Whatever area you teach in, however, two things are necessary. One, you must have an absolute passion for the subject you are teaching, and two, you must have an absolute passion in seeing others learn what you already know.
Some jobs are easier to get full-time positions in than others. For example, while dance education jobs may only go to a few, science education jobs are quite plentiful and are especially needed in areas like junior high and high school. And of course, if you have a doctorate and wish to focus on the world of academia, you can also teach at the college level.
Outdoor education jobs, too, are available, although these usually occur within the context of a classroom setting. For example, if you are a physical education teacher at the college level, or if you are a high school football coach, much of your teaching time may be spent outside. That said, though, there will still be classroom time necessary indoors.
In Which Area Should You Teach?
Whatever area you decide to specialize in, you can also specialize in an age group. For example, dance education jobs can include very small children who are just starting out as well as adults. If you love working with little children and love to see them learn and grow without worrying about perfection, this may be one area you can teach, as long as you have a talent for dance. In this case, it is usually not necessary to have any sort of formalized certification, only that you have a previously established talent. For example, if you have had professional experience as a dancer, this probably qualifies you for many dance education jobs. That said, however, you may need more formal education to teach at the college level for students who are themselves dance majors or something similar.
If you prefer working with children or students who are a little bit older, you can also do most teaching jobs at any age level. It helps if you specialize, usually, because students at different ages need different things. However, science education jobs can be more general, such as at the elementary level, where you teach a number of different subjects. Or, they can be more specialized, whereby you teach only science at the junior high, high school, and post–high school levels.
All of these areas require different levels of education. For example, if you teach science at the elementary school level, you will usually need to have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. As part of your training process there, you will learn to teach science at the primary grade levels, along with other subjects like math, social studies, and reading.
However, as you move up into teaching older students, you actually specialize in the particular area you teach in and teach only that subject. This is beneficial if you have a particular love of one subject, so that you can focus on that as you teach students.
Training and Education
It used to be that teachers had to have bachelor’s degrees in education, specializing in the area they wanted to teach in, such as preschool or elementary school. In addition, teachers had to pass state exams and obtain licenses while keeping up their expertise by taking a certain number of credit hours in continuing education every few years. However, there is a significant teacher shortage these days, and because of this, many people can qualify to become substitute teachers simply by having a bachelor’s degree in any subject area from an accredited college. In most cases, these substitute teachers are given provisional licenses for two years, after which time they must complete licensing and continuing education requirements. Therefore, this may be a good way to try out the teaching profession without having to obtain additional education beyond a bachelor’s degree you already hold.
If you enter into a formal teaching program, you are usually required to do student teaching, whereby you teach for at least a semester in your last year of college under the guidance of a cooperating teacher, who supervises you and evaluates you in your teaching skills.
Finally, of course, you can also teach adults in settings other than the university setting. In most cases, this does not require any formal training beyond expertise for the subject at hand. In some cases, you may need to hold certification, such as if you are teaching exercise classes at a local gym.
Compensation and Job Outlook
The practice of teaching varies greatly depending on whether the position is formal, such as at a school or university, or whether it is a more informal teaching position, such as that of a dance teacher.
It is difficult to give an average salary for informal teaching positions, but for formal teaching positions at the elementary, middle, and secondary-school levels, teacher salaries averaged about $45,000 a year as of 2006.