Types of Teaching Job Opportunities
Take time to explore the many different teaching positions available to find the one that best suits your individual strengths and preferences.
Carefully consider the different age levels and subject areas available. Also, special education offers a wealth of different positions that allow teachers to frequently work with small groups and individuals. While you may not have personal experience in special education classrooms, it is a field worth investigating.
If possible, visit different types of classrooms before committing to a decision. While your best memories may be of fifth grade social studies, and that has led you to major in elementary education, you may find that after some experience, you prefer the advanced, critical discussions high school students provide. Or after originally deciding to teach your favorite high school field of science, you find that the adoration of first graders can't be beat.
Also, explore the teacher job outlook in the area where you hope to teach. If there is high demand for ESL teachers, you may consider looking at that option more carefully. You may find that there is a high demand for math and science teachers but not physical education - the field you were considering.
No matter the subject or grade level, all teachers have qualities in common. Teachers are passionate people who care about their students and want to make the world a better place. Hopefully, they are able to transfer their passion for learning to their students. Teachers must also have patience, creativity, and flexibility. Each school day brings new challenges and new rewards. The experience is ever changing and extremely rewarding.
To become a teacher, most jobs will require at least a bachelor's degree in education or a related field and state-approved certification. The terms certification, licensure, and endorsement are often used interchangeably by states. Usually, certification is achieved through an accredited college or university's degree program. In addition to successful coursework requirements, candidates must also complete a student teaching experience and pass state or nationally recognized exams.
The PRAXIS Series is a group of widely used exams for teacher certification. The PRAXIS I exam is for candidates to be accepted into a college or university's education program. It tests basic academic skills in the areas of math, reading, and writing.
The PRAXIS II tests are taken towards the end of earning a degree. They are subject specific tests, and multiple may be required depending upon your areas of certification. For example, a middle childhood educator who specializes in math and science and completed the coursework for a reading endorsement would have to take four PRAXIS II exams. One exam would be over general teaching methods and practices, one on math knowledge, one on science knowledge, and a final one over reading. Overall, there are 120 various PRAXIS II exams available. If one does not pass a PRAXIS exam on the first try, multiple attempts can be taken. Fees are associated with each exam.
The pay for teachers greatly varies depending on the location, type of school, grade level, one's education level, and years of experience. Average pay for k-12 teachers ranged from US$47,100 to US$51,180 as of 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The job outlook for teachers is good overall. The field of teaching is expected to grow at a pace comparable to other fields. Job prospects are better in some situations. Cities and rural areas often have a higher demand for teachers along with poor facilities and a general lack of resources. There is also higher demand for science, mathematics, and bilingual education teachers. During the span of 2008-2018 a large number of teachers are expected to retire creating more job openings.