Careers in Education
Whether you see yourself in the classroom, studying education in graduateion school, working in administration, or contributing through education policy, the field of education can be an interesting and rewarding experience.
How can I get experience in the field of education?
There is no education major at Georgetown. However, Georgetown students from every school go on to careers in education. If you are interested in pursuing education as an academic discipline, you might consider the Education, Inquiry, and Justice minor in Georgetown College.
While it may be difficult to get teaching experience while you are a student, you can get exposure to the classroom during your time at Georgetown. Mentoring, tutoring, and group facilitating opportunities are abundant through programs in the Center for Social Justice and Center for Student Engagement. Take advantage of opportunities to tutor students, lead student groups, and work with school-aged children.
It is possible to embark on a teaching career after graduation, even with no certification or education degree. Many public school systems offer immersion or alternative certification programs and some private schools have apprenticeship or fellowship programs to help you begin your teaching career. Determining which option is best for you requires you to research and explore.
Private Schools/Boarding Schools, Independent Schools, Charter Schools
Some schools are not bound by the No Child Left Behind Act because they are independently governed by a board of trustees instead of a public school board. Consequently, they have more freedom to hire new teachers than most public schools.
According to the National Association of Independent Schools, there are more than 2000 private schools across the country and they include coed and single sex, boarding and day schools. Generally, classes are small, students are motivated and there is a high level of parental involvement.
Recruiting is usually heaviest between January and May but can last until the school year starts (usually August). Consider registering with teacher placement firms who are hired by the schools to identify strong candidates for open teaching positions. Several teacher placement firms have recruited at Georgetown over the years. Check out Handshake and the career resource library in the Career Education Center for the names of some reputable firms. Learn more about private and independent schools by visiting the NAIS website and conducting informational interviews.
Sometimes, there are opportunities to teach in the public school system without a teaching certification. Public schools that are desperately lacking in resources and whose standardized test scores consistently fall below the national average are frequently deemed “high-needs” schools. Some of these schools participate in alternative certification programs to encourage recent graduates and career changers to lend their talents to their school (see below).
In other cases, schools will offer their own expedited application processes, provisional certifications, or mentorships if candidates have expertise in a subject the school critically needs. These critically needed subjects are typically mathematics, science, special education, and sometimes foreign languages. Every district has different policies related to provisionally certifying individuals for critically needed subjects. Check with the district you are considering teaching for more information.
Alternative Routes to Teaching
Many programs exist to help close the achievement gap in the U.S. by pairing recent graduates and career changers with some of the highest-need schools in the country.
Common factors of alternative certification programs:
- Teach in economically depressed communities with limited resources (both urban and rural neighborhoods)
- Many programs offer to cover some or all of the cost of a graduate degree
- Teachers in most programs are paid a salary and require one or two-year commitments
- Many programs offer Americorps loan forgiveness
- Most programs will help you to become certified
- Mentorship with a master teacher
Teach for America, Alliance for Catholic Education, Math for America, Inner City Teaching Corps and DC Teaching Fellows are examples of such programs. Find a list of additional programs at the Career Education Center. Programs vary widely so start exploring early. Application deadlines begin as early as late fall and generally end in March.
Fellowships & Apprenticeships
Many independent schools offer one-to-two-year teaching apprenticeships and summer teaching positions. If you are interested in continuing your education, some programs, such as the Penn Residency Program, offer a joint master’s degree and teacher practicum at prominent independent schools.
Teaching abroad is a popular option for many Georgetown grads who appreciate the global scope of our education. However, be careful to research thoroughly any international teaching opportunities to ensure that you are committing to safe, well-run, professional school or organization.
There are two primary ways to begin teaching internationally: participate in a teaching program (some of these charge fees, others do not), or apply directly to schools in foreign countries.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification is a requirement for many programs as well. There are many programs available where you can get your certification. Below are just a few to help you begin your research. Before starting any TEFL program, you should always check the requirements of the specific teaching programs you are interested in to make sure your certification will be accepted.
Education Research & Policy
A career in education research and policy focuses on critical issues, such as: access to education, program evaluation and assessment, common core curriculum, and teacher unions. There are many education-focused think tanks and government organizations who engage in policy development, such as:
If you are interested in education, but don’t want to be in front of a classroom, administration might be great for you. Administration roles vary widely and can include: principal, assistant principal, school counselor, registrar, admissions, operations, and more.
Administrative duties include establishing and maintaining the operations and finances of a school, supervising teachers, setting curriculum standards and compliance, monitoring academic progress, dealing with conduct issues, and working with parents, students, and the community to ensure the success and safety of the school.
Most administration roles require at least a master’s degree.
Careers in higher education typically fall into one of two areas: academic affairs or student affairs.
Academic affairs refers to faculty positions, teaching, researching, and publishing in your field of study. With the rare exception (usually in two-year colleges), most universities require a Ph.D. or other terminal degree to secure a faculty position. Academic affairs also offers positions as academic advisors, deans, registrars, communications, and other positions to support the operations and student experience in and out of the classroom.
Student affairs supports the co-curricular experience of students in college. Residence life, student programs, and conduct all offer opportunities to engage in the education and development of college students outside the classroom.
Opportunities in Higher Education can be found here:
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Higher Ed Jobs
- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA)
- Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA)
- University HR websites
Most schools look for candidates who have:
- Expertise in a subject matter (such as history, english, math, or a foreign language)
- A desire to be involved outside of the classroom (coaching a sport, advising a club, living on campus)
- Experience working with children
- A sincere interest in what makes their school unique
- A strong academic background (a good GPA)
- The ability to pass the Praxis or similar standardized test
- Excellent oral and written communication
- Positive attitude and enthusiasm
- Sense of humor
- Confidence and patience
Certifications & Education
If you are thinking about a graduate degree in education there are several options. For example, do you want to pursue an advanced degree in your subject area or a master’s in education? Which academic program will be the right one for you?
It is critical that you take the time to explore the programs programs you are considering prior to committing to one. Spend time learning about the faculty, the classes, and the research of each program you’re interested. Conduct informational interviews to learn about why others chose the programs they did.
It is also important to consider what certifications are required for the state in which you hope to teach. A certification in one state may not be valid in another. Check out the Department of Education for a list of state certification requirements.
Georgetown Alumni who work in education (you must be signed into LinkedIn to see this search)
Professional associations offer great insight into how an industry works and how to navigate the field, and gives you connections to people within the industry. Here are some additional benefits of professional associations:
- Access to job postings
- Mentoring by more experiences educators
- Professional development through courses, workshops, publications, etc.
- Networking opportunities through conferences, meetups, job fairs
- Association of Boarding Schools
- Friends Council on Education
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
- National Association of Independent Schools
- New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS)
- American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
- American Montessori Society (AMS)
- Association of American Educators (AAE)
- Chinese Language Teachers Association
- Music Teachers National Association
- National Art Education Association
- National Council for Social Studies
- National Council of Teachers of English
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- National Science Teachers Association
International Education & Other Associations
- Association of International Educators
- Association for the Advancement of International Education
- American School Counselor Association
- National Association for Education of Young Children
- American Camps Association
- National Education Association
- American Association of University Professors
- American Association of School Administrators