If you’ve chosen a career in teaching STEM, you’ve selected a field that’s in high demand.
In fact, labor projections show Texas is expected to be home to the second highest number of STEM job opportunities in the United States … making educators who are tasked with preparing this labor force greatly sought after.
Finding a job should be pretty easy, right? Not so fast. While there may be an influx of STEM teacher jobs, if you don’t set yourself up for the best opportunities, you may find yourself limited in your options.
As an experienced alternative teacher certification program, we’ve worked with many interns to help them land the jobs of their dreams. Here are 4 insider tips we’ve learned to ensure your career as a STEM teacher kicks off with the job of your dreams.
1. Narrow Your Search Field
Texas is a vast state, with more than 1,000 public school districts. Beginning your search will likely feel overwhelming if you don’t start with establishing some criteria.
These search parameters may vary based on different considerations, such as what part of the state you want to live in, salary expectations, grade levels you wish to teach and expected competition for jobs.
Larger metropolitan areas tend to report higher average salaries. For example, Region 4, which includes Houston, reported an average base pay of $60,798 for the 2020-2021 school year. Region 10, which includes Dallas, had an average base pay of $59,707. Both of these are above the average teaching salary in Texas. As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teacher that may be in higher demand in these districts, you may be able to earn even more.
And while these districts may offer more opportunities, you may have stiffer competition since these districts may see more applicants due to the desire to live in larger metropolitan areas.
Weighing the pros and cons of where you wish to work, and then beginning your search there, can help you secure the job you want more quickly.
2. Develop A Strong Resume
Your resume is the first impression you make on prospective employers. When creating a resume for the STEM teaching job you are seeking, it’s important to tailor your experience to the job.
Show what experience you have that can positively impact or translate into a classroom that teaches STEM. For example, some items you may want to include are:
STEM teaching certifications you have
Any teaching experience you have such as internships that have focused on STEM-related subjects
Any experience outside the classroom that is related to what you will teach, such as working at a science camp, volunteering at a science-related organization and tutoring kids in math or science
Career experience you had in the STEM field before becoming an educator
Open your resume with a powerful statement that helps you tie together an overall theme for your work. If you have a background in science and are transitioning to a career in education, aresume summary statement can be a great opportunity to highlight accomplishments that would be relevant to your new teaching career.
STEM teaching jobs may be in demand, but that doesn’t mean you’re a shoe-in for the job. School districts are looking for the best and the brightest, and they want educators who are going to inspire the next generation of scientists, doctors, technology experts, engineers and mathematicians.
Preparation is key to impressing principals during your teacher interview. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re prepared for your next interview:
Prep yourself for potential interview questions and scenarios
Educate yourself by developing industry appropriate vocabulary and keep up to date on relevant news and advancements that have come out of the subject area you wish to teach
Do additional research on the schools and district where you have applied
Do the same type of research on the people with whom you are interviewing
One additional way you can separate yourself apart from the other candidates is to develop a STEM lesson in advance. This will demonstrate that you not only know the content, but that you know how to teach that content.
Often, principals will ask about your methods for developing lesson plans or for examples of a creative lesson plan you have developed. Creating an entertaining lesson before sitting for an interview will showcase not only your knowledge on the subject matter, but your ability to plan ahead.
4. Choose A Certification Program That Opens Doors
If you are thinking about transitioning to a career in teaching, one of the most important steps to landing the best STEM teacher jobs comes before you even pursue your certification.
Choosing an educator preparation program that opens doors when it comes time to job hunt can be invaluable. There are many top qualities of a teacher preparation program you should look for when beginning your journey toward becoming a STEM teacher. One of them is the program’s reputation among school districts in the state.
The top teacher preparation programs have built relationships with school districts and are known for putting their interns ahead of the curve. A program’s extensive network of school districts can open doors for interns when school districts have open teaching positions.
Often, school districts will contact the best certification programs and ask for recommendations to fill open positions, especially if they need those positions filled quickly.
This doesn’t only occur over the summer, when most people think teacher hiring takes place. Because Texas is experiencing a teacher shortage in STEM-related fields, hiring educators is now a year-round process.
Setting yourself up with the right certification program from the beginning can be one of the most important steps you take to landing the best STEM teacher job.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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