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Career Question From an Undergraduate


Rusty22
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Hi everyone, 

I'm hoping this is an appropriate place to be asking this question because I need some help. I'm really struggling to figure out what to do with my life, but if there is one thing I know for certain it is that education in general interests me. University has helped me to recognize the importance of education and being educated oneself, and I'm beginning to develop a passion for learning and sharing knowledge with others. However, I simply do not know what to do about these interests. I think the big problem for me is that I just don't know what my options are, and whenever I ask people I seem to get insufficient answers. For example, whenever I try to approach someone about careers in education I am essentially always told that I can become a teacher and nothing else. Perhaps being a teacher would be a good choice for me, or at least a good start to a career in education, but I would love to know what my options would be for career advancement after that. I'm only disclosing this information because it seems relevant to the kind of career I could pursue, but I receive all A's and A+'s in my undergraduate courses, so perhaps there would be some form of graduate school that I should be looking into for a good career in education? 

 

This post seems somewhat vague thus far... but I really just would love to know what KINDS of careers one could pursue in education and what kind of graduate school I should be looking into. I only ask here because I know lots of you would have tons of experience with applying to graduate school and considering various career paths in education, so maybe some of you experienced the same feelings that I am right now! If I wasn't specific enough about my interests or anything like that, just let me know and I will be happy to disclose more information! Thanks for taking the time to read this anyways :) 

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1 hour ago, Rusty22 said:

Hi everyone, 

I'm hoping this is an appropriate place to be asking this question because I need some help. I'm really struggling to figure out what to do with my life, but if there is one thing I know for certain it is that education in general interests me. University has helped me to recognize the importance of education and being educated oneself, and I'm beginning to develop a passion for learning and sharing knowledge with others. However, I simply do not know what to do about these interests. I think the big problem for me is that I just don't know what my options are, and whenever I ask people I seem to get insufficient answers. For example, whenever I try to approach someone about careers in education I am essentially always told that I can become a teacher and nothing else. Perhaps being a teacher would be a good choice for me, or at least a good start to a career in education, but I would love to know what my options would be for career advancement after that. I'm only disclosing this information because it seems relevant to the kind of career I could pursue, but I receive all A's and A+'s in my undergraduate courses, so perhaps there would be some form of graduate school that I should be looking into for a good career in education? 

 

This post seems somewhat vague thus far... but I really just would love to know what KINDS of careers one could pursue in education and what kind of graduate school I should be looking into. I only ask here because I know lots of you would have tons of experience with applying to graduate school and considering various career paths in education, so maybe some of you experienced the same feelings that I am right now! If I wasn't specific enough about my interests or anything like that, just let me know and I will be happy to disclose more information! Thanks for taking the time to read this anyways :) 

Hi Rusty!

I’m going to give an answer that I think might be atypical...

What are your interests outside of education?

I would strongly encourage you to pursue another career in industry. Business, Marketing, Biomed, Law, etc...whatever you are interested in. And maybe a masters in one of those related fields.

Work for a few years. Build a nest egg. And then if teaching still interests you, pursue an alternative certification. Once you have your alternative certification, you will be able to take the content test to teach whatever you would like to teach in most states.

I say this because I think that it is good to have options and I think working outside of education gives unique insight into education. Also keep in mind that there are many ways to share and educate without having to be a teacher.

Career advancement does typically look like Teaching —> Campus Level Admin —> Central Office/District Admin. Depending on what your educational interests are there could be some variance in there. You could be an instructional coach or a technology specialist. You could also go the route of industry first and then work at the district level in some professional capacity. For instance, nearly every school district has a general counsel (legal services) or a public relations/communications department.

What are you studying in undergrad right now? Where are you in your undergraduate journey? Could you get a pedagogy class in there somewhere as an elective? That will give you a better feel for what it means to teach and what is required.

 

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On 1/2/2018 at 6:27 PM, Rusty22 said:

Hi everyone, 

I'm hoping this is an appropriate place to be asking this question because I need some help. I'm really struggling to figure out what to do with my life, but if there is one thing I know for certain it is that education in general interests me. University has helped me to recognize the importance of education and being educated oneself, and I'm beginning to develop a passion for learning and sharing knowledge with others. However, I simply do not know what to do about these interests. I think the big problem for me is that I just don't know what my options are, and whenever I ask people I seem to get insufficient answers. For example, whenever I try to approach someone about careers in education I am essentially always told that I can become a teacher and nothing else. Perhaps being a teacher would be a good choice for me, or at least a good start to a career in education, but I would love to know what my options would be for career advancement after that. I'm only disclosing this information because it seems relevant to the kind of career I could pursue, but I receive all A's and A+'s in my undergraduate courses, so perhaps there would be some form of graduate school that I should be looking into for a good career in education? 

 

This post seems somewhat vague thus far... but I really just would love to know what KINDS of careers one could pursue in education and what kind of graduate school I should be looking into. I only ask here because I know lots of you would have tons of experience with applying to graduate school and considering various career paths in education, so maybe some of you experienced the same feelings that I am right now! If I wasn't specific enough about my interests or anything like that, just let me know and I will be happy to disclose more information! Thanks for taking the time to read this anyways :) 

I took an interesting route that could interest you. So in my undergrad I studied to be a STEM teacher in secondary ed. I got all the way to student teaching before I realized it was not what I really ultimately wanted to do. When I went into my master's program, I looked at higher education administration (Student Affairs) programs and found one that allowed me to work in a higher education institution as an academic advisor, financial aid, admissions, student conduct, housing, student involvement, greek life admin, etc. There are so many different avenues for that type of field within education and you may find one that fits for you. Ultimately, for me, I decided to apply for my PhD in learning technologies/sciences and become an education researcher and hopefully professor. I find studying and developing educational technology to be fascinating, but I would not have found that passion had I not gone to graduate school.

The point is, you can do a lot with an education degree and you should not limit yourself to just being a teacher. Teaching is a wonderful profession and if it is your calling you should at least try your hand at it. Probably one of the most rewarding experiences of mine was going through the teaching clinical courses in my undergraduate program. But, I was like you and wanted to see what else there was in education and luckily I found something that I am really passionate about and can see doing for the rest of my life.

If you need anything, feel free to reach out. :)

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You've gotten some good advice thus far. I would add that if you want to pursue a graduate degree in education, having at least a few years of teaching experience would be a big help.

Additionally, you might consider the non-profit world. There are tons of education related non-profits doing great work, and that could allow you to have your hands on many different aspects of education, and to get some instructional experience to see if it does whet your appetite for becoming a teacher. 

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I agree with @Levon3  - Having a few years of teaching experience can be very helpful going into a graduate program in education.   In fact, some programs require having 2-3 years of teaching experience (but that depends on what your interests are).  I've known people who went on to work with the  American Institutes of Research ,  became a Reading/Math/Technology specialist,  went into administration, worked for an online education company, become college professors- really, there are tons of options.  What are your interests specifically?

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