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Everything You Need to Know Pursuing a Career in Education

by Louise W. Rice
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A career in education doesn’t always look like someone standing up in front a classroom teaching, although that can be a rewarding choice for many people. There are many other ways to work in the education field as well. Learning more about the possibilities can help you choose the right career path.

Teaching

Some feel particularly drawn to teaching because it is a great way to make a positive impact with your career, while others fall into it because they have expertise in a particular area. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to start with a passion for teaching to be good at it and that among those who experience it as a calling, the reality doesn’t always measure up.

The first couple of years of teaching are exhausting for nearly everyone, but after that, the pace does let up somewhat, although the intensity of work during the school year remains. That intensity can push even the best educators out of the profession, as can bad administrators, underfunded schools, and similar challenges, but this can also be a fulfilling lifelong career for many.

There are also many different environments in which you might be an educator, from public schools to private, elementary schools to universities to prisons, corporate settings, and much more. If you want to work in administration or curriculum development, getting a few years of teaching under your belt is a good idea for a couple of reasons.

One is that many of these positions will require this kind of experience. More importantly, having some time in the classroom will make you better at your job in administration or curriculum development. You’ll understand better what teachers are up against and why certain ideas will or won’t work in the classroom.

Your Education

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to work in this field at minimum, and eventually, you may need one or more graduate degrees as well, depending on what you hope to do. Many states or specific educational facilities may require you to have a master’s degree to become a principal. Even if this is not a requirement, you will likely be competing with people who do have one.

However, your first step is to get a bachelor’s degree. Like many people, you may need to take out student loans to pay for at least part of your costs, even if you have money saved up or scholarships. Fortunately, you might be able to refinance your student loan after you graduate. There are student loan refinancing options that can help you save money, and that can be especially helpful for people in this field where salaries for new graduates are often not among the highest.

Career Paths

Besides teaching or administration, what other jobs can you do in the field of education? One mentioned above is curriculum development. This might involve writing textbooks or helping to design or improve courses. You might work for a school district or a private company.

There are also many jobs that you might move into a school setting after doing it elsewhere, such as working as a nurse, a dietician who helps develop lunch menus, a social worker, or a librarian. As a counselor, you might help kids with various personal issues as well as with preparing for college or careers.

Another thing to consider is what kind of environment you want to work in. Options include public or private settings, religious schools, and various types of alternative schools. You could also teach online. Yet another option is working in an international setting, with Department of Defense schools on military bases abroad or in international schools where diplomats and other expats often send their children. These jobs generally require you to get some domestic experience first.

You could also teach English as a Second Language or even get hired by a university in another country if you are a specialist in a certain area. Education can also happen in prisons, in private settings as a tutor, and within companies working as a corporate trainer.

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