A teacher helps students studying at their desks in a classroom.

How to Make the Career Change to Education

Though a terrifying thought for some, changing careers can be one of the best decisions a person can make, especially when deciding to enter into a career as fulfilling and rewarding as education. Luckily, Georgetown College has master’s of education programs for students without a teaching license to make this change more accessible.

Why Do Some People Want a Career Change?

While working might once have been viewed as little more than a means to pay the bills, it is now widely accepted that finding a satisfying and fulfilling career is one of the keys to a happy life. Keeping this in mind, it is important to know some of the main reasons people decide to change careers.

Needing a Challenge

Some people like to push themselves to try new things; starting a new career path can encourage to gain new knowledge and skills may help fulfill that desire for a challenge.

Focusing on Other Things

Sometimes jobs get in the way of spending time on other essential aspects of our lives. Many of us wish we had a job that allowed us to dedicate more time to our family, to a hobby we enjoy, or maybe even more time to travel.

Values and Priorities Change

A job is like a relationship; sometimes, you go different directions. While we may have once been passionate about the job we currently hold, this may no longer be the case. For many starting, job perks such as health insurance and financial security may not be that important, but they indeed become a priority as we get older. These evolving priorities and values often mean a career change might be the right thing to do.

Benefits and Challenges Found in Education

Regardless of the career you are coming from, it is important to understand the benefits and the challenges educators face. While the field of education certainly has its share of challenges, educating others can be an enriching and rewarding experience.

Benefits

Job Security

Regardless of temporary economic conditions, hiring practices, budget cuts, or any other factor that impacts the education system, the need for teachers is timeless and universal. The world will always need good teachers, and there will always be traditional and remote education jobs available for those who can fill that role.

Making a Difference

Teachers have the ability to impact the lives of students positively. They can help guide a child down the right path in life – one that will lead to the greatest successes. Ask any veteran teacher, and they will tell you there is nothing like knowing you made a difference in a child’s life.

Family-Friendly Work Schedule

If you have a family of your own, you understand the importance of having a schedule that coincides with your families. Unlike most other professions, a teacher’s daily schedule, along with school holidays and summer breaks, allow for quality time to be spent with family.

Challenges

While the good outweighs the bad, there are plenty of challenges currently facing teachers. Some of the biggest challenges include overcrowded classrooms, poor home lives, bullying in our schools, student attitudes, and lack of parent involvement. While these challenges are real and often problematic, they do not deter teachers from doing what they love.

Education and Skills Needed to Move to Education

If you’re curious about how to obtain your teaching certificate, there are a couple of routes that can be taken. For example, Kentucky requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program.

There are alternative pathways to becoming a teacher in Kentucky for those with a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university.

General Education Degree Programs

For those who want to be a teacher in Kentucky, but don’t have a degree, earning a bachelor’s degree is the first step towards obtaining a teaching certificate. No matter the state, holding a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for licensure to teach in K-12 public schools. This degree in education is centered on a specific major, such as elementary, middle, or secondary education, and prepares graduates to teach children in particular grades and subjects.

For those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education, there are plenty of master’s in general education available. While most teaching programs are focused on specific subjects within a grade or age range, other general education degree programs can prepare educators to teach multiple subjects.

Alternative Certification Programs

For those interested in teaching careers but have not completed a teacher preparation program, and have at least a bachelor’s degree, there is the option to pursue alternative certification in certain states like Kentucky.

An example of this is Georgetown College’s own M.A.Ed. Initial/Alternative Teaching Certification for Students without a Teaching License. This allows for teaching in a classroom while completing a standard teaching certificate; this method shortens the time it takes to switch careers while potentially allowing for continued learning. These programs lead to a post-graduate certificate, master’s degree in education or in a core subject that includes an approved certification program.

Regardless of the route taken to become a teacher, certain skills are needed to become a successful teacher. Good educators are in high demand, but to be an effective teacher, you need to have a diverse set of professional skills to complete the package. To be a great teacher, you need enthusiasm first off.  That enthusiasm about their job and lesson encourages students to share the same passion as they do.

Another skill required is leadership. An effective teacher can lead their classroom; they can manage multiple types of children through classroom management and steer them in the right direction. Other important qualities are multitasking, good communication abilities, flexibility, and strong people skills.

As with any skill or career, teaching comes naturally to some, yet others have to work harder to achieve “great teacher” status. Whichever category you fall into, if you want to help students and make a lasting impression, embarking on a teaching career might be the right path for you.