Will a degree help with the job search...?

Discussion in 'High School' started by decima205, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2016

    (I'm in Texas btw.)

    I have my undergraduate bachelor's in economics & business (double major), which I achieved 5 years ago. After a 5-year stint in the business world, I'm planning to change careers to teach at the high school level.

    I have absolutely no interest in teaching either of the subjects I majored in. Rather, I want to teach math or physics. I took a few upper level math classes in college (DiffEQ, Linear Algebra, Probability & Random Variables), but truth be told it's been years and I'm very rusty. (I also got B's in all those classes, not sure if that hurts me.)

    I'm currently enrolled in an ACP and have passed the TExES exams for math/physics. So yes, I'm technically qualified to teach high school math/physics. But I can't help worrying that principals/HR are going to see my resume, look at "B.S. Economics & Business" at the top, and immediately dismiss me without considering my certification. Do you think it would help the hiring process if I returned to school to get a degree in math/physics? I could either get a 2nd bachelor's in one of those subjects or a Masters in Applied Mathematics, or even a MAT in Mathematics...

    Thoughts? I'm so new to all of this, so I apologize if this is an obvious or dumb question!
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    How many hours do you have in math and physics?
     
  4. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    Physics - 8 credit hours (2 classes)
    Math - 20 credit hours (5 classes)

    At my college, all classes were 4 credit hours apiece.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jun 28, 2016

    Is that only 8 hours in physics, total, and you are going to teach at the high school level? In NJ, to teach K-12, you would need 30 credits in physics, and another 30 credits in math. To teach middle school, you would need your elementary endorsement, and then the MS specialization, plus 15 credits in the content area. So here, you could teach math, not physics, and not at the HS level. I don't think that you necessarily need degrees in math and physics, but some undergrad courses would help, especially if you are teaching HS. In NJ, it would be irrelevant that you passed the Praxis exams - if you didn't have the course credits, you wouldn't be able to get your certificates. I am not trying to rain on your parade, but that first year as an alternate route teacher is hard enough without having to worry because you are weak in your content knowledge. Trust me, I was alternate route, and even though I had 60 hours of science, and qualified in biology, I struggled with the day to day. Once I became proficient in the classroom, I added other endorsements, some of which I either tested out of the courses for college credit, or I actually took the occasional undergrad course.

    I wish you well.

    You might want to try to pass some Clep exams for the credit, and studying for the exams with shake off the cobwebs.
     
  6. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2016

    I'm in TX, we're a little desperate for teachers for the requirements are a bit... lax =/ I have a fairly strong grasp on physics (have been tutoring high school/AP physics for years), but unfortunately don't have the actual courses on a transcript. I'm not worrying about being weak in content knowledge so much as my actual slip of paper not being a proper representation of my skills.

    I appreciate your input, but the end note was a little unclear. I guess I can start out as a non-degree student at the local university taking some physics courses, and if that doesn't help then consider a full degree?
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Decima, you have a double major, and at this point in your life, do you need more undergrad degrees? As you get into teaching full time, you are going to want to grow as a teacher, and those pesky pedagogy courses that will lead you to a masters and a bigger paycheck, not to mention making you a better teacher. My comment about the CLEP exams comes from wanting to get credits for what you know at a minimal cost which will show up on a transcript and make you look like the better candidate that you probably are. You can go to undergrad and just pick up the courses, but I don't believe in paying a ton of money for the courses if what you really need is proof that you already know the material. Just a thought.
     
  8. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Wow. I can't believe you'd be able to teach math at the high school level with only 20 undergraduate hours. I've never heard of such a thing... and 8 credit hours in physics when you will be up against other candidates with 30+ hours? I didn't realize Texas was so different.

    I'd definitely get the Masters in Math rather than another undergrad. In the teaching world, you get paid more for having a Masters, and in High School especially, it gives you a strong advantage over other candidates.
     
    teacherintexas likes this.
  9. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    Yeah, in Texas so long as you can pass the content exams, you're qualified to teach (assuming ACP path, not traditional college path). I honestly think it's also a lack of teachers who *want* to teach HS math, so they've purposefully lowered standards to get more candidates for high-need areas.

    @vickilyn, thanks for your comments. There are no official CLEP exams for physics, unfortunately, so I could contact a local university to see if they could arrange for a credit-by-exam or something similar, but I don't see that happening if I'm not an official student there.

