Teaching as a Career and Online Certification

Discussion in 'General Education' started by drw2014, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. drw2014

    drw2014 Rookie

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    Aug 21, 2013

    Hello,

    Quick, quick background first. I have a B.S. in Political Science and History, love the subject. I also have a Master's in History. But I'm stuck in retail and every career path I've researched always ends in a dead-end. So I settled on teaching. Trouble is, I'm in Michigan. I already have a lot of student loan debt, and Michigan has some really strict program requirements. Alternative certification in my area (2 universities) seems to last almost three years and can run 12-15,000 dollars. Michigan, apparently, has one of the worst job markets for teachers.

    So I found Western Governor's University. It's attractive because it's quick and much cheaper. But would an online program like that hurt me in the job hunt? With things being so tight, I don't want to put myself at a disadvantage, but I also don't think I can justify twice the cost and length of time for a career that may be a dead-end as well.

    One more question: What can a history/social studies/government buff do to make himself more marketable? I read all the doom and gloom on forums, but I have the unique perspective of researching a wide variety of careers and I read the same doom and gloom there.

    In teaching, jobs can be hard to get or unsatisfying, but you can get work, right? I mean, in my field (history, non-teaching) there aren't even any job openings to compete for really.
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think more and more schools are becoming open to online programs because more and more people are going that route. I know from these forums that Michigan is a tough, tough market. And I don't know how it is in Michigan, but here in Texas most history/social studies teachers are also coaches. If you could add that to your resume, that might help get your foot in the door. I would also see about finding ways to get some kind of teaching experience...subbing, volunteering, etc.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 21, 2013

    Welcome to the forum!

    The main thing I would strongly urge you to do is check with your state's Department of Education and research which online schools have accreditation. For example, teaching certification from University of Phoenix is accepted in Ohio, but Walden is not.

    You might also want to see if you would be willing to move for work. There are other states with better markets, but they would require some major upheaval. If the answer is yes, then you'll need to do some more homework regarding their requirements.

    Good luck! It's an incredibly rewarding job once you've worked your way to the classroom.
     
  5. drw2014

    drw2014 Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2013

    Thanks for the responses. I want something rewarding, even if it is hard. I hate retail and business in general, so it's been very hard to find a career that interests me. Up until recently I was too scared of public speaking to consider teaching.

    I'm willing to relocate. Problem is my location, my budget and my desire to leave my current field quickly. Thus WGU appealed to me. But I've taken shortcuts before, settling for a college that ultimately wasn't the best choice. I'm afraid this is another shortcut that'll hurt me down the line.

    But one university near me isn't any good I guess, and takes a long time, and the other would require me to move to a small city where jobs are even scarcer than where I live now.

    I make 16,000 a year now and without teaching, will never make more. So even the low pay of teaching would be a big boost to me. It's all relative. Plus I would enjoy teaching, connecting with kids and introducing them to the subjects that I really enjoy.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Aug 22, 2013

    drw~I absolutely hate public speaking! The thought of speaking in front of even a small audience of adults scares me to death. You put even a large number of students in front of me and I can talk to them all day. To me, it's vastly different! As far as using WGU as a shortcut, I have several friends that are now teachers that went through WGU to get their teaching degrees. Good luck!
     
  7. MathTeacher2015

    MathTeacher2015 Rookie

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    Aug 22, 2013

    Drw2014-prior to your situation of finding yourself in a dead end retail job/career, had you seriously considered teaching as your dream job? If not, I would hate for you to get deeper in debt to pursue something that may not be your cup of tea.

    If you have other aspirations and dreams above retail and teaching g, I'd pursue that. Life is short and you deserve to really aim for what makes you happy - not just throw a dart to the air and hope that teaching will be the answer to your current dilemma.

    If teaching has always been your passion and you can tolerate the whirlwind of today's education system and school administrations, then I'd say go for it. Mostly, become a teacher because you want to make a difference in the lives of your students at the cost of possibly not having much of a life yourself at the beginning of your career.

    I don't get that from your posts. But it may be that you just haven't thought of expressing it.

    Good luck and make sure you do research all the licensure requirements for your state.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I did a decade of retail, banking, and finance before going back to school. It's doable!

