Career Switchers or Grad School?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by spaghetticat, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. spaghetticat

    spaghetticat Guest

    Jul 20, 2017

    I'm unsure whether I should apply for Career Switchers or grad school, and advice would be greatly appreciated. I have a B.A. in History and I taught ESOL for six years abroad. I want to teach PK-3 and possibly ESOL. I live in Fairfax County and I'm afraid I'll have a hard time finding a job here (or even in neighboring counties) if I take the Career Switchers route.

    I'm currently a SAHM to two toddlers and I definitely think it would be easier to attend grad school now rather than putting it off until later. I just worry about my job prospects; what if I spend all this money on grad school and still can't find a job in/around NoVA after earning my Master's and teaching license? I do plan to start subbing in Fairfax County or Prince William soon to gain more experience. Moving far away is not really an option due to my husband's career, though I'd be willing to commute an hour or so.

    Some people I've talked to have had a negative attitude about me trying to become a teacher this late in life (I'm 32), so it's really hard not to doubt myself. I know it will be tough no matter which path I choose, but I'm excited!!

    Thank you for reading this.
  3. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

    Aug 20, 2014
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    Jul 20, 2017

    I don't really have any advice about Career Switchers because I'm not familiar with it, but just to ease your mind a bit, I was older than you when I went back to school and started teaching and my age didn't cause any issues with getting a job. I have a friend who moved to Virginia a few years ago for a job - he worked in Loudoun County, I think? - and at that time at least, it was considered a quickly growing market.
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

    Jul 20, 2012
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    Jul 20, 2017

    I don't know anything about where you are from, but I guess I don't understand the difference between the career switchers program and grad school. My grad school program was intended for career switchers. It was one in the same. What's the difference in the programs that you are referring to?
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Jul 19, 2014
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    Jul 20, 2017

    OK, because my son teaches in VA, I am going to respond. ESL in Prince William county seems to always be in demand, so that would be your way in. I will give you the same advice that I have given countless times on this forum. If you can get a job as an Alternate Route candidate (the generic term for career switchers across the country), go for it. Yes, there will be work as you are holding down a full time job, but you will be drawing a salary and benefits. Going after the master's without having experienced the classroom is tricky. What if you choose the wrong course of study? You will have spent a lot of money without greatly increasing your odds of becoming employed. Additionally, if you get a full time job, you may qualify for tuition reimbursement. Nothing beats earning graduate credits on your employer's dime. Who knows, you may be very well off and money doesn't matter, but that would not be the norm.

    Now listen to this next part carefully - 32 is not "late in life" and you need to change your way of thinking about that. Once you have embraced the concept that there is no one road map and time schedule that works for every single individual, never speak of your age again as if it is an albatross around your neck. If you can't manage that, I suggest giving up now, never to revisit the topic of teaching. You haven't been sitting around twiddling your thumbs - you taught 6 years abroad, and managed to have a couple of children on the side. I get a little riled every time someone refers to early thirties like it is one foot in the grave.

    I am not well versed on the VA AR program, but I am well versed in and a success story of NJ's AR program. You will have a greater chance of success if you are, by nature, a life-long learner who is excited to learn new things. It makes your scope wider, and aids you as you learn, because learning is more fun, less work. I suggest keeping your commute on the shorter side - you have little ones at home. Of course, I can't "tell" you what to do, except the part about referring to yourself as "late in life." Overcome the age thing, or give up now. Otherwise, best of luck!
  6. CherryOak

    CherryOak Comrade

    Dec 25, 2016
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    Jul 21, 2017

    Most of the time, when people tell any of us if a career choice is a good idea or not, they're stating whether they would do it themselves. Don't let them sway you if you do want to teach. In your case, I think it seems very logical. You've taught before and you've chosen to spend all day with young children for years.

    My gut would be to research GMU's postbac in addition to those listed. I'm not sure which is the best choice. However, in case you haven't already found it, I'll point out a difference between those two areas you mentioned. You cannot add PreK-3 to an existing license via Praxis II testing. You can add the ESOL. Previously, you couldn't add the ESOL via testing, but it changed a year ago. There are people unaware of that and there are websites not yet updated with it. But, if you were to obtain a license in PreK-3, you could then take the Praxis II for the ESOL and add it. It wouldn't work the other way around. Granted, taking the coursework is valuable, but it is a factor to consider. I actually think having both would be the ideal outcome.

    Either way, do sub and build your confidence in yourself. Surround yourself with the teaching type as they're the most likely to be encouraging. It comes naturally to the group.
  7. mtank

    mtank Guest

    Jul 26, 2017

    I am a career changer and am about to start a program to finish my masters in el ed. When I decided to go back to become a teacher, the transition to teaching programs in my state made the most sense for me at the time. I could afford it and manage the online program I had chosen while still working part-time at my previous company. I do not think that being a career changer or slightly older than your average "new" teacher impacted my ability to get interviews at great schools. In fact, my principal told me that not being a 21 year old new teacher was something I had going for me in the interview process. I was also told that making the scary jump to change my career was a pro as well and it says a lot about a candidate. As for the type of program you should select, I do wish I had gone with master's program and saved some time and money. But ultimately I am just happy to be teaching and to be working with my kiddos, they make everything worth it!

    Don't doubt yourself!! Good luck!
  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Apr 24, 2012
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    Aug 1, 2017

    Agree completely. You could always add a masters later when a district is helping you pay for it.

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