    I'm definitely leaning towards the masters in math, but finances will be a bit tight. I'm currently going through the 2016-2017 recruiting cycle (a couple of job fairs coming up soon); if there are no bites from any of the schools, then I'll probably go after the masters degree.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jun 29, 2016

    Just out of curiosity, have you considered at least taking the CLEP exams in math? That would make you a stronger candidate, I believe. If you can get a job teaching math, and it agrees with you, you can chase that master's on the school's dime, since most schools offer tuition reimbursement.
    http://www.duq.edu/academics/school...eacher-program/bs-in-physics--ms-in-education
    This gives some idea of the courses that a normal physics teaching candidate would have.
    This will give you a pretty good idea of the bases that other candidates have covered if they are traditional route math teacher candidates.
    https://mathstat.tcnj.edu/school-in...her-certification-endorsement-in-mathematics/
    Whatever you can do to match up your transcripts to what would be traditional would be a help for getting employed. You are alternate route, so they know you won't be a perfect match, but you should be able to come close in showing you know this, and the CLEPs might help.

    My thinking is that unless you are independently wealthy, why invest in a master's degree that may not help you outside of education? You not only have the expense of the tuition, etc., but likewise you are not employed as a teacher, therefore, cash poor. I got a job, then let my employers pay for my masters, etc. Just wanted you to know where I am coming from.
     
  11. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    The only CLEP exams offered in math are College Algebra, College Math, and Calculus. I completed the Calculus sequence my freshman year of college, so I don't think the CLEP exams will help much.

    Thanks for sharing some of the degree plans. I've completed most of the classes in the TCNJ recommended sequence (only missing Abstract Algebra and Geometry). I'll see if the local university can find some way to allow me to test for those subjects via some sort of credit-by-exam.

    I apologize if I seemed antagonistic at any point; I really do appreciate your advice. I'm extremely new to the teaching profession so any help I can get is much appreciated.
     
  12. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jun 29, 2016


    Where I am, as long as you have the correct credential, you would be considered for appropriate positions. In California you can also add endorsements through testing. One of my endorsements is in Physics, and I've only taken 2 or 3 college-level classes in it. We have a bit of a teacher shortage, though. In fact, the math teacher applicant pool for our recent opening included some intern candidates, meaning not yet credentialed. Do you have a sense of whether there is a teacher shortage in your area?
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Just curious - how does this work with the definition of highly qualified teacher? I am guessing because you passed Praxis, or equivalent, but our DOE won't approve you even with the Praxis exam score if you lack the college course work. Odd times, huh?
     
  14. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has an exhaustive explanation, but if you pass the CSET in a subject area, you will get a full endorsement in that subject (as opposed to supplementary). So that gives you HQ status. I will say, I took the math CSETs for credentialing purposes, as well as a Math Praxis because my out-of-state master's program required it, and the CSETs were much more challenging and comprehensive.
     
  15. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    A bit of a mixed bag. I'm in a major city, and some of the inner urban schools definitely have a shortage in bilingual ed and STEM. The district(s) that I'd like to work in are a little more well-to-do (they're the districts I grew up in, so I'm familiar with the procedures and general philosophy). They really only have a teacher "shortage" in physics, because no one wants to teach that apparently (haha).
     
  16. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    For Texas, it's similar to Cali. As long as you pass the TExES exam, you're considered Highly Qualified (e.g. I'm currently considered "highly qualified" for math/physics even though I haven't had a large number of coursework hours). From the practice tests I've seen, the TExES exams are a lot more calculation heavy than the Praxis (for physics at least). Alternatively, if you have an advanced degree in your subject, I believe that also qualifies you for HQ status.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  17. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    I HIGHLY recommend against attempting to "test out" of Abstract Algebra.
     
  18. decima205

    decima205 Rookie

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    Why so?
     
  19. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Speaking for myself, not Mike, Abstract Algebra was probably the hardest college math course I took.
     
  20. NumberTheorist

    NumberTheorist Rookie

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    Abstract Algebra is absolutely a different type of course compared to Calculus, Differential Equations, and a basic Probability & Statistics course. The closest may be Linear Algebra, but even that's only really incidental.

    Abstract Algebra is a proof-based course. You'll be proving things, and very rarely do calculations come up (usually in applying the fundamental theorem of finite [or finitely generated] abelian groups).

    If you want to see an example of such a course, I suggest searching for "Harvard Abstract Algebra" on Google. I can't provide links, at the moment, because I've apparently not posted on this site enough for the privilege.
     
  21. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    Jun 30, 2016

    To answer your original question, I don't think your original degree matters. I also teach in Texas, used an ACP and my original degree is not in education.
    I do not teach high school, but I feel like there is a greater need in that area than elementary. Or at least less applicants maybe?
     

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