    You can also see if any of your regional or state colleges offer online programs. I'm working on my M.Ed. online at an Ohio state university (not THE Ohio State University, as it likes to be called) that is too far away for live classes. It's surprisingly less expensive than, for example, University of Phoenix.
     
  9. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    I'm in NC and although our teacher pay and teacher working conditions are not the best, jobs seem plentiful. We do offer lateral entry programs where someone with a degree outside of teaching can get a teaching job while earning their certification. I'm not sure of all the details, but it might be worth you looking into. I feel like a lot of highly qualified teachers are getting fed up with the lack of pay, but for someone like you it sounds like even making 30,000 a year would be an improvement. We've had quite a few teachers in our district relocate from Michigan. Might be something to think about.
     
  10. gurukul

    gurukul New Member

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    In current economic senerio a teacher needs to do private tutions/ coaching in order to earn good money for his/ her family.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Two of the many things that can make you more marketable:

    1. You've heard it before. It is difficult to get a high school job in history/social studies. Therefore, if you can possibly add another teacher certification to this in English or Math you'd be much more marketable. Yes, I realize that might not be cheap or easy.

    2. Try to get some experience substitute teaching or with children in the 6th-12th grade level. This experience can be beneficial in getting a job--especially if you learn more about this age where it can make you sound smarter in the interview.
     
  12. drw2014

    drw2014 Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2013

    Again, thanks for the responses.

    Has teaching always been a passion of mine? No. Like I mentioned, I had a fear of public speaking, so I always tried to pursue a non-academic career.

    But, sitting in my dark little retail hole and re-evaluating what makes me happy, I realized that I really enjoy introducing people to history, trying to find a way to make things interesting for them, and helping teenagers out. The reason I focus on teenagers is because I don't have the eternal peppy energy to work with young children, and high schoolers and some middle schoolers at least have some capacity for reasoning.

    So you can call me a late bloomer. I never realized I wanted to teach until I really took stock of what I enjoy doing. That being said, I am signed up for substitute teaching, so that'll at least give me some experience in front of students to see if I like working in a classroom.

    But I keep hearing good things about WGU, and never any horror stories, so that's a really attractive option for me.
     
  13. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    It's really difficult to find a job in 6-12 Social Studies and/or History. I have a BA in History and my teacher credential in K-12 (upper grades Social/History). I am still jobless after searching for a job 4-5 years. However, I cannot relocate. I know there are jobs if you can relocate. I recently heard that West Virgina has jobs and North Carolina. If you can relocate you have a better shot of finding a job. You might want to search the "Job Seekers" part of this forum to see what some teachers are going through to find teaching jobs.
     
  14. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    Some things to take note of:


    -I advise you take some time to volunteer or even substitute teach. I know some states are okay with subbing w/ just a degree/masters and no credential. Simply wanting to teach young people is admirable but you can't even began to fathom what comes along with that unless you get your feet wet. A lot of teachers leave the profession because the negatives outweigh the positives. You need to make sure you clearly understand the negatives before jumping in.


    -Online credential programs still will require an offline component, namely observations and student teaching. I can't say whether schools will look at you differently if you get a credential online, but common sense says if two equal candidates apply for a job and one got their credential online while another got it at a traditional university, I'd say you are at a disadvantage.

    -Your subject area isn't really a high needs subject area. This ties back to the point mentioned above. This means you will be pitted against people who may be as qualified, but did their credential program locally. This also ties into your student loan. There are currently a lot of programs to help write off your student loans. TEACH grants give you something like $6,000 a year and you can write off $17,500 off your loan. But both programs require you teach a high needs subject. History/Social Science is not.

    -Is it doable? Yes. But you will have to be more open minded than most. You may have to relocate. Alaska is always recruiting I've heard. You may also have to think about teaching overseas too.

    -But these are big hurdles to jump unless you know exactly what you're getting into. Which brings me back to point one, do you really want to teach and know what it entails?
     
  15. drw2014

    drw2014 Rookie

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    Aug 26, 2013

    I am going to sub, I just have to go through a three hour class as my final hurdle. So that will give me a better idea.

