking masters degrees. I have two and they served my purposes. In fact, the first one was an alternative certification/masters degree combo ( I had a BA in Psych like you), but I paid less than $5,000 total (I was part of a special cohort that got one class per semester for free). If I paid $50,000 for it I would never get the financial value back on it since I have only earned about $9,000 back a decade later.

I remember interviewing a person at a job fair one year and the reason we did not give her a second interview was because she had a masters and no experience. She lacked experience and we got the impression she was academically idealistic with no grounding for actual classroom realities.

If you can find another way to get into the classroom without paying $50K I would highly suggest going that route.
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2013, 08:52 AM
bayvillian516 bayvillian516 is offline
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First of all thanks for the replies.
I have worked with that age group and do enjoy them. If I could do a cheaper route I certainly would. I had terrible grades out of high school about 10 years ago which have been haunting me since. My past 60 credits have been 3.36 but my overall is still not competitive enough to be accepted into cheaper programs. What are some things I can start to do now that would help me in 2 years when I have my degree in order to stand out with my resume?

With the states I listed I would also consider GA, PA, DE, MD, and possibly the carolinas but I hear the pay is getting worse and worse.
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  #8  
Old 08-14-2013, 09:59 AM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is offline
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Have you worked with that age group in a school setting?
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  #9  
Old 08-14-2013, 10:01 AM
bayvillian516 bayvillian516 is offline
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yes only about 2 weeks.
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  #10  
Old 08-14-2013, 10:10 AM
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Caesar753 Caesar753 is offline
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I definitely recommend getting into a classroom for a longer period of time, just to make sure that it's really what you want.

In the current job market, a masters with no experience might not be the best choice. Back in the day when I was hired (seven years ago), I had a masters with no experience and it was no problem landing interviews and getting a job offer. At the same time, my degree and teaching license were in an uncommon, hard-to-hire subject. These days, with so many applicants for a single position, especially in elementary!, schools that are facing budget issues could easily pass up a great candidate who would cost too much money for a very good candidate who costs a lot less.

I don't think that there's really much truth to what you've heard about never being able to leave a district once you have a masters degree. Most teachers do end up with masters degrees, and they're still moving to new districts all the time. The difference between them and a new teacher is obviously the experience that they have. Experienced teachers, even with advanced degrees, are a better bet, because they can demonstrate evidence of classroom success in ways that new teachers obviously cannot.

I agree that the list of states that you're willing to move to is going to make it tough to find a job. Many of those places are especially heavy on teacher-applicants and short on jobs.

I'm not sure about the alternative certification route. Some districts these days are getting especially picky about not choosing candidates with those, simply because that the supply of applicants is so great that they can afford to do be choosy. With that having been said, might you qualify for Teach for America? At least with TFA you have some assurance of getting placed in a position.

I certainly don't want to discourage you. I just want you to do your due diligence and understand what you're getting into. You're starting that now, which is great. My advice to you would be to be willing to move anywhere for a job, at least for a couple of years to get some experience under your belt. If you're willing to do that, you might be able to get hired with a masters degree and no prior experience.
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