Once you’ve gotten your four-year college degree and finished a teaching credential program, you’re ready to begin your search for an education job. One of the first things you’ll need to do is create a strong resume. Be sure to emphasize your strengths, achievements, and educational background. Internships, volunteer positions, scholarships — all of these can and should be mentioned. And don’t forget a cover letter! Make sure you also have references lined up should a potential employer ask for them.
Where to Look
These days, job seekers are lucky to have the Internet to help with job hunting. Search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, and online job banks are two tools you can use as you look for work. Networking with those who are already in the profession is a good way to get leads on jobs, too.
When applying for a position, you can prepare for an interview by thinking about answers to any questions you think you may be asked. For example, “How would you deal with a difficult parent?” or “Talk about a challenging situation you’ve had with a student and how you handled it.”
On the day of the interview, be sure to dress appropriately and bring any relevant materials with you, if appropriate (sample lesson plans, for example).
That said, what follows are some of the major areas of education you may want to look into as you begin your search.
Outdoor education jobs are usually found with organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and in community park districts. These jobs require knowledge in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, climbing, kayaking, backpacking, nature study, and survival skills.
The purpose of outdoor education usually includes learning how to overcome adversity and developing a deeper relationship with nature. Through a variety of methods, instructors in this field of education teach students about wilderness survival, problem solving, working with others as part of a team, and developing leadership skills.
Working with students in an outdoor environment can be challenging, but the rewards that come from helping young people develop social and personal skills, as well as confidence, are immeasurable.
As for income potential, much of this type of education is done on a volunteer basis, although many who work with park districts are paid salaries. As with any type of job search, explore your options online.
Special education jobs cover a wide spectrum of positions. They range from working with children who have severe disabilities, such as Down Syndrome and cerebral palsy, to teaching those who have mild learning disabilities. In addition to those with physical and mental disabilities, children with emotional disturbances also fall under this category.
The number of special education (also known as special needs) programs in the public school system has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Because of this, teachers who get special training in this type of education often have many more opportunities available to them. The success of any special education program depends almost entirely upon how well trained the teachers are.
Controversies have arisen over how some school districts handle the integration of special needs students with the rest of the school. One of the biggest challenges a special education teacher has is in figuring out how to tailor a lesson plan to an individual student’s requirements. This is the reason for IEPs (individualized education plans), which outline the requirements a teacher must follow with individual children.
The pay scale for this type of job varies, but the biggest reward comes from the positive influence a teacher can have on a child.
One of the top requirements for anyone seeking a position in education administration is leadership. That’s because education administrators are the ones responsible for passing on knowledge about education to others. They also need to be able to deal with issues involving students and their parents, as well as the entire faculty. Dealing with problems professionally and calmly is extremely important.
Education administration jobs, more than any other positions in the field of education, pay very good salaries, with an average range of $67,000 to $92,000 per year. This field is on the list of the top five broadest career fields in the world. In the United States alone, there are about half a million of these type of positions.
Those wishing to fill these positions need to start out as teachers and go on to earn at least a master’s degree. Gaining experience in various positions while “moving up through the ranks” is typical.
Education director jobs — usually in the form of school district directors, or superintendents — require the same qualities in a candidate as the administrative positions mentioned above. In fact, one requirement for a school director is that he or she has actually worked as a principal or vice principal.
Other requirements for such positions include skills in business, communication, and public speaking. Responsibilities include overseeing budgets, teaching and non-teaching staff, and building maintenance. Dealing with the public is part of this job, too. Bargaining with labor unions, negotiating contracts, and consulting with other school districts about implementing new techniques in their own schools are only some of the issues a school director may have to face.
In addition to these requirements, school directors need to make sure the given state’s mandated school curriculum is taught in all district schools. Because of the No Child Left Behind Act, today’s school director needs to see to it that all teachers are committed to making sure every student succeeds.