    I'm willing to coach, or get endorsements in other areas, too. Just not math or science, Haha. I'm really bad with both.

    Plus, WGU is half the cost of my local programs. As someone with a lot of debt already, that's attractive. But no matter what career I chose, going back to school is basically required. So adding to my debt isn't really avoidable. I would just really like to get a job someday, you know? Bit believe it or not, I've researched a dozen wildly different careers, and the story is always the same, spend money on school, hope for the best. I think with teaching I can at least be satisfied with my life.
     
  16. isabunny

    isabunny Comrade

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    I know what you mean about researching tons of different careers and still not quite knowing what is the best option when weighing all the different factors: cost of more college, jobs available after graduation, time and effort in getting another degree, aptitude for the particular profession, ect...

    The difference for me is that I am researching all these careers after I had picked my second career teaching as my field and jumped through all the hoops to received the certificates in two different states. Not being able to find a teaching job has been devastating after all the money spent, student teaching, taking many different state tests: RICA, MSAT, CBEST, CSET, Praxis, TPA's 1-4, ect..

    The road to finding a teaching job is really rough for many of us and it's not because we are not good teacher candidates. I had my master teachers, supervisior, and parents all comment on what an awesome teacher I was and in some cases one of the best they had ever seen. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I just want you to know before you get into more debt, how difficult it is out there trying to find a teaching job.

    Some jobs that are in high demand: Speech Language Pathologist, Nurses (but not new Grads), Occupational Therapist, Pharmacy Tech. I was really interested in SLP until I found out that in my state the payscale is the same for teachers. For me that would mean I would go to school three more years and make the same as a teacher with a Masters Degree. I would have a job at least, but three years of grad school debt. So hard to know what to do right now.......
     
  17. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    That online program could cost more than you think. Our district would never even look at a new teacher who hadn't completed a thorough student teaching experience.
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I don't know about WGU, but some online programs do require student teaching experience.
     
  19. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    I did alternative certification at a community college in Texas for $2000. So, maybe you can shop around in another state for cheaper certification?

    Most places just care about your certification and aren't too worried if it's from online university or not. (At least this is my experience, but every district/school/admin is different). Schools want to see student teaching for the most part, but I know U of Phoenix for example does have student teaching.

    Personally, I would not spend $16,000 and go deeper into debt to enter a depressed job market in Michigan. It sounds like a bad plan unless you are able to move.
     
  20. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    I finished my degree in Nevada but I never did my student teaching (I couldn't afford to student teach for a semester, unfortunately, and there has been a job freeze in my district of choice for several years now so it didn't make sense to get my certification for this state). I subbed this last year instead of student teaching, and I just accepted a teaching job abroad. My employers want me to be certified down the line, however, and I'm not sure how I should go about it.

    Is there any way I can get my teaching certification while I'm working abroad? I really don't want to work for free for a semester while paying a college for it. I realize I'm being a cheapskate, but it just feels like the student teaching would only be a formality at this point.
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    microbe~will this year teaching aboard not count as 'student teaching'? I had a woman go through the program with me that was hired to teach the semester that she was supposed to student teach.
     
  22. microbe

    microbe Comrade

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    My university refuses to work with me in this matter. They say I have to work at one of their chosen schools for a semester. :(
     
  23. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    :(
     
  24. drw2014

    drw2014 Rookie

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    Right, but WGU requires 12 weeks of student teaching. It's just the classwork that's online, which is why in my mind I don't see anything wrong with an online program. I just know the real world doesn't always work according to my common sense, so I thought I'd ask here for opinions.

    Your responses, combined with glancing around the Internet, seem to conclude that there'd be nothing wrong with going to WGU, I just have to make sure certain states would recognize it as an out of state program for certification.

    I just took a class last night, the last hurdle to my substitute teaching, so I'm excited to get my feet wet and see how I feel about being back in a classroom.
     
  25. joeschmoe

    joeschmoe Companion

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    An online certification program will roughly require the same offline component as a regular program. I think the difference is the online aspect of learning where you're not in a traditional classroom setting with peers. I think employers still see that part as being inferior to a traditional college.
     
  26. gurukul

    gurukul New Member

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    Oct 10, 2013

    Certification is a must
     

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