For the typical college student, the four years spent at university are a magical time that will provide both a valuable education and life-long memories. It’s natural, however, for apprehension to set in during the final semester as the “real world” and the need for a real job beckons.
The Job Market For College Graduates
You can't blame college students for waking up in a cold sweat way before their 8 a.m. class alarm goes off and wonder what they are going to do. According to thebalance.com, it can take an average of about six months for college graduates to find employment, depending on their field and current economic conditions. Add to that the fact that seven in 10 college seniors will graduate with an average of almost $30,000 in student debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success, and it is easy to see why they might be stressed.
You can relax, however, and hit that snooze button one more time if you are a college senior headed for a job in the teaching field in Texas.
For starters, Texas needs teachers as the state’s school-age population continues to rise. A year ago the American Federation of Teachers Texas branch said: “Texas school administrators have begun to sound the alarm over a looming teacher shortage that could leave Texas classrooms more than 30,000 teachers short …”
Even better news for those getting a teaching job right out of college is that your college schedule is in sync with the hiring practices of school districts. As college students graduate in May and June, school districts are busy looking to hire replacements for the fall for those teachers that are retiring, moving to other areas or leaving the profession.
So, if you prepare yourself in your last semester, you could be one of those getting hired.
Not only can you get a jump on paying off your college loans with a teaching job, but you can even qualify for loan forgiveness if you can teach in underserved areas where there are shortages in subjects such as:
Bilingual/English as a Second Language
Career and Technical Education
Computer Science/Technology Applications
Special Education – Elementary and Secondary Levels
Prepare Your Last Semester To Be A Texas Teacher By Fall
You don’t even have to wait until you cross that graduation stage and flip your tassel, you can start your path to the classroom in your final semester of college or even sooner.
Here are seven steps you can follow to ensure getting a teaching job right out of college:
Take and pass the appropriate content test prior to graduating. See our article from December, What You Need To Know About The Texas Teacher Certification Test, for detailed information on these content tests. You don't have to wait for your senior year in college to pass the content test, so get it taken care of early.
Apply to an alternative certification program in your last semester of college. Students may be accepted on a contingency basis if they are completing their last semester. This will speed up acceptance later. While college students cannot start training until they are fully accepted, they can use study resources to pass the content test if they haven't passed it already. ECAP makes it easy to apply during your final college semester. To apply, you will need to submit the following: Copy of Your Final Semester of Classes, letter from an academic advisor or registrar stating that you are currently completing your final semester and are eligible for graduation, official transcripts through previous semester, and content test passed
Send your college transcripts to your alternative certification program after you have eaten that last slice of graduation cake.
Once you have passed your content test and your transcripts are received, you can then be fully accepted into an alternative teaching certification program.
Start applying for teaching jobs, once you get full acceptance into an alternative certification program.
Start your training. Graduates should aim to complete half their training before they start teaching in the fall. The first part of the training teaches graduates everything they need to know for the first few weeks of teaching such as how to prepare lesson plans, how students learn and legal issues in the education field. This training can be accomplished online or in-person. (ECAP has an academy in July so that our interns are trained and ready for fall teaching jobs.) After you start your first job, your in-field advisor will walk you through other steps to be successful in the classroom.
You should be ready to start your first teaching job in the fall ready to roll. New teachers can then complete the remainder of their work hours online. This part of the alternative certification curriculum correlates to the classroom such as submitting sample lesson plans, using technology and so on. During this time your advisor will also come and meet with you.
Follow these steps and you will find your transition to the “Real World” much easier than it will be for some of your classmates. We can't guarantee as a new teacher that you will be able to hit the snooze button very often ... that will come with your first well-earned summer vacation!
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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7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396